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Old 10-26-2004, 09:56 AM   #1
PC2004
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Cool Problems with VersaBond Thinset

I am installing a small area (110+/- square feet) of 6" X 6" X 3/8" gaged slate using VersaBond thinset. I have mixed several small batches of thinset with very good results (excellent adhesion and stable consistency of thinset during installation). I am now setting the edge tiles and have to mix small batches (10 to 12 punds of dry thinset). I carefully weigh the dry thinset and carefully measure the water to obtain hte correct proportions before mixing with a power drill and mixer. The batch that I mixed last night appeared to lose viscosity at about 3 hours in the bucket and appeared to have a small amount of water float to the surface. I continued using the thinset for another 30 minutes or so. This morning I checked what I scraped out of the bottom of the bucket and it was still very damp and did not set up. I am concerned that I may have to pull up and reset the last tiles that I set last night. Has anyone experienced this phenomenon or what happened?
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Old 10-26-2004, 11:17 AM   #2
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Sounds like a combination of things:

1. Contaminates in the bucket prevented good mixing.
2. It was simply too wet.
3. You tried to add water to mixed thinset after it had set for a while.

Are you adequately cleaning out your buckets when you're done with a batch? Are you using clean water?

The more you work with this stuff the faster you realize you get a "feel" for how much water to use simply by looking at how much dry thinset is in the bucket. Roughly 5-6 quarts for a 50 lb bag is required, so you guess based on how much you need to use. If it's too thin after mixing it add some dry thinset to it until it mixes to the right consistency, but if you wait for 10 minutes or so after mixing and add water you may not get it to mix correctly.

It should be firm enough to stay on your margin trowel, but comb out with a notch trowel without tearing. If I have ANY doubts about the batch I just mixed I throw it away. It's a lot cheaper to buy more thinset than it is to spend hours tearing up and resetting tile I already set.

The tiles you set with that questionable thinset may not stay adhered. The thinset may be brittle. You'll have to test them by tapping on them to see if they stay adhered, or time will tell...
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Old 10-26-2004, 12:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

I painstakingly measured the water and the mix appeared to be about the right consistncy (peanut butter). I didn't add any water after the initial mix. I used clean water for the mix and for cleanup. The only thing I can think of is that there may have been some cross-contamination into the mixed thinset from the edge tiles which required back buttering. I presealed the slate with TileLab Matte Sealer & Finish. I suspect that the sealer has some silicone in it but I don't think it shouldn't break down the mix.
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