1.1 What is the difference between latex-modified thinset and self-leveling cement?
A latex modified thinset is a mixture of cement, very finely graded sand and a polymer that allows for the retaining of moisture. The result is a product that is more durable, with the added benefit of providing flexibility, which comes in handy since the tiles will shrink and expand slightly with changes in temperature. You will want to use this product where you adhere the tiles to your desired floor surface. Your heating system will be completely covered with this material (at least ¼”) as you tile. While not required, you may want to apply a “scratch coat” over your floor heating system. This will be done to protect the wires when you begin tiling, being careful to make sure that your floor level remains even and flat. You would also use the latex modified thinset to attach Warmup’s insulation boards to your subfloor. A self-leveling concrete is a polymer modified cement used to create a flat and smooth surface. You will use a floor leveler to provide an even surface for the application of various flooring types such as tile, laminate, wood or carpet. You would pour the leveler directly over your floor heating system, let it dry, and then install your tile with modified thinset. If your sub-floor is already even, you may decide to apply a scratch coat. Once it has dried it will provide added protection for your heating system when you begin the tiling process.
1.2 Can I install Schluter®-DITRA over Warmup electric floor heating?
Yes, you can. In effect, the Schluter®-DITRA would just be an added layer in the installation process with the requirement of embedding it and the tile in unmodified thinset. Here’s a bottom to top, step by step description:
1. Sub-floor 2. Modified thinset 3. Warmup Insulation Board (strongly recommended but not required). 4. Warmup heating system 5. Modified thinset or leveling compound covers the heating system (skim coat) and is allowed to cure. 6. Unmodified thinset 7. Schluter®-DITRA 8. Unmodified thinset 9.Tile
Note: Schluter® states that tile can be directly installed over DITRA without waiting for the mortar to cure. For more information visit www.schluter.com and view their DITRA installation handbook.
1.3 Can I tile directly over my floor heating system?
You will need to ensure that your wires are protected from damage and because of this, be sure to encapsulate your wires in thinset or floor leveler (a scratch coat would be sufficient) and let that layer cure before beginning the tiling process. Tiling directly over the wires can increase the risk of damage to the wire as well as create a large possibility of exposing the wire to air, thus increasing the risk of burning out the system.CLICK HERE to see an example of this type of installation.
1.4 Are there any other tools I need for installation?
Yes, you will need a trowel to assist with encapsulating the heating element in thinset/self-leveler/sratch coat, etc. We suggest a notched trowel in the size of 11” X 5-1/2”. You can also purchase a Watchdog from Warmup. This is a continuity tester to be used in conjunction with a digital multi-meter. The Watchdog should NEVER replace a multi-meter but should act as its back-up. Unfamiliar with how to use a digital multi-meter? CLICK HERE for details. Failure to take resistance readings before, during and after installation can result in a break in the wire as well as disallow you from registering your product’s warranty as the warranty requires that information.