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Old 07-30-2017, 02:54 PM   #91
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Correct, no tiles cemented in yet. Just dry fitted. Yes, left a space for grout between the grate and the cutout tiles. Was aiming for 1/16, but it's a scootch more; closer to 3/32.
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Old 07-30-2017, 05:32 PM   #92
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There's nothing wrong with the Kerdi under the cut tiles as long as you make sure those tiles are not sticking up higher than the full tiles around them. After all said and done you'll have an extra Kerdi and thinset thickness under those cut tiles that the rest of the floor won't have. I wouldn't want it under there myself.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:31 PM   #93
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Schluter tray lessons

This is my first time doing mosaic tiles. I've done 6 or 7 floors and 2 bathrooms (this is my first shower) in the past, but always with larger tiles. Here's a list of lessons learned for others that are thinking of going down that path:
1 - I used the Schluter tray because I knew I wasn't going to get a mud pan smooth and sloped right on the first, second, or third try. Where the directions say to firmly embed the lateral adjustment ring for the drain into the drain recess; my definition of firmly is different than theirs. I embedded them all the way down. That left a deeper well that I had to fill before tiling. Better to smoosh it in, but not bury it. I got the drain grate maybe a tad deeper than ideal (1/16 rather than 1/32-ish). Not worth digging it out.
2 - get the Kerdi as super smooth as you can over the tray. I had a few shallow lumps in there. Maybe 1-2mm at most. Larger tiles wouldn't notice them. 2x2, yup, lippage city to manage with.
3 - I went with the frame of tile around the drain as it left even, wider partial tiles around the edge. The 2 tile x 2 tile punchout pattern would have meant edging back the center tile surround just a bit and I didn't like the visual effect. Partial tiles around the drain meant that its hard to position them and keep them from slowly drift into unwanted positions. I didn't go with the mosaics prestuck to the Kerdi. It was too flimsy, tore 'em off. Also, the lateral adjustment collar doesn't give you room to adjust to one or the other on the fly. It's about 1/2" for fine tuning.
4 - Don't trust the spacing in the mosaic sheet. It's great on dry fit, but once you get thinset on them, if you nudge them too close, they're happy to do that. Shifting out of line. They'll do that too. The mesh was a loose fiberglass like material with a hard shiny plasticy glue. Where I had to use single tiles, I ground the glue off and backbuttered the little buggers. I didn't back butter the sheets as I didn't want to get too much thinset in the narrow group spaces. Still got lots of thinset in there. A dental pick helped. Use lots of the plastic spacers, even where you don't hink you'll need them. Also, there a bit thicker on the top (at least what I called the top, than the bottom. Digging the upside down ones that got embedded was a bit of a bear. The dental pick helped here too.
5 -I used thicker or thinner thinset layer to get the tiles as flat across as possible. The most lippage I have is maybe 1mm at the most, and only on a few. The mosaic tiles are cut with square edges vs. the eased edges on the floor tiles. Little bit of lippage on the floor tile get smoothed on with the group either a bit higher or lower on the eased edge. You have to get down there and look and feel to spot it. On the mosaics, it was an extra effort to get the grout out of the little dips to get the nice square grout lines. Even where the difference was sheet of paper thickness. Also the Ultracolor grout didn't help. That stuff sets up fast! I was ready from the floor experience, got in there and moved fast.
6 - I didn't realize how much the curve of the bowl of the tray would affect the tile spacing. It's about 3cm deeper in the center than the edges. Good for drainage, makes it a bit of a pain to get the spacing right. The tops of the tiles on the sheets want to pinch in, while the backs want to gap out. Again, spacers forced the back to gap rather than the top to pinch in. I was working to avoid noticeably different grout spaces from one area to another.
Sal's youtube videos make it look so easy. I guess it is after a few hundred of them. (Not to minimize the value of the videos.)
All in all, it came out looking good. Yes, I did the floor first. Those of the above that I thought about in the mental planning stage kept me awake at night. The walls I'm not too worried about (famous last words).
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:34 AM   #94
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Is spot bonding always a no-no?

I totally get why spot bonding isn't the way to go for larger format tile. I'm mounting individual 1x2 mosaic tiles. The mesh backing was like a hot melt type glue with probably 50% of the tile covered. I pulled the mesh off and ground off the glue. Since the mosaics are a bit thinner than the wall field tile, and I'd be using a larger notch on the field tile, I needed to get a bit more thinset behind the mosaics. Using the larger trowel on these little tiles made a mess. I spot bonded them with a glob of thinset. It pretty much covered the entire tile as it was set in place. I'll clean out the oozage in the grout spaces once it sets up a bit. The spot bonding issues are about coverage, right? So long as there's no air spaces behind the tiles, I'm guessing the method of getting the thinset back there should matter?
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:39 AM   #95
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If you can get your required minimum of 95 percent coverage on the back of each tile, Jeff, it matters not at all how you applied the bonding mortar.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:55 AM   #96
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When installing mosaics that are a little thinner than the field tiles, I've found that it's easier to go ahead and install the field tiles and leave out the space for the mosaics. Then float the area with patching material or thinset if it's only 1/8 or less. Let that set and you can rub it down with a rub stone to make sure it's just the right thickness. Buttering out mosaics can be stressful. They want to slide down hill and they never do finish out flat enough. Better to float the area so very little thinset is needed under the mosaics.
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Old 08-26-2017, 10:52 AM   #97
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Two questions about thinset

1- How long before Ditraset can be considered as "permanent"? I got busy and didn't get to clean off the thinset from the glazed face of the tiles I installed 2 days ago. It was hard (I make an "ice cream sandwich" out of leftover thinset and tile scraps for each batch to check the bond), but it washed off the tile surface with a wet toothbrush and some scrubbing. I just don't want to be worrying about everyday shower water getting behind the tiles and someday they just plop off the wall.
2- on the non-shower side of the pony wall, I didn't use Kerdi, just plain drywall. What kind of thinset should I be using there for the longest lasting adhesion, modified or non?
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Old 08-26-2017, 11:01 AM   #98
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1. Your DitraSet is "permanent" by now. Wait seven days and submerge your test sandwiches in water for a week and check their condition. I think you'll be satisfied with the result.

Your mortar on the surface of the tiles likely dried before it could cure, which makes it much easier to remove.

2. I would generally recommend a modified thinset mortar in that application, but your DitraSet should work just fine.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:31 PM   #99
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Minimum thinset thickness on wall

When I laid the floor tiles, I worked at about 1/4" of thinset because I wanted a firm bedding and also to allow to keep the tiles flat over the high spots of the floor. Also I mixed the thinset pretty firm and didn't mash then down as much as I could have with looser thinset. Anyway, it turned out well.
On the walls I have a flatter surface and a it's been a bit of a contest to get as thick a bed without them tending to slide. I used a smaller trowel and still got good coverage (those things are hard to pry up to check coverage once you smoosh 'em down) but the thinset bedding is on the order of an 1/8" (a bit less at the kerdi overlaps). The pattern has a mix of large, medium, and small tiles, and the smaller ones are harder to get a real thick bedding under. Since I expect the walls to get less foot traffic and impact than the floors, what headaches would I be in for down the road due to a thinner bed of thinset? Just asking as I'm not pulled 'em down; they're up there pretty good.
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:51 PM   #100
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With most installations, I'd say we end up with 1/8 to 3/16 of thinset. With small mosaics, even less thinset. Sounds like you have it about right, as long as you're getting good coverage.

On walls, start at the bottom and work your way up. Shims, wedges, spacers all work to fight gravity.
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Old 09-10-2017, 03:45 PM   #101
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Making painfully slow progress...but progress nonetheless

Starting to get tiles up on the walls. Actually made some decent holes in the tile for shower valves without cracking any! (Yup, I'm still slow...)
You can see in the pic that the main shower valve has the Schluter ring, but the diverter valve doesn't. When I get to that stage, do I leave it as is (the trim has a rubber washer and foam gasket to keep water from running into the hole) or use Kerdi-fix around it. If KF, is it just the tile to the Kerdi, or fill the whole gap up to against the valve body? Do I fill the gap between the tile and the premade orange rubber ring on the large hole?

Unrelated question: Does unmodified thinset stick to cured modified thinset?

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Old 09-10-2017, 08:28 PM   #102
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1. I would do nothing at all with that opening except install the escutcheon plate. I like to put a bead of caulking around the top three-quarters of such plates after the shower is finished and has been tested.

2. Yes.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:58 PM   #103
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Soap dishes

Not really soap dishes, more like soap shelves. I didn't like the look/match of any of the premade ones I could find, so I made a pair out of tiles. They're cut to the "neoangle" shape to match the bench. Used bullnose for the edging and epoxied two together with some Rustoleum concrete patch I had from another project. The stuff is strong and and holds well outside. Well I finished it off and got some Latapoxy 310 to attach the bullnose. It's a better match to the tile anyway, and I planned on using it to attach the shower door hardware to the curb when I get to that stage (soon hopefully).
I cut some notches in the edges that will buried in the tile when mounted so the thinset has something a bit more to bite into than the smooth fresh cut edge.
Do I get these smooshed into the thinset against the Kerdi, or leave about the same bedding at the adjacent tiles will have (been about 1/8"-ish)?
I cut a notch so my wife can have a place to rest her razor. Usually it sits on the shower door frame, but this will be a frameless door. Either that, or it will sit and rust on the niche shelf.
Just thought I'd post a pic if anyone can later use the tile idea.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:39 PM   #104
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Shower grab bar

Planning on added a horizontal stainless steel brushed finish grab bar to the shower to match the finish on the plumbing valve trim. All the stuff in stainess looks like it belongs in a prison or hospital institutional bathroom. Been to dozens of online sites.
Does anyone have some suggestions on decent looking modern stainless steel grab bars?
Thanks.
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Old 09-24-2017, 08:53 PM   #105
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Just wondering if you added blocking in the wall for the grab bar?
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