Cracking is one of the biggest enemies of any tiling project. Never is it more of an issue than when tiling over concrete. An anti-fracture membrane is a layer of material that expands and contracts so movement in the concrete is not directly transferred to the tile and helps to keep cracks from forming and ruining your work. Whether the job involves porcelain tile, natural stone or any other tile, this membrane acts as a type of bridge, preventing movement from transferring from the substrate to the tiled surface and keeping damage at bay.
Ditra Crack Isolation Membrane for Ceramic Tile Installations
Types of Anti-Fracture Membranes
The most common type of anti-fracture membrane comes in a roll that is about three feet wide and consists of fabric reinforced with plastic netting. The installer applies the membrane to the thinset and then uses a trowel to smooth it out and eliminate pockets of air between the thinset and the fabric.
Many contractors have used felt paper as a form of anti-fracture membrane for years, but this approach is not the best for showers, basements and other wet areas.
The main reason is felt deteriorates due to a combination of moisture and age. Professionals often install a mortar base with embedded wire to add strength and eliminate this problem.
Performance May Vary
It is very important to check with the manufacturer regarding proper installation of your anti-fracture membrane. While the membrane will stretch wherever it is necessary to reduce the transference of force, there are some instances where it needs to be sheet applied and others where it needs to be applied with a trowel.
There is also a misconception among many industry professionals how an anti-fracture membrane will eliminate the need for movement joints. Ceramic and other types of tile must have soft joints so they can contract and expand naturally. When tile is installed over an anti-fracture membrane, the tile joints need to be located near the joints in the concrete.
An anti-fracture membrane is an essential investment to protect the life of the tile that is installed over concrete. Incorporating this extra step in your installation will provide long-term protection against cracks, greatly reducing the chances you’ll need to waste time and money re-doing a job.
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Our professionally-trained design consultants will assist in your selection and answer any questions. So drop by any of our Arizona Tile locations. We have the quality tile and natural stone you’re looking for, for any project.