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Unread 11-11-2013, 11:55 AM   #1
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Combing thinset into triangles of diagonal layouts

Hi all.
Yeah, I'm an engineer., but please don't hurt me

I've read quite a few posts, but haven't found answer to this.

It's pretty straight forward to fill Ditra waffles, comb straight ridges in and back butter my 18" sq. porcelain tiles, but dealing with all those cut triangular edge pieces seems another matter.

I'd thinset over larger areas at a time to comb straight through the triangles, but then skinning over starts to concern me and you still end up with 45 degree angled edges/walls here and there.

1. So, how do you pros comb those straight?

2. Or, for the triangular pieces, should I just fill the waffles, scrape Ditra flat and comb the BACK of the tiles after keying thinset into them?

3. How long have I got from when Laticrete 317 was filled into the waffles beyond the current course, before I go back over them with combing or a combed back tile? Open time? Pot life? Wait 24 hrs?

Thanks so much for this wonderful resource!
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Unread 11-11-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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If Im setting the cut pieces as I go then I'd have the thinset already combed there as I work

If I'm going to leave the pieces out and set them later (I do that sometimes when its convenient) then I would do #2. Notching the back works good, just fill the ditra with margin trowel or whatever trowel you can get in there
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Unread 11-11-2013, 05:57 PM   #3
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Welcome, Keith.

Don't get caught up in the need for notching your mortar on the substrate and miss the point of doing that. It's just one commonly used method of achieving the required mortar coverage on the back of your tiles and the substrate.

What you really want is to have 100 percent mortar coverage. You won't get that very often. What you must have is at least 80 percent coverage with good coverage on all edges and corners. How you achieve that is entirely optional.

If you mark your layout and make all your cuts first, you can probably lay them along with your field tiles and never miss a beat.

If you wanna set all your field tiles and cut later, you can just clean those areas of excess mortar while filling the waffles after as you pass by setting the field.

If you wanna cut and set the cuts as you go, you can do some combination of the above as John points out. A margin trowel will be your good friend in any event.

Or you can fill all the waffles first and do one of the above the next day. Some folks like to do that to make marking their layout lines easier. Then it'll also be easier to set those cuts by whatever means you've selected.

Lots of ways to skin that cat. You may not even need a notched trowel at all to set those cuts. You can key in mortar to the substrate and backbutter your cuts and set them so long as you get the needed coverage and can get the height right.

Get the coverage any way that's convenient for you, don't worry about how you do it.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 11-13-2013, 01:08 AM   #4
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OK, I'll comb the ridges onto the tricky tiles instead of the Ditra under them.

Yes, I understand the purpose of the ridges and look to them to help keep me honest and outta trouble.

Thanks gents!
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