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Old 06-09-2017, 06:15 AM   #46
Eric Woollen
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South Florida Drop Down Shower

Just poured the SLC last night. Thanks to everyone for the helpful advice it was a huge success. I did find one small high spot where my 4'level rocks a little bit. Would it be worth trying to hit it with a grinder or am I better off leaving well enough alone. And if so, is it better to wait a few days to let it cure? I've chosen a 48x8 plank tile and I'll be using a 1/2x3/4" square notch trowel to spread my LFT mortar.

Also, is it okay to walk over this for a few days for the purpose of installing the tile in the shower first? The bag says not a wear surface. Thanks again!

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Old 06-09-2017, 07:06 AM   #47
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That's a great looking pour Eric! Nice job.
You can hit the high spot with a grinder. I would. Better to do it now than to fight those planks when you set. Those tile really like flat substrates.
You can walk on it. Don't drag anything over it. As far as waiting to tile, read the bag. Some say 12 hour, some say 24.
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Old 06-09-2017, 09:07 AM   #48
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Nice job!

How did you end up staging the pour? One bag at a time? Two?

Inquiring minds wanna know...
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Old 06-09-2017, 12:07 PM   #49
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South Florida Drop Down Shower

Thought you'd never ask I knew I had to do this on my own because adding another person with zero experience could only be trouble. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to speed the process as much as possible to get the whole thing done before any of it began to set up. So here's how it went:

1) Calculate number of bags required:

a) Set a horizontal laser about eye level across the whole room.

b) At the highest point, measure the distance from the laser line to the floor using a tall straight edge ruler. Add 1/4" (desired depth above the highest point). This is your reference height.

c) Repeat 20 or so times at regular intervals across the floor, noting the difference between the measurement at each point and reference height.

d) The average of these differences is the average depth of your finished layer of SLC and will be used to calculate coverage. For my 63 sqft floor it was 5.25/8" on avg.

e) The instructions say 1 bag will cover 48 sqft @ 1/8" depth. 63/48=1.31 bags per 1/8" of lift for my floor. 1.13 bags x 5.25 eights of inches = 6.9 bags. I didn't know if this would work but it ended up being the perfect amount. The more measurements you can include in your average, the more accurate the result will be.

2) Preparation:

a) Set tapcons in floor at regular intervals. Screw them in so the heads are all level with the reference height. This serves as a visual reference when you're pouring and is great because otherwise you would have no way to know if you have a high/low spot that needs SLC to be pushed away/into.

b) All the usual foam tape/caulking/primer, etc. I used spare drywall to dam the shower and the entrance to the bathroom. Drywall is easy to measure/cut in place. Don't forget the toilet flange!!

c) Ice down the water. I poured water from the hose and here in South Florida the water at the spigot is probably 85 degrees. One 10 lb. bag of ice into 30 quarts of water gets you down to about 65 degrees as measured by my hand. Cooler water extends the flow time and it says to do this in the instructions.

d) Crank the A/C before hand. Again, maybe not relevant for cooler climates but my house is usually around 78. So I got it about 10 degrees cooler before getting started; again, in an effort to extend flow time.

3) Plan of attack: I mostly followed my plan from post #43. Using the 15 gallon barrel to mix 3 bags at once is critical to minimize the number of batches. With only one drill available, mixing 6 bags individually would take 12 minutes (even if you had help) which would be a disaster since the first batch or two would firm up before you're done. Maybe that would work for a floor that is level to begin with (not flat) since the first batch isn't really affected as much by subsequent pours. Since I calculated 7 bags, but only wanted to do two batches of 3 bags, I mixed and poured one bag on its own into the low side of the room and let it cure. Two days later I mixed and poured 2 batches of 3 bags each. This worked for me because the previous day's pour was completely covered by these 2 batches (since the one side was so low to begin with). By the time I was ready to pour the second batch, the first one had only been sitting there for 4 minutes. All together from the first SLC to hit the water to walking out of the room was about 15 min.

4) Key Points:

a) As part of my setup, I emptied each bag into it's own dry 5 gallon bucket. This made it possible to slowly add each bucket of dry SLC to my mixing barrel with one arm while slowly operating the drill/mixer with the other. It also eliminated the time one usually takes shaking the last bit of SLC out of the bag because it easily slides right out of the bucket.

b) Be prepared for minor screw-ups. On adding the first bucket of SLC to the mixing barrel, I spilled some on the floor. Thankfully I had a few rags handy and a spare bucket of water to quickly clean it up.

c) Improvise: I didn't want to spend extra on a fancy gauged spreader or spiked shoes so I used a $6 plastic leaf rake (which worked okay) and MacGyver'd some sweet spiked shoes using an old pair of boots and 1 1/4" drywall screws. Worked like a charm!

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Old 06-09-2017, 12:25 PM   #50
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This guy knows how to pour!
Sticky this post.
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Old 06-09-2017, 11:17 PM   #51
Eric Woollen
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Thanks Craig! The SLC really did most of the work. I was fully expecting a total disaster but this stuff really came through in a big way. Highly recommend Mapei Self-Leveler Plus from Lowe's.

Next question: I'm thinking about the layout of my 8x48" porcelain tiles and would prefer a random stagger pattern in keeping with the wood look. I understand about the industry guideline regarding the max 1/3 offset limit. I did the front to front test with the tiles standing up on one end with the bottom ends pinched together and noted a sizable gap as pictured:
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However, these tiles are so long that you can easily pinch them together. Furthermore, when I do the same test with the tiles laying on the floor, just the weight of the tile brings the ends very close together:
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Finally, when I dry fit two tiles at a 1/2 offset using the lippage clips, the lippage is zero:
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The question is: given this fact pattern, can I include a 1/2 offset I'm my random offset pattern (using the lippage system) and expect the cured LFT mortar to hold the tiles in place once the clips are removed? I suspect the answer is yes or maybe and will likely proceed this way unless there are any major objections. Any advice is greatly appreciated!


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Old 06-10-2017, 05:28 AM   #52
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With the levelling system and the super flat floor you have , setting those plank in a random offset should be no problem.

Just did the same thing with about 6000' of plank tile.
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Old 06-10-2017, 06:01 PM   #53
Eric Woollen
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South Florida Drop Down Shower

That looks real nice Craig, I can only hope mine turns out as good.
How long is a typical wet saw blade good for? I have a 10" DeWalt XP porcelain blade that had been through no more than 20 feet of porcelain and it is beginning to bog down significantly. My last cut through one foot took what felt like 2 minutes. Cuts are very clean however. Is this when I should be dressing the blade by cutting through cinder block or brick a few times? Seems crazy I would need a new blade already I'm not even 1/4 through the job!


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Old 06-10-2017, 06:29 PM   #54
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Hard porcelain can dull blades pretty quickly. Especially those HD blades. They aren't the best.
Dress it regularly with a brick or get a blue rubbling stone from HD. A couple passes and it should come back. Make sure you have enough water shooting onto the blade and tile. For straight cuts, like when you get to a wall, use a snap cutter. Faster than running to the saw.

I have had 100ln ft of 1/2" thick porcelain tile eat up 2 high quality diamond blades.
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:48 AM   #55
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Do inside off-angle cuts need to be mitered such that the gap between the tiles is consistent from the face of the tile to the back where it meets the backer board? I'm tiling the inside of a neo-angle wall. So long as the tile faces line up at the vertex will it matter that there is little open cavity behind? I'm thinking forward to caulking. Including mortar, the face of my tiles sit 14mm from the durock.


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Old 06-16-2017, 06:59 PM   #56
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I can tile right over cured self leveler right (which was poured over a crack free concrete slab)? No membrane necessary? Also, question from above post #55. Thanks.


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Old 06-16-2017, 07:07 PM   #57
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1. It will be easier to caulk properly if you back-bevel those corner cuts a bit, but corners are made without doing so alla time. Here is what a properly treated caulked joint should look like.

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2. Don't know what product you ussed, but in general you can tile directly to a properly cured SLC without any crack isolation or uncoupling membrane. You'll lack the insurance of one of those membranes.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:39 AM   #58
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I'm considering how to bring my accent tiles in plane with my ticker field tile. I was set on the idea of building up with thinset using a template jig to get it to just the right thickness. Then I installed the field tile and realized that thinset is a huge mess and I don't have the requisite talent to pull that off. The other option to my understanding was to use Ditra XL. I would like to avoid buying a roll of this expensive material so I'm hoping someone has ideas on an alternative to these options. One idea that comes to mind is the use of 1/4" Durock but I'm not sure of the best way to attach that to the existing 1/2" durock substrate. Here's a pic of where I stand. The big opening in the middle is the niche. The two bands above and below are where the accent will go.

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Old 06-19-2017, 12:30 PM   #59
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Get a cheap plastic or metal drywall knife. Make sure it's wider than the opening you are trying to tile. Notch the ends just a bit thicker than the accent tile. Spread the thinset in the opening running the knife along the tile that's set. Let it dry, tile tomorrow.
Easy peasy!
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:36 PM   #60
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I'm afraid the thinset will sag a bit after screeding in this manner, leaving the end closest to the floor being a bit thicker than the top end. This theory is based on my recent experience using this "non-sag" Mapei LFT mortar. Would it be okay to let the mortar sit in the bucket for an hour of its 4hr pot life to stiffen up a bit?


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