Tile Experts - Ditra or Backerboard for 1/2' Travertine Tile?

walton1442February 1, 2008

My tile contractor will be installing 1/2" thick travertine tile in my home. The existing sub-floor is 3/4" plywood. The game plan is to install 1/2" cement backerboard over the 3/4" plywood subfloor. A large notch trowel will be used to provide a 1/2" thick layer of thin set. This installation will give me a finished height from the sub-floor of 1.5". Being told this is what is required when installing 1/2" thick travertine material.

First, are you tile experts in agreement with this installation process when using backerboard?

Second, am I better off using the Ditra product and why? How would a Ditra insallation be installed when using 1/2" travertine? What would my finished height be using Ditra?

Lastly, will Ditra create a solid enough base for 1/2" thick travertine? 1/2' backboard will obviously create an extremely solid surface. Where as, the Ditra is a flexible material and it seems like there could be some movement when applied over a 3/4" plywood sub-floor. I know travertine material is more prone to crack than other types of tile so this is a real concern.

Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated!

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Go to the john bridge tile forums to learn more. For stone installation and prevent cracking you need to make sure your joist deflection is strong enough, (usually isn't) and 2 layers of plywood is recommended for natural stone. The backerboard appears strong, but it does not do anything for the deflection like another layer of plywood will. And the ditra will be just as good and easier than backerboard to install. Neither are for deflection, they are a decoupling membrane to separate movement of the subfloor from cracking tiles.

Here is a link that might be useful: john bridge forums

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 3:49PM
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Anyone have any further info on this?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 1:53PM
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kjboggs was correct. Stone installation guidelines call for two layers of plywood then either a CBU or DITRA. Natural stone guidelines are not covered in the TCA Handbook for ceramic tile installations. Travertine installations are covered in the Dimension Stone Design Manual.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dimension Stone Design Manual, VII

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Yep, they are right. Go jump on a box of plywood with the backerboard on it and then go jump on a boy of plywood with another layer of plywood on it. YOu will bounce on the first option above... Which means cracked tile.

Do not let them use backerboard as your second layer.
YOU WILL get cracked stone...

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:54PM
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I was having a lesuirely read through when I spotted your thread... I threw down my cup of tea...and have issued an Alert from London England!!

Quite simply Backerboard is not suitable for a sub-strate under travertine. Your man should build up his levels with Marine ply using counter sunk screws to secure. Once the level has been reached then a layer of Ditra Matting should be adhered to it. This should be left to dry for a min of 12 hours before the travertine laying. A flexi adhesive should be used under the travertine and there should be no foreseeable problems going forward.

Now I worry if your tile contractor knows his stone...stone is very diff to ceramics...Make sure he seals it at least twice! or I will be choking on my cup of tea again!

Kindest Regards

Lynn in London

    Bookmark   November 24, 2008 at 12:09PM
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flexi adhesive?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 11:57AM
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