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Old 03-09-2005, 07:20 PM   #1
tommyt
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thin-set application

I have never put down any thin-set before. Could someone please explain the process.

Thanks

Tom
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:24 PM   #2
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Wow, a newbies newbie..just kiddin...the thinset is a drymix of portland and sand,it's mixed with enough water to spread like frosting,or pancake batter,with a notch trowel..it looks like teeth,to get an even coverage over the floor to lay your tile on top of wiggling it to mash it into the thinset so it gets covered on the back almost totally,keeping the tile flat with no corners sticking up.....whew
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:22 PM   #3
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Thanks Davestone. I've got the basics down (ie. have read about it in detail) but I've got no hands on experience. I'm going to put down some white 1 inch mosaic hexagon tiles that are on a sheet with a mesh backing but I'm trying to figure out

i) how deep/thick the thinset should be and how to get it on level
ii) what size noched trowl to use
iii) how far down to push the tile into the thin-set and how to keep it (the tiles) level.

iv) what to do if thinset squeezes up between the tiles
v) what to do if pieces of the backing mesh squeeze up as well.

The tiles will go on a concrete slab in the bathroom. I know these are a lot of questions...I appreciate any advice. Thanks

Tom
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:42 PM   #4
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First, the floor needs to be pretty flat, and you need a 3/16 V notch trowel, and a small flat board, maybe a 1x6, or 1x8 to flatten the tile after you lay it on the thinset.I like to get my line on the floor where i'm gonna start,then comb out my square about the size of one sheet then put the tile down, then comb out another square, then grab the next sheet with both hands and place it halfway on top the othe sheet, and slide it across it until it falls into place up against the installed sheet.I put down a couple sheets then tap with my board, and wipe up any thinset that oozes up with a wet sponge...keep wiping and try not to let any thinset stick up above the face of the tile.If any does, the next morning it will still be soft enough to use a utility knife,grout saw, or a nail to scrape it out of the joints a little better.You gotta keep the thinset below the face of the tile,or it'll come through the grout and look terrible. Don't worry about light thinset haze, you can wipe it off the next day, but all this cleaning has to happen by the next day otherwise it'll get too hard, and be a real pain,if you wait more than a day. Nd try to keep about the same angle on the trowel as you spread, cause that is what sets your height of thinset,and thus the flatness of the tile.
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Old 03-09-2005, 08:54 PM   #5
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Not a pro...

Mix up your thinset to the consistancy like Dave said. Mix it in small amounts like 1/4 or 1/3 bag. It helps if you put water in the bottom of the bucket first and add the dry to it. Wear a dust mask cause it's very light and will float in the air as you pour it. I wrote a whole bunch about mixing it here (I must have felt like typing or something )

i) The thickness of your thinset will be determined by what size trowel you use. The size trowel you should use depends on how big your tile is not sure if thickness of the tile matters or not. You apply it by scooping a bit out of the bucket and slopping it down in the grid you're about to tile (you do have a grid don't ya?) You want to keep your trowel at a low angle and with the flat edge 'burn' the thinset into whatever surface you're tiling (cement, wood, backerboard...). The term burning means basically to fill all the pours. I probably was pushin too hard cause I practically had a blister by the time I finished tiling! Then you want to get enough thinset onto your grid so that you can hold the notched edge of the trowel at about 90 degrees and rake the thinset. I found it was easiest to smear some more thinset ontop of what I burned on then add a bit of thinset to the notched edge of the trowel and rake it. I would start at the edge of the last row of tiles and rake away from them not across. Going across seemed to gunk up the tiles I just set too much. After you rake the thinset, it should retain it's form (the grooves) and only slump a wee bit. You can always add more thinset and rake again to achieve full grooves.

ii) ask the pros.

iii) I found by placing the new tile to the edges of what is already set then dragging it toward my desired spacer distance I minimized the amount of thinset that was in the joint. You don't want it to gush into the joint if it does you might need to use a smaller trowel. You want to give it a bit of pressure and a little twist. The pros use a beater block (I think that's what it's called) which is basically a short 2x4 that straddles over your tiles and with a rubber mallet tap the block to get the tiles even to each other. Don't forget to check for coverage by prying up a tile now and again. Don't know how you do that with the ones set on the mesh. You also don't want to mess around too much with getting each tile perfect at first. Set em in there where they go and then get em all squared up. If you let the thinset sit there too long it will start to set up and loose it's tackiness and your bond won't be nearly as good or good at all.

iv) if it squeezes up between the tile, wipe it. You can use a spacer and run it down the joint to clean the joint. Use a damp (not wringing wet cause you don't want water to sit in the joint) and wipe the joint. I believe the most important things to be concerned about with thinset depth is that you don't have TOO much in there and that it's not stuck near the top where it will show up later when you grout. I've been told that too much thinset is more than 1/2 filled. I used a spacer, but it was small and I would get thinset on my fingers so I started using a slender piece of wood (a paint stick that I split to be exact) to scoop out the extra stuff; I used a grout brush at one point, but I think that was excessive. Someone said I could squish the tiles together then wipe the excess off the top, that worked, but left way too much cleaning.

v) I wouldn't think the backing would squish up. If it does I'm thinking you're messin around with the tile too much.

I'm thinkin that's about all I know (or think I know)
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:00 PM   #6
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Yeah and what Dave said He's the pro!
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:33 PM   #7
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This is great advice. Thanks a lot.

I still have a question about "burning" the thin set and then raking/combing the thin-set with the notched trowel.

After the thinset is "burned" do I push down hard with the trowel on the notched side so that it scrapes the floor under the applied thin-set? Will the bottom of the groves in the thin-set be the bare floor at that point?
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:42 PM   #8
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burning is to "back trowel" using the flat side then rake, well u shouldnt see sparks when doin it just keep it uniform!
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Old 03-09-2005, 10:05 PM   #9
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Cool,
But when I rake should I be touching the floor under the thin-set I have just put down?
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Old 03-09-2005, 10:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyt
Cool,
But when I rake should I be touching the floor under the thin-set I have just put down?
sure it dont really matter .
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Old 03-10-2005, 04:55 AM   #11
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It might help keep the thinset uniform if you scrape the floor, though, since your using sheet tile, that could help the flatness, and oozing a whole lot.Oh, yeah, and what shutterbug said,and R.I.Flooring, Never has so much been said about so little to so few
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