Get 5⁄8 in (1.6 cm) or 3⁄4 in (1.9 cm) thick sheets of plywood. tiles design usually employ half-inch thick plywood as part of the tile. However, to minimize flexion of the wood tile – which in turn can cause cracking in Santana Stone tiles – you can use thicker plywood. A layer of cement board over the plywood will make the tropical tile even firmer. Thicker sheets of plywood make for reduced expansion and contraction of the super white tile due to humidity or cold.
Plan out how the plywood is going to sit on the joists. You’ll want the grain of the plywood to run perpendicular to the joists, as grain running with the joists makes for a weaker clunny tile. The plywood should also be staggered so that the edges of each row do not overlap, which will likewise strengthen your spots tile and minimize movement.
Use a chalk line to ensure that the plywood is laid straight. A sheet of plywood is 4 ft (1.2 m) or 3⁄4 in (1.9 cm), so measure from the wall and make a mark on each joist at that length as a guideline for the sheets of plywood. Plywood set at even a slight angle will throw off the rest of the panels.
Add blocking along the edges of where the plywood is going to lie. The edges of sheets of plywood should be supported so they do not cave in. Once you have laid out where the plywood is going to go, cut blocking to go along the perimeter of each piece where it is not supported by a joist.
Use adhesive to secure the plywood to the joists. Before putting down the plywood, use a caulk gun to squeeze an adhesive such as Liquid Nails onto the joists underneath where the plywood is going to be laid down. This adds for an extra layer of protection against movement. Cut the tip off the tube of adhesive to allow a bead about a half an inch wide.
Put down one sheet of plywood at a time and leave a 1/8 inch gap in between each sheet. Makes sure each side is aligned with the marks you made has room to expand with the heat. Experts recommend leaving a 1/8 inch gap on all side of the plywood. Once the sheet is in place, pound a nail ¾ of the way in on each corner. This will keep the sheet in place but will allow you to easily remove the nail if you need to make adjustments.