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Old 03-19-2017, 05:50 PM   #1
Matt Dworak
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Hey guys, had a favor to ask. I've been asked to do some tile repair for our local Walmart and have a couple questions. I've done a fair amount of tiling for my personal projects but never in a commercial environment. So on one hand replacing a few tiles sounds fairly straightforward but also a little intimidating due to the customer.


1. Since I normally have lots of time to set tiles then finish up grouting the next day are there mortars/grouts that have quicker working times? Pretty sure I've read something about this here on this site but I don't have any first hand experience.
2. Anyone work with Walmart before and have any advise (feel free to PM if it's more appropriate)? I know it will be after hours work and it's approximately 1/2 dz. tiles or so which need replacing but I haven't been on-site yet so don't know too much.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-19-2017, 07:47 PM   #2
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Yes you'll need to use a rapid set mortar if you're wanting a quicker set up. Working time is less but if you have everything ready 6 tiles shouldnt be an issue.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:06 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Matt
are there mortars/grouts that have quicker working times?
Custom Building Products makes SpeedSet in white and gray. You should be able to find the gray in stock at HD. White would be special order. Mapei makes the 2 part Grani Rapid thinset also in white and gray. It would probably need to be a special order. I find fewer distributors are stocking it these days. The SpeedSet is about a third of the cost of GR. Working time can be kinda short depending on your part of the country.
Mapei also makes quick setting grout called Ultracolor.
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
Steve Taylor
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CUSTOM SpeedSet mortar would be an excellent choice for tile repair during the hours the store is closed. Prism grout is also a fast setting grout and is often used when repair work has to be done after hours. Both can be found at most local Home Depot.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:04 PM   #5
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Did work for Khol's Dept Store once. Took 120 days to get paid. Way back in the day the company I worked for had all the A&P (grocery store chain) floor contracts. They paid in 30 days. Those days are long gone. Good luck.

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Old 03-20-2017, 01:17 PM   #6
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Our Ultraflex LFT Rapid would be a good choice for you followed by our rapid-setting grout, Ultracolor Plus FA. You should be able to grab them at most tile stores or your local Lowes or Floor and Decor.

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Old 03-20-2017, 01:20 PM   #7
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Laticrete 253R and Laticrete Permacolor would be a good option also. I just couldn't resist.
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:04 PM   #8
Matt Dworak
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Thanks all, much appreciated!

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Old 03-20-2017, 08:48 PM   #9
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Did a floor repair once for Walmart. Worked during day in roped off area. Was pretty normal, other than 1,000 people walking past you. Keeping equipment out of the reach of all the people was a top concern. I would have rather worked after hours.

Charge a rate that you will make this work worthwhile. No sense in giving a cheap rate in an effort to get a lot more work unless you like being used and donating your time. With this being a super huge corporation, I hope you're working directly for one individual store and one individual manager. That will make decisions exponentially easier and you'll get paid in a reasonable amount of time.

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Old 03-20-2017, 10:18 PM   #10
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I have done a fair bit of this type of repair. Sometimes it's dents or drilled holes in tile, in which case I grind away any dirt and fix it with a 10 minute epoxy. For cracked tiles I remove tile and use Ardex 7R to set it. Mostly I just grout using the thinset instead of grout right as I set the tile. Not by the book, but certainly effective. Mapei Ultraacolour plus FA is another decent fast set grout, especially if you mix it stiff to begin with.

Bring some sort of thin plywood with you to keep tile chips from flying into the merchandise. I budget one hour per tile when I bid these things.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:41 AM   #11
Matt Dworak
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Thanks again guys. I'm not terribly interested in doing work with Walmart but I'm willing to give it a shot. Appreciate the budgeting advise!

I did receive a couple pics from the owners rep and was surprised they let it go this long at a main entrance as I would have thought it'd be a tripping hazard.

I have a pneumatic demo chisel and roto hammer that I was planning on using to pull old tiles. PetrH - what kind of grinder are you using for prep?
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:46 AM   #12
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I use a makita 4" to cut through the grout lines and then a Makita 5" concrete cup grinder to clean up most of the thinset. all with a shop vac for dust collection.
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Old 03-21-2017, 06:52 PM   #13
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Hey Matt,
I do overnight repair work at just about all of the Aldi stores in Ohio. It could be anywhere from 2 tiles up to over 200. They are all either 6"×6" or 8"×8". They are 3/4" thick. We do 1 guy on angle grinder to cut all grout joints, and 1 guy on vacuum right at edge of angle grinder. We then knock them all out with Bosch hammer. Quickly chip away thinset with bosch hammer also. Make sure hole is cleaned out good, and test fit new tile, then move on. When all tiles are removed we set all new ones with Custom speed set, witch is readily available. By the time we finish setting, we take a break, or even a nap, and then go back and grout everything. We just use polyblend natural grey at there request. It does not set fast but by the following morning if it is a large area it can be coned off.
Things to consider when working over night.
-make sure you have everything you need. Materials, extra 4" diamond blade, even extra grinder. Home improvement stores are close that late at night and if your not prepared it could get ugly.
-if you start doing more repair work for them make sure you have a minimum fee, even if it is to replace 1 tile, it's just not worth the driving and set up unless you have a minimum fee.
When we do long distance repairs for Aldi I charge them drive time, milage and hotel cost if that applies. These big companies can be very insistent and even pushy when the need something done, so make it worth your while. They have seen many fly by night hack repair jobs that don't last, so when they find someone that does quality work and shows up when they say they will that company will often stick with you and be willing to pay for your service. Any how good luck to you. Mike
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