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Unread 10-24-2019, 05:56 AM   #1
Chowchewey
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To pre-bond or not to pre-bond - that is the question

Have read and heard various recommendations around pre-bonding tile before setting. I am interested to know thoughts on this as well as what to use.

Some recommend a watered down solution of Weldbond, others suggest just wetting the back of the tile before setting, and others say its not necessary at all. The idea being to prevent the tile from absorbing moisture from the thinset.

I am mainly interested to know as it applies to a shower wall application. Thanks for your thoughts. Art
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Unread 10-24-2019, 06:19 AM   #2
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I'm not sure the need for doing that and could cause bonding problems instead of helping. Especially wetting tiles before setting them. A damp tile is one thing but wet tiles won't help the bond. I find that using a good quality thinset bonds real well. I don't see the need for anything else.
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Unread 10-24-2019, 07:31 AM   #3
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I think there is an argument, though, for ensuring the tile backs are free of any dust/dirt/kiln release and the easiest way to accomplish that was, for me, a damp sponge.
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Unread 10-24-2019, 07:56 AM   #4
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Why fix what ain't broke?

White bisque ceramic can be pretty absorptive, but thousands upon thousands of jobs successfully completed without aid. On the other hand some porcelains can be really dense and non-absorptive, yet the same applies there.

Good sense, right materials and reading instructions will give desired result. Backbutter with mortar...maybe. Weldbond...absolutely not. I'd be curious to know where that particular recommendation came from.
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Unread 10-24-2019, 08:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art
Some recommend a watered down solution of Weldbond, others suggest just wetting the back of the tile before setting...
Like Peter, I'd like to know who is recommending these things.

For bonding new concrete to old, we used white glue as a bonding agent for years, but that's because concrete doesn't bond well to anything. Wetting (soaking) tiles before setting was common before the advent of thinset mortars when the bonding was done using dry Portland cement and water (Splash and Dash), but that soaking or wetting is something you specifically do not want when setting with thinset mortars.
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Unread 10-24-2019, 09:00 AM   #6
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Not to incriminate another website, but it was a different online tile forum that recommended the weldbond with other posters suggesting they usually moistened their tile before setting. This is in addition to back buttering. Seemed a little like over kill to me - hence my question. Thanks. Art
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Unread 10-24-2019, 10:35 AM   #7
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No reason not to mention the source of your information, Art, 'specially if it's on a public Internet forum and is handing out tile advice. Just as the owners of this website have no problem at all with folks quoting elsewhere what's been posted here, they allow other sites to be quoted here. Nothing "incriminating" in that as I see it.

Quote:
with other posters suggesting they usually moistened their tile before setting
That's a bit different from recommending "wetting the back of the tile." Nothing at all wrong with having a damp substrate or a damp tile when using the thinset method of bonding, but there's no allowance for a wet tile or a wet substrate in that application.

But thinset mortars are designed to be used generally with dry tiles and dry substrates and without any need for additional bonding agents except for some liquid additives designed to be mixed with unmodified dry-set mortars when recommended by the manufacturer.
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Unread 10-25-2019, 09:25 AM   #8
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Weldbond on the tile before applying thinset? That seems crazy to me.
Weld bond is a polyvinyl acetate which is essentially wood glue. Why would you put that on a wet, cement-based mortar??? Just seems so odd....

I do not think mortars bond well to synthetic resins. Just think how well it bonds to ditra (it doesn't).
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Unread 10-25-2019, 10:42 AM   #9
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PVA glues are actually effective in bonding new concrete to old, Mike. Been used in that application for decades. Not as good as some bonding agents, but far better than none.
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Unread 10-25-2019, 12:03 PM   #10
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interesting.....i guess it is used. Seems to be more of an off-label use.
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Unread 11-04-2019, 07:50 AM   #11
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I am moving onto the next stage of this project - tile layout. The tile selected is a 4.25" by 9.5" ceramic with glass mosaic.

My questions or requests for opinion are these:
- attached is a picture of the tub edge. in your opinion what would look best, given the size of the tile - to cut down the first row of field tile about 3/4" to go around the tub radius to use the tub leg course to do this? I know from reading here there is no right or wrong way, but rather interested to know what the pros usually do in this situation. The tub itself is very level.

- the glass mosaics make me a little nervous at $28 / sq ft. Any advice when it comes to cutting and setting? I was planning on scoring before cutting and using a wet saw - any other advice / suggestions? Planned to use a modified Mapei thinset for the glass and field. Does the thinset color matter with glass tile since you can see through them?

- Lastly - I would like to use an epoxy based grout. I know they can be tricky to use and is time consuming. since my labor is free i'm not worried about the time investment but any do's / don'ts when it comes to grouting?

Thanks to everyone who has helped to date - really appreciate it! Art
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Unread 11-04-2019, 09:05 AM   #12
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1. Somewhat up to the setter I guess, but I like the look of dropping the first row to include the tub radius. Leaving a square corner and filling with caulk/grout looks like poo, just in case you were wondering.

2. depending on the glass see-through-ness, specific glass mortar might be best. I like using a spacer to define the space for mosaic when setting rest of field. I'd only use white behind glass.

3.Not much experience with epoxy, I'll let someone else chime in.
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Unread 11-04-2019, 12:07 PM   #13
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Hopefully your glass mosaic's are the same thickness as your field tile, otherwise you'll need to build up the area behind them. I used a dedicated glass cutting blade on my wet saw for my glass, super smooth cuts, no "pre" scoring.

I used Spectralock Pro Premium epoxy, love the stuff (aside from the cost), and really didn't find it difficult to use at all.
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Unread 11-04-2019, 01:06 PM   #14
Chowchewey
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Luckily the field and mosaics are the same thicknesses so got lucky there.

Any suggested thinset brands to use for the glass? they all seem to say bright white which makes me suspicious.

Carbide - agree with no tile at the tub radius is poo! Just don't know if i like the idea of starting out with 3.5" tall tile for the first row. but maybe since they are only 4.25" to begin with will make it less noticeable?

Thanks. Art
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Unread 11-04-2019, 01:24 PM   #15
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If your glass is clear then use white, and most brands probably make a mortar specifically for setting glass.

I'd gladly put up with the bottom row at 3.5 in order to have the clean radius. After a while you'll stop "seeing" them.
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