A ? For The Pros. How Do you....... [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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10-13-2002, 10:36 PM
Keep a tile floor level as you're setting the tile ? I hope this is not to stupid but, it's been on my mind, so I just had to ask. :) OKay, I don't mean how do you level the floor,it's already level. Ya know, as you're setting the tile, what happens if you push to hard on one corner and then to hard on another tiles corner. You end up with a seesaw floor. In other words how do you keep things level from one tile to the next. Do y'all put a level on the tiles or do you just eyeball it. Do ya pull them up and reset them or am I making a mountain out of a molehill.

I'm about to tile a small room and I've haven't seen this asked on here before. THANKS

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Sonnie Layne
10-13-2002, 10:58 PM
Hey Mike,

As you may know, I'm not the old pro some of these wagonmasters are, but it is important to have a flat (if not level as well) floor. The more you trowel out thinset, the better you start understanding the technique. If I see a bit of a low spot, I'll trowel a dab of thinset extra there. But in the end, a nice hardwood straightedge and a 2# hammer keeps the lippage to a minimum. I've never done anything larger than ummm maybe 20X40, so it may not apply.

Good question. I'd like to know how it's done on larger surface areas as well.

10-14-2002, 08:15 AM
Hi Sonnie,

Thanks for the input.
Guess I'll keep a straightedge and a mallet handy.

10-14-2002, 08:33 AM
Sonnie pretty much summed it up although with practice troweling ,you wont need the mallet much.Keep your eye out for warped tile,you will not get these to lay down properly.Pull em up,wash them and use them in cut area.s
If you get your thinset mixed properly it will go quite well and you will catch on quickly.

John Bridge
10-14-2002, 04:40 PM

For the most part, the tiles are going to be on the floor or very close to it. You won't have any problems in that regard. Use a notched trowel just big enough to get good contact on the backs of the tiles. A bigger than needed trowel causes problems.

Bud Cline
10-15-2002, 12:16 PM
I'd be careful with the mallet thing too, I know I know, just be careful banging on that tile. In fact leave the mallet in the garage.

10-15-2002, 12:42 PM
Hey Everyone,

Thanks for the replys and good advice. Okay, stop worrying I did not resort to beating the tiles with a mallet. Found out I did not need it. One thing I did find to be true was that to much thinset can be trouble. I used 16x16 porcelain tiles and I trowled on thinset with 1/4x3/8 trowel.(I know it's not the right size but, I already had it :) )So, I back buttered every tile(I think I read somewhere that you're supposed to do that on large tiles.) Anyhow, back to my point, with the thinset on the floor and then backbuttering the tile, it was a little to much in places which made it difficult to get them leveled out without pressing pretty hard. But it all turned out great.

P.S. My hat is off to you guys who do this everyday. Tiling is hard work. My knees are almost raw. :D

10-15-2002, 03:01 PM
Everytile man has tools that help the knees,Knee pads,A Haelper, and Percocet :)

John Bridge
10-15-2002, 04:48 PM
It's really ironic, but after 30 years my knees are among the few parts that still work. :D

10-16-2002, 06:32 AM
John, what size trowel is appropriate? How do you know if the notches are too large?

10-16-2002, 06:48 AM
What size Tile are you using??
Wall tile work with standard 4 1/4 x 4 1/4" tile use a 1/4"V Notch or a 3/16" Sq notch
1/4" Thick floor tile 1/4" Square Notch
1/2" Thick Quarry Tile Use a 1/4" x 3/8" trowel
Hope this helps :)

10-16-2002, 07:00 AM
Thanks Todd.
Our tile is 13 x 13 x 1/4 and we have a 1/4 x 3/8 trowel.
I think they gave us this size because they had talked us
into tiling over our cushioned vinyl. When push came to shove we just couldn't do that so we took it up. Would you (IF you tiled over vinyl) use a thicker mortar?
Should we change and get a 1/4" square trowel to do the rest?
Dang, so many things to think about and shhhh don't let anyone else read this, but hubby isn't a beer drinker
so I'm not sure how this job will turn out! ;)


10-16-2002, 07:07 AM
Personally,I wouldnt Tile Over Vinyl.
You can get away with using the 3/8" Trowel by holding your angle down.However,if your headed to the store anyway,i would change out to a 1/4"x 1/4" Otherwise you may end up with a ton of morter between your joints.
Perhaps you could start your own Thread and we can help you with preperation before you lay your Tile.
Even non beer drinkers are allowed here (we're just skeptical about what they say ;) )

Ive got to go to work,others will be along. :)

10-16-2002, 07:26 AM
Well, we aren't installing over Vinyl either. Just made no sense no matter what the tile store said.
I kinda did start my own thread...."Question about grout".
Plus, I had a thread "Ceramic tile has a pattern".
I'll try to stay on the "qrout" thread :)

John Bridge
10-16-2002, 04:54 PM

Yes to the 1/4 by 1/4. The 3/8 will cause you misery. ;)

10-17-2002, 04:34 PM
I picked up the 1/4" x 1/4" trowel along with some
big sponges and some pencil thingys to mark the tiles
for cutting!

John Bridge
10-17-2002, 04:45 PM
Okay, take it slow and easy now. Don't get in a rush. Lots of standing around is called for here. ;)

Bud Cline
10-17-2002, 04:54 PM
Pencil thingys???

10-17-2002, 05:24 PM
Darn it...I knew that would get me in trouble. haha
Ok, so I went and got the pencils...they are called,
and I quote..."China Markers".

Bud Cline
10-17-2002, 06:13 PM
Curious....what type finish on the tile?

10-17-2002, 06:37 PM
Finish? I have no idea. They aren't shiny tho.
See, the reason I got the pencils is because I took
two tiles out to HD to get them cut so we could finish
up the W/D area and get the machines back in to use.
Anyway, Hubby had marked the lines where the cuts were to go and he used some sort of magic marker I guess because when the guy at HD started to cut the tile, the marker
washed off as soon as he put it under the saw with the water. So, when I was picking up a new trowel, I saw these pencils and bought them. Whew, that was complicated.
Should we not use the pencils? What is the best way to mark the ceramic tiles?

Bud Cline
10-17-2002, 07:48 PM
China markers are fine but they won't mark all tile surfaces which is why I asked. A rough surface can be marked with a lead pencil a smooth surface usually won't take much of a mark except from a felt tip. I use permanent Sharpies for almost everything. Not usually permanent though. You havce to be careful what you use with some tiles.

10-17-2002, 08:24 PM
I see what you are saying. Guess I bought those pencils for naught. A lead pencil makes sense. Thanks for asking questions!

Jerry The Tile Guy
10-17-2002, 09:22 PM
I'm a Listo marking pencil kind of man myself. Always have a black and red one with me.
Have noted of late though that the lead pencil will make a mark that will stay around long enough to get a cut started on many of the porcelain tiles.

Sonnie Layne
10-17-2002, 09:57 PM
tape and pencil on dark surfaces, the tape will stay on long enough for the cuts. China markers don't have a fine enough tip for fine cuts.

Bud Cline
10-18-2002, 12:37 PM
China Marker leads can be run thru a childs type pencil sharpener for a finer point when necessary.