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Old 11-10-2018, 08:20 AM   #1
javafinch
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Javafinch Masterbath tub surround

Hello

I'm going to be hanging my Go Board today for my surround around a new alcove tub. This is the first time I've done this after watching two installs in my other bathroom go wrong.

I've ordered all my supplies and plan to use 12x24 porcelain tiles around the tub and toilet area and 6x24 tiles behind vanity (entire wall). Mastic on the drywall installs over drywall (behind sink and around toilet) and the thinset for the shower/bath area the store gave me is Tec Full Flex.

I was thinking that mortar might not be the best choice? Will I struggle with it (sagging) more than if I got something specifically for LFT? Also would a 1/2" trowel be the right one to go with?

(Other details about the project:
Entire room was gutted. New 3/4 plywood was laid over the existing 1/2". Plethora of floor joists (max is 12" OC but there are areas where there are extras.
I will be putting in Ditra over the Full Flex and then I either need to get a different non-modified mortar or I was going to do a 2-step process with the modified and first fill the Ditra, skim and let dry, then the next day lay the tile with modified again? Tile is 6x36 porcelain.
I do have a leveling system - went with Rigid LevelMax. I'm a little scared to use it and having the tile somehow get damaged when I kick out the stick things after the mortar dries. But ... hopefully that won't happen.)

I'm sure I'll have more questions as this goes along.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:28 AM   #2
Lou_MA
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Full Flex should be fine for both tile sizes. LFT isn’t mandatory. The bottom row of tiles are usually held up by a ledger board until they dry, so it’s not critical that the thinset by itself be able to keep the tile held up.

The more important thing is to read and follow thinset manufacturer instructions. Don’t over-water, and mix / slake / remix as required. You’ll want a suitable mixer or 1/2” drill, plus a spiral mixing paddle. Don’t try to use a 3/8” cordless drill unless you’re mixing up very small batches.

1/2” trowel should be fine for larger tile. May be overkill for smaller tile. Depends on how flat - or not - the tiles are.

When you set, scrape a thin layer of thinset onto both the substrate and the backs of the tile to really key in a thin layer. Then notch either surface, set the tile, slide it perpendicular to the notches, lift the tile and check coverage. All the thinset notches should be collapsed, and you want close to 100% thinset coverage, indicated by “peaks” of thinset.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:41 AM   #3
TDJ2591
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You can use a white rubber hammer to knock out the leveling clips. No chance of marring tiles like with rough or black boot soles. The clips snap off pretty easily provided you don't leave them in too long. If you wait until the thinset/mortar is hard, they often break off too high, leaving stubs that can be a bear to remove with a knife or oscillating tool. Remove them as soon as the thinset is firm. It also helps to remove any squished out thinset around the clips as you lay the tile.

As noted in another discussion, install the wedges facing the tile already laid to minimize the wedges widening the grout line.
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Old 11-10-2018, 11:44 AM   #4
Lou_MA
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Hey John - the levelmax system doesn’t have wedges. It uses the circular cap that screws onto the threaded strap.
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Old 11-11-2018, 08:29 AM   #5
javafinch
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Lou, should I put a ledger board for my second row above tub, then come back later after it sets to put my bottom row in?
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Old 11-11-2018, 08:56 AM   #6
Lou_MA
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It’s a toss-up. Ledger board is my preference when I set, but you could also start with the bottom row and use tile spacers on the tub deck to maintain a 1/8” joint between tub and tile that you’ll later caulk. If the tub deck isn’t level, the bottom row will be tapered since the top of that row needs to be level, but you want a consistent joint width at the bottom.

With a ledger board, you’ll want to pull it next day before thinset gets too hard, carefully scrape away any thinset that may have squeezed below the tile, and add waterproofing over the ledger board fastener holes.
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