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-   -   Arabesque floor tile for first time tiling job... What was I thinking? (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=127808)

RetroJoe 07-19-2019 01:11 AM

Arabesque floor tile for first time tiling job... What was I thinking?
 
5 Attachment(s)
I am renovating a house that I purchased a couple of years ago. I am redoing three bathrooms, the mud room and both entryways. Everything was stripped down to the studs and now I am beginning the tiling process. I need to start on the first floor bathroom so that I can get a functioning toilet in the house. I purchased an arabesque marble tile from HD that is thick enough to go on the floor. I have been procrastinating but I need to get this done. When I started to dry fit the mosaic tile sheets together it became clear that the bulbs around the perimeter are not going to keep the exact same gaps as the bulbs within each sheet. Some bulbs touch each other while other bulbs will stay equally spaced. I'm not sure if there's a way around this but this is one of the things that it's frustrating me. I also have a few other questions that I'm hoping some of you that are more experienced can help me out with since I've never done any tiling before.

I put down hardibacker over 3/4 in OSB. I used thinset with a quarter by quarter Square Notch trowel and screws according to the recommended schedule. Since it was my first time mixing thinset I believe I made it a little too thick so it started to set quicker than I expected. I got the cement boards mostly flat but there are some areas where there was a little extra thinset underneath so there are deviations of about 1/8 of an inch here and there. Can I make up for this with extra thinset underneath the tile to level it out?

Are there any tricks of the trade to keep Arabesque tile spaced evenly or is it an uphill battle no matter how you look at it?

I purchased the pre-mixed Mapei grout which does not require water and has a sealer built into it. A friend of mine had a not-so-good experience with this product. He said the grout ended up getting dirty despite the so-called sealer in it and he can't get it clean. I was also told that because I'm working with marble tile that it is recommended to seal the tile prior to putting the grout on otherwise I might end up with a dirty film on the marble that will be hard to get off. Is this true? And if so, what is the best way to apply the sealer to the top of the tile without getting it in between causing problems with the grout adhering? Since there are so many bulbs in this mosaic I'm worried that it's going to be very tough to have some of the sealer get in between the tiles.

What kind of trowel would you recommend? I was going to use a 3/16 by quarter inch V notch but I'm open to suggestions. I'm worried that the thinset might come through and interfere with the grout if it gets in between the tile.

And another big mystery to me is the threshold. I have hardwood flooring that transitions into this bathroom. Right now the cement board is just slightly higher than the hardwood flooring so no matter what the tile will be at a higher level than the hardwood. I left a half inch gap between the end of the hardwood in the doorway and the cement board. I was going to put threshold on the cement board but also push it over the Gap against the hardwood floor. Should I be worried that the half inch Gap underneath the threshold would cause instability? Or should I make sure that there is cement board underneath the threshold and use another transitioning piece between the hardwood and threshold in order to hide the gap?

Also, what would be the best way to prevent lippage with these tiles? Using a tile leveling system seems a bit intimidating at this point especially with the pattern. I feel more confident about using that with the large format tiles that I plan on using in some of the other rooms.

I know there are a lot of questions here but if anybody could help me out it would be greatly appreciated. Tomorrow I plan on cutting the rest of the tile and dry fitting it and then securing it to the floor on Saturday. I've attached a few photos to show you what I am working with. Thanks ahead of time for any advice!

John Bridge 07-20-2019 01:23 PM

Hi Joe, :)

I think you might be going to fast for us and asking too many questions in your first post. :)

As to the tiles, it happens a lot with tiles that are made and mounted overseas, as I'm sure your tiles were. It is often necessary to remove tiles near the edges of the sheets and set them separately. I know it sounds tedious, and it is, but I don't know of an easier way of doing it.

Tool Guy - Kg 07-20-2019 02:40 PM

Welcome to the forum, Joe. :wave:

I think John is right. Yesterday, I was going to respond but didn't have time to answer everything. And oftentimes when asking a lot of questions at once, we like to stop you and ask additional clarifying questions before we go too far. So, I'll give it a go, but realize we might need to revisit if we learn more details that negatively affect this advice...


Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
...cement boards mostly flat but there are some areas where there was a little extra thinset underneath so there are deviations of about 1/8 of an inch here and there. Can I make up for this with extra thinset underneath the tile to level it out?

No, especially with mosaic tiles. You want to do all your flattening before you even think about installing tiles. You can do this with cementious patching compounds that are made for exactly such. Or you can use self-leveling cement.

By the way....from the one picture I see, it looks like you might have 4 seams of Hardibacker coming together at one spot to form a "+". Is this the case, or no?



Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
Are there any tricks of the trade to keep Arabesque tile spaced evenly or is it an uphill battle no matter how you look at it?

John's got you covered. They will be a pita. I hope your grout is close to the same color as to hide crooked grout lines that you can't get rid of.



Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
I purchased the pre-mixed Mapei grout which does not require water and has a sealer built into it. A friend of mine had a not-so-good experience with this product. He said the grout ended up getting dirty despite the so-called sealer in it and he can't get it clean.

Sealer does nothing whatsoever to keep grout from getting dirty. This is an extremely common misnomer.

Sealer does one thing: It buys you time to clean up a liquid spill before it dries and becomes a permanent stain. That's it.

And while there's another extremely common misnomer on sealer that it helps waterproof in some way, this is not true. While some sealers make water temporarily bead on the surface, it's not a permanent feature. In the end, sealer only helps buy you several minutes of time before cleaning a spill before it becomes permanent.

Yes, sometimes sealer helps you get grout cleaner a little easier when you clean 1 year later from the accumulated dust/dirt. But using many pH nuetral cleaners and proper cleaning techniques can turn most grouts pretty dang clean, minus any stains that were ignored when they occurred.

And....you need to make a little mock up and test that your pre-mixed grout is perfectly compatible with your stone tile. The last thing you'd like to see is your completed tile job with weird picture-framing stains on each individual tile. This problem doesn't occur often. But it occurs with natural stone when the rough porous edges of the stone tile absorb something other than just moisture from the grout.



Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
I was also told that because I'm working with marble tile that it is recommended to seal the tile prior to putting the grout on otherwise I might end up with a dirty film on the marble that will be hard to get off. Is this true?

Most polished marble has a top surface so dense that it is incapable of absorbing any sealer. If you wish to help with grout clean up, a grout release agent is applied before grouting that can help. But with polished marble, I haven't experienced it doing bupkis. The trick is no trick at all. Make sure to follow the cleaning directions on the grout. And complete the directions of cleaning before the pre-mixed grout is too cured.




Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
And if so, what is the best way to apply the sealer to the top of the tile without getting it in between causing problems with the grout adhering? Since there are so many bulbs in this mosaic I'm worried that it's going to be very tough to have some of the sealer get in between the tiles.

If you are going to attempt to apply sealer anyways, neatly fold a smooth, clean, white cloth and dampen the surface with your sealer. Wring away excess sealer...make sure the cloth is still flat and gently drag it across the tiles. Follow the directions (which probably say to let it dwell for several minutes but be certain to NOT LET IT DRY ON THE TILE!) Polish away 100.000% of the sealer from the surface BEFORE it dries.



Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
What kind of trowel would you recommend? I was going to use a 3/16 by quarter inch V notch but I'm open to suggestions. I'm worried that the thinset might come through and interfere with the grout if it gets in between the tile.

Start with that and size up or down until you've got as close to 100% coverage under each of the tiles (you'll have to lift a tile back up to examine after installing) without it mushing into the grout joints.



Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
And another big mystery to me is the threshold. I have hardwood flooring that transitions into this bathroom. Right now the cement board is just slightly higher than the hardwood flooring so no matter what the tile will be at a higher level than the hardwood. I left a half inch gap between the end of the hardwood in the doorway and the cement board. I was going to put threshold on the cement board but also push it over the Gap against the hardwood floor. Should I be worried that the half inch Gap underneath the threshold would cause instability? Or should I make sure that there is cement board underneath the threshold and use another transitioning piece between the hardwood and threshold in order to hide the gap?

There are lots of potential thresholds. If you choose a metal variety, you'll need to get wood in that big old gap so that the securing spiral nails have something to grab. If you use something like a piece of wood that has been tapered to ease the transition, there's no concern about the gap you have. But if you tell us which transition you're considering, maybe we can give you more specific info that the general stuff I'm talking about.



Quote:

Originally Posted by RetroJoe
Also, what would be the best way to prevent lippage with these tiles? Using a tile leveling system seems a bit intimidating at this point especially with the pattern. I feel more confident about using that with the large format tiles that I plan on using in some of the other rooms.

It's completely impractical to use a leveling system on mosaic tiles. The object is to get a flat substrate, then spread just a tall enough layer of mortar to do the job, then drop and drag the tiles into position, then embed them down using a gum grout float (or wood block or some other flat material).

:)

Tool Guy - Kg 07-20-2019 08:16 PM

And I forgot to mention a weakness of polished marble in a bathroom: a single misapplication of the wrong cleaner...or dripping something like toilet cleaner on the floor can result in permanent etching that can only be removed by a stone restoration speciali$t. If you decide to go ahead with the marble, keep this in mind.

:)

PC7060 07-20-2019 08:26 PM

Nice job breaking down many (all?) of the questions in that huge post , Bubba!

Kman 07-20-2019 10:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bubba
By the way....from the one picture I see, it looks like you might have 4 seams of Hardibacker coming together at one spot to form a "+". Is this the case, or no?

I think you're referring to the fourth picture he posted. To me, it looks like a pencil line running top to bottom on which he aligned the tiles. If I'm right, then it's especially good for me, since I spotted it without my glasses. :)

Here's something else I'm wondering. Did you run your joist system through the Deflecto to see if they're stiff enough for a natural stone installation? Also, is the layer of 3/4" OSB the only subfloor? Natural stone requires two layers, no matter what. And your tile backer does not count as one of those.

Tool Guy - Kg 07-21-2019 07:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kman
I think you're referring to the fourth picture he posted. To me, it looks like a pencil line running top to bottom on which he aligned the tiles.

Yes, the fourth picture. I, too, initially thought that vertical pencil line was a seam. But, no, that’s not what I’m asking about. Note that the two Hardibacker sheets have the printed wording on them aligning horizontally. And now look in the upper right hand corner of the pic to see a vertical seam. If you follow that seam down to where it runs out of the picture, I’m wondering if it forms a “+” seam.

And I just noticed something else. With a vertical line of screws that seem to be staggered about 1.5”, it makes me also wonder if the screws where driven intentionally into the floor joists without knowing it’s better to avoid them.....???

:)

Davy 07-21-2019 09:00 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Like Bubba said, get the floor as flat as you can before installing the marble. To help out, I like using a piece of larger marble to press down on the mosaics to help get them flat. A 12x12 would work best for you, just epoxy a cheap handle on the back. Here is a pic of a 6x12 I used a while back.

Tool Guy - Kg 08-02-2019 08:50 PM

I was going to ask what happened to the original poster, Joe. Then I remembered what kind of tile he was setting and realized he's probably still setting the first 5 feet of that stuff! I don't envy his job of setting that tile. :x:

Kman 08-03-2019 12:35 AM

Yep, let's put a pin in this thread for what, three years from now? :D

Tool Guy - Kg 08-05-2019 10:55 PM

No, I donít wanna see it when itís only half done. :shake:






Just kidding! :D. I do hope he comes back with pictures and stories of how well it all went.


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