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Unread 06-25-2006, 08:29 AM   #1
John K
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Mud floors

I seem to be getting more and more bath remodels lately. Most of the floors I'm tearing out are on mud. So I find it easier and less time consuming to just go back with mud.

Here is my question. I'm running a 4:1 mix . If I don't spread thinset over it the next day it won't hold up to foot traffic. It starts to get sandy. Sometimes I like to get the mud out of the way but I'm not ready to tile. Is there a way, other than a 3:1 mix, to get a harder surface.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 10:03 AM   #2
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The 4:1 is already a little rich for some tastes in deck mud, John. I wouldn't wanna go any richer. Not only more difficult to work, but you're loosing some of the forgiveness inherent in deck mud that you can't get from concrete.

When the area must tolerate foot traffic before it's tiled, I find that five-dollar sheets of one-eighth Masonite taped together keeps it plenty safe even for extended periods. I use the same material to protect floor tile installations during construction, too, but I put down Builder's Paper first on those floors. I get many uses from those boards before they are consigned to the dumpster, too. Cheap, effective protection.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 10:09 AM   #3
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Are you sure you're not mixing a bit too dry? Make sure you fill in all voids and trowel it good.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 10:14 AM   #4
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Yeah, i would say it's dry too,John, and i like to pack mine with a concrete magnesium float..stamp it to compact it some.I'm a 4to 1 guy myself,but it's a fine line between too wet and too dry, and being able to work with it....probably why my mudjobs look like sand dunes.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 12:30 PM   #5
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I would agree that it's too dry. I'm guilty of this myself and have often tightened things up with a skim coat of thinset so i can walk on it and clean it without the mess. I don't think you actually have the water in sufficent amounts to hydrate the cement in anything richer than 4:1..probably getting questionable at that.

A bit of additive in my deckmud makes the compaction seem far more dense and the pack seems Bond together a bit better..might be worth a try.
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Unread 06-25-2006, 03:33 PM   #6
Davy
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Like the others, I'd think it's a little too dry too. 4 to 1 is plenty rich, I usually go 5 to 1. As I pull back the mud, I like to go over the mud with a flat trowel. This will bring a little water to the top leaving a hard crust on top the next day. We mudded a kitchen/dining room floor a couple weeks ago that's not getting tiled for another month or more. Some of the batches of mud my helpers made were a little dry so we put a skim coat of Versabond on it the next day.The following day we put down builders paper and cardboard, taping all the joints. It's holding up fine.

Cx's way would be bulletproof. I remember one time covering a mudded floor for about nine months with paper and sheetrock. That held up okay although the sheetrock was wearing in places.
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Unread 06-26-2006, 06:29 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips. I'll try the Masonite.
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Unread 06-28-2006, 05:32 AM   #8
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Update. Changed sand( finally found some sharp sand). Added a little more water and now beautiful deck mud.
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Unread 06-28-2006, 10:08 AM   #9
Hamilton
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John I like to mix some thinset a bit runny and skim coat my deckmud. The
thinset i use is basically the same mix you would use to set over fresh
deckmud for instance while setting a shower floor . Skim the mud while its
fresh avoiding leaving any excess thinset or ridges. The next day when it
is dry the sand is bonded together and you can twist your boots around
on it and not tear up the surface.
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Unread 06-28-2006, 03:21 PM   #10
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I'll add too...are you sealing/pinching off the top layer with a mag/steel trowel? That could be your prob too.

After pulling the mud and feedin the chickens etc on my floors,I'll mag or steel trowel the top layer TIGHT. I press pretty firm on the top,to help it give a hard and smooth surface.

As others have mentioned,it could also be you're mixin it too dry.
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Unread 06-28-2006, 03:44 PM   #11
T_Hulse
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There's nothin like getting good sand eh John? Best deck mud I ever had is when we started with a big load of sand I didn't like, a little too coarse. Mixed it with 1/3 local red/orange fine sand the builder already had on site. Easiest working mix I've ever had & it dried with a nice hard top. The different sizes of sand were locking each other together like aggregate in concrete.

Damp curing is another thing that will make a much harder top. I very rarely let any floor mud fully dry before it's tiled. I keep it covered with plastic or upside-down masonite or similar until I'm ready to tile. Makes a big difference IMHE.
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Unread 06-28-2006, 05:38 PM   #12
Scooter
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I don't want a hard surface. I like it sandy.

My beds aren't perfect and may have some ski slopes and bird baths, no matter how slow I take it.

If it is soft and sandy, I can shave off those ski slopes the next day.

I just use an old scrap of plywood and keep the other trades off the floor. The help wear sneakers or stocking feet only, except the tile setters who can wear anything they want.

The last thing in the world I would want would be a damp cured rock hard mortar bed. I mean Christ, we aren't talking a garage floor here that will bear a lot of weight--this is a bathroom for Christ's sake. How strong do you really need it?
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Unread 06-28-2006, 05:38 PM   #13
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Most of the above.

I'm a 5:1 guy. No latex. Yes to the steel trowel and yes to the damp (not wet) mix. Yes to sharp sand. Masonry sand works, but it takes a little more cement, and it's a bit harder to work. When I used to float big floors, I would lay down some sort of pathway protection and make the other trades stay on it. I was king when I was doing the floors. If I didn't like ya, you didn't get in until the finished tile floor had been grouted and covered.
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Unread 07-01-2006, 05:48 AM   #14
John K
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Floated three different bath floors this week, two in the same house.( remodel).

This last house I tried the MB method and used Laticrete admix in place of water. One bath came out fine and the other had a 1/8" crust, and when that broke loose, it was a sand box underneath. So like a idiot I skimmed it with a loose mix of speed set and put a fan on it. Forget about it! I tore it out yesterday and will re-do it today.

This is for anyone who had a possible thought of adding admix to your mud!!

Now here is my guess as to what happened. The sand in the back of my truck was hot from the sun. The mix was wet enough to hold together and was packing and pulling ok. I think the damn air conditioning sucked the moisture out of the mix during the night. That bath was completed at 3:00 pm and the next bath was later than that, but with a different sand. ( Ran out and had to get another scoop). Also there was only one vent in the second bath.

What say you?
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Unread 07-01-2006, 05:55 AM   #15
Davestone
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Oh, the bigger the sand the easier it is to work, and it gets super hard...just try puttin some acrylpro admix in your drypack, man it gets hard.I used to get what's called screenings,it was large sand,and shell fragments and such screened out of sand for the stucco guys.You can also use a spray bottle with water on that top layer when you finish trowel it to get it nice and hard.
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