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Unread 04-29-2011, 04:41 PM   #1
oakland76
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Terracotta patio tile

I have finished the inside tiling projects and have moved outside. I had 25 yards of concrete patios, walkways and stairs poured. The concrete guys left a rough finish to give my tile something better to bond to. I have ordered 1300 sq feet of saltillio terracotta (mostly 12x12s) but I am unsure what the best mud for outdoors is. I planned on using a latex modified thinset but I dont know which brand holds up to the outdoors the best. I live in northern California so weather is not really an issue. Also, any recommendations on type of grout? Should I spray a concrete bonding agent before I tile? Thanks again for all of your help.
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Unread 04-29-2011, 07:22 PM   #2
Davy
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Heck, I'd probably use good ol Grey Versabond, myself. Eye ball each piece as you go and fill the backs if they are cupped like they usually are. If you see a corner that looks to be high, add more thinset to it.

We use to make our own grout with mason's sand and portland cement, 3 sand to 1 cement. You can also use sand blast sand or some guys have used silica sand. Also, check out Custom's Saltillo grout, already mixed in a bag. Wet it down before you grout, that will be easiest being outside. If you don't, it will suck the water right out of your grout, turning it to powder. About a week or two later, it will probably need a mild acid wash. No bonding agent on the slab. Are there any cracks in the slab?
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Unread 04-30-2011, 07:53 AM   #3
oakland76
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terracotta

Thanks for the recommendations. There are a couple superficial cracks but other than that, no.

Also, I was planning on a 1/4 inch U notch trowel for the mud, any objections? I am going to tile the side walkway of the house which is about 50 ft long and 3'6" wide on a steady uphill slope. The sidewalk climbs about 6 ft over the length and I am a little concerned the tiles may want to settle downhill with gravity until the mud dries. Am I paranoid or is this a valid concern. If it is a possibility what is the best way to prevent it.
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Unread 04-30-2011, 08:19 AM   #4
bbcamp
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Jason, did you mean 1/2" U-notch trowel?

I kinda doubt the tiles will slide on a 1.44 inch/foot slope.
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Unread 04-30-2011, 09:36 AM   #5
Davy
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Yeah, you want a bigger notch than 1/4. Like Bob said, 1/2 would be okay but I would still look at each tile, butter up when you need to. You want to make sure and get enough thinset under the tiles. That's why I said Versabond, it's a good thinset and not real expensive, you'll need a bunch. I'd figure about 50 sq ft a bag .

Alot of folks buy Saltillo cause it's so cheap and it does make a nice floor but the cost is in the setting of it. It takes a lot of thinset and grout. Having a little patience doesn't hurt. If the tiles are warped with a high corner, which they will be, try putting 4 high corners together.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
oakland76
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trowel

Glad I read this before I laid any tile. I just bought the 1/2 trowel (2 actually so I can also put my wife to work). Can I round the edges of my cut pieces down with a file so they match the full pieces or will this make the tile crumble?
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Unread 05-01-2011, 09:32 AM   #7
Lazarus
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Sure, you can use a file, but might be a bit slow. Try rounding them by hand-holding the tile and work it with the wet saw blade...then finish it with a rub stone or file.

Also, you'll find those tiles are very THIRSTY. Dampen the back thoroughly with a wet sponge just before setting them...otherwise they tend to suck the moisture out of the thinset too fast to get a good bond.
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Unread 05-07-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
oakland76
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grout

Thanks for all the advice. I am doing this in sections with the hardest one (tiling a walkway and 30 stairs) coming to a close. My plan is to seal and grout this section of tile at one time then reseal it and move on. I have a quality grout which is sanded and intended for 1/2 inch grout lines as well as a good sealer that is intended for outdoor use. I have heard that I should not grout along the house but rather use some type of foam. Is this true? If so can you guyd lead me in the right direction. Thanks again.
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