Cleaning buckets between thinset batches? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-14-2005, 10:07 AM
Trying to be super careful - and honoring the clean fresh water clause - I have always cleaned and rinsed my mix bucket between batchs. I was watching a local installer just scrape his out and mix another batch. So now I gotta ask - is it necessary to "clean" the bucket?

I assume that any dried chunks would be a nightmare in the next batch - caught in the trowel and all... but will the "dried skim" get in the way, or just get absorbed? Does the already semi-dried cement affect the next batch?

- Michael

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02-14-2005, 10:41 AM
There is evidence that old thinset will cause a new batch of thinset to "cook-off" much faster than if mixed in a clean bucket. If you are haviing trouble keeping up with the thinset, then it'll get worse with dirty buckets.

02-14-2005, 11:10 AM
I work in small batches - 1/4 to 1/3 bag per batch. Haven't had any trouble "keeping up"...

So - whadd'ya pros do?

02-14-2005, 01:21 PM
Tell the helper to clean the buckets! :D

Dave Taylor
02-14-2005, 01:45 PM
Hah... Just finished setting Hardi with thinset and told my helper to clean the mixing bucket. Helper said "Meeeoooow" and walked accross my last screed so... had to clean the helper as well as the bucket myself.

Dave T

02-14-2005, 06:50 PM
Tell the helper to clean the buckets! :D
yea - tried that by my wife told me to take a long walk off a short pier!

02-14-2005, 06:58 PM
I use a drywall sponge to clean my buckets the little black ones. has sand paper on it and water makes it get all the corners and cracks. works really really well.

02-14-2005, 07:16 PM
That sounds like a good method... do you clean it between batches or just at the end of the day?

02-14-2005, 07:33 PM
At the end of the day, we have a helper clean and scrape all the buckets down, with clean clean water, and rinse them until they are as clean as possible. We try to have 2 types of buckets, clean and working. The "clean" are indeed new, clean buckets that have never had anything in them but clean water. The "working buckets" have had grout or thinset in them and are easily recognizable by the huge scratches on the side from trowels and mixing paddles, and staining and small chunks of thinset over them. They never can be completely clean, at least clean enough to drink out of.

At the beginning of each day, we fill 3-4 buckets of water and put them into the "clean buckets". Water is taken from them into the working buckets for mixing thinset. When that first bucket is done for the morning, we cover it with a dampened rag for lunch, or if there is not much left, just toss it. That bucket is filled with water and left for clean up in the afternoon, and another "working bucket" is used for the afternoon.

The buckets get pretty beat up and at some point, they become tool caddies in a second life. At some point the handles break at the plastic joint and they go to bucket heaven.

Drywall mud buckets often get drafted into the system, but generally start life as a working bucket.

Wrecking a "clean bucket" with thinset is punishable by a severe yelling.

02-14-2005, 07:38 PM
I don't clean my bucket between batches, I might hose everthing down off the sides and down to the bottom of the bucket while eating lunch. Thinset isn't as bad as casting plaster. You better have a clean bucket for each batch, it'll set in no time. :)

02-14-2005, 08:30 PM
I scrape out all I can and use it before making a new batch, but I don't wash the bucket clean. It would be more of a problem with globs of old thinset left in the bucket before mixing more. :)

P.S. I don't know what this lunch thing is you guys are talking about. Please explain.:D