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Unread 08-21-2009, 12:23 PM   #16
astrojeff
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News from good to bad: Good news: I contacted a laticrete tech support person who confirmed with me that doing a hydroban membrane plus the 254 thinset is good for thin stone veneer on a CMU wall (the website only shows using 9325 membrane, but he says it just hasn't been updated since they introduced Hydroban). Mediocre news: It's probably more expensive than the scratch coat system, but a lot easier & quicker for me personally since I'm not experienced in lath & scratchcoats. Bad news: my local Lowe's used to be a Laticrete distributor, so I was going to buy or order it through them. But I just found out that has changed--they discontinued distributing Laticrete a couple months ago. As far as I can tell, the nearest distributor is now hundreds of miles from me. I'm not crazy about ordering 200 pounds of thinset over the internet, especially when shipping to my remote cabin is such a pain.

So that brings me to a backup idea: Hydroban + 254 sounds an awful lot like Redgard + Custom Marble & Granite thinset, which I can buy here at the local orange box. And they are cheaper than Laticrete. And they are both exterior rated, it's just that their information does not specifically list exterior stone veneer as a possible application. Am I missing something here? I don't care whether it is covered by warrantee or not. I'm willing to try it especially since it's gotta be better than what most people do here... Any thoughts?
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Unread 08-21-2009, 05:30 PM   #17
matman
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Sounds good to me Jeff. I am familiar with lat 254/hydroban and can attest to those products but I am not so familiar with the Custom line. I have bought a bag of grout or versabond on the weekend but that's about it.

Someone else could tell you more about that line than I could or Custom themselves. A word of advice, don't go cheaping out on your setting materials and take a chance, this is an exterior install. Also be sure to clean the back of the stones and burn in thinset before you set them in fresh mortar.
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Unread 08-21-2009, 11:31 PM   #18
astrojeff
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Thanks for the help!

FYI: I did hear back from a tech support at Custom who said that Redgard + the Marble & Granite thinset would be the right materials for an exterior veneer on CMU. I'm always a little skeptical believing people espousing their own products, but their published info definitely recommends those products for exterior application, I just couldn't find anything in writing about vertical exterior application--most of their info is about exterior tile decks. If nobody else here knows about using the Custom products for a veneer on CMU, then maybe I'll be the guinea pig.

I really wanted to go with Laticrete because they actually have diagrams showing how to use their materials in different applications including the vertical veneer on concrete/block, and I'd go with them just for having more thorough installation information, but I'm never going to get this done if I have to drive to Columbus to find a Laticrete distributor or have to order it to be shipped freight to a nearby city with a loading dock (I've done that before and it's a PITA). So I feel a little bad using Laticrete's published information and then using another manufacturer's materials, but it sounds like the two are similar enough. A lot of the folks here and DIY websites I've seen just say to use straight mortar or to mix a "couple cups" of thinset with mortar for stickiness and stick the stones on a CBU wall, so I certainly feel like I'm going above and beyond the "cheap" way of doing it.

And my home renovation buddies would attest that I am the backburning Nazi--I never trust thinset to stick passively to any dry surface. Burn baby burn! Also: I was thinking of borrowing a pressure washer to clean the stones before applying. So yeah, I'm not trying to cheap out here, I'm just trying to not go broke while fixing my little cabin that is not going to give me a lot of return on investment. I feel like everything I do here is above and beyond the norm for this area, so I'm just hoping it sells easily when the time comes and that future owners are not screwed over by shoddy construction like I have been.
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Unread 08-22-2009, 12:59 AM   #19
Trask
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Jeff if it were my project I would drive 200miles to get the Laticrete..I've had years of installs using both Customs (including Red guard) and Laticrete.. and ..well... I'd drive 200 miles to get LaticreteJust my 2 cents
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Unread 08-22-2009, 01:13 PM   #20
matman
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Ditto
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Unread 09-09-2009, 08:38 PM   #21
astrojeff
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Project in progress!!

First of all, I must apologize: I greatly appreciate the advice and I would have gone with the preferred Laticrete brand except that as a weekend warrior I simply don't have the time or money to drive 7 hours or pay hundreds more in freight shipping cost to get it when I can only get Custom products here. I considered just not telling anyone that I cheaped out, except that you can see from my pictures that I used Redgard and not Hydroban. And I so much wanted to show pictures of the project in progress.

So here are the pictures. It's going smoothly so far, except that I have to say it's a HUGE amount of work to fit these stones together. WAY more work than I've ever done tiling before. What you see in the picture is a full 2 days worth of stone laying and grouting. Plus the greater part of the previous day applying 4 gallons of Redgard. In my naive mind I thought I would have been much further along after dedicating Labor day weekend to this. But nevertheless, I think it looks beautiful and it will be worth the effort in the end. But now I certainly can appreciate the idea of paying a premium for pre-fit stones. I feel like I'm spending hours searching for the right pieces, and then chiseling off edges to get the right fit. I even had a friend over to help me for the day and she swore that that was the most miserable work she's ever done before. We've done lots of tiling together, but this is definitely at the upper end of the patience meter!
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Unread 09-10-2009, 05:03 AM   #22
Jim Doane
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Take your time Jeff, its your house. A tip just make sure the back of your stones are dust free.And with the natural thin veneer you are using, have a angle grinder handy with a segmented diamond blade to assist in trimming.After not finding the correct piece you just make one
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Unread 09-10-2009, 07:00 AM   #23
astrojeff
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Don't worry; I pressure wash the back of each tile before applying and I make sure that there are no loose flakes. I don't have the angle grinder, but I do have a wet saw that works pretty well. I've been using the wet saw for the concave or V shape cuts, and I've been using a hammer, cold chisel, carbide scorer, and nippers for trimming down the outer edges or for cutting straight lines across tiles and it all seems to work pretty well, just slowly. But like you say, Jim, it's my house and I don't want to get sloppy. I'm very happy at the final appearance of the place.

By the way, for grouting, I've been using a grout bag to get the initial volume in, then I pack it and add more grout with a pointing trowel as it stiffens up, then after it sets for an hour or two, I go back, scrape off the excess, and sweep it with a broom. Then I use a damp towel to clean off the cement stains along the stone edges. I initially tried washing it with a sponge like with tiles, but that just smeared the mortar all over the stones and made clean up more difficult. It also quickly became obvious that the grout bag does not work alone--it looks like a bad cake icing job without further troweling. The pointing trowel was a lifesaver!
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Unread 10-19-2009, 05:12 PM   #24
astrojeff
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I'm Done!!!

I am done with the stone work finally! Sore from at least 5 weekends of stone and grout, but I think it turned out terrific. Things eventually sped up as I learned what I was doing. The house looks a thousand times better now. I put up some before and after shots to give an idea of what this work accomplished.

Thanks to all for your help!
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Unread 10-19-2009, 06:11 PM   #25
Jim Doane
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Congraduations!!! Looks great Just what I need another tile craftsman going after my stone work. Thanks alot
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Unread 10-20-2009, 09:17 AM   #26
astrojeff
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Just adding one more picture from the other side since most of my "during" pictures were of that wall.

Thanks!
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