There are a number of ways prepare wooden floors prior to tiling as you cannot tile directly onto floorboards or chipboard.
I’ve used 2 systems primarily, and I compare them below so you can choose
What is it?
Plastic Ply is described by its manufacturer N&C Nicobond as a tile bedding reinforcing sheet to support & fix tiles to timber floors.
It avoids the effects of timber shrinkage, warping and rotting and eliminates the need for overboarding, which is a common way of treating tiled floor installations.
It essentially decouples the tiled installation (solid and rigid and liable to crack) from the (more fluid & liable to move) timber subfloor below, thus eliminating stresses and reducing the likelihood of cracking.
It is widely adopted by many national and regional house builders.
No More ply
What is it?
No More Ply is described as a tile backing system used to create a perfect foundation on which to tile walls and floors.
It is essentially a method of overboarding timber floors without the need to resort to plywood – which has many problems associated with it (large step up, reacts to changes in humidity etc etc)
It is the system that I used successfully for many years.
It involves gluing & screwing a 6mm thick fibre cement board to your floorboards prior to tiling, and the manufacturers claim to offer a lifetime guarantee.
Assumptions: Both floors cleaned up, secured and SBR’d (sealed) prior to either fitting system.
Plastic ply approx £15/m2 x 4 – £60
Flexible self level to cover Plastic ply / underfloor heating @ £15 each x 2 – £30
|Total cost – £90
Total time – <0.5 hour
Tools required – Stanley knife
No More ply (NMP)
NMP boards (0.7/m2 each) x 6 @ £9 each – £55
NMP screws x 200 – £10
NMP glue – mega strength x 3 – £25
Self level – only if required (floor unlevel / underfloor heating) – £30
|Total cost – £120
Total time – 3 hours
Tools required – Impact driver, nibblers / jigsaw with carbide
blade / hacksaw & NMP scoring knife – (£10)
Both choices are impervious to water, so will not rot or warp like timber or plywood when wet.
Both will do the job of preparing a timber floor for tiling, so which one to choose?
For most applications: Plastic Ply
Price is similar but Plastic Ply comes out on top with cheaper material costs to buy and less capital costs (tools required) to fix.
Fitting time is much quicker with Plastic Ply, and you can tile it immediately after fitting, unlike No More Ply where you have to wait for the glue to expand up through the joints, clean it off, SBR the surface, wait for it to dry etc.
Transportation is much easier with Plastic Ply as it is very light and easy to handle – NMP boards are very dense and heavy to carry upstairs.
If you’re a DIYer: Plastic Ply
Fewer tools are needed with Plastic Ply as you only need a stanley knife to cut it – this makes cutting around awkward shapes such as curved shower trays much easier (and less dusty) than using No More Ply.
PS If you don’t have an impact driver, do not even attempt to screw No More Ply boards down, as the screw heads will be left proud of the surface and you’ll have to countersink each and every one which will take forever and ruin your countersink bit immediately.
Plastic ply is tidier to work with as there’s no glue to use that seeps through the joints with NMP which you then walk all over the job site, and there’s no dust which is great for domestic applications.
If you’re having underfloor heating: No More Ply
No More Ply is recommended if you are having underfloor heating as it will reflect more heat upwards, and you will not be heating the floorboards as much as the tiles above.
If you’re wanting to soundproof the floor: No More Ply
NMP claims to deaden sound better than alternatives, and this would seem to make sense intuitively.
If you live in a flat and worry about sound transfer between you and your neighbours (in both directions), then No More Ply may be a better choice.
If you’re doing a wetroom: Either
No More Ply integrates well with the Kaskade wetroom trays and I have used this system before.
However, here’s a wetroom where I used Plastic Ply in combination with an extruded polystyrene foam core & fibre glass weave wetroom tray.
Personally, I have recently switched from using No More Ply exclusively to using Plastic Ply in 90% of cases.
This is because it is so much quicker, tidier and easier to use as well as being easier to transport around and carry upstairs.
Whichever you choose, make sure you follow all manufacturers fitting instructions and don’t just use plywood!
If you have any questions or thoughts about this article or any others, please feel free to contact me.