How clean do you set tile? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Higher Standard Tile
02-08-2010, 01:43 AM
When you are doing floors do you have to do any scraping of the joints the next day before grout?

I leave my work reasonably clean, no globs of thinset and such but usually have a little prep work the next day before tile.

After I set a section, if any thinset is sticking up in the joint I use my knife to scrape it out, and then sponge the section.

The old days of 8 x 8's with 1/4 " joints were no problem but 20" tile with 1/8 joints seem to require a little more clean up as your setting.

I've seen guys who look like the never had to scrape a joint and they don't ever touch the tile with a sponge while setting, and it looks spotless. I just wonder what type of coverage they are getting.

My theory is I'd rather have to do a little cleanup knowing that I have good coverage. But I'm sure some guys get great coverage and their setting work is spotless. What do you do?

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John K
02-08-2010, 06:30 AM
Yeah the 20's are hell sometimes. I believe it depends on how flat the floor is. If the floor wavy and I'm practically mud setting with medium bed. Then there is definately cleaning joints the next day.

People will say. "You should have gotten the floor flat before you started setting". Not always possible.:)

02-08-2010, 06:39 AM
I'm pretty messy while installing but almost always have perfectly clean sponged joints. All the thinset ends up on my pants, hands, hair, shirt, inside my ear, etc..

02-08-2010, 07:32 AM
I keep a stack of Popsicle sticks, sponge, and bucket of water handy to clean out the joints as I am setting tile. Joints are fairly clean but next day I always catch any questionable excess by cleaning out the dried thinset in the joints with a CBU scriber. Like John I would rather know by the excess that I am getting very good coverage.

02-08-2010, 07:59 AM
You can see how clean my joints are in the work in proggress thread.Those pics of fresh thinset are from yesterday.Ill post more tonight ofg keepin it clean today.We use a toothbrush.I've been doin that since I worked on the Outrigger in Maui back in 2000 on my first travertine job.

02-08-2010, 08:43 AM
While my clothes get pretty messy, one thing I have learned to do over the years is try to keep my joints as clean as possible. That does usually involve a toothbrush shaped scrubber and a pointed sponge.

It can definitely be a pain to keep up with it, having to pull spacers out, wipe them off, put them back in, re-adjust tile. But I have found it is easier to spend a little extra time keeping the joints clean than having to clean them out later, especially if I am using modifies thinset.

There are times of course were this becomes hard to do, like when setting small mosaic tiles. Sometimes you have to wait till just the right time for the mortar to set up enough so the tiles don't slide around when you clean the joints. Of course if you finish setting at 6pm, and don't want to wait around till 8pm, then it becomes an issue. Been there.

02-08-2010, 08:59 AM
I'm terrible - one issue is that I work by myself, and if I have to do a tub surround and bathroom floor in the same day, I can't be taking all the time in the world to clean up.. I'd say it takes 2 times longer to clean the next day as apposed to cleaning as you go... one thing I did that helps is switch to ardex x5 - you almost don't need any spacers when doing walls because it sets up so quick, having no spacers makes clean up much easier

02-08-2010, 09:05 AM
I keep my tile and joints as clean as possible, while I'm working. I find that it also helps to keep my tools and hands clean while I'm working. In addition to have a sponge handy at all times, I keep a cheap 1" chip brush in my bucket and use it to sweep my joints as I'm setting. I use scissors to trim the bristles of the chip brush to about 5/8" so they are stiffer and the wooden handle ensures that it's always floating on the surface of the wash bucket somewhere.

02-08-2010, 10:17 AM
I'm the same way. I don't want a mess on my tile or in my joints.
I keep a bucket of water with a sponge near me and my margin trowel is always there.
if some thinset comes up in the joint I hit it with the trowel and take out the excess and then sponge the tile clean.

Houston Remodeler
02-08-2010, 10:26 AM
I agree with muddman Greg,

I keep a sponge with water handy at all times. My tile, my hands, the walls and tools all stay nice and clean. Sometimes I get work done too.

02-08-2010, 10:27 AM
Its faster to sponge or brush a joint clean than it is to knife hard thinset, and sweep or vaccuum. There are times when I will miss a joint and find it the next day. Usually from working my way out of a room, it'll be a joint around the corner or such. Always makes me laugh. Try hard to keep my stuff really clean but theres always that one spot!:)

Higher Standard Tile
02-08-2010, 10:49 AM
I typically use my knife or margin and a sponge as I go, I used the toothbrush idea too. Works good.
One thing I've found is cut your sponge in half, then you have a sharp edge that can get in the joint.

02-08-2010, 11:02 AM
I keep a bucket next to me with some half sponges and margin and keep everything as clean as I can as I go but still have to knife some joints the next day. Some tiles and patterns are worse than others but I always have grout joints to clean the next day.

I don't think I believe you guys who say they don't have to clean joints the next day.

02-08-2010, 12:50 PM
I try to stay as clean as possible, but there is always something that will need a scraping the next day. You know, a little piece around a floor register that if you touch it when wet, you'll have to dig it out...or a mosaic cut. The cut down paint brush is a great tool!

Tile Trowelki
02-08-2010, 12:52 PM
I clean as I go too. Actually I almost don't need to, I tend to use the smallest trowel I can for a given job; that helps. My joints stay pretty clean but I wind up with blobs of thinset on the tile sometimes. Those are easy to scrape loose.

02-08-2010, 12:58 PM
I must be the odd man out. I always clean most of the joints (which don't happen to be many at all) the next day. Hardly ever use a sponge and water on the tile while setting. Floors really never have any thin-set coming up through. If it was a big glob coming up through or on the tile I would hit it with the margin trowel in the joint (no sponge) and both trowel and sponge if on the tile. Seemed to take less time for me the next day as opposed to cleaning as I went although not too much to clean anyway.

Used to set with another guy who did the same thing, however the next morning/day there was always a crazy amount of thin-set coming up through his joints and for some reason he always gravitated toward my are to clean the next day when I reminded him to clean his own side. Then I had to help him clean his areas......

02-08-2010, 01:06 PM
I don't think I believe you guys who say they don't have to clean joints the next day.

Definitely. No matter how meticulous I am, there are always spots that I miss. Usually because I cannot see them from the angle I am at when working across a floor. But even when doing a shower wall I go back and find a few spots.

BTW that is one of my favorite uses of my Fien multimaster. The carbide wheel makes quick work of excess mortar in joints, as long as they are 1/8 or bigger. Then I just use a green or blue scrubbie pad to get the little bit left on the edges

02-08-2010, 01:34 PM
the thing to remember is that its not bad cleaning up within 24 hours or so - if you leave it all weekend, its going to be 10 times harder to clean off...

02-08-2010, 02:36 PM
I always have a bucket of water and a half sponge next to me when I set, I think it's foolish not to...cement cleans up a lot easier when it's wet. I like to work clean, no wiping my hands on my jeans, I like my tools clean too.

02-08-2010, 04:02 PM


02-08-2010, 04:13 PM
gueuzeman, were in the world did you get that funky brush???

02-08-2010, 04:29 PM
Denture cleaning brush from CVS, Walgreen's or other pharmacy store.

Triangle sponge, just cut a sponge in half side to side.


02-08-2010, 05:39 PM
Jason, just take your time and it is possible. I might have an occasional spot here and there to clean up. But as far as going back and having to clean mortar out of the joints before I start to grout. No, I do not do that. I notice that some guys back butter the tile all the way to the edge. I was taught to leave about an 1/8" to 1/4" edge of tile around the perimeter of the tile. This allows the thinset somewhere to go with out entering the grout joint area. I usually comb the floor in one direction and have very little trouble. Do the above method for wall tiles, large format tile, stone and combine the two methods to set with the tuscan leveling system. I can vouch that these tiles are well stuck. Any area that does not get filled with thinset in the squish, gets packed with grout so there are no hollow edges.

02-08-2010, 06:25 PM
I always have a bucket of water with a sponge and my hook knife handy to clean out any thinset in the joints as I set my tiles. When it's time to grout I can get right to it, no clean up required except for a little spot here and there.

Shawn Prentice
02-08-2010, 06:55 PM
I usually keep my installs pretty clean with minimal work the next day. I use old/retired grout sponges cut into strips to get a sharp edge and a 1-1/2" scraper to clean up fresh thinset. However, I have learned some very slick tricks in this thread that I will employ on my next tile job this week. Thanks to all for an informative thread on a seemingly simple topic.

Dan Kramer
02-08-2010, 07:36 PM
I'm like Ben. If I know I'm coming back in the morning I don't get too stressed about cleaning. I find I move tiles around too much or just get too damn slow if I'm constantly cleaning t-set out of the joints. I do however keep a water bucket and sponge but really use it for dampening the substrate before troweling.

02-08-2010, 08:21 PM
i'm not clean enough for 254

Chad Deiter Company
02-08-2010, 08:49 PM
My tiles are usually fairly clean but I don't obsess over them while setting. My bad habit is wiping everything on my pants. :bonk:

Higher Standard Tile
02-08-2010, 11:55 PM
Matt good point. Hard to be clean enough for 254.

Another thing, i never wear gloves while setting (just grouting) I notice that if I wear gloves I don't notice bits of thinset on my hand which invariably end up on my trowel handle and the tile.

And of course the obvious. Use white thinset for light grout colors and grey for dark. Sometimes I think my joints are all clean and then when I grout with a light color I see a little streak of grey thinset on the edge of the tile when I am cleaning up the grout. That is really annoying.

But Laticrete 253 Grey is a really light grey color compared to some others that are very dark grey. So I don't mind using that when I have a light colored grout.

02-09-2010, 05:32 PM
One trick that helps is to directional trowel then when you place the tile set it tight up against the other tile then slide it away and into place and as it goes into place it sinks down and gets proper coverage.

I margin trowel and wipe with sponge myself if need be and hardly have any left the next day..cept on me and my pants...and sometimes behind my ear if my pencil gets it...hate that

02-09-2010, 05:46 PM
I'm a very clean setter. Of course I do sometimes get thinset on my ear, walkman, etc. I clean the joints and tile as I go along but sometimes have to clean a joint here or there the next day. I really don't use a sponge though because I'm pretty clean but I usually use a knife, etc. to clean the joints as I work.

When I get fresh thinset on my hands, you know what I do with it? Wipe it on the back of the next tile to be set. I also wipe my hands on the back of the tiles if the thinset is fresh. Just seems logical to me. :)

01-13-2014, 06:34 PM
I was thinking about this post today. Doing 8' high 4 1/4 walls in a locker room in our county Civic Center. Stacking 4 1/4's, I don't see how it's possible NOT to get mastic on the tips of your fingers each hand full of tile you put up on the walls. Without even thinking, I was knocking it off on my pants, and I got to thinking-- if I picked up a sponge after every hand full of tile, I wouldn't have gotten a damn thing done today. You spend your time cleaning your hands. I'll spend my time setting tile.
Bill posted by bill

Ah.I was thinking about this post as well.

I come from a very clean family of tile setters.To me,I dont give it much thought,unless I see some tile guy with $hit all over his pants.I could just never understand how guys could work like that.

These are random pics.

Is the tile clean?
Am I wasting time cleaning my hands?
Why clean my hands when they dont get dirty?
I use the trowels to handle material,not my hands
When I eat,I wipe my hands on a napkin,lol:stupid2:

That one pic of the one finger salute was one I sent to Gueuzemeister.While working in tight quarters I got some on my finger.Im still not gonna wear the stuff!

01-16-2014, 01:04 AM
I am a very clean tile setter. I dont like thinset in my joints or on my clothes. I never understood guys who show up to work with a clean pair of jeans and shirt and by the end of the day theyre covered in thinset. I try and look presentable at all times. If I get thinset, mud, redguard, or anything else on my clothes I wipe it off as quick as I can and same with my tile joints. The cleaner you are the better you look.

01-16-2014, 01:13 AM
I also keep my tools and buckets clean. I've been using the same trawels for a couple years now and they still look new. Same with buckets. I have buckets that are 5 years old and are practically spotless. I always see people wasting buckets because they're to lazy to clean them out. I keep a scrubby pad and inbetween mixes I clean the inside real quick so thinset doesnt build up through out the day.

I do mostly residential remodels and I think homeowners appreciate a clean tile guy.

01-16-2014, 08:29 AM
I agree 100%.Tools,clothes,trowels,jobsite,it all relevant.

I think for some of us,we dont like to wear the setting material.For me,his goes back to the fact that the silica dust is harmful to your respirable tract.It gets on your clothes,dries,then youre carrying wherever you go.

Good posting,Andy.

01-16-2014, 12:46 PM
I agree, customers interpret cleanliness as quality.
It's also just plain faster to be clean. It takes literally twice as long to scrape-scrub-vacuum after, than it does to just wipe it clean now while it's soft. It's a nice feeling to finish setting a large floor and know that it's ready to grout right now, no scraping/digging/cleaning joints.

01-16-2014, 03:57 PM
I always work with two buckets. One with thinset and one with clean water. The second my hands or tools get muddy, they get cleaned. I cut my old grout sponges on the wet saw, bevelled on a 45. That way I get a nice point on the sponge to get into the grout lines. My work is not as spotless as some I've seen on here, but if I have to spend 10 minutes scraping the next day that's a lot.

01-16-2014, 07:40 PM
I agree, customers interpret cleanliness as quality.
It's also just plain faster to be clean. It takes literally twice as long to scrape-scrub-vacuum after, than it does to just wipe it clean now while it's soft. It's a nice feeling to finish setting a large floor and know that it's ready to grout right now, no scraping/digging/cleaning joints.:tup1:

some people and even my helpers call me a clean freak.
One helper I hired for a project a year ago said he has never seen a mechanic work so

01-16-2014, 08:01 PM
Im a mess. But my tiles are clean, especially on a wall. I rarely, if ever use my notch trowel on the wall. I just burn thinset on the wall with the flat side and then notch the tile. For anything less than 12" I notch the wall.
1'x2' tile on a wall, Im spotless.

And I do like JC said a page back, I notch the floor and then clean the mud away from the edge of the set tiles with my margin trowel. Doing it that way I get good coverage and rarely squeeze out. If it squeezes out I clean it right away. Margin trowel, and a finger. Then I wipe it on my bucket, or trowel, or pants, or whatever is handy.

I was a messy setter, real bad. Cleaned up a lot since I joined this forum. Who wants to post pictures of a disaster?? ;)

Ive started using a sponge instead of finger lately. Not on purpose, just started happening. Maybe cleanliness progresses as do the other setting skills?
Maybe one day Ill even have clean pants :D

01-16-2014, 08:21 PM
Kinda related, how many of y'all put down drop cloths over the floors on remodel jobs? I have 4' x 15 ' runners that I use to cover the whole trail from the bathroom to the outside door I'm working out of. I pull them all up at the end of each day and shake them out and fold them up, ready for the next day. I'm surprised at how many workers don't cover up anything. Homeowners really seem to appreciate this.

01-16-2014, 08:30 PM
I keep at least half dozen drop cloths in the trailer all the time. Have one thats been demoted enough that it lives on the ground under my saw and mixing area.
Drop cloths work good, but if its a house with hardwood I keep a roll of kraft paper and painters tape in the trailer too.

Floor covering goes down before I touch anything. Easy to clean a mess if you dont have one in the first place.

01-16-2014, 08:48 PM
My yearly drop cloth budget is in the thousands! :D

Always use them. Get the ones with grippy nubs to go over hardwood.

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01-16-2014, 09:17 PM
Yeah, I have bought some from HD that has a rubber coating on one side that works well on hardwood and tile floors. Some times (on hard surface bathroom floors) I will go ahead and cover the whole floor with brown paper.

01-16-2014, 09:21 PM
I keep drop cloths,Ram board,kraft paper and plastic in the trailer.I keep all floors covered to exterior door and sometimes furniture in the adjacent room.

01-16-2014, 09:27 PM
Yep, you know homeowners appreciate all that.

I've showed up on jobs and start putting down runners and the homeowner asks what I'm doing, that none of the other workers has done that. I tell them it doesn't matter, I'm putting them down anyway. They are usually shocked.

Hank B.
01-16-2014, 11:30 PM
I put down drop cloths and all of that. I keep the tile clean as I set it and so on and so forth but I still go home with a little thinset on my pants and I refuse to let LT make me feel less of myself for it.

01-17-2014, 01:38 AM
I remember watchin a video of MLT Mick and maybe Ernie setting tiles, and I coulda sworn I saw Mick rub thinset on his pants a few times.


John Bridge
01-17-2014, 06:19 AM
I saw Mick rub thinset on his pants a few times.

How do you think he gets all that speed he keeps talking about? :D

I got cleaner and cleaner throughout my tiling career, and, of course, it slowed me down a little. I kept getting cleaner, though, and had to reduce my work load. And now I've cleaned myself right out of business. :D

01-17-2014, 07:36 AM
I also wear boot covers when I go to look at projects.I got my last job because of the boot covers.She told me that since I respected her floors and her house from the first minute I was there that she would be comfortable with me in her house.Of course giving her a Kerdi shower did not hurt either.

01-17-2014, 06:14 PM
I try to stay clean, but realistically, I get pookie on my jeans and shirt and hands...I'm ok with that. Then I get in my truck and drive home, hug my kids. I'm good with that too.

I'm way cleaner when I use something like 254 or K AND K than kerabond. Easy to scrape out a joint if I need to with kerabond.

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Higher Standard Tile
01-17-2014, 09:53 PM
Hard to stay clean when this happens. Mixed a full bucket of 4XLT and walked about 50 ft. to work area.


Never looked behind me, homeowner was the one that told me. Dropped a nice size glob about every 10', good thing for the drop cloths.:)

In case your wondering it was pickle bucket not one of those 'never use for mixing mud' buckets from HD and Lowes.

01-18-2014, 12:37 AM
I think you got your money's worth outta that bucket, Isaac....:clap1:

I always have a sponge and water at hand when tiling-keeps my hands, tools and tile clean. Any morter or grout on my clothes gets sponged off promptly. I just hate looking like a slob to the HO, I guess. Clean up any morter from the grout lines....lots easier than the next day. Never did like knee pads, so I have a great collection of jeans with lotsa' honest wear at the knees...:yo:

Higher Standard Tile
01-18-2014, 01:01 AM
I was keeping the bucket clean but when it blew out I let it die in peace.

Good thing I wasn't a helper for LT when that happened I would be looking for another job.:)

Tile Machine
01-18-2014, 07:24 AM
I like EVERYTHING clean, hands, clothes and joints. Buckets can't have thin set goo all over the sides, trowels can't have thin set on top of em. Work area clean and organized. Boxes broken down and useless waste in its own special area...etc etc...

Makes for a faster install and faster exit!

01-18-2014, 07:27 AM
Man, I've had that happen a time or two as well, Isaac. :noid:

Like most of you, I keep my bucket of water with a half sponge handy and use it. I use drop cloths. I'll hang painters plastic over cabinets and doorways if I'm going to make a lot of dust. That said, at the end of the day, I don't go home looking like a preacher. For those of you that do, great, but I look like I did something at the end of the day. :stick:

The next day, there's always some cleanup. Thinset's easy to clean up the next day. When all's said and done, I leave the job as neat, if not neater that I found it. Can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs...

01-18-2014, 03:04 PM
My pants are COVERED in thinset by the end of the day. That being said, as i'm a firm believer in the Book of Schluter and the word of Kerdi, unmodified comes right off in the laundry and looks like new :)

01-19-2014, 10:22 AM
Hey,this may be a rude awakening.

So far only a handful of people on here have pretty much agreed with me on being clean.And Im okay with that.Since many of us have never worked together,this is a good measuring stick

Out of all the many tilesetters today I dont expect them to have the type of ethics that most of here on the forum have,and I dont expect all the members of this forum to have the some of us had.

I guess you could sum it up like this-

The butcher at the meat market with blood on his apron/the surgeon after 6 hours of intense surgery with very little blood

The cook at the diner/the chef at the 5 star restaurant

The caveman swinging a club/Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard

Just like when we go out to eat.My children are taught proper eating etiquette.You know,index finger on the base of the fork.

There may be another kid at another table stabbing his food like norman bates and belching.Im okay with that.He wasnt taught any better.He's not my kid.

Unfortunately,I have to set tile almost everyday.Ill be going to the job after church today.Joe,Brian,Gueuze... Ill shoot u some pics.Im not the fastest but I do have a reputation for speed.Its one of those things that I could show you better than I could tell you.

At the end of the day though,the H-Os,GCs see my work.I bring the bacon home to mama,and sometimes go straight to my basketball practice.I dont have to "look" like I did something ;).

Look at the slob in the one pic.Ive never,ever,ever.looked like that when Ive laid tile.I guarantee I could run circles around that guy as well.Its not about speed.Obviously he has no respect for himself.How the hell is he gonna have respect for the others he is working around?And what I mean is,when guys work like that,there is probably thinset crap all over...mixing inside,dry cutting...etc etc...And this is how this German company advertises??!!!

Look at the other guy...(I wont mention any names).Very clean.He shouldve been the advertisement instead of the slob in the other pic!!

Peerless Tile
01-19-2014, 10:29 AM
:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse :deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse

01-19-2014, 10:44 AM
Notice no blood on the yellow guy doing the beating.:shrug:

01-19-2014, 11:04 AM
The horse is already dead Ivan.
The heart not pumping would stop blood from spewing. :D

The Kid
01-19-2014, 11:10 AM
LT I believe your argument to be invalid. Of course I try to stay clean when I can, but some days it just doesn't happen.

If you think that staying clean is a prerequisite to an amazing finished job that's crazy. At the end of the day what I care about is that my installation is clean, square, plumb, flat, etc. I could care less what I look like. That's what wash machines are for.

01-19-2014, 11:14 AM
I have a guy who wears the same jeans and sweatshirt with thinset all over them every day . . . or coveralls, same deal. . . . I don't care as long as the setting surfaces and joints are clean, and the "tile area" is tidy and organized.

If a customer wants to see a clean tile setter they can take me out to dinner.

I work for a living . . .

I generally buy all my setting clothes from the thrift store . . . and I don't replace them until they are hideous, it's a waste of money.

Is it a good practice to set without wiping shite all over yourself, yes, but
I don't see the value in getting anal about it.

Proof is in the setting and the worksite organization, not on the mosaic of materials on my pants:tongue:

01-19-2014, 11:23 AM
Give it a break. I have worked next to a lot of clean installers. What did they all have in common? Took to long and bad lippage. So worried about getting themselves dirty they would spend to much time with spreading to stay clean and wouldn't float out areas to get a flat floor.

I am not the cleansest guy but I am also not a slob. I pull tiles to make them flat. The work looks good when finished that's the only thing that truly matters not making sure my clothes stay clean.

Do it your way no one cares. You look like an ass when you keep trying to prove you are better than everyone else. Do installs however you want whatever makes you happy. Come up north and work in negative degree weather and tell me how you never mix inside.

01-19-2014, 11:36 AM
The horse is already dead Ivan
He was photo shopped to look dead.;)

...and who is Ivan?

Peerless Tile
01-19-2014, 01:20 PM
The comparison of butchers to surgeons and short order cooks to 5 star chefs really just highlights how oblivious you are to other industry (the training required for each of the above mentioned skills by no means compare to each other in any shape or fashion) and just what great lengths you will go to sell the rest of us on how your way is the correct way. Measure your stick however you want, announce how clean and speedy you work, explain to us how well you rear your children, your a great and loving dad! The photos you post prove that!! You're a great installer, the photos you post prove that as well. Most of us here don't seem to care for a cleanliness lesson, enough already. I speak for myself, but maybe some others, if folks want to get nagged about something they will typically just piss off their spouse.

01-19-2014, 01:46 PM
The problem with the two pictures posted is one guy sets tile for a living and the other guy......well....he's just famous! He probably had his handlers set up the photo shot and he jumped in for the picture;)

I betcha there aint no stinkin thinset on that tape measure!

01-19-2014, 07:42 PM
Give it a break. I have worked next to a lot of clean installers. What did they all have in common? Took to long and bad lippage. So worried about getting themselves dirty they would spend to much time with spreading to stay clean and wouldn't float out areas to get a flat floor.
posted by Sean

Hmm.I was expecting you.There are just a couple more that should be posting about the "tile" being clean by the end of the day and who cares about the clothes.

So,maybe I should flop thinset on my shoe and maybe this will make me faster with less lippage.

Do it your way no one cares. You look like an ass when you keep trying to prove you are better than everyone else. Do installs however you want whatever makes you happy. Come up north and work in negative degree weather and tell me how you never mix inside.

No one cares?You mean u dont care?Speak for yourself.The ones that dont care dont respond.If you dont care,then go away.

I love this discussion.I feel very strongly on this subject.Im not gonna sugar coat it,and Im not gonna budge.

The guys who have already chimed in who love to stay clean...well its obvious.I couldve told you who they were before they even keyed in.

I set tile everyday.Ofcourse I get stuff on me from time to time.Never like the guy in the Schluter pic.IMO its f ridiculous.

This is how the industry projects how "installers" should look like.deleted

The real installer out of the 2 is JB.Or should I say "experienced" installer.He works clean like that for real,its not staged.He's the real deal.

It seems that scooping material from a bucket and transfering it to the floor and wall without dropping it on themselves might be too hard for some.

[Edit] LT, please make your points without personal attacks and unnecessary profanity.

Peerless Tile
01-19-2014, 08:11 PM
You edit your post to add a snarky comment??? Come on man, you're above all that...You're a great installer....nuff said.

01-19-2014, 08:31 PM
I think "the sanitizer" did the editing.

01-19-2014, 08:34 PM
All of the sanitizer's comments are in red type, Craig.

01-19-2014, 08:40 PM
If I am using product like XLT set tile,it makes the transfer from the bucket to the substrate easier.You can get so much more on the trowel due to its non sag qualities.

This makes for a much quicker and cleaner install.

01-19-2014, 09:17 PM
Ive got lots of pants. Its a non-issue.

The tile I leave behind is getting more flat/clean/fast/all the time, but Ive noticed my pants get dirtier all the time.

I understand that you're passionate about it. Your not the only one. Its really got no bearing on workmanship whatsoever, I think thats why some are being rubbed the wrong way. I think most would disagree with you about the relation between clean pants and quality workmanship.

Ive seen some pretty awful workmanship by people in clean pants.

01-19-2014, 10:07 PM
The guys who have already chimed in who love to stay clean...well its obvious.I couldve told you who they were before they even keyed in.Yeah, which type am I LT? :corn:

01-19-2014, 10:30 PM

The guy who finished 1st,was extremely clean.He is the one with the shirt tucked in facing the install while spreading.I wish I couldve taken pics.I think the guys who had the worst layouts and the slowest progress were probably the most dirty as well.I guess Im just in the Twilight Zone.

Something else that helps is having your shirt tucked in.

This reminds me of a run in I had with a GC,couple months back.I had a H-O who wanted to use his own tile guy (me) instead of the GC's.

Just so happened that the GC's rock guy was also the tile guy.Very clean rockslinger,I must say.

I was prepping a recessed shower for a S.A.M. and the GC asked what I was doing.I told him w proofing.He said,"what!!?".....its recessed,it doesnt need waterproofing!"

Horse manure.He said he had been doing it that way for years.He then got his rock guy to come in there.I was very impolitelly explaining how a recessed shower still needed more than just "hardie".

They probably thought/called me an ass,too.

The point is,is that when you believe in something in your heart of hearts,that no one will be able to shake you.

01-19-2014, 10:32 PM
Yeah, which type am I LT?
Roger (The FloorElf)

You definitely dont look like the schluter installer at the end of the day!!

01-19-2014, 10:35 PM
Just trying to help you out Tiki. Your schtick gets old it's like the gridding threads all over again. You love trying to make other people feel inferior. Whatever makes you feel better. We all have our ways no one is perfect.

The Kid
01-19-2014, 10:45 PM
I would have to agree.

LT, your really a great guy most of the time, its when you get all bent out on your own propaganda that makes most people say, "WTF".

I think its fantastic that you strive to be the cleanest around, but its "your" thing so keep it to yourself.

01-19-2014, 10:47 PM
This forum is like panning for gold.You have to go thru a ton of mud and dirt before finding a jewel.

Im not a great guy.Not about this tile stuff.Im not trying to sell anything.I dont promote my business here.There is no sugar coating.I have many friends.Im just real.Like I said,I could show you better than I can type.

I have gotten alot of jewels since Ive been on here,and its been worth the ride.Rob Z,Brian,Gueuze,Davy,Rod,Dan,Jack,Mick....thank you.Many more I didnt name.

TYW,NTCA,CTEF etc.All great venues.Frankly,none of my customers care about being the only "certified" installer in our area code,my affiliation with NTCA,or my comments/questions on TYW.

Sean,youve talked alot of smack over the years.

I forgive you for calling me an ass.

Jeremy-kinda like I told Sean.Speak for yourself.Maybe you say WTF.I dont care!!

01-19-2014, 11:13 PM
And Sean,awfully nice of you to help me out.Thanks for your help!!!And who are you?

I think its fantastic that you strive to be the cleanest around, but its "your" thing so keep it to yourself.
posted by Jeremy

Ok.Here is a wtf to you.The thread is called.....How clean do you set tile?

Besides getting a jab at me in,would you have posted to how "clean" you set tile?

The Kid
01-20-2014, 12:00 AM
No Jab intended.

As to the how clean do you set tile remark, I will induldge!

I tend to keep a fairly tight work area, my tile is almost always "grout ready" when I set it, meaning joints and surface is clean. As far as my clothes go, I do look like a working man. I wear evidence of what I do, I do not stress over the fact that im not "Dapper Dan" at the end of the day.

In fact I prefer to be abit dirty, if I wanted to stay clean all the time id get a desk job. I throw away a lot of buckets and sometimes im to lazy to clean trowels (rarely but it happens). My truck is always a mess, my back yard is always cleaner then my front porch so to speak because appearance doesn't matter to me. My work is top notch (at least I strive for it to be) and that is all "I" care about when it comes to my work habbits.


A.J. Holst
01-23-2014, 03:41 PM
Interesting thread, having installed my fair share of epoxy floors, I have complete wardrobe of epoxy protected clothing.

What I do know about cleanliness comes directly from conersations with GCs, site superintendents and home owners --- show up neat and clean and leave your work area neat and clean at the end of the day...the client appreciates it.

Isn't it easier to clean at the end of the day or as you go to prepare for the next day's work? I also believe it is easier to clean wet as opposed to cured materials in joints, on tools, in buckets, etc.

If you want to leave the job site looking clean, wear coveralls or a hazmat suit and take it off when you're done.

02-01-2014, 10:13 AM

05-02-2014, 06:22 AM
Look at all those shiny tools! Can I be your helper one day if I'm in your area? I'll work for free even, I just wanna get thin set on my hands and touch all your stuff!!

Id actually wanna be your helper.Im dying to knock this thinset off with a margin.It takes about 10 seconds.All u do is hold the trowel or margin and chip off old thinset in a stabbing motion.Very easy.No need for chemicals.

posted by John

05-02-2014, 12:46 PM
Top notch work and production are 1 and 2 for me. Clean is probably 3, but never at the expense of 1 or 2.

A little explanation: cleaning tile and joints as i set goes directly to 2, but cleaning my hands, clothes, work area or tools often does not IMO. I do clean all those things, but again, not at the expense of 1 or 2. At the end of the day, it all gets cleaned. :)

05-02-2014, 10:22 PM

My bad:shrug:..I didnt even realize this pic didnt post until we was eating lunch today,lol.

You guys were prolly like WTH!!

Higher Standard Tile
05-02-2014, 10:43 PM
Don't worry LT.
That 1/2" by 1/2" notch is one of those cheapies from Lowes, if it was a Marshalltown I would be upset.:)

05-02-2014, 10:47 PM
Should be so lucky! Lol

I have marshaltown too, dont like it much.

I know you can chip it with a sharp margin. Didnt work on the ones in the photo, thats a couple years of buildup. That picture is how my my ex helper cleans tools. Bleh.
The CLR loosened it up real well and was able to get it clean with the margin. Im using again, it looks more or less new.

Ive had a good look through the trailer, not to happy. Some tools ive gotten clean, some ive replaced.

05-04-2014, 11:18 AM
I am reading this i fell like i am working with old italians again!

"We used to wear our wedding suits to work"

"We used to lay tiles and then pic up our girlfriends"

"Once a guy asked me if i was the president"

But then again would not do self leveler of mud jobs . "My boots will get dirty"

I keep my tools clean to my standards they keeps theirs to their own. What ever.

What mathers is the work you leave behind. I never heard some one say. "the guy was so clean". But people will coment on how clean your work/work erea was.
If you work in a dump. and you feel comfortable in it. what ever... as long as when the day is done you dont leave that behind. Thats what matters

05-04-2014, 07:48 PM
This ^