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Unread 04-07-2021, 11:35 AM   #1
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Green Marble/ Serpentine Tile

Hi All! First post, but recent follower of some of the threads when in a jam on the job. Great Stuff.

I have questions regarding Serpentine tile or "Green Marble". For reference this is not a wet area

All threads/technical data sheets/etc. explain that the mortar recommended for installation is an Epoxy-Thinset Mortar. However, research has told me that there are 1000's of square feet of this stuff laid with just a modified thinset.

What I have done on my current project, is back-buttered all of the green tiles with epoxy-thinset mortar, and sprinkled sand over the mortar.

My 2 questions are as follows:
1.) Does anyone have experience with this type of stone tile? Successes? failures?
2.) Because we've back-buttered the tiles, are we in the clear to use a modified thinset going forward?

Any tips, stories and advice are welcome!
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Unread 04-07-2021, 12:14 PM   #2
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Welcome, Mac.
Originally Posted by Mac
research has told me that there are 1000's of square feet of this stuff laid with just a modified thinset.
I would presume you mean a modified thinset mortar, there. I'd be curious to know where you researched that information.

The reason the epoxy mortar is generally recommended is because wetting that type of stone on one side can cause it to curl. Maybe not a lot, but enough to pretty well ruin a good installation. And some of it is much worse than others in that respect.

Can you set your particular stone with a cementitious thinset mortar successfully? I dunno. Would it be safer to use the epoxy? Yes.

Have you contacted the manufacturer/producer of your stone to get a recommendation for setting material?

And what is the purpose of the sand you mentioned putting on your epoxy mortar? That's a new one on me.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 04-07-2021, 10:54 PM   #3
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I guess it comes down to how much you want to risk.

What is your reason for not wanting to use epoxy mortar?

Ask yourself this: if I ruin this tile by installing it incorrectly, was it worth it to forego the epoxy?

The top ten reasons to procrastinate:

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Unread 04-22-2021, 04:06 PM   #4
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I contacted product manufacturers, those who've set this particular stone in the past, as well as the quarry it comes from. Because we back-buttered with epoxy mortar, then added the sand as an aggragate for the modified thin-set to adhere to, we received an ok from everyone. We felt comfortable with this route.

There were a plethora of reasons we decided against epoxy mortar. Cost, and timeframe were of the main concern, as the previous installers left the job late in the game.

Thank you for the responses.
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Unread 04-22-2021, 06:56 PM   #5
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I've told this story before. Back in the late 80's and thru the 90's I did work for a builder that loved using green marble around their fireplace openings and hearths. I used it on several fireplaces and asked the builder each time if he wanted me to use thinset or epoxy. I told him epoxy was recommended. Surprisingly he said to use thinset, so I did. In the next house I'd ask him again and he'd ask if we had any problems with the previous fireplaces. I said no, so he said to use thinset again. Then he built himself a house and I asked again about the epoxy and of course we used thinset.

A week or so after tiling it, I was sitting on a bucket eating lunch and I noticed the pieces didn't look flat. Sure enough, the marble curled. The edges were about 1/8 higher than the center of the tiles. Some broke bond, some were only hollow sounding around the edges. He paid me to redo it. We used epoxy from then on.

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Unread 04-23-2021, 10:24 AM   #6
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I installed hundreds maybe even a few thousand feet of green marble with thinset. Always worked fine till we did a long corridor in a class A office building, then it didn't. Because misery loves company after we tore it all out and replaced it, my guys got epoxy residue all over the brass door pulls that wouldn't come off. Replaced all those too.
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