Thinset Workability & Reducing Clean-up [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Dave B.
07-11-2005, 10:56 AM
Afternoon Everyone,

I've leveled the basement floor, applied the Redguard and need to get started with the thinset and tile installation. I've looked through the posts, but haven't found any that directly answers my questions. If you have any experience or opinions, please fire away.

I'm tiling a room 20' x 20', but am unsure how many 50 lb bags of thinset and grout will be needed. Any rule of thumb in calculating number of bags per number of square inches for each? I'm planning to use 3/16" grout lines.

Since I've used the Redguard, I'm planning on using the HD brand of modified thinset. Since the area is quite large, I don't want to mix up too much thinset and have it become unworkable before it can be applied. Any idea how much I should mix at one time (1/4, 1/2 or full bag) or how long I have before it becomes unuseable? I've read a pancake batter consistency is best to retain strength characteristics and workability.

And finally, I've purchase ceramic tiles that have uneven surfaces with many peaks and valleys. Are there any tricks (taping off the tile face, special way of applying grout, release coatings) that can be done to reduce the cleanup time? The last thing I want to do is dig out hardened grout from all the tiles.

Thanks in advance for any input.


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07-11-2005, 11:45 AM
The back of the bag will give you some guidelines for usage.

For me, mixing up 1/2 of the bag was a bit much. I used a 5-gal bucket, and it was hard to reach the bottom to make sure all the dry stuff was off. Start with a smaller amount, and work your way up. You have to let it slake for 15 minutes, so it may work better using a second bucket. Then you won't have as much waiting. Power mixer is a plus too, but make sure you get everything off the bottom.

07-11-2005, 12:07 PM
Custom building products has a material estimator.

I used that and it was pretty close.

ditto what avid said.

I work pretty slow, and was my first big job, so I only did about a 1/4 bag at a time.

John Bridge
07-11-2005, 06:44 PM
Hi Dave, :)

Depending on tile size (spacing of joints) you could get by with a couple 25# sacks of grout.

It looks like you might have started this on another thread and then abandoned it or lost it. :) If you bookmark this one you'll be able to find it when you need it. Nothing ever goes away here, it just goes to another page.

Tool Guy - Kg
07-11-2005, 07:26 PM
We don't know what size tile you are using.
12 x 12 tiles = 50#
14 x 14 tiles = 48#
16 x 16 tiles = 38#
18 x 18 tiles = 37#
Thinset ranges from about 326# to 444#, depending on size of tile. The larger the tile, the more mortar depth you use under it. Though tiles that are uneven, or high lugged, will eat up even more.