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Unread 04-17-2008, 08:54 AM   #1
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Levelling Tile

I just recently installed tile over ditra on top of a 1.25" ply subfloor that was very flat. Since the job was large I couldn't lay all the tile in one sitting and so some thin-set cured on top of the ditra where I was to lay my tile the next day. I knocked down any high spots I could see before continuing and wiped up what I could before letting it dry before the next tile day.

Here is my issue, In some spots the corners don't all meet up. Meaning there is some lippage here and there throughout the floor. When I installed the tile, I always burn t-set to the backs, and the ditra to fill the voids, then comb out my t-set. After matting the tiles into the ditra, giving it a couple of beats with a rubber mallet and plank, I notice the issue. My coverage obviously was excellent except for the odd low spot (nothing exceeding 1/8th/1/16th in 10ft)

I worry more so about unsupported corners than minor lippage but it still bothers the crap out of me to see any lippage even though I know 1/16th is acceptable, but the floor in question gets so much light it drives me nuts now.

How can this be fixed during install ? Should I add extra t-set to some spots? Am I depressing the tile too much in areas by beating them in, twisting across the combed t-set? What do you do to make sure all the corners are equal ?

I'm sure a lot of this would have been avoided if it wasn't for the dried thinset . This was my first time doing stagged installs on ditra and lessons were well learned. I can honestly say - CBU is a hell of a lot easier to install on top of than ditra! but every underlayment has its pros and cons and ditra's properties pros do outweigh its cons.

Your input will really put my mind at ease - being a perfectionist stresses me out.
Dave C.
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Unread 04-17-2008, 04:45 PM   #2
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Hi Dave, what was the brand of tile? Was it porcelain or ceramic? Sometimes the tiles themselves can be tweaked or warped causing some lippage. If you are setting on Ditra and dont prefill the holes,(not that it's necessary) where you leave off from the day before, if the mud was spread too far,
the tiles will sit a tad bit higher. To eliminate that you either keep the thinset spreading no further that where you are going to set the tile or prefill all the holes let it dry then set.
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Unread 04-17-2008, 08:09 PM   #3
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I use a TAVY tile puck. It has a small bubble level in its' center. I slide the puck back and forth over the tiles as I lay them. If there is any lippage, you will know it immediately. I pull up tiles frequently and add or subtract thinset here and there as need. The bubble level really helps. There is also the possibility that the thinset was a little too wet and it settled some as it dried. The lippage problem is more challenging where yesterday's tile edges must match todays. It depends some on the pattern that you chose to lay. Mine is a Hopscotch with 8" and 16" tiles and always leaves an irregular edge for the next day's install.

My install is over DITRA (1300 sq. ft.) and I, like you, back buttered the tiles. If I had a little thinset left over , I would just fill some of the next day's DITRA holes.

That puck really helps a lot. I played ice hockey with it with my grandson on the un-grouted floor (after the thinset dried of course). If I hear a bad clunk, I check it out. I took a hammer to one tile that had too much lippage. It came right up, in pieces of course, and the DITRA was not damaged. I then replaced that tile and that fixed that lippage problem.

Hope this helps.

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Unread 04-17-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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I think you have too much of a bed and your creating the lippage.

you said the ply was very flat, so why backbutter ?

use a nice trowel that will give you a good bed, place the tile and tap them in.

if the floor is flat, spreading a consistant bed should suffice.
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Unread 04-18-2008, 04:32 AM   #5
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What size trowel are you using? I think you should use more cement, and just take it slow.
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Unread 04-18-2008, 10:34 AM   #6
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The install was 13.25" square porcelain from Argentina with rectified edges installed on a broken joint diamond pattern (3" offset). 1/8" grout line. I used a 1/4" x 3/8" trowel. I back buttered because the porcelain had deeper grids on the back.

I will checkout the leveling pucks. Maybe Brian is right - too much t-set. I used a level on the install but I just couldn't get the corners matched well. Driving me nuts....I think I might try to remove a few of the problem tiles.
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