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Unread 07-06-2015, 01:32 PM   #1
GatorKenD
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trowel size and other tips for "challenging" wall tile

Hi All - I'm closing in on the finish line on a bathroom remodel and I wanted to get some advice on installing my wall tile. I picked a tile that I think is going to a bit of a pain in the butt to cut and install; Kalebodur Dot is the name of it. Here's a photo of a single 14" x 12" sheet. Attached to the mesh backing are nine circles 4" in diameter. Between each circle are triangles that are 1" on each side. The circles are slightly concave (which I'm thinking could make the grout work an extra challenge, but I'll cross that bridge (no pun intended, John) when I get there.

The question I have is what size trowel do I want to use given that I've basically got two very different size pieces of tile? The tile is ceramic and I'll be putting this on Kerdi over drywall.

I assume I'm going to have to use blue-tape to hold these sheets up while the thin-set sets, right? So, just one row of sheets at a time?

Any other thoughts or suggestions to make this installation a little easier would be welcome (other than, "return that damn tile!).
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Unread 07-06-2015, 03:44 PM   #2
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Ken,

Will this tile be in a wet area?
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Unread 07-06-2015, 03:53 PM   #3
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Very wet: Bath tub surround!
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Unread 07-06-2015, 03:57 PM   #4
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If going over Kerdi and you want the Schluter warranty, use Ditraset.

We often use Laticrete 4XLT over kerdi for its non sag properties. Excellent product there. Below is a pic where we installed 3x6 subway over kerdi board using 4XLT and no ledger board.

Use a Ditra Trowel or similar sized 11/64" or so square notched trowel. Perhaps a little bigger. 1/4" may prove too large.
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Unread 07-06-2015, 04:07 PM   #5
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Thanks Paul. I don't care about the warranty so I may just see which of those products I can locally. I assume I'm going to have to tape each set up sheets up? Will that limit me to one row of sheets per day or is there a technique that would allow me to set more?
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Unread 07-06-2015, 04:08 PM   #6
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If you use the 4XLT, and mix it properly you don't need no steenken tape and can set as much as you want, as high as you can reach.

Really cool tile by the way
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Unread 07-06-2015, 04:17 PM   #7
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Great! I lay tile 'til I drop! Wait... is this a good thing?
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Unread 07-06-2015, 04:24 PM   #8
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And... trowel size... sounds like your first choice would be 3/16 square notched?
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Unread 07-06-2015, 04:29 PM   #9
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Sounds good to me.
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Unread 07-07-2015, 03:59 PM   #10
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Wow... didn't realize I lived in such a backwater (Gainesville, FL). After many phone calls, I found a Dal tile distributor 40 miles away who sells to a flooring retailer in my town. Laticrete 4-XLT in transit!

Another question: Grout recommendation? I searched the threads, but not finding a slam dunk answer. Flexcolor CQ sounds like a first choice, but wanted to make sure it was a good choice for shower surround.

Grout question #2: I've got my floor tile (24x12 porcelain w/ 1/8" grout line) in. Had purchased Homers Polyblend in Natural Gray without spending much time thing about. I'm planning on leaving this house in a pine box (not anytime soon though!). Take back the Polyblend? Flexcolor CQ good for for this application, too?

Thanks!
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Unread 07-07-2015, 04:24 PM   #11
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Flexcolor and Fusion are the only grouts we use.
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Unread 07-07-2015, 09:29 PM   #12
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I second what Paul said. There's a world of difference between Flexcolor and Polyblend tile. The world of difference is in regards to both performance and price. If you are there for the long haul- Flexcolor or Fusion.
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Unread 07-08-2015, 07:59 PM   #13
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I'm just a DIY homeowner, but Paul recommended Flexcolor CQ to me for the first shower I did in our Master Bath because I was using a glass inlay and was nervous about sanded grout scratching it. I liked it so much that I used it for the second bathroom I just finished and there is no glass tile in there - all ceramic. It is a bit more money, but by the time you pay for a decent sealer the cost difference is less offensive. And then when you factor there is no mixing needed, no worrying about getting the same color and consistency between mixes, no having to go back and seal it later, etc...It was a no brainer for me, and I am as cheap as they come. (A fact Mrs. Greg likes to point out all the time)
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Unread 08-27-2015, 10:42 PM   #14
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Hey - finished this project and wanted to post a photo.

Paul - special thanks to you for your detailed and helpful replies. Used the Laticrete 4XLT and, I'm sure no surprise to you, it performed beautifully. Used the Fusion Pro grout for the first time. Love the product, but it presented some special challenges on this project.

This tile wore my ass out. Fun and I got just the look I wanted, but good grief, what a pain in the butt this was. Every 4" round tile was offset from the next so there was hardly a sheet that didn't require a cut. The concaves on the round tiles presented all kinds of hardships. Picture bringing two half circle tiles together in a corner, matching them up so they look like they "wrap" around the inside corner, the perimeters of the circles are almost touching, but the centers of the circles (because they are concave) are much further apart. I bought this w/o any matching trim. Found a 1/2" pencil trim that was a good color match, but every piece of this trim had to lay next to a cut circle tile that, because it was concave, was flush w/ the trim at the perimeter of the circles, but off-plane by a lot at the center of the circles. Something as simple as a bead of silicon at the tile/tub connection was made more complicated by the "waves" formed by the concave tiles!

Then there was the Fusion grout. Love this stuff, but!... it became clear prompt and thorough cleanup is a must. But!! with the concave tiles, I had to find a balance between getting the tile as clean as I could but not overworking the grout lines. Bottom line was there was a lot of haze in the concaves that needed to be cleaned out. (Magic Eraser my friends!!)

The niches? Don't get me started!

I love the end result, but I've got the master bath up next. I think I'll go w/ a little easier tile! Matter of fact... if I can find a single 7' x 12' tile, I may just go with that!

Other products in the picture that I was very happy with: went w/ a Kohler cast iron Villager tub. A little work because of the weight (320 lbs), but a damn good choice and a hell of a value. Sinks: Kohler Dolce Vita in Vapor Blue. Fun look. Pretty expensive retail $385/ea, but found a pair on ebay for the price of one. Countertop is GEO recycled glass (from Homer).

Probably be back here in 3 months when the master bath demo starts. Considering a curbless shower entry...
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Unread 08-27-2015, 10:53 PM   #15
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few more pics...
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