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Old 05-16-2018, 10:05 AM   #1
Howard Berman
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walking on just-set tiles

I am installing small hexagon mosaic tiles in my half bath. I am going over reinforced (with chicken wire) 1" thick concrete (original to the house built in 1953).

I have laid out and fitted all the sheets of tile. Including trimming around the threshold and the heater pipes.

The next step is to apply the thinset and adhere the tiles to the floor.

The most visible areas are at the threshold. The least visible areas are on the far wall under the pedestal sink and behind the toilet.

For that reason I would want to start adhering the sheets at the doorway so that any accumulated errors in the layout would show up in the less visible areas.

The problem with that approach is that I would have to end up walking on the already set tiles.

I was thinking of placing a sheet of plywood over those tiles so that there would be no position changes as I walk on the tiled areas.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

And I've been told that I should spray the concrete with water before applying the thinset. Does that make sense?

Regards,

Howard
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:19 PM   #2
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Hi Howard,

Don't spray the mud with water before applying thinset.

If you have laid out all the sheets the way you want them you can kneel on them and start at the back. Use knee boards, small 2X2 or so pieces of plywood when you kneel over the unset sheets. Do not try to start at the door and work your way in.
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Old 05-16-2018, 12:42 PM   #3
Howard Berman
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Thanks. I will do this on Saturday and let you know how it worked out.

Howard
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Old 05-16-2018, 03:17 PM   #4
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FOrget the chicken wire mixed in the thinset on your slab.

Check the slab for cracks first, and if there are any, you may need to deal with them first. If any of the cracks have different heights (i.e., one side is higher than the other), you should NOT tile the area. If there are other cracks that are just spreading, depending on where they are and how wide, you may need a crack isolation membrane to treat the area before you can tile.

You DO want to run a damp sponge over the slab before you spread thinset, but liquid water drops/layer, is a problem.

If the floor isn't really flat, trying to set those small tile to it and get a level surface will be very tough. The floor should be flattened before you then attempt to install the tile and no, thinset is not an approved material to flatten a floor.
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Old 05-16-2018, 03:25 PM   #5
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I think he meant the substrate was reinforced with wire, Jim.

Another option for starting at the door:. Set the first two or three rows, then let it sit overnight and continue.

One more option:. Start at the door, work your way to the other side, the spend the night over there.
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Old 05-16-2018, 07:02 PM   #6
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I was taught to start full at the door, which makes for a tricky exit in some bathrooms. Most of the time though you can set one row of something, square off that and work your way back with enough room to get out. If you don't pull the door, set behind it first on that first row.
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:48 AM   #7
Howard Berman
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I checked the floor for level with a 4 foot long level. It is perfectly level. I filled the divots (a few big ones) with self-leveling cement and those are level with no high spots. I ground off the small bits of old thin set and the floor is smooth.

I only know about the chicken wire because I managed to make a deep divot in one spot and it showed through.

There are no cracks in the concrete.

After much consideration I believe I can put in one row of tiles across the door and then work my way around the room until I reach the line I snapped for reference on the floor. At that point I can work my way back out of the room stepping over the one row that I set originally.

My concern is, of course, that the point where the first set tiles meet the last set tiles. I am hoping that they will align as well as the fitted tiles do prior to setting them in thinset.

Thanks for all the replies.

Howard
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:11 PM   #8
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Sounds like an old mud bed. I would make sure it is dust free. Being a little damp from mopping won't hurt but like the others said, no standing water. If you think you need a membrane, put it down. A membrane will buy you time when setting. The mud will set up your thinset faster without a membrane. The best way I've found to get mosaics flat is to get a piece of marble, granite or limestone, it doesn't matter. Epoxy a handle on it and use it to lightly press the mosaics down into the thinset as you install them. Without something like this and you'll likely have high tiles here and there. I'll try to post a pic of what I'm talking about.

With small hex tiles, I like to start at the doorway with the points clipped off to make the tiles as big as possible at the edge. Then I set the sheets against a straight edge. If I need to change directions when setting them, I use another straight edge and a framing square to make sure I'm staying square.
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:26 PM   #9
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Here's a piece of 6x12 marble that I used on my last mosaic floor. A 12 x12 is even better. I'm actually surprised it has lasted this long. They usually break bouncing around in my tool box.
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:58 PM   #10
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What you are proposing is what I call being disconnected.Meaning you are not completing rows and then changing direction three times and then trying to connect up with the original row that is now set and can not move without breaking the bond and changing the original position.

Option 1 would be to recheck and make sure your dry set tiles are exactly where they need to be including all consistant grout joints. Then label all the cut pieces with row # and left middle right as you go.. Get a helper so you can hand them pieces starting at the threshold keeping in mind these will be the last ones to set so helper should be stacking cuts where these will be on the bottom
. Do two rows at a time and carefully mark lines for that row.Also a good idea to mark a line perpendicular(square) at the first whole tile.Use a long straight edge to mark the long rows.Keep in mind when you set the top of the tiles will go to the line.I like to find spacers that are the exact size of the grout joints and use these between the sheets. This keeps everything consistent especially if you need to make a small adjustment at the start so you do not get small or big joints or get out of square.

If your lines are accurate you should end up at your threshold where you want to be give or take a tiny bit. Set the threshold last.If you are using a contrasting grout color it is even more important to have the space between sheets very accurate or it will show.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:19 PM   #11
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Almost forgot.

Option 2) Make a bridge out of 2x12 with a 2x4 cleat on the bottom on each end. This way you can start at the threshold and work in.Have a helper to hand you everything you need when you need it or you will be going in and out more than you are setting.Go as far as you can and finish the next day.

I would still mark your lines. Getting out a little bit at the start will compound into being out a lot at the end.

Good luck
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Old 05-18-2018, 09:23 AM   #12
Howard Berman
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Thanks for all the additional advice.

I think I will split it into two days work so that I can get the door end all set and registered and then work off of that to finish.
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