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Old 02-19-2014, 11:36 AM   #1
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Best option for subfloor when adding tile over hardwood


My wife and I are remodeling a bathroom in our 1915 Bungalow. Last night, I removed the old tile set in a 1" mortar bed with tar paper backing.

The remaining floor is 2" wide red oak (just like the rest of the house) over 1" by 6" planks. The oak floor is in good shape with the only damage by the toilet. Which is the best option for subfloor for installing 1" hexagonal tiles?

Option A: Should we install cement board directly over the hardwood?
Option B: Should we install a plywood layer before the cement board (but keep the hardwood)?
Option C: Should we removed the hardwood, add plywood then cement board?
Option D: Should we install plywood with a membrane?
Option E: Should we do something different?
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:03 PM   #2
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Hi KC,

You should do option "C".

The hardwood gets taken out. Be sure to closely inspect the subfloor and repair or replace any of the planks as necessary. I would then install 5/8" or 3/4" underlayment grade ply, no cheapo CDX. The underlayment will be fastened only to the subfloor, and use no glue. For height purposes you may want to install two layers of underlayment. How's the joists system?

Let us know what materials you're planning to use.

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Old 02-20-2014, 10:24 PM   #3
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I do not mind removing the hardwood as it'll most likely be reused somewhere else in the house.

The joists are 2" * 8" spaced 16" OC with the planking running perpendicular.

Everyone seems to recommend 3/4" exterior grade plywood, so we will go with it. I plan on using 1/4" hardie board on top of the plywood and 1" ceramic hexagonal tiles.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #4
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Since the house was built in 1915 I'll assume the joists are a true 2x8". Is that right? Are they in good shape, no cracks, no one drilled large holes or cut outs for plumbing etc.?

You didn't mention the longest span of the joists.

What thin set mortar for the Hardie and the tiles?


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Old 02-22-2014, 08:39 AM   #5
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Surprising, the joists are not nominal dimensions. All are in good shape but one where someone's plumbing cut went wild. I do plan on sistering a new joist next to it.

The span of all the joists in the room is 10'.

I planned on using fortified thinset mortar for both the tiles and hardie, but am open to recommendations.
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