large glass subway tile shower install [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-29-2009, 05:29 PM
Hi everyone, I;m in the planning and preparation stages on a complete sown to studs and joists bathroom remodel and have certainly gained much insight from these boards. My last bathroom (kerdi slower walls and ditra floor under honed slate came out awesomely thanks to advice here and Terry Love's plumbing forums.
But now the family gas there hearts set on either 4x8 or 4x12 subway type glass tile for the field and a nice complementary small mosaic for a accent band. . I realize many of the pitfalls of larger glass and have gained helpful advice on mitigating all those issues. I might "sub" out the tile work to someone with a great reputation (I seen his artistry doing inlays etc) In fact he was recommended by a tile store with their own setters who didn't think they could do the job properly.
The complication comes from the floor and the wall with fixtures is going to be pebbles and those wall pebbles will wrap around one corner starting about 4 feet or so and lazily descend to the floor. The glass will essentially be cut in a wavy pattern and pebbles fitted to match or vica versa.
I know.... but it's family.....and I didn't think it would be that hard. The recommended guy seems absolutely comfortable with it.... no problem ..
The one tile is Mirage and it has a Painted (maybe epoxyish( type back ing that is etched with chemicals and certainly feels like it's a great surface for adhesion (as it is somewhat rough) He said, yeah that's because installers weren't ... and I think he said PARCHING (sp) the backs leading to adhesion issues so some of the manufacturer started doing it. He said no problem either way, he deals with it frequently

Can anyone decipher my interpretation of this? What is PARCHING This was just a very short introductory meeting but he was highly recommended , his work is beautiful and he seems to be very comfortable with the extent of the job

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07-29-2009, 06:25 PM
Welcome, Jim. :)

This the shower to have the trench drain?

I think the word your tile guy is using is parging, which generally means filling or coating a rough surface. I know it mostly in relation to concrete walls, but I suppose a fella could parge the backs of his tiles. Most tile guys would say they were fixin' to back-butter'em, but parging is a useful word for this use.

The thing to do with glass tiles is to read and follow the manufacturer's installation instructions to the letter, including their recommendations of substrates and setting and grouting products.

Other than that, all you can look for is good work from your installer.

My opinion; worth price charged.

07-29-2009, 07:18 PM
Thanks CX, probably a good guess with my bad desription. Have to clarify though what he means acrually because I believed he was referring to what he'd need to do to glass tiles that didn't have the rougher etched surface. Naturally they are cheaper so have to clarify which is better for my app, what extra work it entails and how the combined material and lobor costs compare.
As has been pointed out I certainly want to discuss his philosophies and make sure they line up with manufacturers but as has been noted the manufacturers are often less than clear about their requiremnets too (their instructions talk about thinsets and such for glass but interestly specifically omitted some other info on application.... it covers application for smaller sizes like 1x2 and mosaic and fails to mention 4x12, so certainly some points to follow up and nail down.
No on channel, another project, where accesibility is an issue and cutting joists is out of the question (some attached to pilings. In my case the channel is just the byproduct of the attractiveness of the floor sloped mainly in one direction. Not sure it will work exactly or at all)but she doesn't require a true curbless either.... have to look at it more closely

07-29-2009, 07:29 PM
Hey Jim,

I believe he was referring to what needed to be done to the tile when it does not have the "etching". Parging, back-buttering, burning all refer to coating or embedding your setting material (thinset, epoxy, etc.) into the tile itself with the flat side of your trowel to ensure you get good, full adhesion to the tile. Simply placing the tile into your setting material on the wall will not necessarily give you good adhesion or full coverage. By back-buttering your tile you get the bond to the tile then to the wall or floor. The etching on the back of your tile limits this by creating more surface and rough texture area for the thinset to grab without back-buttering it - which should be done regardless.

You can also contact the manufacturer of that particular tile and ask for specifics on that size. They should have no problem letting you know whatever you ask of them, they want their tile installed successfully.

07-29-2009, 07:47 PM
Roger, Thanks, as I think through everything said tonight it makes sense. He's provably saying you always had to do it but people weren't so some of the manufacturers took that step to try to alleviate problems.

He said either tile was no issue without a second thought.... still those ones that have it seem like they;d stick to anything.

and of course this will bring up the kerdi and glass issue, or will the manufacturer specify a isolation membrane (as I said I will have to go back to them for specific written instructions on the 4x12)
Previously I have done kerdi walls and like using it but I've only had to live with the decision to use modifieds on my glass accents. (mo issues expected with the small tile and small areas covered) Obviously I want to follow approved practices all around with these larger tiles. Any thoughts on the Noble membrane that is certified for modifieds and I believe is a crack membrane too (could be wrong)

08-04-2009, 07:00 AM
shluter info said call 800 for info on glass tile. So I figured I'd call and talked to shluter regarding it and the specific modifieds glass manufacturer specs. Got standard answer with interesting addendums.... "your aware of how to deal with extended cure times" and "shluter is only guaranteeing the waterproofness of Kerdi, not any issues with tile adhesion (clarified to mean glass or otherwise). In essence a soft...While we only recommend unmodified... we don't want to lose this market.......Also thought that caveat on what they were guaranteeing was interesting as I had grown to assume it covered more than that as "part of a system"