What is an uncoupling membrane?

What is an uncoupling membrane?

Uncoupling membrane layers are a crucial and economical part of the tile installment process. This layer provides an intermediate substrate between the tile covering and load bearing substrate. This is a solution that can be used with every one of the most usual joist spans in domestic building and construction in general.

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G-Flex uncoupling membrane for tile floors: what is it?

To first define what is an uncoupling membrane, we take the definition from the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook: “uncoupling membranes are plastic sheets that have a geometric pattern to create an air space between the tile assembly and the subfloor”. 

For more details, the uncoupling membrane for tiles G-Flex from GURU is made up of a polyethylene membrane attached to a geotextile sheet, leaving free air nodules in the shape of circles between them.

The uncoupling membrane compensates for vapor pressure, manages moisture that rises through the installation and provides additional resistance to loads.

Is uncoupling membrane necessary?

Basically, floor tiles and substratum move differently due to temperature and dampness levels and this can create tension. So, a system to release these tensions is necessary. The uncoupling membrane layer for tile floors is a great way to solve the problem. 

The uncoupling layer provides small open spaces that allow in-plane movement. This reduces the effects of the motion stresses between the building’s substratum and the tiled surface area. Uncoupling membranes take in any type of substrate motion and prevent pressure transfer to the ceramic tile layer. This is a great way to prevent loose or broken ceramic tiles.

It’s still a common technique today to install ceramic and stone floor tiles directly on the substratum with tile backer boards. But with this technique, tiles often break, split or dissociate from the substrate because there is no system to release the natural tensions that accumulate.

Waterproof uncoupling membrane

G-FLEX uncoupling membrane layers from GURU USA are made specifically for ceramic as well as stone tile installments. More than an uncoupling solution, the membrane also works as a waterproofing layer that secures moisture-sensitive substrates, such as plywood or OSB (oriented hair board), along with giving hefty tons distribution to guarantee tile installments stay long lasting. The square cavities on its grid framework are each cut back in a dovetail arrangement to develop an anchoring device for the thin-set mortar. A securing fleece laminated to the underside of the membrane is installed in thin-set mortar to bond to the building’s substrate.

1/8 uncoupling membrane underlayment GURU G-FLEX

With a small 1/8-inch thickness, G-FLEX reduces tile setting up thickness as well as gives a lot more even shifts to reduced surface area coverings. It can be laid in addition to concrete, plywood, OSB, gypsum, existing vinyl floors, architectural slabs, sub-floors, as well as radiant warmed floors. Thanks to its waterproof property, this uncoupling membrane is ideal for bathroom floorings, even better than ceramic tile backers boards that are water immune repellent but not waterproof. 

Uncoupling membrane installation

Considering the GURU USA G-FLEX uncoupling membrane, the nature of its light-weight features enables a great speed of installation which is a time-saving solution for your staff! If we continue comparing the G-Flex membrane with tile backer board it’s important to consider that one roll of G-FLEX (39″ by 95.5′, covering 323 square feet) weighs only 39 pounds, whereas, the backerboard is 495 lbs (22 sheets, to cover the same surface). Installers can fill the tile, underlayment and thin-set quickly and efficiently. 

Moreover, we must outline that the use of G-FLEX uncoupling membrane layers almost generates no waste. This allows contractors to better control their stock and prepare tightest quotations. As you can imagine, space for storage is also reduced compared to pallets of traditional backerboard.

To conclude, uncoupling membranes are great solutions for the tile flooring, the installation team and the contractors. Both clients and workers are happier. 

At GURU USA we are specialists and manufacturers of shower waterproofing products. Among our wide range of waterproofing products, you can find: shower waterproofing membranes, uncoupling membranes, drains & strainers, complete waterproofing shower kits… 

If you want more information on GURU USA G-Flex uncoupling membrane or any other product, please feel free to contact us! We’ll be more than happy to help.