We don’t recommend tiling directly onto floorboards due to excessive movement. Lay plywood or Hardie Backer Boards onto the floorboards first, using a bed of tile adhesive, to ensure a sound, flat surface which you can then tile onto.
Long answer to ‘Can I tile directly onto wooden floorboards?’:
Unfortunately, tiling directly to floorboards is not recommended. It wouldn’t matter what shape the tiles or what they are made of. If there is too much deflection in the floor they are highly likely to crack if the incorrect preparation is carried out.
You will need to check the current condition of the floorboards, ensure there is no movement, and that they are screwed down sufficiently to the joists. As per British Standards, you would then need to overboard the floor with either 18mm WBP Plywood or minimum 6mm Hardie Backer boards before laying tiles. Both of these overlays would need to be screwed down at a maximum of 300mm centres to ensure that the floor is braced securely. We’d recommend a layer of tile adhesive is also bedded beneath the Hardie Backer to keep them even, with the screws applied while the adhesive is still wet.
Due to the areas that are being tiled, we would recommend porcelain over ceramic due to their superior durability in heavily walked in areas. They will also require fixing with a flexible adhesive such as the Kwik-Flex.
Wood effect tiles vs wooden floorboards
Some might ask, why would you choose to install wood effect tiles onto existing wooden floorboards? There are several reasons why you might like to do this. Firstly, tiles (particularly porcelain ones) are more durable than floorboards, in that they don’t scratch and mark as easily.
Secondly, when choosing tiles, you save yourself the ongoing treatment and maintenance efforts that natural wooden floorboards demand. Several times a year, you need to sand them down to remove the splintery edges. Then you need to wax them to keep them sealed and a certain colour. With tiles, there is no ongoing work; you simply lay them and leave them.
Thirdly, wooden floorboards are very limited in style; you’re stuck with one thickness of the same type of wood. You can use different colours of wax or stain to make the wood different hues. But it’s still the same wood, in the same linear layout. With wood effect tiles, you can choose from a whole host of different styles; from parquet effect layouts for an ornate display to patterned star-shaped designs for a statement floor. You can even use our plank-shaped tiles to create a herringbone layout.
In summary, using wood effect tiles on top of your floorboards cuts out the hard work of maintaining natural wood, and it opens up a whole world of style possibilities.
We hope this answers the question ‘Can I Tile Directly Onto Wooden Floor Boards?’ If you have any more questions, head over to our How To Tile section.
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