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Old 07-03-2017, 10:01 PM   #1
steven2k7
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Porcelain Tiles not Adhering to thinset properly

I'm about halfway through a tiling job for my living room and hallways. I started out finding about 4 tiles that very easily popped out of place, I went back over all of it and found about 20 total that were easily removed. The first tiles that came out were toward the end of one of my work days so I thought it was just the last bit of thinset I used was going back and not working right, but then I found them scattered all around. The ones that came out did not require that much force from a scrapper to come loose but so far the others I've tried seem to be set in place.

I'm tiling directly onto a concrete floor with nothing else under the tile except the thinset. In almost all of the tiles the thinset was adhered to the concrete fine (as far as I can tell) as its been a bit of a pain to scrape off. The tiles themselves though are nearly clean of thinset.

I'm using Versabond LFT tile mortar designed for tiles with a length of 15+ inches, applying it with a trowel with 1/2 x 1/2 inch notches. The tiles are 6"x24".

I waited more than 24 hours before walking on them. Some of the tiles that came loose have been sitting for several days now.

Any idea what is going on?

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Old 07-03-2017, 10:10 PM   #2
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Steven,

Welcome to the forum.

1- I think the substrate is sucking the water out of the thinset making the thinset not cure properly. It should not break off the slab as shown in the pictures. Are you dampening the slab as you go?

2- You should be backburning the tiles to get better adhesion Watch this video

3- You should be troweling perpendicular to the long axis of the tile

4- Was the thinset mixed according to the directions?

5- Are you dusting off the back sides of the tiles?

6- Watch this video

7- Not to be critical but helpful, you'll find life easier if you clean the excess thinset from the joints and surface as you work and the thinset is still wet.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:43 PM   #3
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Welcome, Steven.

Please post your photos as attachments from storage on your computer so they appear in your post and remain permanently in your thread. Use the paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box to make the attachments.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:16 PM   #4
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Most of the key points were touched on, take a pic of a the backside of a new tile straight out of the box. While it very well could be the slab sucking the moisture out of the thinset, I also suspect those tiles may have a heavy amount of kiln release on the back.

Side note...a bucket of water and a sponge is an easy way to keep everything clean as you lay. An old paint brush or denture brushes are a great way to keep the joints clean as you go.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:21 PM   #5
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Immediately before setting a tile, if you touch the thinset on the floor with your finger, there should be a transfer. If you just make an indention in the thinset, it's too dry.

As mentioned, it's very important to skim the back of every tile immediately before it's set for proper adhesion.

And I'd agree with Ryan that kiln release could also be a problem. While it might take some time, you'd be saving yourself a headache in the long run if you take a sponge and bucket of water and clean the back of every tile. Just make sure the excess water has dried before you set the tile, since excess water is also a bond-breaker.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:07 PM   #6
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Houston Remodeler;

1 - I am not but it sounds like something I need to do. How wet does it need to be?

2 - Wow, yeah I'm going to start doing that.

3 - I didn't even know that part mattered at all

4 - Yep, apparently that is the one thing I did do right.

5 - No, but they never felt that dirty..

7 - Yeah I know, but this is a one man job and I was trying to get the tile laid quickly so the thinset wouldn't dry out.


rmckee84, I've attached some pictures of the back of a tile and I ran my fingers down the length of it. Seems decently dusty.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:11 PM   #7
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Yep. Looks like kiln release. You definitely need to sponge the backs before installation.....but you figured that out, eh?
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:53 PM   #8
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Wipe the slab with a wet sponge, you don't want standing water anywhere but you want it hydrated. You'll see the color change, try and keep the slab dark in color. As it dries it will lighten up.

Yea that kiln release is a bond breaker. Wiping with a damp sponge will get the majority, and then burning thinset onto the back of the tile will improve the bond even more.
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:52 PM   #9
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Kiln release on the backs of tiles is becoming a issue that manufacturers need to address. i have had a tile manufacturer tell me that the kiln release will mix with the thin set and help it bond better. I ended up pressure washing all the tiles.

Good luck!
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:30 PM   #10
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Hosing or rinsing off the tiles days in advance should work too right? I was thinking if I laid a lot of them out and hosed them off with a water hose that would save me a bit of time in wiping them off with a sponge before I lay them.


Any advice on removing all the now useless thinset thats stuck to my floor?
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:31 PM   #11
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Any way possible. If it hasn't been down too long, a cold chisel or putty knife with a hammer should do it.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:47 PM   #12
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:25 AM   #13
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You'll get the tile much cleaner with some agitation, such as with a sponge, but a hose could get them clean enough with less effort. Spray a few of them off and let them dry, then see how clean they are.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:20 PM   #14
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Need suggestions on how to transition from wood grain tile to carpet and other tile

Hey everyone, I'm in the process of laying some wood grain tile in my living room and hallways. Its going to be in the center parts of my house and as such I'm going to have several transition areas. The tile is going to go up to three bedrooms where it will change over into carpet. It will also meet my kitchen and one bathroom where it will transition into tile.

I've been stumped for weeks and can't seem to find much for pictures on something similar. I have no idea how I want to transition the tile or where exactly in the doorway I need to do the transition. The only thing I've seen that looks pretty good is turning 1 or 2 pieces of tile 90 degrees to run the length of the doorway. I do want to put some sort of edge piece at the end of the tile to help protect it too. Does anyone have some pictures of what they've done in a similar situation?

Edit: Also another thing I'm a bit worried about is the height difference from carpet to tile. Has anyone ever had a problem with there being a difference? I'm afraid I'm going to walk through the doorway and stub my toe on the tile so I was also looking at rounded edge pieces to put down.
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Old 09-07-2017, 10:37 PM   #15
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I've combined you with your original thread on this project so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. We can give it a more generic title any time you'd like to suggest one.

Turning one of your pieces parallel with the door opening makes sense with wood or wood-look tile. Gives you a factory edge to butt against your carpet. I always tuck my carpet directly against the tile in that application.

The transition should be made under the door if there is a door. If there is only a cased opening, you can make your transition wherever you think it looks best, but I'd make it where a door might go in case I decided to add one some day.

Tile to tile I would probably make in the same location if possible.

[Edit] How much difference you talking about there?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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