The block-and-beam method of building subfloors is very popular in the UK:

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Once the blocks are laid, typically a thin bed of mortar or concrete is troweled or poured on top to secure everything. I got to thinking: is there any reason why you couldn't instead install tile right over the bare blocks and beams, with the tile mortar squeezed into the cracks and serving the same purpose as the thin slab? Especially looking for input from Europeans familiar with this building method.

1 Answer 1


This is a first time I see such a way to build a subfloor, it's not common in a country of my origin. It seems, however, that concrete blocks are not simply a filler here (as in other types of ceiling/floor structures), they can bear loads and play load-bearing part.

That said, I can still think of several reasons to put the concrete layer on top of the structure:
1. the layer will fill all the cracks and defects of the structure (You asked about tile mortar - it's more expensive to use it instead of a concrete)
2. the layer (properely laid) will level all the subfloor to stand for a good base for tiles
3. the layer will distribute dynamic loads better than a floor without it to prevent single-tile cracking
4. if it's a subfloor over the ground, then You will need some moisture insulation and thermal insulation (ask google for proper layer order), I presume that it will go between a structure and the concrete layer

I encourage other SE users to correct me if I'm wrong here.

  • Tile mortar will also fill the gaps, and it's needed anyway if you're planning to install tile. The idea is to get to a finished floor faster and more cheaply by skipping the concrete step, which is expensive in developed countries with high labor costs.
    – iLikeDirt
    Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 20:39

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