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Westchester Diane
Tiles on stairs

I recently bought a house with beautiful tiles on the inside stair case. The tiles were put directly onto wood and some are cracking. The tiles are discontinued and I have to buy them from Spain so I will only get one chance at getting this right. I've had several people come to give estimates and each has given a different opinion. One said, it needs backerboard between the wood and tiles, one said it just needs a stronger/waterproof adhesive, one said the wooden staircase is not a solid/stable piece and needs to be replaced or the tiles will always continue to crack (in other words, tear down the entire staircase and start from scratch). I'm totally confused. What is the correct way to put tiles on wooden stairs so they don't continue to crack?

Re: Tiles on stairs


Check out all things tile on the John Bridge Tile forum. There you will find that contractor #3 was correct. You have too much movement. If you really want tiled stairs, you're looking at rebuilding the stairs from scratch.

Re: Tiles on stairs

#3 is correct, with any kind of movement tiles will crack, this goes for stairs, floors and walls. if the stringers are undersized or underbuilt they will move which will cause the tile to crack

Re: Tiles on stairs

Take a picture and post it if you can. The entire stair case might not need to be replaced. Maybe just beef it up.

1. Did contractor #3 indicate what he thought was deflecting?
stringer or treads

2. Does the stair have closed or open risers ?

3. Is the stair in between 2 walls or open on one side with railing and ballisters attached ?

4. How thick are the treads ? "without the tile"

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