Schluter®-DITRA Uncoupling Membrane: Essential Support Layer for Stone and Ceramic Tile

You’ve picked the perfect tile, planned the layout and bought all the necessary materials for your project – except one. When installing stone or ceramic tile, an underlayment is often necessary for stability and strength to support foot traffic. Instead of a traditional underlayment like fiber or cement backer board, use a flexible, easier-to-install membrane that will provide stability, strength, moisture protection, and uncoupling. The grid design of the Schluter-DITRA uncoupling membrane helps preserve and protect tile from cracks and moisture damage for years to come.

Add an uncoupling layer to prevent cracks

Cracks are a symptom of slight shifting between the subfloor and tile, a problem that rigid underlayments can’t prevent. In historic buildings, centuries-old tile still looks pristine thanks to a layer of tamped-down sand between the tile and subfloor. Because sand isn’t rigid (think “shifting sands”), it has the right amount of give to “uncouple” the subfloor and tile layers, allowing them to move independently without cracking. But in modern construction, sand isn’t practical. Materials like gypsum and cement backerboard provide support and some moisture protection, but because of their rigid structure, they don’t uncouple. Even modified thinset won’t add enough give to prevent cracking over time. Flexible, polyethylene Schluter-DITRA was designed to provide uncoupling, vapor management from below, waterproofing from above, and stability overall, in one lightweight, easy-to-install layer.

Vapor management and waterproofing vs. moisture resistance

Other underlayments may be moisture resistant, but Schluter-DITRA is waterproof when seams and edges are sealed with KERDI or KERDI-band. For installations in kitchens and bathrooms, waterproofing is essential to ensure the longevity of tile and grout. Schluter-DITRA is impervious to water, so spills and moisture on top of the tile won’t seep into the subfloor, and vapor from curing concrete and mortar in the subfloor will dissipate below the surface, keeping tile and grout safe from the moisture underneath.

Installation made easy

Schluter-DITRA is easier to install than other underlayments and can be laid over any flat, load-bearing surface. The lightweight membrane is sandwiched between two layers of thinset, and tile is adhered on top. Because of the membrane’s waterproofing properties, installing Schluter-DITRA requires unmodified thinset to ensure that moisture in the mortar can fully evaporate through the grout above. You can even install Schluter-DITRA over radiant heat systems.

For expert advice on how to help your next tile flooring project stand the test of time with Schluter-DITRA, contact Warm Your Floor today!

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