Float Strip Question? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-08-2004, 08:06 PM
Good Morning, When I install a float strip to the mortar (lattice stick), I am assuming that the widest portion will be resting on the mud. Is this correct? Sorry for the dumb questions, but believe me I have learned alot and would not want to jeopardize this mudding art. I figure without the proper know how and just jury rigging it, others who saw my work would also jury rig there's and the art could be transformed in time to the improper talent that this job has. Thanks Nutty

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03-08-2004, 08:18 PM
Hi Nutty, you'll want to run a mud screed up the wall where you want the stick to go. The mud can be 3/4 thick or so. Put the stick in the wet mud ( Yes, flat side against the mud) and tap it in with your level til it's plumb. Another thing that's good about mud work is you can make your walls square to one another when setting the sticks.;)

03-08-2004, 08:37 PM
Thank You Davy, If I do this procedure on all three shower walls, would they automatically be 90 degrees to each other or will I be using a framing square. The reason I am kind of confused is because (I am refering to one wall this sentence) if I place two lattice sticks on one wall, you say about 6-8 inches from ends, than I plumb them both. Well now I have two perfectly straight float strips, BUT what if one is further in the wall than the other, that part I don,t understand, can you help....THANKS.... I was reading clowny's thread, man she came a long way on her project, that is really amazing..

05-04-2004, 08:57 PM
Nuttypines has asked a key critical question! that must be answered in detail. How can you determine if the 1st float strip is at the same depth as the 2nd float strip?- say to within 1/16"? Floating strips are just plumb by themselves but how can you make them level to each other? What reference point do you use? Thanks -----Bill

05-04-2004, 09:49 PM
Not a tile man ,but they will give us the correct answer later. I would guess you start with plumb square walls. Opposite walls the same distance apart from top to bottom. If not fur to correct this. Then I would embed my lattice at the same points on opposite walls and check measurements as I set the strips. Then screed up or down from (side to side)strip to strip. You could also cut apiece of scrap the correct distance(like a story pole) and run it against the strips as you set them ,then screed off the excess mud. JB will give us the correct answer as this is just guess.David

05-04-2004, 10:44 PM
Actually all, it's much more wacky than that. You don't want to meassure the depth of your float because you aren't likely to get a sheetrock walls that's exactly plumb or have the studs behind it exactly on the same plane. Instead, you will meassure from a referance line outside of your float. In the case of a bath-tub wall, you would measure from the face of your tub to the face of the float strip. Once you've set two strips this way (around 6" to 8" from the corners), you will have a float-plane which is parrallell with the face of your tub.
But I usually just scratch a coat across the whole wall first and then lay up a ridge of mud about 4" wide. Into this I set my float strips by lining the top of the strip up with the top of the mud ridge and then giving the bottom of the strip a little "snap". This will "stick" the strip into the ridge quite nicely. :) I don't tap my float strips into place though . Instead, I lay my 6' spirit level on top of the float strip and press both level and float strip into the mud ridge with an up-and-down motion. By easing the strip into place in this way, I find that I have less hassel with compacted high spots or lows from too much "bangin", and even bowed float strips flatten out. While I'm rubbing the float strip into place, I keep my eye on the top of the strip and just "eyeball' it.
Setting the side walls is done the same way. After I've pulled the float strips and filled the channels they've left in the float, I'll clean up most of my tools and get everything set up to start setting. This usually gives the float a little more time to firm up and I can then use a framing square riding along the rear wall to square up the walls if neccessary. Drop a plumb line down the center of your rear wall and you are ready to set tile!
Best of luck and kudos to you for playin' in the mud!,

05-04-2004, 11:51 PM
Shaughnn, Throwing a hypothetical at you, I forgot to tell you that the plumber who was in a hurry and a hack to boot put the cast iron tub in a little cock-eyed where the front of the tub was closer to the studs than the rear of the tub. Drain is already connected and the tub does weigh in excess of 350 lbs. Whatcha goin' to do now? Can't trust the studs and now can't trust the tub. "Eyeballin" doesn't cut muster with engineers. What's your point of reference now? Regards, ---Bill

05-05-2004, 12:06 AM
Well I am a plumber, and I'd say you can still move the tub a little,especially if you can loosen the drain connection. Just because it weighs 350 doesn't mean it won't move. It may not be square in the opening. Most cast iron tubs are 5 footers and are pretty accurate as opposed to fiberglass ones. The tub should be resting on a 2x along the back wall. It should have been installed parrell to the floor a measured distance so that the cast iron feet rest on the floor. Sounds like the plumber didn't get it pushed up flat to the wall and square in the hole. A bowed stud can cause this especially in a corner. David

05-05-2004, 12:19 AM
Use any line along the back of the tub as your referance then. You can hold a torpedo level on the inside of the tub and meassure from that if you like? The point is, and I wasn't clear on this before, is to find a common referance line for both of your float strips. If your "reveal" along the edge of the tub is uniform, no one will notice that the float is 1/2" thicker in one corner than it is in the other. If they do notice that, ask them why they didn't volunteer to come over and put your tile in for you? :)
Best of luck,
PS: If you paid a tradesman to install something and you find that it was done incorrectly, call him back and insist that it's done right. Just because the check clears doesn't mean that a hack is safe from a slighted client, expecially if you've got the patience to be a REAL pain in the keister.

05-05-2004, 06:56 PM
If the tile walls only go up 5-6 ft from the tub you can mearsure the distance behind your screed sticks to the sheetrock at the top. I like keeping the mud thickness 1/2 -5/8 but go thicker to plumb up if needed.;)

05-06-2004, 08:35 AM
Good mornin Bill (unregistered).

You sound like a real savvy guy. :nod:

What's your take on the situation....how would you proceed?

05-06-2004, 08:02 PM
Is this a hypothetical thread? :confused:

Welcome Bill :)

Thanks for your 1st name! How about coming aboard and registering? What part of the country (or what country) are you located? :shades:

05-07-2004, 04:11 PM
Well I thought I might reply and say to try to use an exterior wall as a point of reference because the building lines are usually rather straight. If the studs next to the tub are off you can try shimming the stud prior to placing the wire lath on. By the way my father was an old Florida mud man himself back in the 1940s through 1980s and I spent many a summer's day in the new condo construction "sweatboxes" where the temps would hover in the 120s. Got paid $5.00/ 8 hour day and lunch was paid by him. We'd throw up 10 greenboard "tubhops" a day and hit the bars to rehydrate. All the tilesetters drank sometimes to excess. Those were the good ole days ----Bill

05-07-2004, 04:34 PM
Hi Bill :)

I'd like to pitch in about your exterior wall good point of reference theory. Did a job in AZ when I was first starting in the business. The carpenters level was off, and every exterior wall was about 3/4" out. Heck I could do better without a level. :bang:

Drank sometimes to excess? :loaded: :D

05-07-2004, 04:47 PM
Where 'bouts in Florida you located Bill? People always looking for a good mud man.

Even more people looking for good framers that can pewt up da wall straight. ;)

05-07-2004, 05:14 PM
Tampa Bay area. No, I was smart, my Daddy told me to go to college and that's what I did. Now I'm a professional and make a decent tile setters weekly pay, each day working in an air conditioned environment. Breathing that portland, grout and thinset each day will get ya in the grave rather early! My daddy taught me to lay mud on one tubhop when I was 12 years old. We were working on some condos for 7 or 8 days and he designated one tub as mine. I was to lay the mud so he could tile it. He wanted each layer only 1/2" thick and at the end of each day he would find a flaw in my work and take the masonry rake and scratch it. He'd say start again tomorrow. So the next morning I'd get out the float strips ,mix my mud and throw the next 1/2" layer on. At the end of the day he'd check on my progress and something else wasn't up to his level of perfection and scratch it with the rake. This went on for 8 solid days and the walls were now 4 inches thick. All the other tubs were mudded and grouted and mine was the last one. At the end of the 8 th day he proclaimed the mud wall I had worked on was perfect for tiling and the next day he tiled it. Can you imagine a 4 inch mud wall! LOL. So I learned to throw mud on one tubhop. --- True story too. Regards, ---Bill

05-07-2004, 05:57 PM
Shoulda tol papa you were hankerin to go into the military and build Forts for the Army....just needed to perfect that skillset. Besides, build them walls thick enough and you don't need AC. And whoever did anything right, working for their papa anyway?!

So what's Tampa Bay like today Bill? Wind, rain and more of the same up North where I come from.

05-07-2004, 09:51 PM
Must have been one of those tubs with a 4" ledge! :confused:


Do you have some reason you're not registering. Sounds like you have a lot to share with us! :)

05-08-2004, 01:07 AM
Grasshoppa, one need not register to share wisdom.

05-08-2004, 07:26 AM
Hmm, Some people just ain't "joiners" I suppose?