Foot traffic during installation [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-23-2010, 11:47 PM
I'm new to this forum and tiling. I've been reading it for a few weeks and am now asking a question that I have not found an answer to yet.

I've successfully tiled my guest bathroom (porcelain using mapei thinset)

Now that it's complete, I'm ready to start on the kitchen, foyer and utility room.

Here is my roadblock:

the foyer and utility room are one floor.. the utility room leads to the garage, which is where my wife parks her car.
The foyer is tied to both the front door, our master bedroom and bathroom and to the living room. this is really the only way in/out of the house for my wife. The kitchen leads to the back door which is not a simple way in and out.. lots of grass to walk on and my wife has mobility issues.

I'm having trouble figuring out how to schedule this so we (especially my wife) can still get around while the thinset is curing.

I had to wait a few days in the bathroom before I could step on the tiles. I was concerned when after 36 + hours that the tiles still had some give when stepped on. I used premix and back buttered in addition to combing the thinset on the floor. maybe it was too thick, I was trying to tame the lippage, especially around the toilet where it crowns about 1/4" . (10 year old slab home) I ended up waiting a total of 5 days before grouting once I noticed that happening.

I'll be using powder mix for the rest of the tile (I have mixed size tiles and the largest are 20x20"

my thought is to put the tile down and after maybe 5-6 hours, lay down 1/2 or 3/4 plywood to allow her to get around through the house once she comes home from work. I'm thinking this may distribute the weight enough to keep the tile from moving and causing the adhesion to fail.

What do you all think?

I appeal to your collective wisdom.


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02-24-2010, 12:33 AM
Hi, Bill.

Unfortunately you've fallen prey to a problem that a lot of new installers have, that is using a pre-mixed thinset. It's a no-no for floors, and in the opinion of most installers here, most everything else.

It has a very long drying time, and is not a suitable bonding product for what you're doing. A dry powder mixed with water or latex is what you want to be using.

Bad news - you really need to pull up the tile where you used the pre-mixed thinset (which is mastic) clean the tile and the floor, and use a dry thinset. We can help you with suitable brands.

Good news - if it hasn't been more than a couple of days, the tile and floor will probably clean up easily with a sponge and warm water.

Will your tile installation survive with mastic? Maybe, but probably not over the long term. I would put in the few hours now while you possibly have a chance to clean it up relatively easily as opposed to waiting until tiles and grout start cracking. By that time you will probably not be able to clean the tile and will have to replace them.

Is this on a slab or wood subfloor?

02-24-2010, 01:16 AM
Bill, Kevin is right. Pay no attention to what it may say on the bucket, mastic is no good for floors, ever.

Jim Farrell Tiler
02-24-2010, 03:08 AM
obviously english not first language:wtf:

02-24-2010, 03:08 AM
Sorry, Bill, I just realized I didn't answer your original question. Although I may have given you some advice that makes you not remember your original question. :cry:

If you have a traffic area that absolutely has to be walked on the same day as the installation, the best way is to use rapid set mortar on two or three rows of tile that make a path from the doorway to a certain area. Most rapid set mortars can be walked on in three or four hours. The rest of it will be okay by the next day.

You could also dry-fit a couple of rows as you tile, then after everybody is in for the night, set those last couple of rows with regular thinset. However, if you don't have at least twelve hours or more that everyone can stay off the floor, go with the first option. It's the safest way. When I go with the rapid set option, I usually use blue tape to mark off the pathway that's okay to walk on. If you don't, someone will forget and walk outside the path and cause a problem.

02-24-2010, 10:37 AM
It is on a Concrete Slab. I've had to pull up vinyl flooring and scrape off the glue.

thanks for the advice. Now I wish I had not been hasty buying the premix. I'm pretty sure by now that it's been way too long to take them up. We did purchase enough tile (all the same type) that I can re-do the bathroom later (30sqft) if/when it starts cracking.

For now it looks pretty good since the grout is already in. My wife has seen the work and is pretty happy with it.

In order to not lose the faith she has in me, I will work on the other areas first. I can blame the pre-mix later and take my lumps then. Obviously, I did not know that there was such a big difference in the setup time. But I'll seed the idea that maybe using the pre-mix that they recommended at the store was not such a good idea but we can hope for the best.

Thanks again guys.. I will take Kevin's advice and use rapid set.