Concrete prep. [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-11-2001, 01:56 PM
I know this topic has been covered, but I wanted a little more info. The following was my last post on I was hoping for a follow-up from John, but I will gladly accept advice from others. The thread concerned tiling over cutback.

Nice web site, John.
I noticed in your forum that you mentioned Versa Bond from Home Depot as a product that will work. That is a latex thinset mortar, right? I already have my bags of thinset (which can go back, I'm sure). Doesn't HD sell a latex additive that I can use with standard thinset? Which would be the best choice? I know either is going to cost more, but I've had these tiles for about two years and I have to get this done soon or I'm going to end up divorced.

The website for Laticrete said you should test to make sure that it is not water-soluble cutback? What is your view?

Also, should I use some type of cleaner before I start?

Sorry to sound so wimpy, but I just don't want a major disaster.

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John Bridge
07-11-2001, 03:38 PM
Hi Zel, Welcome aboard.

You can use the latex addmix with the thin set you have. I wouldn't be afraid to do that, and I know Versa Bond works.

The Laticrete modified actually says on the bag that it can be used over cutback. To my knowledge there is no water soluble cutback because we're talking about asphalt emulsion, which is solvent base (oil base). If you're not sure, do a water test. Make a puddle and let it stand a few minutes.

I think Laticrete is sold at Lowes as well as a number of tile stores.

You can sweep and go over the floor with a damp sponge, just to pick up dust, etc. No scrubbing needed.

If there are any areas where the cutback seems to be flaking, they should be removed down to the concrete. Flaking usually indicates an improper bond to the concrete.

Oh, one more thing, Zel. There's a guy who hangs around here by the name of Art. Don't let him talk you into gluing cork to the floor. I think he has an interest in a plantation somewhere, maybe in Florida.

07-12-2001, 07:21 AM
Thanks, John. This is all news I wanted to hear. Would you prefer any of these over the others, or are they all about the same difference? I would just assume use the best thing in order to ease my mind.

I'm almost afraid to ask, but your comment about it being water soluble made me think about it. There was a crack in the basement wall and water used to come in regularly. In a few areas that the water would contact the black stuff has worn away some and it is easier to scrape up. But, this is the result of years' worth of leakage. My thinking is that even though this stuff is probably asphalt based, the continued wetting of it would cause it to let go over time. Am I right? It is not an indication of some other type of material is it? In other areas, it is very difficult to scrape.
Just wondering.

John Bridge
07-12-2001, 02:12 PM
No, it's asphalt. Just make sure nothing is loose. If you really want it bullet-proof, use the super dooper flex. I think Customs is "Flex Bond." Costs about $25 per sack.

07-12-2001, 03:02 PM
Have we determined the substrate?

If its plywood, use cement backer board.

If it's slab on grade and the cut back has been removed to the best of your ability and is sound, Multi-purpose thin set should work.

By all means do a test area. Let it set for a few days and see how hard it is to remove.

Other wise use cork!!! LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Art (somewhere out in the plantation,in Portugal?) Phenis

John Bridge
07-12-2001, 07:47 PM
Is it Portugal? I've never really known where cork comes from. (Except from out of those cheap wines that come from Europe, of course.)

Rob, can you bail us out here?

Rob Z
07-12-2001, 07:56 PM

My sister and her husband just finished a tour in Portugal (Gray is a major in the US Army), and they told me that Portugal's main claim to fame is being a world leader in the production of cork for wine bottles.

So, unfortunaely, Art is correct while being a smart ass again.

(Everyone ignore it, it will only encourage him).


07-12-2001, 08:18 PM
50% from Portugal, 25% from Spain and the balance from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, France and Italy.

The trees are stripped of 2/3 of their cork, the first time when they are approx. 20 years and then every 9 years until the tree is 150 years old and then is replaced by a younger tree.

Believe it or not cork has not less than 200 million, completely enclosed air cells, each measuring 1/1000" in diameter, per cubic inch. That is why it works so well as an accustic.

The stripping requires great skill as the inner bark must not be damaged by the specially desingned hatchet used for the stripping.

Each cell is 14 sided to avoid empty spaces between cells.
These pysical properties provide cork with all the advantages: Buoyancy, compressibility, resiliency, resistance to moisture and liquid penetration, frictional quality, low thermal conductivity, ability to absorb vibration and stability.

Cork is a tough, durable substance with remakable capacity for retaining its intial properties wherever recomendedd.The high degree of stability under varying conditions is paramount ot the continuing success and use of cork today.

Now I know this is contrary to some of the comments that have been posted previously, but when is the last time you saw cork not doing it's job?

Oh, by the way John, they grow in forests, not down on the plantation.


Rob Z
07-12-2001, 08:51 PM
Hey Art

We agreed on something! Yay! I'm not surprised that you have all the trivia down pat when it comes to drinking.

Quick Trivia-how many ml's in a 12 oz can of beer? No fair looking at the the can of Pabst in front of you.

You'll be glad to know that I am using the Bonsal Proslope and curb next week. And the Bonsal Pro caulk for the curb.

I'll be saving 100's of dollars in labor.


Bud Cline
07-12-2001, 09:26 PM
......and to think I rushed home from Dairy Queen for this!

Let's tile something for God's sake.

07-13-2001, 04:23 AM
Ml, I don't have a clue. Sounds foreign to me.

Now for me being called a smart ass, it sure beats the alternative, which is what I'm usually reffered to.

Remember the cork trees at Valderama? During the Rider cup a
few years ago in Spain.

Don't forget Rob, you can use the curb for knee walls as well. Don't throw away the pieces.


07-13-2001, 06:52 AM
Good God, people. I thought we were talking about my desperate efforts to keep my marriage alive by getting my CONCRETE BASEMENT FLOOR tiled. This place is full of more know-it-all Cliff Clavens than the homebrewing forum that I visit ...
I don't think I'll go with $25 a bag. I think I'll probably take my chances with latex addmix. Of course, that stuff ain't cheap either, is it? Well, anyway, I'll check out the options suggested.
Thanks a lot folks.
John, I sent a couple emails to you yesterday and they got returned. You may want to check things out.

I'll never think of cork the same way again ...

John Bridge
07-13-2001, 05:44 PM
Thanks for the email tip, Zel. I'll check it out.

Please don't think that because we talk about a bunch of stuff in these posts that we're not prepared to answer each and every question you have.


07-13-2001, 08:36 PM
Guys,the Flexbond,while being a good product is WAAAAY overpriced!!! You can get a stronger thinset for less money!!

Flexbond(custom's strongest) isn't even as strong as TEC's THIRD strongest and the TEC SturdiFlex costs about $15.00 a bag!! Mapei and C-Cure are both stronger and cost about $20.00 a bag.Sorry John.I know you like their products but hey.....cheaper yet BETTER?!? Doesn't take a brain surgeon............

Zel,if you use admix according to manufacturer specifications you'll spend around $25 to $30 per bag!!!! to optain the same strength rating(or less) as TEC,C-Cure,Mapei or Bonsal. Not a good deal.

John Bridge
07-14-2001, 07:47 AM

I'm not married to any brand, and I use whatever is handy. The reason I mention Custom so much is because it's so easy for people to get. They sell it at Home Depot all over the country. Some of the other brands are hard to find regionally. For example, TEC is only sold by one tile supplier in the entire Houston area.

07-14-2001, 12:47 PM
Yea I know what you mean about availability.I can get TEC thinset and grout here close to home but if I need color-match caulk I have to go to Memphis,an 85 mile drive!!

I can get C-Cure in Jackson,50 miles,but it's twice as expensive,$11.00 a tube!!

Lowes carries Mapei thinsets and grout now but no caulk.You have to get what's available in your area or drive cross country.

07-15-2001, 06:48 PM
I know they have U.P.S. in your area, thats how I sent that binder.


Great idea about the buckets to contractors, my boss ok'd it with 3 1/2 gal buckets of the WP-6000, how did you like it by the way?
What about the shower pan proposal? Good luck with the curb.

Tell David we owe you a bag of feather patch, and the rest of you guys, when you move back to civilization, where there is a Bonsal distributor in your neighborhood, I'll take care of you as well.


07-15-2001, 07:20 PM
I saw Bonsal's products at Coverings 2000.I asked the guy there if I could get them in Toronto.He said that they haven't made it up to Toronto yet due to lack of population.I've been using products from a small company outside of New York City;Supertek and grout from Chembond,who were once with C-Cure I think.I'm loyal to my tile supplier and their products but I'm always encouraging them to import a superior line of products and tools.When are you guys coming up here to check things out?

07-15-2001, 07:38 PM
Not enough population? There's 30 million people up here...90% of us within 100 miles of the US boarder....that can't be the reason...Bonsal just can't find a hole in the market...what with Mapie,c-cure,flextile Tec,Versabond..and would be hard to get a foot hold...though I'd be interested too...Bonsal seems to have a lot of interesting products.


John Bridge
07-15-2001, 08:03 PM
31 million. I read it in the paper this morning. But hell, there are 20 million right here in Texas, and Bonsal doesn't like us either.

Dejected in Texas

Bud Cline
07-15-2001, 09:17 PM
Hey Art,

I've never begged for a job before but you know I'm lookin'. I would be happy (under the right circumstances) to pioneer new territory for Bonsal.

What do ya think? Could I pay the rent working for Bonsal?

07-16-2001, 05:44 AM
Bonsal is a mid size company that is based in Charlotte NC. They are a family owned business for 106 years. The company has just agreed in principal to sell the business to a company called Old Castle.

Old Castled is based in Dublin Ireland. They have companies in 19 countries and employe over 45,000 people. They target mid size companies with a strong regional following.

So why didn't we get to your areas with our previous regime? Freight was a huge factor. To build a plant on an if come is real chancey. Bonsal is the lisencie (sp) for Sakrete in the South East.

Will we be expanding into your markets in the near future? I honestly don't know, but I would be surprised. Possibly when the synergies of the large company are put together, and the studies are done.

Any and all of our products are available to you, if we don't have distribution in your area. We accept visa, MC & American Express. Call 800-738-1438 Ext. 115 and ask for Bonnie Johnson, she will get you the info you need to make an informed decision.

Thanks for the opportunity to explain all of this and once again, I will go back to being unbiased in my recomendations and not a salesman. Thanks for the interest.

By the way, I was not the guy that Ron, talked to at Surfaces. I have been to Toronto, and surrounding area and would have serviced that territory if we would have been able to set something up. We talked with several companies and the $$$ exchange and freight were always the stumbling blocks. Toronto is and always will be one of my favorite big cities.


07-16-2001, 07:21 AM
After venturing to HD this past weekend, I'm still thinking about it. The latex addmix they had is about $19 for 2.5 gal! That is, of course, in addition to the $8 I already paid for the thinset. VersaBond would end up saving me about $50; FlexBond would be about the same, I think. I have a Lowe's somewhat nearby--you say they carry Laticrete, which actually says it can be used over cutback. Maybe I'll check that out.
So, is it safe to say out of these choices, FlexBond would be the best? Worth the extra money? How would it compare to the Laticrete?
Lest ye misunderstand, my comments about this forum were all in good fun. I like a sense of humor on a message board.
Also, I have to know if the Mt. Houston thing is for real.

Rob Z
07-16-2001, 07:34 AM

Mt Houston is for real, all right. I had my doubts about it until I called John one night at dinner time. Even though Patti was calling him to the table, John patiently explained the whole sordid affair to me. I'm convinced.

The laticrete with 333 latex additive is a great product. Each of the companies have equivalent products, and all are good. The laticrete is what I use most and am most familiar with.

The laticrete rep tells me that in 11 years on the job, he has not gone out to a single failure that was set with 333. Kurt is not a BS'er, and has a good reputation as a product technical rep. The other high end products probably have similar characteristics.

So, choose what you can afford. Keep in mind that a thinset mixed with a full strength quality latex is superior to one that is mixed with water and has the powdered polymers in the dry mix ( or so the product chemists have told me).


07-16-2001, 11:26 AM
I just realized my last post was in the wrong place. It should have been under my thread "Concrete prep." Sorry.

07-16-2001, 11:30 AM
Please disregard my last boneheaded post. I get it now--this thread has two pages. Duh.

07-16-2001, 06:25 PM
Don't worry 'bout it Zel.We tend to wander a little and sometimes forget what we were talking about in the first place.

According to all the product data sheets I've read those "chemists" are lost as a easter-egg.
From what I've read the OPPOSITE of what they told you is true.
Not only that but with admix you get less strength for your money as well.

John Bridge
07-16-2001, 06:33 PM

If you truly believe in the Mt. Houston Campaign, I'll find your check in my postal box in a day or two (in an amount that attests to your beneficence, I'm sure). And like always, I can assure you the money will be spent promptly.

[Hey Patti, Call that travel agency back. We may be going after all. And get a note off to Jim B. See if there are any more beach houses available in his part of Long Island.]

[Edited by John Bridge on 07-16-2001 at 08:41 PM]

Rob Z
07-16-2001, 08:47 PM

This is a good topic to discuss. I'll restart it over at the other side.