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Unread 12-21-2019, 07:58 AM   #106
ss3964spd
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Tile on mesh doesn't automatically spell disaster, John, the 2X2's on my shower floor have been down since last March or so with no problems. Not exactly a long term test but so far so good.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 09:38 AM   #107
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This is helpful. When I received the tile sample (haven't bought it yet), I handled the assembly and one of the tiles fell off. A friend told me as soon as those get wet, they are going to fall off... then I read all the wet saw/mesh tile horror stories where folks curse the manufacturers. I think the tile itself is of decent quality. I took some sheets of cardboard yesterday and practiced mixing up some All-Set to a consistency that would hold a trowel ridge. I used the 1/4" square notch trowel and practiced setting the single 3"x3" tile. I collapsed the ridges by moving the tile perpendicular and was pretty happy when I checked the coverage. Then, as I thought about the mesh, I kept thinking how could this stuff NOT impede the coverage of the thinset? What I find interesting is how the threads that bemoan the mesh tiles never seem to have an AHA moment of resolution. Some of the pros simply refuse to set tiles with this mesh and some say get a "better quality" tile... I think this stuff is good quality Italian porcelain (10.5mm) but I gotta see if I can get my confidence up so that I can set a reasonable amount of it given All-Set's pot life. My exercise in mixing and spreading the thinset seems wasteful but I'm the kinda guy that has to get a little bit comfortable with the tools and materials before I start. "Let's Do This!!!" is great as a slogan but this particular trade I think has a lot of nuance and skill. The materials vary so much in quality as well as the conditions that pros face. I definitely have a lot of respect for all the seasoned pros here who are willing to indulge my questions. I'd rather learn that my mud was too loose on a piece of cardboard than on my $300 Schluter tray.

I took a piece of gorilla tape and laid it over the sample sheet faces to see if it would hold for the purposes of maybe wetting the mesh, letting any glue emulsify and pulling the mesh and using a front side/contact paper/tape solution so I could leave the back surface exposed for the recommended coverage.

I watched a few Sal videos last night too where he was using marble sheets with the mesh backing.

I also have a tile laser that I used for my foundation that I can set up if I had to set the tiles individually. I can see how the labor on these jobs can add up but I definitely see how the money is definitely EARNED!!!!

Thanks to everyone who is following and willing to offer their thoughts on this thread. I will keep updating it.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 11:07 AM   #108
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As an experiment, I did wet the mesh to see if the glue would emulsify and it did. The tiles basically peel off / fall off the mesh with little to no effort.

The back of the tiles do have a waffle pattern from the mold. The glue apparently just tacked to the ridges on the waffles. I could see how if you didn't get thinset coverage in the waffles, the glue residue would significantly weaken the bond and adhesion.

This is very frustrating. At this point, I just want to find a tile that I can have confidence setting.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 12:52 PM   #109
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In my mind the lack of adhesive might actually be beneficial, John, as more mortar will come in contact with the back of the tile without a bunch of glue being between. So long as the sheets hold together long enough to set them.

From an amature's point of view, and a painfully slow amature at that, I didn't want to spread a large area of mortar for multiple sheets and then worry that it would skin over before I was able to place them all. To that end I only spread enough to set one or two sheets at a time, allowing me the luxury of time to get them properly placed set into the mortar. Scraped off whatever excess mortar was past the edge of the sheet(s), then just a quick stir of the bucket and soldiered on.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 02:13 PM   #110
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Thanks Dan. That is helpful. I have been thinking that the mesh might not be a bad thing from a point load perspective on the back of the foam. Additionally, since I seem to be concerned about coverage, I was thinking maybe I could just use a 2" knife and burn a layer of mortar into the back of each tile. That way, I would know I have good coverage. From what I understand, the tile I have chosen and it's mesh assembly/glue is not too obtrusive from the standpoint of limiting thinset coverage. Here is a picture of my experiment and dismantling/emulsifying of the glue:
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Unread 12-21-2019, 02:44 PM   #111
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I you choose to burn mortar onto the back of the tile, which will be time consuming, I'd definitely wait until after you did that to trowel mortar onto the floor, and then only enough to do a sheet at a time. I believe fresh mortar is the key, ya don't want it to skin over. You'd also want to ensure you're just barely filling the backs; too much on there and you'll end up with mortar in the joints which you'd have to clean out.

But I think if you mix your mortar a bit thinner, so that it just barely holds a ridge, it will be thin enough to squeeze through the mesh.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 05:33 PM   #112
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You can pull them all off and set them individually. Draw a grid of lines on the floor that are real square and back butter each piece.
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Unread 12-21-2019, 06:42 PM   #113
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John, the problem you see is well known in the industry and especially amoungst the setting products manufacturers who are consistently blamed when tiles come unbonded.

The tile manufacturers, of course, are well aware of the problem, too, and why mounted tiles with the backs virtually covered with mounting mesh and water soluble glue are still very commonly manufactured is beyond me. And I've seen some much worse even that what you've got.

One of our former installation products representatives has responded to questions about what thinset mortar should be used to set such tiles on shower floors by saying "Someone else's."

Davy's recommendation is the safest method you'll find. Remove the tiles from such backing and glue and set them individually. May cost you an hour of your life, but it'll save you much potential headache.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-22-2019, 12:18 PM   #114
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Thanks for all these helpful suggestions.

My next question is about mixing my Schluter All-Set. I have obviously read the directions on the bag and I know not to mix excessive amounts that I can't use (but definitely don't come up short).

I have made a chart showing water ratios broken down to smaller amounts but the thing that I can't find is this... All the pros just know the consistency when it comes to the powder, but I might as well find a scoop that could hold say 2 1/2 pounds and then I can feel confident by weight that I am using the right amount of powder. Honestly, the stuff is awful and I don't really like bear hugging the bag and being anywhere near the dust. I will definitely be wearing a respirator and eye protection. Anyone have any good "scoop" suggestions that they use to simply reach in the bag rather than bear hug it?

Like I said, I'm not a pro so I have to be a little more diligent with how I measure and handle the materials.

Thanks.
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Unread 12-22-2019, 03:54 PM   #115
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I’ve used one of those plastic soup containers from the Chinese take out place marked off with marker lines. I did something along the lines of “3 scoops to the line” for each pint of water. I didn’t use All-Set, but rather the Ditra-Set. Same idea. You’ll figure something out. An old (rinsed out) bleach bottle with the bottom cut off makes a good scoop with a handle.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 09:25 AM   #116
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I did another test batch mix yesterday of the All-Set and I did some more reading. A couple more questions....

-Does the thinset get stiffer during the slake?

-Is it better to add the lower range of water during the first 5 minute mix and then bring it up to the desired consistency with sponge squeezes adding small amounts of water rather than adding in powder?

I know that post-slake, it is forbidden to add water.

I did get a better feel for the consistency by handling a small knife and seeing the mortar not fall off of it but simply hold but still be creamy. It truly is a hard thing to articulate which is why I mixed up a couple small batches to throw away. I figure I will get practice very soon.

My first endeavor is going to be the 4x6 floor for the shower pan so that is a LARGE space. I will have to spread a lot fairly quickly (1/4 x 3/8) so I'm a bit nervous. I guess the pan is EPS so it's not really tile but I am still nervous.

Would a looser mix be OK for the pan?
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Unread 12-24-2019, 09:51 AM   #117
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It will be stiffer after it slakes, John, but will loosen up again upon remixing.

I work painfully slow so I mixed a LOT of small batches. I poured water to the bucket first, probably 3 or 4 cups, scooped in the dry mortar, mixed using the mixer below, then added dry mortar until I got the consistency I wanted. I didn't ever add water, only mortar.

Don't attempt to trowel mortar onto the entire pan, then set tile. The mortar will likely skin over well before you finish.

You mentioned the pan is foam, but what's covering it?
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Unread 12-24-2019, 10:04 AM   #118
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The pan I am using is a 6' x 6' Schluter pre-sloped foam pan that I have painstakingly cut down to the 4' x 6' size. The pan is basically two halves of 2 pieces... I have a recessed floor so I gotta nail it. I am probably going to apply the thinset to 3 of the quadrants and then back out the last quadrant and cover that once I have the tray in. The tray has these interlocking notches so the quadrants have to fold down in a sequence. Kinda tricky so that's why I am trying to get everything right.

I have a 50 lb bag of All-Set but I have probably done 2 small practice batches of mixing. I think mixing half a bag for this 24 sq foot area might be too wasteful but I don't know.

Tray has membrane pre-attached.

I will eventually be covering the pan with 3x3 porcelain brick tiles.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 10:21 AM   #119
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You do want the mix on the looser side to allow the ridges to collapse easy. You'll need 1/3+ of a bag. I usually burn thinset onto the back of the prefab pan before setting it in its final resting spot. It's a pain if you run short so it's better to have too much. I try and have spots to for extra mortar, like places to add banding that can use up any extra in the bucket.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 10:24 AM   #120
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Ah, so you're asking about setting the pan first. Got it.

Yes, mixing half the bag is going to be way, WAY too much. 1/4 of the bag will be too much. Since you're setting the pan it'll go down quickly, I'd go ahead and trowel the whole floor then set the pan.

Mix your mortar. A little loose is ok but it should still hold a ridge.
Clean off your mixer.
Have any tool you need at hand
Sponge off the floor to remove dust and dampen the surface.
Give the mortar a quick stir with a small putty knife
Trowel on your mortar. As your foam is in several pieces you can trowel just one section at a time if ya wanna.
Set the foam, find a way to distribute the weight of your hands a bit - you don't want to leave dents.
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