bathroom rebirth [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-08-2013, 06:16 PM
Hello! I'm new to being a member of this site - not new to reading and searching on this site. I'm so glad this is here and available for us DIYers!

We have gutted and are putting back together a bathroom from forever ago. The house was built around 1906 - sorry haven't been to the recorder's office to find the actual date. The house was listed as 1940's, but there are historical pictures from 1905 - the house didn't exist and then 1907 - there it was in all its glory!

To the point: I've spent a long time searching and haven't found straight answers - so I'd love your help.

We have a 2-apron tub that we are going to tile the surround using
3x6 ceramic subway tiles in a brick pattern with a
listello that is marble and glass brick pattern mosaic.

We have applied Kerdi to the walls - that was scary. Wished I had downloaded John's Kerdi book.

Now it's time to tile. I did download Tile-Your-World.

1. Is TEC Full Flex a good choice for thinset for the tub surround?
2. Do we use Kerdi-Fix between the tub and Kerdi? Or is it too late?
3. How many rows of tile can we do at once? Someone told me only a few because it will fall? I can't imagine that's true - because you guys get the tiling done in a day - don't you? What I got from "Tile Your World" is to let the field tile set up before putting on the listello and then let the listello set before finishing the field tile...thoughts?
4. We used unmodified thinset between wall and Kerdi - if it has any bearing on answers. I think I need more drying time to put up the tile.
5. We had some tiger-striping - is that a huge problem?

I'm sure I have more questions...but that's it for now.


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09-08-2013, 06:30 PM
Welocme, Desri. :)

We have a 2-apron tub that we are going to tile the surround using I, for one don't know what that means. A photo of the tub, perhaps?

1. No. You really need to visit the Schluter website ( and download the Kerdi Shower Installation Handbook and read all about your application. But somewhere in those other reference documents you should have been told to use an un-modified thinset mortar to install tile to Kerdi.

What mortar did you use to install the Kerdi and over what backing material did you install it?

2. Certainly should have done that, preferably to a tiling flange, but I don't know that you have one. The tub surround information in the Installation Handbook shows exactly how best to do that.

3. Using appropriate spacers (or lugs if your tile has'em), you can tile to the ceiling in one lift if you like.

4. You can tile immediately.

5. It certainly can be, but we'll need photos to help you decide.

My opinion; worth price charged.

09-08-2013, 07:29 PM
150539 This is not our actual tub - but ours looks just like it.
Ya - me either. That's what I found it was called by trying to find a term for it.

We used a TEC unmodified mortar with the Kerdi.
That went on top of Durock and Certainteed sheet rock.
2. - No - there really is not a tiling flange and it wasn't until we got to the 3rd application sheet of Kerdi that I remembered about the Kerdi fix - so....we did wet down the backer board, but it still dried so quick - I don't know how we would have applied the Kerdi fix - ugh - it just didn't go as well as I'd hoped - but it seems to be firmly attached. Will that be a problem? The thinset / Kerdi is down to and touching the tub. We did use NP1 between the backer board and tub before applying the Kerdi / thinset.
3. Sounds great!
4. Sorry - I was unclear - I need a longer drying time - in the sense that the unmodified dried very quickly when putting up the Kerdi - does the unmodified give you more time before it skins over?
5. I can't provide photos at this time...sorry...I wish I could!

I thank you for such a quick response! :)

09-08-2013, 07:37 PM
Photo's too small to see much detail, Desri. You can post .jpg photos up to 2Mb in size and our program will accept and re-size them for attachment.

I can see, however, that there can't be a tiling flange on more than two sides, if any, which I suppose is what was meant by "two apron," eh?

Will there be a shower associated with this tub?

09-08-2013, 07:42 PM
Well - I'll take actual close up photos when we get back there this weekend. It's our future retirement home if we don't end up in a nursing home first. :yeah:

There is barely any rise to the 2 wall edge sides of the tub.

I tried to read whether the Full Flex could be used in wet areas and it wasn't clear - but I think it cannot. I shall check the Schluter web site now - I spent hours and days on this several weeks ago - plus on here as well. The place we purchased the Schluter sold us modified latex thinset to apply the Kerdi with and felt that wasn't a good idea based on everything I read here.

09-08-2013, 07:54 PM
Yes - there is a shower associated with the tub. I looked on the Schluter site and I did not find any listing for brands and specific types of thinset - it just says unmodified - which is fine - I'm just hoping it doesn't dry as quickly as it did last weekend.

I did wet the backer board repeatedly until it didn't dry as quickly and we didn't have any ventilation / air movement.

It feels like it (Kerdi) is attached firmly.

What brand of unmodified thinset do you prefer when you tile over Kerdi?

My husband and I appreciate your responses!

09-08-2013, 08:01 PM
Does this help? It seems a bit bigger. You can see the issue of not having a flange better with this one I think. Thanks!

As I'm sure you can tell - we are complete novices to the tiling world. If we could afford to we would have gladly paid someone to do this particular job.

Originally we planned to put in a niche - sadly we backed out due to concern for us making a mistake and that leading to water damage. This is the 2nd floor we've replaced in this house due to the previous owners just letting water do as it pleased, so we don't want that to happen again. We are also going to have to demo and replace the upstairs bathroom floor before renovating it. It has a clawfoot tub - no shower. We are thinking of putting a shower in the bathroom - but we'll see whether it gets added to the clawfoot or gets its own spot in the room.

09-08-2013, 08:23 PM
Wow! I wish I would have joined this forum prior to us putting up the Kerdi - I did not see this handbook on the Schluter website. We watched the video and read all we could but somehow missed the installation handbook. It is exactly what I kept trying to find as far as how to use the Kerdi fix and apply the Kerdi membrane. We weren't told anything about the Kerdi band. It would have made it so much easier and less stressful. UGH!

1. Concerning the Kerdi band with the Kerdi fix - is there anyway to rectify this situation - the fact that we did not put Kerdi fix and Kerdi band down? Recall we did put NP1 down between the CBB and the tub.

09-08-2013, 08:44 PM
Can't comment much without seeing what it is that you did do at the Kerdi/tub joint.

Those old cast iron tubs with the little bump for a tiling flange are difficult to waterproof using the best of methods.

There is no requirement in a Kerdi installation that the Kerdi Band be used at the tub/wall junction, it just makes it easier. You can bond the full sheet of Kerdi the same way if you want, it's just pretty difficult to do it well even with a helper.

Show us what you've got now and maybe someone will have a suggestion.

My opinion; worth price charged.

09-09-2013, 07:14 PM
I will absolutely take some close up photos this weekend and repost.

Yes, it was difficult. I wish I had found that handbook prior to applying the Kerdi - I don't know how I missed it honestly. That's not my norm. I research things until I can't see straight. The Kerdi band would have made it soooooooooooo much easier. My researching is what is having me question so much the type of thinset to use. One place says this, another says use this one. I do see we should use unmodified.

1. Is there a particular brand of thinset any one prefers that is easier to work with than another? I've tried to find the Laticrete 272 - I believe. I've had no luck. Maybe I just haven't looked in the right places. Mapei is available, some TEC.

2. Do we need to use a different mortar on the glass/marble mosaic tiles that we are using as a listello?

3. Is it ok to peel the bottom edge of the Kerdi and put down Kerdi Fix and reattach the Kerdi to it?

09-10-2013, 05:04 PM
We are going to be tiling our tub surround when I get over my fear of doing it. We have Kerdi installed using TEC unmodified thinset. I've read where we are to use unmodified thinset...BUT...we are going to be putting up a border that is a 12"x12" mosaic of glass and marble tiles on a mesh backing. The rest of the tile is white ceramic 3x6 subway tile.

1. Is it okay to use unmodified for glass marble tile as well?

09-10-2013, 05:17 PM
FWIW, I've personally seen glass tile and wall mosaics that were installed before the birth of Christ...believe me, they did not have modified thinsets back then! (I lived in Jordan and Kuwait for a while back a number of years.)

You want to use a white thinset so you don't get greyish discolorations, and you may want to back butter (i.e., place a thin coating of thinset on the back of the tile) before you install them to hide the ridges. SOme people comb it out, then flatten the ridges, but either way, you do need to get intimate contact - your grout float can help you bed the tile in while keeping the sheet flat. Look at them carefully, and if you can see any grout ridges, pull them off and try again or press harder (don't crack them! but when using a fairly big thing like a grout float, you'd have to try hard or have something hard in the thinset to do that).

09-10-2013, 05:20 PM
Desri, it'll help if you'll keep all your project questions on one thread so folks can see what you're working on and what's been previously asked and answered. If you don't think you're getting a timely response, make another post to your thread and bump it to the top of the queue for attention. :)

1. Every manufacturers of tile setting products makes a range of bonding mortars. Pick the brand that's most accessible to you, they're all good.

2. If the glass time manufacturer makes a recommendation on type of thinset mortar, I'd follow that. They usually want a modified mortar meeting A118.4. Herr Schluter will not get terribly upset about an accent strip.

3. Waiting for the photos.

1, again. See #2 above.

My opinion; worth price charged.

09-10-2013, 05:50 PM
Jim - thanks so much for that information on the glass tile! Just a question - I've been told the unmodified will damage the marble - was that a bunch of nonsense? My brother-in-law has always said - look in the dictionary under gullable and there's my picture. I try always to make that a fictitious statement - but sometimes - there I am. What's FWIW??

Cx - sorry - I couldn't find my previous post. Since - I've found the place and thought about searching my name because I couldn't remember my title. Some days ... getting old sucks - I'll leave it at that. I'm sorry I'm pushing needing this info before the pics. The problem is where the house is located there are very few options for thinset of any kind and so I have to be well planned with materials before we go and we're wanting to get it tiled. There are no tiling stores open there on weekends. The only Big Box is L. They have very limited options for thinset. I was so excited when we went to the local hardware store and found the TEC Full Flex...but I decided to wait until I could get back to the internet and make sure that was the right one - only to find that no - not a good idea - so I'm glad I waited - but I need to purchase a thinset before we go back. It's a 2 hour drive.

We've had the Kerdi for almost a month and finally got the courage to put it up - but by the time we did I'd forgotten as I said earlier about the Kerdi Fix. As for the manufacturer - the mosaic came from L and no instructions of any kind and 2 calls to the store, no call backs and no information. Both times they made me believe they would call back. The hardware store did have some Versabond - but I'm not sure it wasn't modified also.

Any direction from people that actually do tile and not just sell it is greatly appreciated. Since I'm brand new to tiling - the direction of a thinset that's easier to work with - more time before it skins over - etc. is much appreciated. Not trying to :deadhorse: Thank you, thank you. I'll get better at this board / forum thing. :nod:

09-10-2013, 06:40 PM
I've been told the unmodified will damage the marble - was that a bunch of nonsense?Yes.

Desri, if you have access to Versabond I would personally be quite happy to buy that and use it for every application you have thus far indicated you have. It will work quite well, although not recommended by the Kerdi manufacturer.

It will void any warranty on the Schluter product, but you don't really care. If you have any kind of failure in your shower construction it will not be because of a failure of the Kerdi. Kerdi is a sheet membrane. If it doesn't have holes in it, it will work as advertised and it will do so when installed using Versabond. If it doesn't work as advertised, you did something wrong. It's really that simple.

We try always to have our visitors read and follow manufacturer's instructions here, but I have personally made snowballs (or white thinset mortar balls, which is difficult to say) using Versabond and put them in ZipLock bags, then put that bag in another ZipLock bag. Next day the snowball resembles a rock. It'll work in your application.

If you find a good quality un-modified thinset mortar, use that. If you can't, use the Versabond.

My opinion; worth price charged.

09-11-2013, 05:34 PM
Thank you, thank you!

Your response brings up another question.


We are attaching a grab bar / soap dish. Other than putting screws through the membrane - I don't know what else you would do...

1. What do we do to best safeguard against water damage?

09-11-2013, 06:09 PM
1. Are there a variety of different Versabond thinsets? If so - which one should I use?

2. Isn't Versabond a modified thinset? or am I just misunderstanding how they use the word fortified?

Help!!! I'm ready for some black and white in my world... :sigh:

09-11-2013, 06:16 PM
Fastener penetrations in vertical surfaces of a wet area are frequently unavoidable and not usually problematic. you'll simply wanna fill the hole with a 100 percent silicone sealant or, since you have some, Kerdi Fix, before you insert the fasteners.

I know of only one Versabond, ( but it comes in two colors. You get to pick your favorite color, so long as it's white or gray. :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

09-11-2013, 06:23 PM
Sounds sensible.

white thinset mortar balls, which is difficult to say good stuff there! :wohoo:

OK - so Versabond (but which one? or is there only 1?) - good, TEC Full Set Plus - good - Mapei---of some sort?

I think these are the ones I have available in unmodified - so Versabond fortified is unmodified? Sorry - I'm sure I'm way over analyzing - but after tearing out half the bathroom floor from water damage - I don't want less than great product put back in.

09-11-2013, 06:26 PM
Great choices! I'm feeling white - due to the glass tile - although - I may place it over a gray background and see before I jump with the choice of white.

Thank you millions of times!:deadhorse I think I can slowly put the stick down and take deep breaths.

09-11-2013, 06:27 PM
How much do you charge and can you come to Missouri this weekend?

No - I'll be okay..................:sick:

09-29-2013, 05:41 PM
Okay - so I thought I would update. We - to date - have purchased 1 bag of TEC Full Flex, 2 bags of Sturdy Set 1 gray and 1 white, seems like there is 1 other and then we purchased a bag of white Versabond - Thanks CX!! We used part of the Sturdy Set gray to attach the Kerdi to the wall - by part I mean enough to complete the job.

Finally felt ready to tile this weekend after deciding to forget about purchasing all the other thinset and bought the white Versabond - white because of some glass tiles. I think it went well - considering our first time tiling EVER. I tiled all but 1 row....that's a story not necessary.

The first batch of thinset was a bit to runny - but the tiles are still attached to the wall so I guess it worked.

The next batch was perfect. I also used 2 different trowels - finding the tad bit bigger one the better option for the 3x6 white ceramic subway tiles. I did go back to the smaller one for the glass/marbel mosaic tile.

09-29-2013, 05:54 PM
Not sure what happen to my pics. I'll try again.
As you can see no real tiling flange on our tub.

09-29-2013, 05:56 PM
Okay - having trouble uploading pics. I think the files are too large - is there a way to make it work?

09-29-2013, 06:06 PM
Our program will accept .jpg files up to 2Mb and resize them for posting. If your file size is larger than that, you'll need to reduce it.

Program usually tells you if the file is too large. If you're not getting that error message, I dunno what might be wrong. You're using the paper-clip icon above the Reply dialog box?

09-29-2013, 06:14 PM
Yes - well it says it can't upload - so my guess is the size and then I searched and found where it says to use Irfanview - so that's what I'm trying.

09-29-2013, 06:25 PM
I think that did the trick - be honest - how does it look?

09-29-2013, 06:26 PM
The middle picture is during demo - taking out the horrid floor from the water damage under the tub...this is why I have been so stressed about making sure we were waterproofing adequately.

09-29-2013, 06:42 PM
a last few pics for tonight

Houston Remodeler
09-29-2013, 06:58 PM
Very nice work Desri !

09-29-2013, 07:10 PM
These are the reasons you keep up on caulking your tub and any and all water issues in your home:
These are day 1 of ownership and the beginning of demo. I promise we did not use the toilet in that condition - grossssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09-29-2013, 07:15 PM
Thank you Houston Remodeler:dance:! It was worth all the stress and research I put myself through. Still learning and made several mistakes - but it's up and doesn't look too bad. Hopefully the wall under the shower head will go as well.

09-29-2013, 07:25 PM
:yipee:I did want to say thank you to CX for suggesting Versabond. It worked great for me. The tiles stuck quite well to it when I pulled some off to see if I was getting full coverage, etc. Thank you! It seemed to work quite well with the glass/marble mosaic as well. BTW - not a fan of putting that stuff up. I didn't realize how much it would move around - even being on a mesh and the fact that the tiles were uneven sizes was a tad stressful when putting up the following rows of subway tile and trying to get it back to level. Anyway - thank you!!:tup2: