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Unread 04-16-2021, 01:09 PM   #16
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Nothing mysterious about their trowel, John, except possibly the price they ask for it.

A 1/4" x 3/16" V-notched trowel by one company is the same as that from another.
If I recall correctly my memory is excellent, but my ability to access it is intermittent.
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Unread 04-16-2021, 01:28 PM   #17
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That would be true, Dan, but the Ditra trowel is a square notch, not a vee notch.

At 11/64ths" it's a weeee bit smaller than a 3/16ths" square notch and really is just right for installing Ditra, but I agree you can install Ditra just fine with one of their other recommendations. Actually, I think the best part of owning a Ditra trowel is that it's really handy for installing some smaller mosaic tiles, too. Mine has installed a lot more tile than Ditra.

Not to mention that the trowels are free!! Well, unless you consider the cost of a trip to any number of Schluter seminars to get a free one, at which point they start costing about twelve hunnert bucks a pop.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 04-16-2021, 05:07 PM   #18
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The biggest thing with installing Ditra is getting the thinset the right consistency. Part of that is to wipe the surface of the floor down with a wet sponge first, just prior to applying the thinset. Otherwise, the floor may suck too much moisture out of the mix, making the mortar too stiff to flow properly to embed the Ditra. The bond is created by the thinset flowing around the fleece fibers...it doesn't stick to them. When the thinset cures, it grows crystals that then lock everything in place. Sort of like Velcro, but the hooks are rigid rather than being flexible.

This time of year can have things a bit cool. That can make Ditra a bit stiffer, so first thing is to reroll it backwards to help take some of the curl out of it. In the worst case, you may need to weight those edges down, but if you've done your thinset properly, and embedded the sheet, that may not be useful. Once you think you've got it properly embedded, pull back a corner and make sure both the floor and the mat a completely covered. If they are, your technique is good, and the sheet will go back down easily, with almost no work. Then, stay off of it for at least a few hours unless you're going to add tile immediately. You either want to be adding the tile to a cured sheet, or a wet one, not one that is partially cured.

When mixing the thinset, the bag will give you a range of water that is acceptable...use the maximum. If you're not mixing a full bag, a bathroom scale can be your friend to get the proper weight, and then figure out how much water to add...mix it with a proper paddle, at the specified speed, for the specified time, and the mortar should be nice and creamy making the whole job easier.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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