Prepping your subfloor for a tile installation is one of the most important aspects of laying tile for a kitchen remodel. If you bypass this step or do a mediocre job then you can put a lot of risk on cracking the tiles in the future, creating added expenses and more repair work down the line. The job isn't particularly difficult, but it does requires time, labor and a few basic tools which you can pick up at your local hardware store. It can also become a fairly messy job so it is advised to wear goggles, open a window and, if possible, put up a plastic tarp to block dust from entering into neighboring rooms.
Like most tile jobs, the first step is to remove the old tile and get the subfloor ready. To begin, break through the first couple of tiles by simply hammering them until they crack. Do this enough times so that you've loosened about six inches square of space. When you've got room, use a sturdy metal chisel and a hammer to lift the remaining tiles free from the subfloor. After you've cleared the surface of old tiles, you can use a good scraper to scrape away any excess thinset or unwanted material.
Make sure that your subfloor is dry and use a level to make sure the surface is level. If it isn't level then you can apply some self-leveling under laminate and spread it out with a trowel to meet the subfloor. This will ensure that you have a level surface to work with.
Before you begin laying your thinset or mortar you'll need to install a backer. There are different models to buy so ask your local hardware store for the best advice for your current job. The backer will prevent flexing from occurring, which could potentially crack your tile. Simply measure out the space of your floor and cut the backer to fit accordingly. Use a tile trowel to spread a thin layer of mortar to the subfloor and comb it to provide texture. You can then lay down your backer, which will adhere it to the subfloor.
Following this step you'll need to prep the surface of your backer in order to lay the tile. Once again, spread a thin layer of thinset or mortar on top of the backer and give it a good comb with the notched side of your tile trowel. Once this is done, you've successfully completed the prep job and are now ready to lay your tile. If you need help with remodeling your kitchen, visit Personal Touch Kitchens, Inc.