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Unread 09-20-2006, 07:25 PM   #1
evanpowens
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tips for handmade (irregular) tiles?

Does anyone have any tips to share on problems associated with using handmade tile such as Walker-Zanger Tiberon, which is 6x6 but wildly irregular in shape. Obviously spacers aren't going to be much help with out of square tiles so layout is going to have to be by grid lines and by eye. I assume that one goes for really wide grout (1/4 or so) so as to cope with the irregular size of the tiles.

These tiles are also quite thick (1/2") and heavy; does that change anything about how one does a wall application?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.
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Unread 09-20-2006, 07:42 PM   #2
Davy
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Hi Evan welcome. You might try some big plastic wedges, these tilespikes work well for walls.
http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=39025

I like to back butter tiles like this and level up each row as I go up, shim up to the level with the spikes.
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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:32 PM   #3
Shaughnn
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Hi Evan,
I recall that tile as being very "thirsty" and that I gave handfulls of the tile a soaking in clean water and let them drain before setting them. Also, it's a helpful step if you can set up your saw close by and trim all of the crud, like excess bisque and too heavy glaze, off of the edges. Likewise, if you alternate the "cupping" of the tile you'll end up with a fairly flat course. You can't go fast with it so you'll just need to make sure you've got plenty of wedges available and check your courses for level often. Here's a kitchen I did with the stuff a few years ago. You'll notice that the picture frame at the cooktop looks hacked together. The homeowner noticed it also and called an outside inspector to evaluate the work. The inspector, from the Ceramic Tile Institute of America, went over the whole job and then turned to the homeowner and said, "Lady, I would pay top dollar to have this work in my own home." That's just the nature of the material you are working with so my heart goes out to you.
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Last edited by Shaughnn; 09-20-2006 at 11:37 PM.
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Unread 09-21-2006, 05:47 PM   #4
Davy
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Shaughnn, nice work.
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Unread 09-21-2006, 09:28 PM   #5
Shaughnn
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Thanks Davy, but my point is that this Walker-Zanger "Tiburon" tile is just not going to cooperate and so it's very important that the end-client know what to expect. The picture frame in my photo was constructed of three elements, none of which were flat, straight or consistantly sized. The bulky chairrail had some pieces which were warped 5/8"! I'm not kidding about that. The entire job was potato chips and bananas and not a flat tile in the bunch. And all of it has 1/16" spacing!
If Evan needs a shoulder to cry on, I'm here for him.
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Last edited by Shaughnn; 09-23-2006 at 12:33 AM.
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Unread 09-25-2006, 10:39 AM   #6
evanpowens
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Thanks Shaughn and Davy for the helpful advice. My project isn't nearly as demanding as the backsplash: plain fields with a few inset 3" flowers. I'm essentially replicating a friend's bathroom design, so I have seen this tile installed and have a sense of the irregular quality.

This forum is such a wonderful resource: everyone in the trade is so generous with advice for the DIYers.

Thanks again!
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