Last week, I flew to one of my childhood favorite places to attend a seminar. I hadn't been to Kansas City in over a decade and was so excited to see the City of Fountains again. In both a great and terrible way- the seminar was very time consuming and we never actually made it into the city!
Fortunately, the seminar was incredible and one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. It was hosted by a company called Schluter- innovators in several technologies including underlayment for tile floors that help prevent cracking and water-proofing systems for tiled showers.
For two days, we were be lectured on not only Schluter products but proper installation methods of tile floors and walls and how they have evolved over time. (It wasn't until 2 hours into the first day's lectures that the speaker mentioned one of Schluter's products- he was too busy teaching us about the installation!). After lunch- there was a live installation demonstration and after that....we got to install!
Here's a live demonstration of Schluter's Ditra product - the bright orange underlayment for tile floors. The product is really technically simple but has incredible effects on the prevention of cracking in tile floors.
It looks like a giant orange waffle - the raised portions have air pockets which allow the subfloor (concrete) and the flooring (tile) to move independently from one another. Concrete moves, expands and contracts at a different rate then tile (and the different types of tile- porcelain, ceramic and natural stone also have different movement rates).
Typically, tile is laid directly onto a concrete floor with thinset (cement). This direct installation doesn't allow the two entities to move at their different rates; under stress, the tile, grout or both will crack.
The underlayment is also waterproof! When installed in combination with other Schluter products- you can use the Ditra to create a waterproof area (great for large bathrooms!).
Now it's our turn to install! Here is my Schluter rep, Les on the left and my Interceramic rep, Cristina on the right prepping the floor for Ditra installation.
On the second day- we learned about Kerdi- the waterproofing system for showers. It's a simple membrane that is installed on the walls and can be installed on the floor to create a completely sealed area. Most people probably don't realize that tile and grout are not waterproof- water can and does seep through the tile and grout thus the necessity for a waterproof membrane between the tile and the wall.
To learn more about Schluter products...