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Unread 01-23-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
Steve M
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First tile project - thinset coverage

I'm tiling a shower/tub surround with a niche. I've tiled ~1/2 the walls so far. This morning, I removed a tile I set last night because I noticed that the grout line around the niche was going to be too wide. On removing it I became concerned about thinset cverage on the tiles.

I'm Using a 1/4 x 3/8 trowel and am backbuttering the tiles andtapping the tile into the thins et with a rubber hammer, but the tile I removed showed definate ridge lines. I'm now concerned about too little coverage and/or water collecting/being trapped behind the tiles. I mixed the thinset a bit thinner the second day (to the point that the vertical ridges would slump/run a bit - not sure if I could go much thinner) but the ridge pattern is about the same on a tile from that session

Please let me know if this is OK or if I need to remove all of the tiles and start oover. The sooner I know, the better as I can still pop the tile off fairly easily.

Also, different subject, I bought a DWalt continuous rim diamond blade for my (new) angle grinder at Lowes. When I got it home I noticed that it is supposed to be used wet. Will this work for a limited # of cutouts or do I need to find a dry cutting blade. Not sure if I can find a dry cutting tile blade locally. I've seen another tile site/forum that is selling dry cut cutting masonary blades - will these work?

BTW, this forum and it's contributors is great, thanks so much.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 02:44 PM   #2
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You don't need 100% coverage for wall tiles. I wouldn't worry about water collecting back there, gravity will get the water out soon enough. You should be getting plenty of thinset if you are applying it to the walls and tiles. Are you being a little timid with the tapping? You should be able to push the tiles against the wall and slide them a little to distribute the thinset.

Do not make your thinset so thin that it can't hold the ridges. All you get is weak, runny thinset.

On your saw blade, have a helper squirt some water onto the blade as you cut. A garden sprayer or hand-pumped spray bottle would supply enough water. Be sure your grinder is plugged into a GFCI protected outlet.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 04:47 PM   #3
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Like bbcamp said, your coverage is fine for wall tile, it is not going to be an issue. Do mix the thinset to the correct consistency to insure that you get the full bonding strength of the thinset.
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Unread 01-23-2009, 06:42 PM   #4
Steve M
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Thanks you for the reply, I'll rest a bit easier now (I'm a recently retired engineer and have spent that 3 decades worrying about what might go wrong - it kind of sticks in your head after awhile, plus I have been a fairly serious hobby level wooden boatbuilder where voids in adhesives a pretty much not allowed - add the two together and....)

I'm tapping hard enough that previously place tile spacers sometimes go flying so I don't think I'm being too timid. I'll try pushing harder and sliding a bit.

On the saw blade, I took the DeWalt back to Lowes, drove into Seattle and got some true dry cutting blades from an industrial supply house. They were cheaper too.

Thanks again
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Unread 01-24-2009, 01:42 AM   #5
Tool Guy - Kg
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I agree. And I'd loose the rubber hammer in favor of smooshing 'em on with your hands will shifting them back and forth a bit. This smooshes them tighter than what you can get with the rubber hammer.
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Unread 01-24-2009, 06:43 AM   #6
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If it's the same Dewalt blade I'm thinking of, that blade should read "wet/dry". I use them dry all the time and they last about a year cutting dry.
To make your angle grinder a wet cutting one; try holding a damp sponge to the blade. If you leave the guard on, just stick your thumb on top of the guard, and press the sponge into the side of the blade lightly. It's more exciting that way.
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