Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

Welcome to John Bridge / Tile Your World, the friendliest DIY Forum on the Internet


Advertiser Directory
JohnBridge.com Home
Buy John Bridge's Books

Go Back   Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile > Tile & Stone Forums > Tile Forum/Advice Board

Sponsors


Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Unread 06-11-2019, 01:44 PM   #1
Bills Sis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 4
Wall tile comes off easily after thinset dries

I am putting up new 6" by 6" tile in the tub-surround in my main bathroom. I am using VersaBond thinset mortar from Home Depot to put these tiles up on the walls. I needed to remove a row after realizing this row didn't have mosaic tile, like I wanted. So, I started to remove the one row of tiles, and a few other tiles fell off, from the vibration. Why aren't the tiles staying on? When I took the tiles off, there are still the trowel grooves and the tiles seem as if they just lay on top of the grooves in the thinset. Wouldn't it be better if the tiles were somehow pushed into the thinset; wouldn't that be a better hold?

I only did tile on flooring before, so don't recall having this much of a problem. Could the thinset be too dry?

I am using 1/4" square notched trowel.

Thanks!
__________________
Denise
Bills Sis is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Unread 06-11-2019, 03:37 PM   #2
cx
Da Home Builder
 
cx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boerne, Texas
Posts: 88,442
Welcome, Denise.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise
Why aren't the tiles staying on?
Because they were apparently never bonded would be the short answer.

Yes, the trowel notches should have been completely flattened when setting the tiles. The tile industry standards for your application require a minimum of 95 percent mortar coverage on the back of each tile after setting. That usually requires both keying in mortar to the back of the tiles and sliding them across the notched mortar on the substrate while positioning them. You should pull off a few while setting to ensure that you are achieving that coverage.

It is certainly also possible that you are letting your mortar dwell on the wall too long before setting your tiles and the mortar develops a skin on the surface and will not bond to your tile, 'specially if you've not keyed any mortar into the tile back before setting.

And yes, mixing the mortar too stiff can also impede the proper settling of the tiles into the mortar, but that doesn't sound like what you're describing.

A photo or two of the back of your tiles and the wall from which they were removed may help with evaluating the cause.

My opinion; worth price charged.
__________________
CX

Y'ALL NEW VISITORS READ THIS HERE!
cx is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-11-2019, 03:55 PM   #3
Kman
Moderator
 
Kman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NW Arkansas, Ozark Mountains
Posts: 10,947
Is this over sheetrock or some type of tile backer?
__________________
Kevin

The top ten reasons to procrastinate:

1.
Kman is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-11-2019, 04:49 PM   #4
Davy
Moderator -- Mud Man
 
Davy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Princeton,Tx.- Dallas area
Posts: 31,778
Yep, Hardibacker and cement board can dry out your thinset causing it to skin over like Cx explained. Or, if you have a fan blowing in the room, same thing. When you spread the thinset, get it covered.
__________________
Davy

www.davystephenstile.com
Davy is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-11-2019, 04:51 PM   #5
hharshaw
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 3
I often find keeping a spray bottle and misting slightly to rewet and all my bonds work perfectly.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
hharshaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-11-2019, 05:01 PM   #6
Davy
Moderator -- Mud Man
 
Davy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Princeton,Tx.- Dallas area
Posts: 31,778
Sticking tiles to a damp surface works well. As long as it's not saturated and shiny wet. Last week I was installing 18x36 tiles in a shower and I kept my pump up spray bottle handy to spray my mud walls before setting the tiles. I wasn't worried about the bond but was wanting more adjustment time.
__________________
Davy

www.davystephenstile.com
Davy is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-11-2019, 06:03 PM   #7
jadnashua
Veteran DIYer- Schluterville Graduate

STAR Senior Contributor

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 13,057
Hardiebacker is particularly thirsty, and as a result, will suck a LOT of moisture out of your thinset. You really need to dampen that stuff well before you spread your thinset or it becomes too stiff to then embed your tile properly. Keep in mind, too, though, that the maximum strength is based on a 28-day cure time...a lot happens the first day, but it really does take awhile to achieve the design strength.

FWIW, cement cures...a modifier MIGHT require drying to become stable. Many today do not need to dry. Cement cures better if it has the proper amount of moisture available for the chemical change to occur (water becomes part of the cured cement...excess does dry out...without enough, it will never achieve its proper design strength).
__________________
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
jadnashua is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 07:22 AM   #8
Bills Sis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 4
Hello everyone.

thank you to everyone who chimed in. The first answer by CX pretty much answered my question, although the usage of a particular type of cement board could create a more stiff consistency.

I used the Hardiebacker 3/8" cement board.

I have attached a couple of photos: the first shows the thinset as it dried on the wall. The second shows the back of one of the tile.

Thanks again!
Denise
Attached Images
  
__________________
Denise
Bills Sis is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 07:33 AM   #9
Elkski
Took the Schluter part 1 class my team won!
 
Elkski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Wasatch front, Utah
Posts: 780
Denise, I'm pretty sure that tile back did not come out of those two spaces because it looks like it took all of the thinset off of the wall cleanly. and that other photo with the two tiles missing looks like those tiles came off the wall with the back of the tile clean. I'm pretty sure your grout it was too thick and dry and you're HardieBacker sucked all the remaining moisture out before you got it to stick.
The smaller trowel size you use amplifies this problem.

As far as the solution what is the possible damage if a tile falls off and hits something below it will it chip the basin? Perhaps you should protect the floor and go around and tap each tile to give it a test. I would imagine it's more a regional zone issue than individual tiles. Did you apply thinset to one large area or the entire project?
I know how this feels because yesterday I feel like I was to the light on my water for my thinset under my ditra heat duo or I did not have enough mortar or something but it seems to be adhering well this morning. Cement has an amazing thing how it can be crumbly the day after but in five days those little chunks laying around will be hard as a rock.

I should add it appears you are not back buttering your tiles. Im not sure what % of people back butter but i notice a big difference and do it 100% of the time.. I also"burn" in a skim coat of thinset onto the substrate. Also really wet that hardibacker first.. it cant hardly be to wet if its on a wall.
__________________
Teddy

Last edited by Elkski; 06-13-2019 at 07:39 AM.
Elkski is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 09:03 AM   #10
Bills Sis
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 4
Wink

Thank you Elkski.

When I said I had my answer in the first reply was because I didn't butter the back of the tile. The only area where I applied the thinset was to the backerboard. And, no, I didn't spray with water either. Didn't know to do both of these things. It's those little tips you don't pick up until you are actually doing it!

When I buttered the wall, I was doing an area of 1.5' by 1.5' or so. Perhaps I should stay with a slightly smaller area instead? But maybe this area won't be so bad once I spray the board with water before applying the thinset.

I assume to hit the tiles with a rubber mallett to ensure 'sinking' into the thinset? I tried to push the tiles once I put them onto the thinset, but I felt they didn't hardly go anywhere. Now I know females generally have lower upper body strength than males, but you would think I would have had enough oompf to push in a 6" by 6" tile!!

Thanks all for the suggestions. And you're correct about the tiles which I took off from the wall photo; their backs were clean - no thinset. But I was afraid to show that on here, to really show my ignorance at this art of tiling.

Denise
__________________
Denise
Bills Sis is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 12:29 PM   #11
cx
Da Home Builder
 
cx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Boerne, Texas
Posts: 88,442
Quote:
Originally Posted by CX, Post #2
A photo or two of the back of your tiles and the wall from which they were removed may help with evaluating the cause
Denise, it would have helped more if you'd showed the backs of the tiles that were removed from the section of the wall you showed.

We're here to help, so please don't worry about appearing ignorant. We're all ignorant here, we just have differing categories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkski
I'm pretty sure your grout it was too thick and dry...
I think Teddy meant your bonding mortar rather than your grout.
__________________
CX

Y'ALL NEW VISITORS READ THIS HERE!
cx is online now   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 02:48 PM   #12
Elkski
Took the Schluter part 1 class my team won!
 
Elkski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Wasatch front, Utah
Posts: 780
Yes thinset.
Are you going to remove them all? How long has it been?
__________________
Teddy

Last edited by Elkski; 06-13-2019 at 02:53 PM.
Elkski is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 07:29 PM   #13
jadnashua
Veteran DIYer- Schluterville Graduate

STAR Senior Contributor

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 13,057
Ideally, you'd push the tile back and forth across the thinset ridges until the surface was flat, and the entire back of the tile and the wall were covered by a consistent layer of thinset with no voids anywhere. Especially on a glass tile that may be somewhat translucent, you really want to get the back side fully covered. If not, you could get moisture accumulation underneath the tile that will show up the voids over time. Depending on the consistency of the mortar, it may take more than a few back and forth movements of the tile to achieve that.

A popular trowel from Europe is a slant-notch one. You get the same amount of thinset as a conventional (for the USA) square or v-notched one, a slant notched trowel make taller, slanted towers of thinset that fall over on themselves, leaving you a nearly flat, gauged amount of thinset that makes it easier to get the tile embedded, since you don't have to squeeze it into those voids left by the notches of a square or v-notched one.
__________________
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
jadnashua is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 08:57 PM   #14
KiwiTiler
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 22
Chiming in to say the polymers in the adhesive and Portland cement can be rather moisture sensitive, it's good practice to measure your water. We use clean buckets and a 3 litre jug to dip in, but you can develop a feel for the mix after a while.

Too thick and there's no bond created, too thin and on a microscope you can see the cement rounds off and doesn't bind in.

Mark
__________________
Mark
KiwiTiler is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 06-13-2019, 09:02 PM   #15
jadnashua
Veteran DIYer- Schluterville Graduate

STAR Senior Contributor

 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nashua, NH
Posts: 13,057
One thing to understand is that the consistency of thinset can vary a huge amount based on how long and how fast you mix it. IOW, its properties can change, so getting a good idea initially may be incorrect after it is fully mixed per the instructions with the right proportions of the dry component and water, using the correct paddle and speed and time.
__________________
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
jadnashua is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Stonetooling.com   Tile-Assn.com   National Gypsum Permabase


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Can I easily regrout this tile? newbie alert dosstx Tile Forum/Advice Board 10 09-10-2015 08:00 PM
adding screws to backerboard after thinset dries steadyhand Tile Forum/Advice Board 2 07-29-2007 10:52 AM
Porcelain tile makes lippage as it dries...wasn't there before elsieCat Tile Forum/Advice Board 22 04-14-2007 05:50 PM
Thinset dries too fast Redwald Tile Forum/Advice Board 7 08-14-2006 06:58 AM
Removing 2 bullnose tile easily patti348 Tile Forum/Advice Board 1 03-06-2005 12:29 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:42 AM.


Sponsors

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2018 John Bridge & Associates, LLC