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Unread 06-26-2018, 02:16 PM   #1
RRGuy
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LFT Thinset and Trowel Size - More confused than ever!

Hi All,

I'm ready to begin tiling my kitchen floor with a 16x32 porcelain. The floor is flat and level, as I framed it and took care to get it right. Over that is 3/4 T&G plywood subfloor and then 1/2-in ACX underlayment.

I have already installed Strata-Mat with 254 Platinum and am laying out now and will begin setting tomorrow.

I would really prefer not to spend the $$$ for 254 to set 300 SF of tile, but I will if it is the best option. Also, I had originally planned to use my 1/2 x 1/2 trowel, but now I've been reading some threads suggesting that a 1/4 x 3/8 may be adequate? I am going to skim the tile backs.

So any suggestions for a thinset other than 254? And what's the popular opinion on trowel sizes?

Thanks,

Blake
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Unread 06-26-2018, 02:49 PM   #2
jadnashua
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Inside, on a well prepared subfloor, IMHO, 254 is way overkill. Many of the properties that make 254 good are things like freeze/thaw performance and maximum bond strength. Over a membrane like you have, the bond to the mat is minimal, and as long as the tile's bond is greater (easily done), it would loosen off of the membrane first as it won't be putting much of any stress on the thinset/tile bond.

The actual notch required to set a tile depends on a few things:
- how flat the floor is
- how flat the back of the tile is (depressions/grids/etc.)
- whether the tile is warped or cupped

If both the floor and the tile are quite flat, you don't need much of any to get good coverage.

On a larger format tile, though, the actual trowel you use and the technique utilized can go a long ways towards achieving the desired 100% coverage on the back. Industry standards want a minimum of 80% in the field of the tile, and 100% of the edges firmly supported by the thinset. The larger the tile, the harder that is to achieve by just pushing the tile down into the notched thinset...you must slide it back and forth some (sometimes a lot more than you'd think) to flatten those notches and get the required coverage or you'll end up with stripes of thinset and gaps between them.

IMHO, especially with a larger tile, I'd seek out a slant-notched trowel. These make slanted notches that after passing the trowel through the thinset, allows them to fall over giving you a nearly flat, 100%, gauged thickness surface of thinset. If you've burned in a coat on the back of the tile, a very slight back and forth will then embed the tile. By falling over, it also lets out most of the air which makes it harder to flatten the tile.

The magic tell on this, like most tiling, is to pull up a tile once you think it's good, and then check the coverage. If it's good, and you continue to use the same techniques, you'll have a likely good end result. If it doesn't have the coverage, you might need to slide it back and forth more, switch trowels, or make the thinset a little looser. Excess water can lead to shrinkage, materials separation, and a weaker bond.
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Unread 06-26-2018, 03:06 PM   #3
RRGuy
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So if I go with slant notch, which size do you recommend?

I didn't mention that I am using Spin Doctor leveling system and setting the tile in grid pattern. It is quality Italian porcelain and it is pretty flat. Probably a 1/16 of warp on the 32 inch length.
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Unread 06-26-2018, 03:16 PM   #4
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3/8" or 1/2", 1/4"x1/2" u notch, or 1/2" superior notch would be my suggestions.
Tri lite would be a good option if you have easy access to Laticrete. It's an awesome product.
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Unread 06-26-2018, 03:58 PM   #5
jadnashua
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I'd consider this one http://www.donnellydist.com/tr38fr.html
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Unread 06-28-2018, 08:10 AM   #6
RRGuy
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My local Daltile doesn't stock 4XLT or Tri-Lite, but they happened to have some 255 left over from a special order that they were willing to cut a deal on...

And I found the Raimondi trowels locally in stock. Only had to drive 18 miles and waste 3 hours! Gotta love LA traffic...
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Unread 06-28-2018, 08:37 AM   #7
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I havent used 255, but from what I've heard its some really good stuff.
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Unread 06-28-2018, 08:59 AM   #8
azsoccerpop
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RRguy not to hijack your thread but could you let me know your experience with that leveling system? I am a 1st time DIY putting 12x24s at 1/16" grout lines and was considering a system like LASH or spin doctor to eliminate lippage
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Unread 06-28-2018, 10:11 AM   #9
RRGuy
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I like it OK. It's like any other leveling/spacing system - cleanliness is key. A bit of thinset between the spacers and the tile can really make a difference in the grout joints. As far as getting rid of the lippage, it is easy to use and works well. I prefer it to the wedge-type systems.

I looked at the ATR system and it seems to be pretty slick. The single screw seems like it would be less likely cause spacing issues with the thinset...

As for the 255, it is a dream to spread. It's like buttercream frosting.
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Last edited by RRGuy; 06-28-2018 at 10:13 AM. Reason: additional info
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Unread 07-02-2018, 11:58 AM   #10
Sharon @ LATICRETE
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Quote:
My local Daltile doesn't stock 4XLT or Tri-Lite, but they happened to have some 255 left over from a special order that they were willing to cut a deal on...
Hi Blake - I checked with our Technical Services team on this and here is what they said "Any latex modified thin-set is rated for use over the STRATA_MAT with porcelain tile, 254 Platinum is just the premium adhesive.
With the tiles being large format we would personally like to see an LHT Mortar like TRI-LITE or 4-XLT used to set the tiles. Thin-sets like 254 should not exceed ¼” finished thickness while the LHT mortars can be used up to ¾”.
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