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Old 12-05-2008, 11:23 AM   #1
boones
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disposing of extra thinset, cleaning tools

I've been mixing up small batches of thinset and laying a few tiles each day. I then need to cleanup my tools and bucket. I know I can't wash it down the sink or risk plugging my drains, but it has been below freezing outside and I can't use the hose. I usually scrape out as much as possible into the garbage, fill with water from inside the house and dump it outside. Then I take the tools into my slop sink and wash them off. I'm sure some sand is going down the drain, so I'd rather not continue doing this. Any better way to cleanup tools without outdoor running water?
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:25 PM   #2
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I use my water bucket to clean trowels up & the end of day. Then I will find a spot I can rake back the pine straw/leaves/mulch whatever to dump the dirty water then rake the cover back over it.

As far as excess thin set - Don't you know you aren't allowed to stop work while there is still thin set in the bucket!

If you do have a little left over, scrap it into an empty thin set bag or onto a pc of scrap tile until it hardens.

You could also practice with your yard bunnies with the extra thin set

Regardless - stop puttin down the drain - you are asking for trouble doing that.
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:43 PM   #3
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Hey Matt, you might want to do the initial washing of your tools in a clean bucket partially filled with water and just dump that water outside, too. Give the bucket a rinse after dumping it outside and you can avoid the sand going down the drain. Or you could get the heavy stuff off in water in the first bucket and give them a final wash in the clean bucket.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:21 PM   #4
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I recently tested and found that even small amounts of thinset harden like a rock in the bottom of a bucket full of water. I now have adapted the following plan for dealing with thinset:

I buy new buckets from Home Depot or wherever and I leave the thinset in the bucket and toss it when it is hard. For $5 or less I have peace of mind that I am not plugging my drains, and I use a fresh bucket for each day's work with thinset.

For the tools I keep a bucket 3/4 filled with water and I wash the tools using a brush in the bucket. Then I let the water settle and pour it off a week or so later after all the thinset has hardened or settled to the bottom. I make sure to decant off the water only. If I am washing tools day after day I just keep the bucket around and use the same water day after day.

This prevents me from dumping any thinset down the drains and is a pretty low cost solution for peace of mind.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Then I will find a spot I can rake back the pine straw/leaves/mulch whatever to dump the dirty water then rake the cover back over it.
John ,thats exactly what I do !!!
In the summer when I`m working on homes with gravel drives I`ll rake/dig a hole/depression in the gravel then pour my waste water in the hole & rake some clean gravel over it!!


Matt , What Frank, John & Brook said!
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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I was going to suggest Brook's "new bucket" method, but I didn't want to seem too "un-green." But with orange Homer Buckets at $2.89 a pop, it's awfully tempting.

I still have a bunch of gently-used ones sitting around from doing my mud floor and that would be a good way to put them to use.
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:36 PM   #7
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I scrape excess thinset into a pile on a chunk of blue tarp. After it hardens in a day, it's easy to pick up and toss in the trash.

I wash my tools in a bucket and dry em off. More water in the bucket, scrape around with a margin trowel and toss in the snow.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:07 PM   #8
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I buy new buckets from Home Depot or wherever and I leave the thinset in the bucket and toss it when it is hard. For $5 or less I have peace of mind that I am not plugging my drains, and I use a fresh bucket for each day's work with thinset.
I can't do that - that's alot of money on buckets in a weeks/months/years time - I don't buy more than 1 or 2 buckets a year - only emergency situations - the rest of the time I follow the sheetrock guys or the stucco guys or the paint guys.....or watch for those roadside freebies!


I can probably make a bucket last for weeks before I toss it - if not longer.

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If I am washing tools day after day I just keep the bucket around and use the same water day after day
Naa - I can't do that - I gotta have clean water a time or two a day - definitely not same water day after day.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:34 PM   #9
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Matt,

Well, you now have plenty of suggestions about cleaning the buckets.

My question is; Why do you only installing a few sq. ft. per day? Man that could take a long time to install even a small area. Heck, it takes 15-20 minutes just to mix a batch before you can use it. Installing a few ft takes what....a few minutes?

What are you doing?

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Old 12-05-2008, 10:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
I buy new buckets from Home Depot or wherever and I leave the thinset in the bucket and toss it when it is hard.
I have never in 20 years ever bought a bucket. I get them for where ever I can for free. I clean them with a rough scrubby and use a scrub brush on the trowels. I always have a full bucket of fresh water for cleaning. Just set up an area where you clean the stuff and throw the skank water outside. Just make sure when it's below freezing your hands are dry when you come back in otherwise your hand will stick to the door knob. Like mine did today!
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:49 PM   #11
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I appreciate the advice, thanks.

Why a few feet at a time?

1. this is my first tile job on a wall
2. I'm a perfectionist, i measure, measure, measure
3. I'm a engineer by day and mostly just punch at a computer, so i have about 2 hours per day to work on the job, that has to include cleanup
4. Uh, I'm slow, I guess

Here is the system taht is working for me now, but it does suck because it's 20 degrees out now and the wind is howling. I'm filing a bucket of clean water in my slop sink. I then clean my tools and smaller bucket as best I can in that, take outside and dump it. I repeat this 2-3 times to get everything clean. Did I mention I'm a perfectionist?
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