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Doug
08-03-2001, 06:49 PM
Going to lay 600 sq ft of 16x16 ceramic tile. Getting the tile, thinset, hardibacker board, grout and etc. at Lowes. With that statement, from someone that has not set a tile before, does that make you shiver or what? I know I can do the job, but just don't want to make any obvious screw-ups before the job even begins.

2) Would you use Wonder Board or Hardibacker Board?
3) Is 1/4" grout space about right?
4) Do you generally mix the grout thicker then the consistancy of the thinset.
5) I read one place where they say not to use a grout sealer, is that right?

That's enough questions for now. I have really learned alot from just being at this site for about an hour today.

Thanks again, Doug

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Bud Cline
08-03-2001, 08:48 PM
Gives me cold chills!

Most of these questions are asked and answered here in the advice board and in the the past few weeks.

2) Would you use Wonder Board or Hardibacker Board?

Wonderboard/Durock

3) Is 1/4" grout space about right?

That and maybe a little less.

4) Do you generally mix the grout thicker then the consistancy of the thinset.

Grout has a totally different texture than thinset and doesn't act the same when water is added. You can screw up the grout big time by adding too much water at one time. The manufacturers directions should be followed on both products.

5) I read one place where they say not to use a grout sealer, is that right?

Utter nonsense but may depend on the brand used!

Let's see what these other guys have to say.

kalford
08-04-2001, 06:57 AM
Not much to add to that Bud.
Wonderboard is my favorite Durock second(slight price dif)
I like a 3/16" grout joint
Grout takes less water than you realize.....................give it plenty of time to cure and seal the hell out of it!!!

Rob Z
08-04-2001, 09:34 AM
Doug

Doing 600 feet is no different than doing 60, just divide your layout into sections that are manageable. If this is a multi room thing, just think of it as doing one room at a time. Spend a lot of time laying things out, check, check, and recheck often.

I use Utilicrete cement board most often. I've used the others, and like them too. Hardibacker...I have no opinion on. It's sold at Lowes here in VA, and I'd rather not go to Lowes, so...

What ever product you choose, read the directions. Call the 800 and talk to one of their people, if you still are unsure. Most of the MFR's people are more than happy to talk about their product, especially when someone is interested.

Grout and thinset....hard to describe verbally. Consider buying one or more of Michael Byrne's videos. They vary in price from $15-$20, depending on where you get them (JLC, Taunton Press, Amazon, etc). Fifteen bucks and a couple times watching a video may help you out tremendously when it comes to doing the mixing, spreading, etc of grout and thinset.

If interested, go to jlconline.com, click on forums, then on ceramic tile to find MB.

My favorite grout sealer is Aqua Mix Sealers Choice 15.

Good luck

Rob

chip
08-04-2001, 11:58 AM
With the size tile you are using, you really want to find a product called Medium bed mortar.

This product is designed to work with the large notched trowel you should use for this project.

The material and the large notch give you a good strong bed of mortar for these large tiles to rest in and gives you plenty of support. Especially along the edges and corners.

You unfortunately won't find medium bed mortar at the box stores.

I checked your profile and like most new comers, you failed to mention where you are from.

If you live in a fairly large city, a tile contractor supply house should be available to you. They may not have it either, but the manufacturer of the products they distribute does, and they can bring it in on the next truck.

If the guy behind the counter says "huh" when you ask about it, ask him to call the tech service guy, they will know.

Art

Rob Z
08-04-2001, 12:52 PM
Doug, hold off buying any setting material until I debate this medium bed mortar issue with Art.

Art, I'll see you over at the Pro side.

John Bridge
08-04-2001, 01:50 PM
Hi Doug, Welcome aboard.

Nothing to add at the moment. Looks like you started the boys arguing again. :)

Doug
08-04-2001, 02:54 PM
You guys are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't thank you enough for the insite and general talk about this. I am printing off all your comments and sugestions and really studying them over. Also, thank you for the encouragement.

I take it most of you are from the Houston area? I am out in Boise, Idaho. If I was from your town would probably just hire one of you all to do it or for a few hours of consulting. But hey, I have gotten many $$ of free advise from you all and do appreciate it very much.

I will be checking in daily for more talk. Oh, yes this is a multi room project and I will not start for a couple more weeks. I have not purchased anything yet, so I could be pursuaded to go somewhere else other then Lowes (I am sold on the particular tile though).

Thanks again, "you all"
Doug

Bud Cline
08-04-2001, 03:24 PM
We're not ALL in Houston. Is there any work in Boise? I'm thinking about moving there. Tomorrow. Can't be as hot there as it is here or in Houston.

John Bridge
08-04-2001, 03:28 PM
Doug,

I'm the only one in Houston (and trying to keep it that way). These guys are scattered all over the country and Canada, too. And Australia.

Doug
08-04-2001, 08:56 PM
Yes, Bud there is work here. Don't know what the going rate around the country for setting tile is, but they were wanting $7.00 to $9.00 a sq ft so figured I would try it myself.
The Northwest is a great place to live. My son is getting out of the Army this month and has been all over the world and the U.S. and can't wait to get back. I guess we all kinda think that way about home.

John Bridge
08-05-2001, 05:43 AM
If you are including materials, $7 per square foot isn't bad. Give me $9 and I'll come along with Bud.

No, wait a minute. I'd have to get out of there before October. I'm a Sunbelt boy now.

Bud Cline
08-05-2001, 08:11 AM
How about it Doug, that $7 does include necessary setting materials right? :D

What does the $9 get for you, does that include weekly lawn service and car wash for an entire Boise summer?

We visited Henry's Lake in Idaho two years ago on the other end of the state, that's as close as I've been to Boise.

Rob Z
08-05-2001, 07:08 PM
Doug

I haven't forgotten about you. I think you should use conventional latex modified thinset to set the tile you want. Can you tell us how flat your floors are? Put levels/straightedges all over the floor and try to quantify how flat it is.

For example: put 4 ft level on crown of floor, and shim the end of the level with a pencil. Or put a straightedge across a low spot, and you see a gap of 3/8" underneath. This floor will give you problems with 16 x 16 tile.

For example: put 4 ft level all over floor, and it remains level within a 1/16th inch throughout. This floor will be great to set large tile on.

Feel free to read the post about medium bed mortars on the other part of the forum, if you wish. Otherwise, just let us know what the subfloor situation is at your house.

kalford
08-06-2001, 07:05 AM
$7.00 sq.ft. ?!?!?!? $9.00 sq.ft. ?!?!?!? HOLY SMOKE !!!!
People start to run backwards if you get over $3.00 sq.ft. here in TN. Even on a job where you furnish everything but the tile; backerboard,thinset,nails/screws,grout,caulk and labor, $5.00 - $6.00 sq.ft. is top pay..................of course I thought that Florida's tile setters made more money but as it turns out they get paid even less...........well they use that $5.00 a bag crap to set tile with...right Art ?!?!?

Doug
08-06-2001, 09:35 AM
I just got back to read the replys and I will post more later this afternoon. I got to run out to work so I can pay for this remodel. I will check the floor for level and squareness and let you know.

Thanks again, Doug

LDavis
08-06-2001, 06:58 PM
I've used tons of 1/4" hardibacker on floors with no problems. Subfloor well supported and up to "specs". Bed in a thinset leveling bed, stagger joints perpendicular to existing subfloor joints, and don't skimp on using and placing proper fasteners.

Get a current set of manufacturers instructions and follow them to the letter. I also like this product because it is lighter and easier to handle than most of the other "cement board" products. However, I have used just about all of them at one time or another and any of them will do the job. (Different brands have different recommendations, again, follow the brand specific instructions for whatever brand you decide on)_

Jason_Butler
08-07-2001, 08:23 AM
Hi Guys,

I think you guys are working too cheap !!!!!

I have a price list from a local HD here in the Austin TX area.

The following prices are LABOR ONLY....

$3.75 per sq ft for 12" tiles or less.
$1.25 add'l per sq ft for tiles larger than 12"
$1.25 add'l per sq ft for patterns ( I thought all tiling had some sort of pattern.


So........ 16" tiles on a diagonal could run you $6.25 per sq/ft in labor.

Does this sound reasonable or is this the result of multiple subcontracts?

Jason

Bud Cline
08-07-2001, 10:43 AM
Sounds real reasonable to any installer I'm sure. The big question is: Does HD "mark-up" their contract installers?

Every retailer I know denies doing this and every retailer I know does it. It's a big secret. If there is a problem then naturally the problem is that of the installer. If the retailer can "plausibly deny" any profits from contract installations then they can also deny liability and "callback costs".

I'm afraid kalford was correct when he said $3 was the going rate because that is the case here also. Some patterns command a little more but the installer must stand his ground to get it.

Now take that $6.25 in your example and add underlayment (CBU's) @ about $1 ft2 and setting materials (thinset) and fasteners (nails, screws, staples) @ $0.35 ft2. Now your up to $7.60 ft2. I have seen final invoices to customers from retailers around here and they are almost always in the vacinity of $8 per square foot when not on concrete and $2 tile is used. Where oh where does that money go?

Doug
08-07-2001, 12:24 PM
Thank you guys for the advise about not laying the cement board over the top of the old vinyl. My contractor said go ahead and do it, but his main man said absolutly not which was pretty much what you all told me. I have two layers of old vinyl with a 1/4" fiber board in between, so remove it all to the sub-floor, right????

Now I haven't heard back if I should be using the thinset or a medium mortar bed??? I am laying 16x16 ceramic tiles.

Also is the Mapei thinset and grout good to use? That's the stuff that Lowe's has on the shelf.

Thanks again for pointing me to wonderboard over hardibacker, but now another person on the this forum said he has used tons of it and not a problem. I am still a little fussy on the debate back and forth, but hell look at your pickup trucks (Ford/Chevey/Dodge/Toyota/etc...)or your choices of beer!! Who is right or wrong???

Later, Doug

kalford
08-07-2001, 01:59 PM
Absolutely go ahead with the Mapei.I couldn't believe that lowes had switched to such a well known,quality product.Mapei is one of the largest manufacturers of tile setting products and the quality is outstanding.My personal favorite is TEC(sorry Art) but Mapei will perform just as well.

Now as far as trucks go I can only speak from my own experiences.I've owned Fords,Chevys(own one now) and Dodge(also own one of these now)

Let's start with Chevy.I've owned several.They are good trucks,will outrun most anything.......NOT FOR HAULING A HEAVY LOAD!!! They "will" haul it but with greater stress and strain than should be.

Dodge;I have a 1972 PowerWagon 1 ton 4x4 dually.I will put money...cash...DINERO on that Dodge against any Z71 Chevy ever built!!! It'll pull just about anything.I've pulled up steel fence posts out at the farm with it only hitting on 3 (three) cylinders out of eight!!.........sucks up gas like it was free.

FORD; By far the best all around truck I ever owned was a Ford.I have a Chevy now and am looking to sell it and buy a 3/4 or 1 ton Dually Ford.When it comes down to just plain hard work,Ford is the truck to beat.Of all the trucks I've owned Fords seem to take the punishment of heavy work much better than the other two.

Bud Cline
08-07-2001, 03:57 PM
Vinyl/underlayment/vinyl? Yes taking it all out is really your safest bet.

Regular thinset should work fine, mix it according to directions, use the proper trowel, comb in one direction, be sure your thinset fills the trowel teeth at the top of the groove, get thinset under the corners.

Mapei is a top national brand. I use a lot of their products regularly without ever having a problem.

I personally have no experience with Hardibacker and I have had no failures with cement board.

I have three vans: a dodge, a chevrolet, a ford.

The Dodge: 38000 miles not a minutes trouble except the wipers have never worked for long without repairs.

The Chevrolet: 150,000+ miles, everything has been replaced at least one time including the motor, but has been a good truck.

The Ford: 76000 miles never a minutes trouble but won't hold a front-end alignment. Needs a new set of 60,000 mile tires every 25000 miles. The sucker works hard every day.

Rob Z
08-07-2001, 04:13 PM
Hi Doug

I still think that thinset is what you need, as long as your floor is flat. Art is not around right now to keep arguing with me, so I get to get the last word in. He claims to be in Italy doing business. I think he's goofing off.

I've had the whole range of trucks, and currently have a '99GMC 3500 Cargo van. It's a pretty good vehicle. As it sits on the scales with the basic load of tools, it weighs about 8,000 lbs. I've had at least 3,000 lbs of material on top of that, with no squat or drag on the motor.

As with all my trucks that I love initially, I'll be bad mouthing it when it starts to run like hell. Until then, I love my truck!

I may have mentioned that Utilicrete allows for the use of their product over non cushioned vinyl. I don't think they would go for your situation, though. Two layers, plus fiberboard underlayment sounds like trouble. I think you'll be happier in the long run with that stuff coming up.

Keep us posted on your progress.

Rob

Doug
08-07-2001, 05:42 PM
You bet I will. I can not thank you guys enough. I will bounce in on a daily basis, so anything else you can feed my way will also be appreciated.
1)
I went to the pro-forum and seems to be a difference of opinion on the size of trowels to use. So, I am down to the sub-floor (which is fairly level). What size trowel do I use to spread Mapei Thinset for the wonderboard to lay on?
2)
Then what size trowel do I use to put the same thinset to set the 16x16 flat ceramic tile.
3)
Is 3/16th of an inch right on grout space (making sure I clean the thinset out of the grout space area).
4)
I will follow the bag directions to the letter in mixing. That should give me a consistancy discribed as "Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter" and have the grout just a little stiffer, right??
5)
Does the wounderboard need to be moistened before the thinset is applied to either side?
6)
Does the tiles need to be moist?
7)
I was told to mix the grout with "Distilled Water" for true color purposes and to mist the grout at the 24 and 48 hour setting times
8)
Is two coats of 10to15 year grout sealer about right. I believe it is from Aqua?

Sorry for this many questions, but I believe we are getting this all boiled down.

Thank you all for your professional help. Nothing like getting it from true craftsmen. Doug

P.S. Boise is hotter then blazes to day!!!!

Bud Cline
08-07-2001, 07:06 PM
Boy have we got this Doug guy fooled, he thinks we have done this before, he doesn't know we all just go to another website to get answers for his questions and post them here. Wait till he gets the bill, hehehe.

1)
I went to the pro-forum and seems to be a difference of opinion on the size of trowels to use. So, I am down to the sub-floor (which is fairly level). What size trowel do I use to spread Mapei Thinset for the wonderboard to lay on?

The thinset bag will more than likely recommend the proper trowel, you should follow the manufacturers directions.

I use a 1/4" X 1/4" X 1/4" U-notch for most everything and thats what I would use in this case if it was me.

2)
Then what size trowel do I use to put the same thinset to set the 16x16 flat ceramic tile.

If it was me? Same as above.

3)
Is 3/16th of an inch right on grout space (making sure I clean the thinset out of the grout space area).

Works for me.

Thinset purging (up) not more than 1/3 of the thickness of the tile is no big deal. Don't wear your fingers raw cleaning purges if you don't have to.

4)
I will follow the bag directions to the letter in mixing. That should give me a consistancy discribed as "Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter" and have the grout just a little stiffer, right??

Correct again, Hey how would you like to pick my next weeks Lotto numbers for me?

Just a little warning. After driving the thinset highway for many miles it is easy to start your grout with too much water. Grout reacts to water much faster than thinset and you can screw up a batch of grout really fast. Instructions say to add powder to water which is good advice (I don't, but it's still good advice) just don't start off with too much water.

5)
Does the wounderboard need to be moistened before the thinset is applied to either side?

NO.

6)
Does the tiles need to be moist?

NO.

7)
I was told to mix the grout with "Distilled Water" for true color purposes and to mist the grout at the 24 and 48 hour setting times

I have never used distilled water to mix grout in my life, but if something goes wrong and you complain to the manufacturer then this is the first place they will head. If your grout mottles then it's going to be your fault no matter what, so prepare yourself. You should follow the manufacturers instructions here too.

As far as misting? We just went thru this with Miss Daisey. Go to racerette "ready to grout" I think it is, it's somewhat entertaining.

((08/05 12:57pm Bud Cline))

http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=154&pagenumber=9

8)
Is two coats of 10to15 year grout sealer about right. I believe it is from Aqua?

There is no such thing as 10 to 15 year grout sealer, that is utter nonsense. The life of your grout sealer depends entirely on the use your floor gets and how often and in what manner it is cleaned. The manufacturers statements are marketing BS and nothing more.

I don't do much sealer because people don't like paying what I charge to do it. But when I do....
I apply sealer liberally with a cheap foam brush. Don't let then sell you those stupid applicators either. Use a foam brush you can buy for $.29. Apply the sealer and watch it soak into your grout. When the wet goes away, with a clean dry cloth immediately burnish the sealer off the tile. Don't ever allow the sealer to dry on the tile surface. Wait a few hours and do it again. And again and again if you have to for a thorough job. Each time the grout will noticeably absord less sealer, you can see it. When the grout stops absorbing sealer, stop putting it on. It;s that simple.

Sorry for this many questions, but I believe we are getting this all boiled down.
Thank you all for your professional help. Nothing like getting it from true craftsmen. Doug

Keep checkin'in Doug, we're always open.

[Edited by Bud Cline on 08-07-2001 at 09:18 PM]

LDavis
08-07-2001, 07:47 PM
Jason, I'm about 45 minutes from Austin and I've never seen anything close to those prices for Ceramic installation. The flooring retailers in this area average pay between $2 - $2.50/sf for ceramic floor tile installation, and the $2.50 price usually means a very complicated layout with tons of cuts. If I ask for $2.50 - $2.75/sf with my own customers, they look like you've gut-shot them and ask to marry their dog.

Of course, there are plenty of "hacks" and "illegals" in the mix around here. These guys don't pay insurance, taxes, etc., so they keep the cost down and hurt everyone, including the customers.

The bottom-line is if price is their only "shopping consideration" I probably won't get the work. I may however, (and often do) get the repair/re-do)

birddog
08-07-2001, 10:07 PM
I go along with the medium bed mortar. Use a 1/2" California trowel (rounded nothes). Six hundred feet to grout?? If you have never done tile work be sure you invite a couple of your neighbors to help and offer a case of brew or something. Read the directions to everything. I go with Rob and use Util-A-Crete. Hardibacker is to poreous. Ever see paper in the rain??

Bud Cline
08-07-2001, 10:26 PM
So birddog you in California? What part?

Rob Z
08-08-2001, 05:37 AM
Doug

The size of the trowel needed to set your 16 x 16 tile will likely be a 1/2 x 1/2 notch to get good coverage. the only real test is to trowel out material and set one it it, pull it up, and check.

What is full coverage? Technically, it would be 100%. there probably has never been a job where 100% of the tile set got 100% coverage.

But you can get close to that with the right trowel ( in the 90% range).

Good trowels cost $10-13 (Marshalltown, Superior, Barwalt) and will make your life easier.

rob

John Bridge
08-08-2001, 06:06 AM
Bird Dog, Sounds like you know your stuff. Why not sign on?

Doug
08-08-2001, 08:01 AM
Once again you all have come thru.

Thanks, Doug