Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ditra Flooring Membrane Underlayment System Reality Check

I've been installing tile most of my adult life. From the first introduction of Durock then Hardi board,  Even back as far as metal wire and hand "dry pack" concrete bed floors. I personally prefer Hardi board for my installation as I understand the "water barrier" properties of this product and would recommend this product and use it exclusively in my own house as a tile underlayment.
  
Although I am always open to the introduction of new products and always open minded to something that might prove to be a better product or a improvement upon current installation methods.
   
I've know of many tile installers who swear by the installation process of the "Ditra" product. But upon a closer inspection of the product and the installation process both from a common sense and scientific prospective I have great concern regarding the quality and longevity of a "Ditra" tile installation.
    
First, why do many installers swear by the product I believe it is exclusively because it is so easy to use. It is light weight  no nails needed no carrying heavy boards cuts easily with a knife  and installs quickly .But I am not so concerned that my installer have a easy installation in my home  but more so I get a quality installation that will last a lifetime! I am afraid this product  doesn't live up to that expectation And here's why .

The "Tile Installation | Tile Repair " manufacturer requires the use of unmodified  thin set mortar to both install the "Ditra" membrane on top of a wood sub-floor as well as then install again with unmodified thin set  the tile on top of the "Ditra". This type of thin set is the lowest quality type of thin set available costing like $5 per 50 lb bag. Right on this bag of thin set itself it says "for use on concrete floors" It also says to use "acrylic mortar admix" in this product (prohibited with DITRA). Now using Ditra on wood floors is defiantly not a concrete floor installation. Instead you are adhering plastic (DITRA) onto wood with a product that states right on the bag "for concrete floor installation only" right on the bag!!! This thin set again is the lowest grade thin set available on the market . And your tile is stuck to your floor only as good as the thin set concrete you use to install it. Now common sense and science dictate to me that by using this product in the way the manufacturer suggests you are in fact getting about the lowest quality tile installation possible.

I've attached some photos of the thin set and the Ditra so you can see this for yourself and make your own decision on the quality of this very expensive product . Now I don't claim to know everything about tile installations  nor do I claim " to be the best building material supplier" I only offer my 30+ years of experience in installing tile and my professional opinion. I would love to hear from other expert tile installers on this issue. And again will approach these other opinions with a open mind.  Regards  chris

Ditra membrane adhered to floor with unmodified thin set

notice this thinset mortar says on bag ad acrylic mortar admix for strength

See this product stated for concrete floor installations Also notice it says meets requirements WHEN mixed with additive

See how this thin membrane is adhered to floor with only UNMODIFIED low grade thin set to wood floor


As mentioned earlier when I pulled this post aside in order to review and discuss the feedback we received with Chris. I admitted I had not done a thorough job of doing my research and checking everything, but Chris insisted I put the post back up as he stands by his original post. In my haste to put the post on hold, I erased the very helpful comments from all kinds of tile experts. I assume there is a way to retrieve such comments, but Chris wants this post up, and so here it is. IF you did comment, would you mind reposting it so Chris can have more information. I again take responsibility for this chain of events-first time here on Tile Installation and Repair-Consumer Help Blog. We appreciate your patience. Thank you. Diana.