What is mud setting and how do I do it [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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10-09-2006, 11:10 PM
Hello all,

I am new to the forums and have a question .... I have been tiling for a few years now and just started my own businees.... I was asked by a new client of mine to do a Mud set on his 18" x 18" Travetine tile.
Now i have never done a mud set before and need to know what it is and how do I go about doing it......Thanks in advance

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John Corley
10-09-2006, 11:25 PM
Howdy Blackheart

Got a first name? One of the moderators will probably move this into the "Hangout" but I will fill you in in the meantime.

Say you are going over a slab.

1. Smear thinset onto the slab
2. I use kind of a wetter drypack for this, build up a nice mudbed (heighth will be part of the job constraints)
3. Then I will select a dummy tile, use a rubber mallet to tap it into place )
mayby a 64th low ( to allow for the backbutter)
4. Pull the dummy, and then install a "backbuttered" tile. Should tap right in.

Very important to get 100% coverage with your mud and thinset or you will get hollow sounding ones.

there are many ways to insure that you stay flat and level.

Hope this helps.

10-10-2006, 07:00 AM
Hmmmmmmm............If you have never done any Mudsetting, An 18x 18 Travertine is NOT the way to start IMHO.

If you want to learn about Mudwork, I would reccomend getting over to Amazon.com and Buying the book "Ceramic Tile Setting" By John Bridge.

This will give you alot of Basic information that you are going to need plus some advanced tips and tricks. His Newer Book covers newer techniques but this Older book is a good one for MUDWORK.

Outside of actually working with a seasoned Mudman, this is going to be the best way to get a good jumpstart on your education.
After reading through and Understanding the techniques in this book, Start with smaller projects like Entry ways and Bathroom Floors........You'll need some seasoning before tackling things like steps with returns and full houses with hallways and Large rooms.
Screwing up an 18x18 travertine Mudset would be a very very expensive education.............Sometimes, the most money you'll ever make on a job is the one you turn down. Admitting you are not ready to tackle this work is the first step, learning how to do this type work so this doesnt come up again is the next step.

Be careful not to let Pride or Ego cost you your business here. Alot of Pro's out there Love to see young guys tackle a project like this when they are not ready. Eliminates competition very quickly!! :)

10-10-2006, 08:03 AM
A mud course at CTEF wouldn't be a bad thing either...

10-10-2006, 01:32 PM
not trying to hijack this thread... whats the difference between this method and doing a regular ol' wetbed floor?....up here in pa we call drypack a wetbed

10-10-2006, 05:03 PM
HI black harted

I agree with Todd on this one

Dont get ahead of yourself here, that job sounds like you need a real experienced mechanic in there, not a *first timer*

Customers can be*all smiles* at first, but, once it starts affecting thier wallet in the wrong way,,, watch how fast those smiles can turn into nastiness and legal threats.

better pass on this one, or at the least, refer it to a more experienced contractor, :tup1:

John Bridge
10-10-2006, 05:48 PM
I would screed the whole floor and let it set up. Then go back in with thin set. Lot's of backbuttering. :)

Ceramic Tile Setting doesn't really cover this. It does cover the making of deck mud, mudding floors for ceramic tile, floor layout, etc.

10-10-2006, 05:53 PM
I agree with everything so far,Corley gave you the mechanics,and Todd gave you the sage advice,now i gotta tell you it took me 3 years before i could say i was pretty good with a hawk and trowel, and about twice that to be a pretty good mudset marble mechanic, so take it for what it's worth, go practice a little before you tackle this...i get a couple calls a month from guys with bad floors they want me to bail them out of.Also, to do a large floor you'll need a laser level..even the best setters need something to keep them staying level.

10-10-2006, 06:07 PM
Welcome Blackharted,, I have to agree with all of the above! I`ve been in the trade since 1975 + have never done a mud job :crap: the area I live its just not done (not that I know of, maybe I don`t get out much :shake: ) but CTEF has a course in Dec.

December 4-8 Mortar Basics for Floors & Walls
Pendleton, SC
I plan on going :clap2: even if I never do it again ,I want to know how :yipee: If its something done in you area often its worth the course fee,air fare,or gas,hotel+ food !!!!! & its all tax deductable .

I lied!!!!! I had one bid that the Arctiect spec a mud bed in a 12x12 sauna ,a drain was in the center so to me, it was just a large shower floor+ there was 2x2`s going on the floor so no big deal...

I realy enjoied the post where they were mudding +seting the tile at the same time,I think it was in Hawaii w/looked like a 16x24 running bond & it looked dead flat!!!

Maybe I`ll see ya in Dec!!!


10-10-2006, 06:49 PM
I agree with the others, don't bite off too much at one time. I'd do it like John, float the floor and go back with thinset. It's easier and faster for me. :)

10-10-2006, 07:10 PM
Hello all,

Ok I bought the book and can honestly say I have done the dry pack method all the time for my resesed shower floors and also have used it for leveling out unlevel floors....What I still don't get is what is the differents of a mud set other then the dry pack...
It is a small projet to begine with just a 10' 5' hallway... Thanks again for the quick response... ;)

10-10-2006, 07:15 PM
Floors are easy. I think it is faster than using CBU and struggling trying to everything flat.

I hate to plug a competitor, but Michael Byrne's book is a good book, as well as his video.

I don't use mud piles and instead use 3/4 pipe for my guides.

The first one I saw was in the 60's and an old timer floated a mud bed, and while it was wet, sprinkled Portland Cement all over it, and set the tile directly to the still wet floor. One day. That is, a wet bed.

Most people now float the mud bed, and come back the following day and shave off the ramps and start setting tile.

10-10-2006, 07:54 PM
What I still don't get is what is the differents of a mud set other then the dry pack...
Your Dry Pack is 1.5" thick and packed over a slip sheet on Wood subfloors. With this method the subfloor can expand and contract and have no affect on the mudbed above.

Expansion at the walls of 1/4 " is mandatory.
Be sure the floor meets minimum Deflection standards for stone.
Look above in the dark blue border and Hit Deflecto...follow instructions :)

10-10-2006, 08:55 PM
If you understand the mechanics of tile and how it should be bonded
i wouldnt worry about giving it a shot blackheart. Jonh C explained it
well enough that you should be able to figure out the rest on your
own. Ill add that i always spot check my floor with a level and start
on top of the crowns to avoid surprizes. you'll find this a common
practice amongst stone setters. good luck dude.

Northern Dimension Tile
10-10-2006, 09:30 PM
hamilton could you please explain what laser and how you use it to find the crowns on the floor, thanks

10-10-2006, 09:41 PM
All mud mud work up hear in pa we call wetbeds we call mus on the walls wetbed walls, so when we do mud and tile the same day this is harder? we do this all the time on small jobs and shower floors, my boss has kneeling boards so we can walk on the mud right after we gauge the floor.

John Corley
10-10-2006, 09:50 PM
Guys the question was about mudsetting. This is when each individual tile is set in it's own wet bed of mud. You make a mud sandwich with thinset on both sides of the mud. This process is used when the tile thickness is off.

Most other cases would require floating the floor.

Floating a floor is when you float the entire floor at the same time, then go back and thinset the tiles down.

Hopes this clears things up a little. :tup2:

10-10-2006, 10:32 PM
Hello Again,

Ok now I understand what a mud set is and why it is used... I had a chance today to look more closely at my clients travetine and it does very in thickness by a 1/16" to a 1/8" one way or the other so I should use the mud set to get them to sit nice and level . Now for my last question what size notch trowl should i use for the thinset I usualy like to use a 3/8" one for tile that size, but with the mud set I am afraid it might be higher then his original floor tile... What is the smallest size notch trowl i can use for this ..... Again thanks very much for all the good advice.....

10-10-2006, 11:40 PM
Use a 1/16" V notch trowel for your thinset/bond coat.

As others have mentioned,I would work with someone than sets stone day in and day out. It's not as easy as it looks.

Granted it's 50 sq ft.....but if you don't know the proper procedures,you can get yourself in a world of hurt.

I agree with Todd,and dissagree with Hamilton.

And to expand and complicate things even more lol...some olde timers will do what's called "dusting" the tile/stone with pure/portland,as far as bonding.

Lastly,if you have a beach or a sandpark next to ya,I would practice there,prior to your clients job. Wet up the sand,and use the methods you've seen and heard described here and elsewhere.

GL :twitch: