How to Install a Schluter Tile System

Whether you are installing tile over a cement floor or wood subflooring, you need to have a system in place that allows the tile flooring to move independently of the subflooring. Otherwise, the tile flooring may soon shows signs of cracking.

Utilizing the Schluter tile system, which is actually uncoupling membrane rather than tile, allows the subflooring and the tile floor to move independently of each other. The primary uncoupling membrane product in the Schluter line is Ditra, which is faster and easier to install than a traditional mud and lath membrane.

  1. Clean the subflooring with a vacuum. Use a hammer to set any nails that may be protruding from the plywood subflooring. Drive the nails tightly into position. Apply leveling patching compound to concrete flooring with a trowel to repair cracks. Allow the compound to dry.

  2. Measure the room with a tape measure. Unroll the Ditra and use a utility knife to cut it to fit the room’s measurements.

  3. Spread thinset mortar on the subflooring with a notched trowel. Only spread the width of a piece of Ditra. Place a piece of Ditra, fleece side down, on top of the thinset. Allow a 1/8-inch gap along walls. Press the Ditra firmly into the thinset with a float. Pull up a corner to ensure you have good coverage of the thinset, and then reset the Ditra.

  4. Repeat this process with the next width of Ditra. Butt the edges together. Continue until Ditra covers the entire floor. You do not need to wait for the thinset to dry before continuing with the tile application.

  5. Work thinset mortar into the grids on the Ditra with the notched edge of the trowel. Spread the thinset to the thickness recommended for your tile application. If recommended, butter, or spread thinset on, the back of the individual tiles as well. Place each tile in position and press it firmly into the thinset mortar. Let the thinset dry.

  6. Apply grout to the spaces between the tiles with a grout float. Wipe up excess grout with a damp sponge. Allow the grout to dry. Seal the tile and the grout with appropriate sealers, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  7. Tip

    If your uncoupling membrane must be waterproof, cover the Ditra joints with a layer of thinset. Apply Schluter Kerdi tape over the mortared joints and press it into position with a float. Continue with the tile installation.