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Unread 10-10-2021, 01:52 PM   #1
r-mm
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First time tiler working on garage - advice sought

Hello all

I am a big time DIY car guy and architect by day. I rebuilt the Alfa in the photos below and do much of the work on my home. I have yet to tile but looking forward to the challenge. If you look closely in the photos you'll see two pallets of 4x8 "klinker" tile from Argelith in Germany that I plan to lay in a brick/running bond pattern, emulating the look often seen in European car service bays. The third pic is my inspiration, the last pic is the tile itself.

The installation is 550sqft on a very good and crack free concrete slab. In ways the install should be "easy" as every single corner of the garage besides the staircase and overhead door are concealed by my junk. This means I'm not hugely concerned with perfect cuts at walls. I am concerned with getting a good looking and performing surface on which I'll do a significant amount of maintenance, rebuilding, welding & more.

I plan to begin with Laticrete Prime and Bond then set in 254 Platinum. I am borrowing an MK saw.

If I may, have some questions for you all:

1. I realize first time installer and epoxy don't go together but nonetheless: is something like Laticrete Spectralock worth the hassle and cost for a space like this or will a high performance cement grout like Permacolor Select in a dark color do the trick? I don't park any daily driven cars here only long term projects which don't pull in and out in weather and get the floor wet/salty but there will be every manner of automotive fluid spilled.

2. I presume a laser will be useful as a check and to help me keep the running bond centered? I have a 3' spirit level and chalk line on hand as well.

3. These tiles are small and rectified. Besides aesthetics (I prefer smaller) what would make me select a 1/16" vs 1/8" grout joint ?

4. For a first timer is an anti-lippage system like Ridgid LevelMax helpful?

Doing this myself I'm saving money so cost of tools and products is not a concern. Making the job go smoothly and being proud of the results is!

Thanks all!
Russ
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Unread 10-10-2021, 03:47 PM   #2
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Welcome, Russ.

1. That is one application where I think epoxy grout might be useful. While it does have a learning curve, the Spectralock installation is not rocket surgery by any means and you'll likely get the hang of it before you finish the first batch.

Those grouts are sensitive to some types of fluids (I'm told), but none of them come out of an automobile to the best of my knowledge.

2. A laser level can be helpful in marking your layout, but I think you'll find it easier to lay those small tiles on a layout line once you have them marked. But that will be entirely up to you.

I would recommed you get a 10-foot or longer straight edge and evaluate the flatness of your concrete. While those small tiles won't be as sensitive to minor out-of-flat conditions as would larger format tiles, you're still likely to have lippage problems with your staggered joints if the substrate is not flat.

3. A misunderstanding of increase in difficulty. But you could certainly do that if your tiles are, in fact, well rectified. The tile industry standards recommend a grout joint width a minimum of three times the difference in size between the largest and smallest tiles in your layout. For a successful 1/16th" joint, the tiles must be nearly perfect.

4. Not with tiles that size.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-10-2021, 03:56 PM   #3
Tool Guy - Kg
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Hi, Russ.

Is there any sort of coating on your slab? Or is is bare concrete?

Are there any joints (usually control joints) in your slab?

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Unread 10-10-2021, 04:38 PM   #4
r-mm
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Thank you CX - appreciate the feedback on all points.

Tonto - I knew someone would ask that When I moved into this space 5 years ago I ground and etched the slab then applied a two coat epoxy. It has help up perfectly with the exception of where I dropped heavy things onto it, and in those areas the chipping has not spread. I am very aware that the right thing to do is to mechanically remove the coating and tile over bare concrete but life, machine tools and other things mean I am going to take a calculated risk and degrease - prime & bond - tile over what I have. I'll only have myself to blame if there are issues in the future, but my spider sense tells me there's a 90% chance any issues will result from my installation technique not the epoxy lifting from the concrete.
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Unread 10-10-2021, 04:57 PM   #5
Tool Guy - Kg
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It’s not as much the lifting of the epoxy as the bonding of the tile to the epoxy. What bonding material did you have in mind?

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Unread 10-10-2021, 05:03 PM   #6
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The plan is degrease with TSP, roll out Prime n Bond then use 254 Platinum.
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Unread 10-10-2021, 05:15 PM   #7
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1/16" grout lines are a pain to set and to fill with grout...1/8" ones are easier.

Spectralock allows you to use less than the full amount of the powder when mixing it up to allow getting into the grout lines easier. It also has some neat configurations...such as glow in the dark feature!

A couple of things on epoxy grout...once it's mixed up, take it out of the mixing bucket and lay it out in smaller blobs on the tile...it gets hotter quicker when in a big blob rather than smaller ones from the chemical reaction. Since it's getting towards winter, super high temperatures may not be an issue, but the chemical reaction of setting epoxy gets quicker the hotter the stuff is. It also gets stiffer if it's super cold.

Some industrial sized scrubbing pads work decent. SOmething like this would probably work https://www.amazon.com/Premiere-Pads...3907397&sr=8-6 but I've not tried them, but saw the techs in a demo using something similar when demonstrating epoxy installation at a class. Microfiber cloths are good too, but keep in mind, you'll need a LOT of them, as rinsing them out will NOT remove all of the epoxy from them, so you'll just be spreading it back around rather than buffing it off. You can wash them later, but do them separately, and they may not be usable for everything again, so don't count on them. When sponging things, do NOT use the same side more than once without rinsing it out or you'll be spreading more of it around.
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Unread 10-13-2021, 06:30 PM   #8
r-mm
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Thanks again all.
I have a question on Laticrete Prime and Bond. I called Laticrete but they simply read the data sheet back to me. The data sheet notes a 72h time limit if self leveling products are to be applied. In this case they are not, I am simply mortaring the tile over the prime and bond. Do you all think its safe to presume no such time limit exists for that application ?


Drying Time
Allow PRIME-N-BOND to dry before applying a polymer
modified mortar. The minimum drying time is 15 – 60
minutes depending on the substrate and environmental
conditions. When used as primer for self-leveling
products (e.g. NXT LEVEL) allow 2 – 5 hours for PRIME-
N-BOND to dry before self-leveling products are poured.

If PRIME-N-BOND dries for more than 72 hours before
application of the self-leveling cement, clean the surface,
re-apply an additional coat of PRIME-N-BOND and
install the self-leveling products within 72 hours. Mix and
install self-leveling products per LATICRETE product
data sheet and installation instructions.

https://cdn.laticrete.com/~/media/pr...200507T173743Z
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Unread 10-13-2021, 06:41 PM   #9
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Can’t speak to the prime and bond but 254 - while a terrific thinset - is like working with marshmallow. You need to keep your work, your tools, your clothes, etc clean as you go. Remove any thinset in grout joints within a day cause it dries rock hard. If it was me I’d go with multimax lite, which still slots into the same system warranty length as 254.
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Unread 10-13-2021, 06:51 PM   #10
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Well, that's poor. I would expect better than that from Laticrete, but I don't know who's running that operation these days.

I actually think it safe to tile over that product with thinset mortar after the 72 hours. The SLC doesn't have nearly the bonding properties that a thinset mortar has, which I'm guessing is the consideration with the SLC.

The safest thing to do, of course, is re-apply the primer if you still have some.

But I'd first call Laticrete again and maybe get a more helpful rep this time. They know the answer to your question.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-13-2021, 07:16 PM   #11
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CX - what’s Henry Rothberg’s role with Laticrete these days? He used to post here pretty frequently but that was a while back.
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Unread 10-13-2021, 07:50 PM   #12
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No idea, Lou. Haven't talked with him for years.
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Unread 10-14-2021, 12:29 AM   #13
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Before you go all in on the 254 I think you (everyone) should use a bag of it then make their decision to continue using it, I went with not. I will use it off I have to buy it is at the bottom of my list. Like Lou said keep things clean, cleaning the next day is not great and near impossible. I threw away a fairly new trowel the first time I used it.
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Unread 10-14-2021, 10:03 AM   #14
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I would get rid of the epoxy coating or wouldn't do the tile. Primer or no primer it is a 50/50 deal otherwise. I live in WI.
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Unread 10-14-2021, 12:54 PM   #15
r-mm
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I called back and got a more helpful rep or perhaps asked my question in a clearer fashion and they echoed what was said here - no issue waiting to thinset over cured Prime and Bond, just keep it clean.

Thanks all.
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