What Do You Put on Plywood before Tiling? Expert Tips.

Priming is necessary before tiling on plywood. Use a latex primer to prepare the surface and ensure adhesive sticks firmly.

Plywood is a versatile and cost-effective building material for many construction projects. It is commonly used as a subfloor, but it can also be used for tiling. Plywood is not an ideal surface for tiling as it can warp, swell, or absorb moisture, leading to adhesive failure and loose tiles.

To avoid this, it is essential to prepare the surface by applying a primer before tiling. Priming helps to create a strong bond between plywood and adhesive material. It also reduces the risk of moisture retention, ensuring that the tiles remain in place for longer periods. Using a latex primer is recommended, and it can be applied easily with a roller or brush. In this article, we will discuss in detail what you need to put on plywood before tiling.


Understanding Plywood For Tiling

Plywood is an excellent substratum to tile upon, but you must put something on it to enhance its adhesive qualities. It must also be level and clean, or you risk the tiles breaking or cracking. The grade and quality of your plywood can make a significant impact on your tile installation’s overall longevity.

Plywood characteristics are determined by the wood layers’ thickness, bonding quality, and the type of wood utilized. For tiling, exterior or fire-rated plywood with a smooth and sturdy surface is typically used. It’s critical to note that not all plywood is suitable for tiling and should only use grades of a and b as a minimum.

Oriented strand board (osb) and particleboard are not recommended for use as a substrate for tiling.

Preparing The Plywood Surface

Before tiling on a plywood surface, it is essential that you prepare it to ensure strong adhesion and longevity. The first step is sanding the plywood to create a smooth surface. This also helps remove any inconsistencies or blemishes that might interfere with tile placement.

You May Also Like:  How to Unlock a Keypad Door Lock: Expert Tips and Tricks.

Once sanding is completed, clean the surface thoroughly to remove all dust and debris. A clean surface ensures proper tile adhesion. Sanding and cleaning plywood are crucial steps in preparing it for tiling. These steps, when followed, will ensure that your tiles adhere properly and your project will stand the test of time.

Applying A Waterproofing Membrane

Waterproofing membranes are essential before tiling on plywood. There are two common types of waterproofing membranes: liquid and sheet. The liquid option is easier to apply but less durable, while the sheet option is more durable but requires more work.

Regardless of the type, the plywood must be clean and dry before applying the membrane. Start by cutting the membrane to size and then applying it with a trowel. Be sure to press out any air bubbles to ensure a secure bond.

As you progress, overlap the sheets and seal any seams with waterproof tape. Once the membrane is in place, it’s important to test for leaks before moving on to the tiling process. By following these steps, you can apply a waterproofing membrane to your plywood surface effectively.

Priming The Plywood Surface

Priming the plywood surface before tiling on plywood, it’s important to prime it. Primer is a type of coating that seeps deep into the plywood surface and helps the adhesive stick securely to the wood. Primer acts as a barrier, preventing the moisture from penetrating through the tile and the wood.

When exposed to moisture, bare plywood swells and warps, causing tiles to lift or crack. To avoid this issue, apply latex primer on the plywood surface with a brush or roller. Allow it to dry before tiling. A smooth surface for good tiling is guaranteed when the plywood is primed adequately.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of coats and the drying time. Primer is crucial for the long-term adhesion of tiles, and it serves as a moisture barrier for wooden subfloors.

You May Also Like:  How to Remove Paint from Walls Naturally: A Revolutionary Solution.

Filling The Gaps

When it comes to tiling on plywood, filling the gaps is important. It ensures a smooth and even surface for tiling and prevents shifting or cracking of tiles over time. Moreover, filling gaps creates a stronger surface by improving the bonding between the tiling and the plywood.

To fill gaps on plywood, start by cleaning the surface and removing any debris. Apply a thin layer of adhesive or leveling compound using a putty knife to fill the gaps. Allow the compound to dry completely before tiling. By following these expert tips and filling the gaps on your plywood before tiling, you can create a durable and long-lasting tiled surface for your home renovation project.

Installing And Leveling The Tiles On Plywood

Before tiling on plywood, it is essential to prep the surface. To choose the right adhesive, check the manufacturer’s specifications. Apply a thin-bed adhesive recommended for plywood. Next, put the tiles on the adhesive, making sure to distribute it evenly to avoid lumps.

Level the tiles using a spirit level, as plywood can be uneven. To keep the tiles in place, use spacer clips to create equal gap sizes. Finally, remove excess adhesive and let the tiles dry for at least 24-48 hours.

Enjoy your newly tiled surface!


Are you planning a tiling project on a plywood surface? In that case, it’s essential to prepare the plywood properly to ensure the tiles adhere firmly and prevent possible damage or cracking. As seen, laying down cement backer board or uncoupling membrane is an effective solution to overcome plywood’s drawbacks and create a sturdy base for your tiles.

Make sure to clean the surface thoroughly, get rid of any debris or dust, and add a primer before applying any adhesives or mortar for the best results. Moreover, following the correct installation methods and using the appropriate tools and materials is equally crucial for a successful tiling project.

You May Also Like:  How to Remove Soffit in 7 Easy Steps

Adhering to these step-by-step guidelines will guarantee a long-lasting and visually appealing floor or wall. By investing time and effort in prepping your plywood, you can avoid costly complications and enjoy your beautiful and functional new tiles for years to come.