How To Install Ditra Mat

Ditra Mat Underlayment For Tile

Ditra Mat underlayment for tile is a tile backer that has some great benefits when installing tile over O.S.B. or plywood sub floors. Ditra Mat reduces the movement of the O.S.B. being transferred to the tile. By isolating the tile from the wood floor beneath it eliminates cracking in the tile and grout joints. Another benefit of using this innovative tile underlayment product is that you can lay floor tile on top of it immediately after installing it.

This article teaches you the simple steps to installing Ditra Mat.

brief how to

In this article, you will find information about:

  1. Cut The Ditra Mat To The Desired Size
  2. Mix The Modified Thinset Mortar
  3. Spread The Thinset Onto The Substrate
  4. Embed The Ditra Mat Into The Thinset
  5. Installing Tile On Ditra Mat

tools and materials

  • Ditra Mat, sold in rolls at Home Depot and Tile Supply Shops
  • Thinset
  • Acrylic modifier for thinset
  • 1/2" Notched Trowel
  • 3/16" Notched Trowel
  • Utility knife

step 1 Cut The Ditra Mat To The Desired Size

Roll the Ditra Mat out on the subfloor and use a utility knife to cut it to the desired length and or shape. If you have an area where the tile stops and another flooring like carpet starts you will want to hold the mat back between 1/8" and 1/4" from the edge of the tile. When laying down rows of the mat next to each other you should butt the edges to each other making sure that the edges do not overlap.

step 2 Mix The Modified Thinset Mortar

Follow the manufactures instructions and mix the modified thinset mortar. The modified thinset mortar is used to attach the Ditra Mat to the substrate. Modified thinset is much stronger and flexible than regular thinset but it can be a little harder to work with because it is more sticky or gummy when troweling.

step 3 Spread The Thinset Onto The Substrate

Use 3/16" notched trowel to create a even layer of thinset on the O.S.B. or plywood subfloor. Make sure to get full coverage on the plywood substrate. The troweled thinset should look like perfect little rows without any large bumps. This will allow the ditra mat to lay flat.

step 4 Embed The Ditra Mat Into The Thinset

Ditra has a fleece on the back side that becomes embeded into the thinset. This is what creates the bond between the Ditra Mat and the Plywood or O.S.B. substrate subfloor.

  1. Lay the Ditra Mat on the thinset that you just troweled onto the substrate.
  2. Position it where you decided it should go when you cut it earlier.
  3. You can walk and kneel on the ditra mat while embedding it into the thinset.
  4. Use the flat side of the trowel to press the ditra mat into the thinset by positioning the trowel flat on the top of the Ditra Mat and moving it around and pressing down.

The Ditra Mat is now installed and you can immediately install floor tile on it.

step 5 Installing Tile On Ditra Mat

Installing tile on ditra mat is the same as most other tile substrates except that you must use the flat side of the trowel to fill the square holes on the top of the ditra with thinset before troweling on thinset with a notched trowel.

  1. Use regular non-modified thinset
  2. Use the flat side of the trowel to spread thinset into all the holes on top of the ditra mat
  3. Put more thinset on the trowel, or floor, and use the 1/4" notched edge of the trowel to make even rows.
  4. Backbuttering each tile is critical to getting a complete bond between the tile and the ditra mat. Use the flat side of the trowel to back butter the back side of the tile. Apply thinset to the entire back side of the tile and then use the flat side of the trowel to scrape it off to about 1/8" thick.
  5. Set the back buttered tiles onto the thinset rows you made on top of the ditra mat.

For more information on how to install floor tile read the article How To Install Floor Tile.

Images courtesy of schluter. Visit the Ditra Mat manufactures Schluter website at

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