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Unread 07-14-2005, 01:39 PM   #1
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Notching Mortor

Ok I have to ask because I just don't get it,

I noticed in John's book, as well as in other literature, when the thinset is spread with a trowel then notch with the appropriate size notch trowel that the lines are not always straight or perpendicular. I have noticed part of the application is straight, and then curves in one direction then beside that in a different direction. I have searched high and low for references about this technique with no success.

What, why and How ???? do the pros do this (and do I have to as well ?)
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Unread 07-14-2005, 02:45 PM   #2
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***Edited to remove inaccurate blabber***

Listen to Chris and Michael!

Last edited by MarcusEngley; 07-14-2005 at 03:32 PM.
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Unread 07-14-2005, 03:04 PM   #3
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The swirls and curves happen, and for the most part don't have a big effect on the finished tilework, as long as you have enough thin-set in good contact with the substrate and use the proper notch size for the job.

There are references about swirls and curls being a no-no. The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), puts out a video called "Trowel and Error" and makes a case for having all of the ridges in the combed thin-set run the same direction. Troweling in one direction is a must when grouting floors with epoxy.

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Unread 07-14-2005, 03:15 PM   #4
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I will spread my thinset with circular motions inside of my grid pattern. I then go back and comb everything in one direction. It takes about an extra 5 seconds in a 24" x 24" grid pattern.

The theory behind having thinset notches in one direction is that it eliminates most of the voids (air pockets) that can be trapped in the circular turn. The straight comb also ensures that you have even dispersion of thinset for a mortar bed(in the circular turns you tend to have a fraction more thinset at the start of the turn).

You still need to apply pressure to the tile and wiggle them about a 1/4" back and forth to "knock down" the ridges. If you "test" your coverage when you start, when you pull up a tile you should not see any ridges at all on the bottom side of the tile if you are getting full coverage.
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Unread 07-14-2005, 04:09 PM   #5
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Having viewed the Trowel and Error video, I gotta admit it makes sense.

Having viewed quite a few tile guys in action, I gotta admit I ain't never seen one of'em actually do that.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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