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Unread 08-16-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
Willl
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trowel size

Hi,

Is there any particular reason why 3/8" by 1/4" by 3/8" notched trowel is recommended for 12 by 12 tile. I have 12 by 12 stone tile here with a 1/16" grout joint and I was thinking that perhaps a 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/2" notched trowel would give me more thinset to get better thinset coverage on the back of the tile and it would also give me more thinset to play with inorder to get the tiles level. Thanks
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Unread 08-16-2008, 01:58 PM   #2
bbcamp
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The bigger notch will do exactly what you are thinking, but it will do a little more, too. Too much thinset will allow the tiles to settle and shift. Some thinset will ooze up into the groutline and cause grouting problems later. If you still want to use the bigger notch, consider changing from thinset to medium set mortar, or look for a thinset with anti-sagging properties, like Laticrete 255.

Keep in mind the extra expense that comes with using the bigger trowel and the super-duper thinset.
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Unread 08-16-2008, 02:21 PM   #3
Willl
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Well I have mapei ultra-flex 3 here and on the back of the bag it doesn't even say anything about using the large 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/2" square notched trowel. Is this because you cannot use that size with this type of thinset mortar. Thanks
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Unread 08-16-2008, 02:39 PM   #4
bbcamp
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No, you can use whatever size you want to. A recommendation is just that, a recommendation. It's probably based on real-life or lab experience, though.
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Unread 08-16-2008, 09:46 PM   #5
Tool Guy - Kg
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The flatter the floor you have, the smaller the notch trowel you can use. On one extreme with a "glass flat" floor, you could use a little-bitty notched trowel and still have excellent coverage with those stone tiles. Conversely, a really wavy floor would force you to use a larger notched trowel and you still may not have sufficient coverage. The point is: it's all relative.

To understand how flat your floor is, grab the longest straight-edge or super-straight board (ideally 10’) you have and drag it around the floor in every which direction. The maximum deviation from flat that you want is no more than 1/4" of deviation in any given 10 foot length (that's why you drag the straight-edge all over the floor, checking it many times). And no more than 1/16" of deviation in any given 1 foot length. If you have more deviation than these specs, you need to do some floor prep before you tile. Filling the valleys or grinding the high spots might be necessary.

Assuming you’re within specs, I'd recommend starting with a 1/4" x 3/8" x 1/4" trowel (don’t forget to burn a coat onto the backs of the tiles before you lay them). Lay a few before pulling a couple of them back up to see what coverage you’re obtaining.

Note: It’s 1/4” x 3/8” x 1/4”, not 3/8” x 1/4” x 3/8” like you originally posted…I'm only mentioning it so you're clear on what you may be purchasing at the store.
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