Tiling over floorboards

Tiling over floorboards

Can you tile on wood floorboards?

Good news! Tiling over floorboards is possible with the use of plywood or backer boards. In short, a layer of ‘board’ over your floorboards will keep the surface you’re tiling strong and sturdy, and help you minimise any movement from your old floorboards. Directly tiling onto floorboards isn’t usually recommended as movement beneath tiles could result in unwanted cracks and breakages.

As a rule of thumb, when it comes to tiling, always ensure the surface is even and secure for a long-lasting finish.

Is there more to tiling on floorboards? Yes! If you’re taking on the project yourself, be sure to read on for our top tips.

1. Securing loose floorboards

First things first; have a good stomp around your room. Checking for any creaking floorboards and securing them down will get you off to a great start in creating an even surface for your tiles.

Be sure to watch out for any hidden pipes and wires when nailing down loose floorboards. Using shorter screws and looking for where current screws are placed will reduce the risk. Joists usually run in the opposite direction to the floorboards themselves, so keep that in mind when you’re nailing things down.

2. Choosing your overboard

There are two main materials you can use for your overboard; plywood or backer board – both easily accessible from most DIY stores.

When using plywood, you’ll need to ensure it’s at least 12mm or more in thickness to create a rigid surface for your tiles. This, along with your tiles, will raise the level of your flooring, so be sure to bear this in mind before you get started.

The alternative is backer board. This was created with tiling in mind and provides a thinner option for your overboard, helping to maintain a more consistent floor level from room to room.

3. Laying your overboard

A combination of screws and adhesive will ensure your overboard is nice and secure before you begin tiling. Keeping movement to a minimum is essential for avoiding cracks and breakages later on, so it pays to take your time here.

Starting from an open corner, work across the room by cutting and piecing your overboard together, saving the more awkward pieces until the end. Once everything is in place, you can begin sticking things down.

Taking your caulking gun, apply a layer of adhesive to one side and slot the board back into place. Using countersunk screws for a flush finish, secure the boards down with an electric drill. Repeat this process until the entire floor is covered with tiling board.

4. Using a tile primer

You’re almost ready to tile! Before you get stuck into laying your floor tiles on the wood, you’ll need to prime the newly created flat surface with a layer of diluted SBR primer. This will promote better adhesion, flexibility, and waterproofing and result in a better overall tile laying experience. Without a tile primer, you run the risk of your overboard becoming damp and tricky to work with. 

5. Laying tiles on wood

You’re down to the final step of tiling over floorboards with a fully prepped and even surface ready to go.

When it comes to laying floor tiles on wood, we’d recommend using a flexible adhesive and grout. Tile on wood can be unpredictable no matter how secure your floorboards are, so working with flexible adhesive will give your tiles a little extra give from any movement.

 Distressed Wood Blue Wall & Floor

Wooden floor vs. wood tiles

We know what you’re thinking… why should I bother tiling over wooden floorboards with wood effect tiles?

If you love the look of a wooden floor, but don’t love the maintenance that comes with it, then it might be time to consider wood effect tiles instead.

Tiling floorboards with wood effect tiles offers a variety of benefits over natural wood, including being more durable, and easier to maintain and keep clean. As well as regular upkeep, wood flooring often needs annual sanding and re-sealing to maintain its quality. In most circumstances, porcelain and ceramic tiles just need regular cleaning.

A properly tiled floor can offer longer lasting stability too, and there’s no need to worry about creaky floorboards either. Tiled floors are a more durable option and great for high footfall areas and moisture prone rooms like bathrooms. 

Distressed Wood Blue Wall & Floor

Wood effect tile designs

The other great benefit of tiling over floorboards with wood effect tiles is the choice of design. There’s a range of colours, styles, textures and even shapes to choose from, making the options for your floor endless.

If you’re after a more traditional look, our HD Classic Wood tiles offer authenticity, bringing the charm of wooden floors into your home without all of the effort. Our Laura Ashley Wood Effect tiles also come in a range of shades, so you can create a stylish and homely look that suits your style. 

Our HD Distressed and HD Rustic ceramic tiles offer an authentic wood look, whilst our Fossil Wood Porcelain provides extra durability with a naturally weathered finish.

When it comes to tile laying patterns with wood effect tiles, you can opt for our beautiful Ted Baker ParqTile range and create your own classic parquet design.

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