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Chase Golombek 11-18-2021 11:50 PM

Setting techniques around the world?
Hello everyone! I am new and hope this is the right place for this question.
I recently saw a video on the "tube of you" that shows a mix of tile setters in a different country using different techniques. It was one of those "these guys are on another level" video thing. Anyways, it caught my eye that a lot of these settings were on on a bed of sand (I know this is common) but then a liquid was applied over the tamped sand mixture and then the tile was set. Does anyone have any idea of what this method is? Does it hold up?

Thank you.


"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

Just In Tile LLC 11-19-2021 05:59 AM

I've seen some those videos as well, I think most have some sort of cement powder in the sand. And it's usually setting stone so it bonds well to the damp cement.

I think the closest thing we have is called "wet setting". I bought some topping mix and mixed it like drypack, raked it out over some thinset/tile mortar, and then back buttered my tile and tamped it into the mud/topping mix when I tiled my garage. Is probably the flattest floor I've ever done. Still solid as a ROCK.

John Bridge 11-19-2021 12:01 PM

To me the term wet setting means setting tile or stone over either dry pack mortar or fat mud, as in a shower. Tile setters used to do it all the time. In fact, it's the only way I did it for a lot of years. I don't know a lot about the method you're talking about. :)

Chase Golombek 11-21-2021 12:40 PM

Hey Justin, did you screed the drypack out and let it harden then set your tile? Or are you saying you set your drypack and your stone as you went? This seems a really nice solution to a not flat garage, and a way for cracks not to transfer through to tile. Any info on this would be appreciated. thank you.

Lou_MA 11-21-2021 07:13 PM

Hey Justin - with that method, how hard do you tamp down the drypack before setting the tile?

I imagine it has to be left somewhat unpacked? Otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to tamp the tile down flat?

John Bridge 11-24-2021 03:20 PM

If you pack the mud, say, like a shower floor and set the tile wet you can still tamp down the tiles with a beater block or a wood float. :)

Just In Tile LLC 11-24-2021 07:30 PM

Sorry guys for not keeping up on this thread, yes I left the dry pack fluffy and unpacked, and yes it is amazing to set tile on because once tamped with the tile itself it stays exactly how you leave it, doesn’t budge a micrometer. Not only that the adjustments are very easy because you aren’t trying to force air out of your mortar to ensure full coverage you are just gently tamping the tile into its final position.

Since I’m mostly unskilled at that type of install I tried multiple ways, one way that got me a good feel for getting the mud raked out (I used a 3 prong hand rake to fluff/rake the mud) and have enough was after raking it, you set the tile on it dry and tamp it then lift the tile again to see any voids. After you get that process down where you’re raking it well I noticed I wasn’t always raking it to the same height even though I was getting even tamping I.e. Sometimes the tile was lower than expected but the mud still flattened out evenly under the tile with no voids. So instead of trying to get it perfect every time, I had 1/4”-3/8” and 1/2” trowels next to me to back butter the tile with as my “fine tuning” adjustment.

The best part is a bag of tile mortar goes a LONG way because you’re mostly using the 1/4” trowel and the “filler” is all topping mix. So there were times where I was 2-3” high of deck mud but only using a 1/4” combed notch on the tile to make the bond to the deck mud. For the tamping I mostly used my mallet and mallet handle. The handle worked best to get a good solid tamp without reverberation. You hold the actual mallet part in your hand and use the bottom of the handle to tamp the tile down, you don’t seem to ever tamp the edges too much but mostly a circle around the center of the tile. That way you never teeter totter the tile by hitting too close to the edges.

The mud is wet deck mud consistency, so it tamps well but also gets a really good bond to the mortar notched tile.

Just In Tile LLC 11-24-2021 07:37 PM

By the way Chase, I did mine with porcelain but even if it was stone I’d still use tile mortar to ensure the bond between the tile and mud.

smifwal 11-24-2021 11:04 PM


Just In Tile LLC 11-24-2021 11:56 PM

I think I’ve seen that video a long time ago Shawn and was where I got the handle idea from. It really does work better - my mud was not that dry though... I’ve done drypack shower floors with mud that dry and they aren’t as good and get holes in them when you vacuum them. I personally like a damper mix than what he’s using.

smifwal 11-25-2021 12:22 AM

I saw that video years ago as well and this thread sparked the memory

Davy 11-26-2021 07:51 AM

When installing a floor like that, we would check the floor with a 6 or 8 ft straight edge from the first row to the doorway. Nailing a temporary board across the doorway at the correct height and checking each row helps keep the floor as flat as possible. We've done a few floors that way in the past. Kind of a pain but it does work well. He said 6 to 7 bucks a sq ft, better triple that in today's world.

I agree about the mud being a little dry but wetter mud would be harder to beat into. He also said it was 3 to 1. Nice video, thanks for sharing. I like seeing that type work :tup1:

cx 11-26-2021 08:59 AM

I tried that method once. My advice: Bring a big ol' bucket of patience and keep it close at hand. At least on your first try. :)

Davy 11-26-2021 05:08 PM

As a helper I hated it. All our tools had to be cleaned at the end of the day. The mud mixing tools, thinset mixing tools and the tile saw. :)

Lots of Saltillo was installed this way except portland was used instead of thinset and we would flood the floor and beat them in working off of floor boards. My dad would do that at the end of the day while I was cleaning all those tools. Of course you would have to be much more picky with marble than with Saltillo. Slept like a baby back then. :)

John Bridge 11-28-2021 02:23 PM

Back in the day we used the wet mud method for small bath floors (and all shower floors), things that didn't rate coming back another day for. We also grouted and cleaned them while everything was wet. :)

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