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Unread 04-15-2008, 07:54 PM   #1
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first of many tile projects --- help

Hi everyone!! I'm a new member/poster but have been reading and following along here for a little bit. I have done basic ceramic tile jobs, but now we are going to tackle our whole house. I will start with the info on the first (easiest, I think) area and see how that goes. I have searched and read many of the threads here and have learned sooooooo much. However, still want to make sure I'm on the right track.

First area to be tiled is kid's rooms with Hollywood bath between. All the same tile - 18x18 travertine, honed & filled. The floor is concrete on grade and fairly level. We spread a levelor/patch over the entire surface just to smooth things out completely. We plan to put down electric radiant heat cables throughout the area.

Now...... the bathroom between the rooms has an old fashioned tub/shower combo which is about the only old thing staying in the house. Do I need to waterproof, i.e. Kerdi, in that small area outside the tub/shower & around the toilet? The actual bathroom with tub/shower combo & toilet is very small - 20 square feet. Next, anything else we need to do to the rest of the subfloor areas before we lay the cable and then the tile? Each of the two bedrooms is about 140 square feet. Any advise on thinsets or grouts, methods, etc. is much appreciated. I have read alot about back buttering and making sure corners of the stone tile are well covered to prevent the "hollow sound" problem, but otherwise, don't know what special techniques need to be followed. I will be working with two very good amigos who are excellent Mexican stone workers so they know their way around mortar, but aren't completely familiar with the
nuances of the likes of our indoor project. Oh yeah, did I mention my husband is in a wheelchair? The heavy power kind to boot. Whew!
Thanks a ton for any help help!!!
Austin, TX
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Unread 04-15-2008, 09:35 PM   #2
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Welcome, Brenda

doesn't sound like a simple project to me. Two suggestions for starters:

1) buy a copy of JB's book (and read it)
2) while you're waiting for the book, spend some time in the whirl-famous Liberry.

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."

Patrick Henry
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Unread 05-02-2008, 09:04 AM   #3
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Unhappy in progress

OK....bought the book. Read it over and over again. Make my husband crazy by staying up late at night looking at forum posts. Tiling is a sickness!!!!

We currently have Ditra down on a level, dry, 10x12 floor (the room we're using to get our feet wet, so to speak). Used unmodified thinset to lay the Ditra because that's what Ditra says to use. I have read some about using modified, and I can see why, but didn't want to go against the Ditra instructions. Now........would like to start tiling, but apprehensive.

First question - How can I tell if the ditra is properly adhered to the substrate? I pulled on one corner and it looks like I could just pull that piece up with the thinset underneath sticking to the floor, but not the Ditra.
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Unread 05-02-2008, 11:48 AM   #4
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First off, stop picking at the Ditra. It will peel off if you start at a corner and tug. Tile won't do that. Instead, look for air bubbles. If you see any, cut them out and install a new piece. Otherwise, the color will lighten as the thinset cures.
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Unread 05-03-2008, 09:32 PM   #5
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Thanks, Bob. I really only peeked at a tiny piece of the corner. John's book stresses how important it is that the Ditra is firmly and completely adhered to the thinset, so I was just trying to make sure. I'm still not sure how to tell if there are air pockets. The thin set underneath has cured and if you look closely, you can see a "mottled" look underneath the Ditra everywhere. Does this mean there are tons of air pockets? When you walk on it, it feels very solid with no difference in sound or feel anywhere, i.e. no hollow or "squishy" places. Any other tests or advise???

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Unread 05-04-2008, 11:10 AM   #6
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Brenda, a molted gray look is really quite typical with Ditra. If you mixed the mortar fairly loose (thin), used a 1/4" v-notch trowel and didn't spread too much out before embedding the Ditra, you should be fine.

Aside from using the correct thin-set motar for the application, checking for coverage as you go is the best way to insure you'll get a good bond.
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