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Unread 10-07-2012, 08:33 AM   #1
Rick 768
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DIY and 24x24 Porcelain mortar recommendations please

Hi all! New here and not a trades guy. I’ve done some tile work over the last 10 years, put never anything this large. The project is a kitchen/family room remodel with just under 1,000 sqft. The tile will put on concrete slab in our one story house in Phoenix AZ area. The concrete slab is in good shape, flat and a few very small cracks. The project manager (a.k.a. wife) has already selected and ordered the tile, like it or not, it’s coming. Tile is porcelain with rectified edges. Plans is for 1/16 grout lines.

I plan to use a “medium bed” mortar but I am finding a wide range of recommendations. I called several local suppliers and some said to “save your money and use an $11.00 a bag (50#) product and others say you’ll be sorry if you don’t use the $48.00 stuff. I like to save money, but I can only afford to do this job once. I want to get it right the first time.

I have been searching and reading the web and this site for as much info as much info as I can find regarding the mortar question. This is a great site and I have found a lot of excellent info shared by very knowledgeable guys and gals. But my curiosity is still not satisfied. So at the risk of bring up an “asked and answered” question, I would like to ask for current recommendations for this application.

Any input and advice will be most appreciated.
Thanks
Rick
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Unread 10-07-2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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Welcome, Rick.

Ambitious DIY project. Very ambitious.

I've built a few houses and I've set a few tiles in my day and I'm not at all daunted by new or difficult challenges, but had I a thousand feet of 24"x24" porcelain to lay, especially at that grout joint width, I'd be calling upon a pro tile guy to at least help me start that one. I've set a few 20" tiles in a small area and some 16" tiles in larger areas, but when a fella gets to 24" tiles he's into a new game, specially if he's working alone as I usually am.

That said, the need for a medium bed mortar, even with those large format tiles, is more dependent upon the flatness of the substrate and the flatness of the tiles than on the tile size. You'll not know the flatness of the tiles until they arrive, but it is almost a certainty that your slab will need some work before you begin tiling. The industry standard for substrate flatness for tiles with any side longer than 15 inches is no deviation from intended plane of more than 1/8th" in any ten feet and no more than 1/16th" in any two feet. That's a very, very flat floor and you want yours flatter if you can get it.

Several setting materials manufacturers have developed bonding mortars specifically designed to be used with these new large format tiles. Here's a little reading material from Laticrete on the subject in which you'll find their recommendations. Custom Building Products makes ProLite for the application. And there are others.

You might wanna look into one of those specialty products, or you might be comfortable just flattening your substrate, spreading a good quality thinset mortar, backbuttering your tiles, and setting them. I would very strongly recommend you also look into one of the mechanical flattening systems to use along with good setting technique. The Tuscan Leveling System (TLS), or Lash system, or similar products can be very useful in helping to eliminate lippage in setting those large tiles.

And patience. Get a very large bag of patience and have a bucket of it on hand right beside the two buckets of cleaning water you'll always have close at hand while setting. And get a bag for Mrs. Rick, too. You'll not want her using up all of yours, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-07-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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Thanks CX, we have lot of patience but but sometimes it can be hard to find in the piles of displaced “stuff” during this project. Just need to try and remember to stop and breath every once in a while. The leveling system is a great suggestion and is now on the list supplies needed. Any thoughts on ½’ notched trowel vs. ¾ scalloped type?
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Unread 10-07-2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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Hi Rick,

There is a huge difference between the amount of thinset gobbled by a 1/2" square-notched trowel and the 3/4" half-moon/loop trowel. The final trowel size is really only determined after you have a few tiles down and you start pulling some up to evaluate your coverage. The best we can do is give you a few guidelines as to a ballpark size you might need...and that link to the Laticrete article has a good chart to get you started. But before you get too caught up in that, I'd go completely out of my way to prepare the substrate as flat as you possibly can so that you don't get forced into attempting to make up for a non-flat substrate while you're setting. Get a long straight-edge and drag it around the floor so you understand where to correct all the peaks and valleys on the floor.

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Unread 10-08-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
Rick 768
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Thanks for the input Tool Guy and humble apologies for taking so long to reply!!! Yesterday was the first Sunday with temps under 100 in a long time. Couldn’t resist just had to go out and enjoying a 94 deg day and a cool evening!

I did a lot of checking and measuring. Using a laser and T-sq found I have a 4’x8’ area in the middle of the room that is about 3/16” higher than the rest of the floor. My first thought is to grind down the 32sqft area instead of trying to raise 600sqft, but I have no experience grinding concrete. Is this a doable task?

Thanks,
Rick
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Unread 10-08-2012, 09:53 PM   #6
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That's a good bit of a hump to remove, but it's certainly doable. Unless you're pretty well equipped, like having a medium-large rotary hammer and 7" angle grinder with diamond cup wheel or a concrete plane, I'd recommend you look around to see if you can hire that part of the work done.

And outfit with a large concrete grinder can make short work of that, leaving you with only minor grinding and filling to do. They'll likely want a good bit of your dinero for the privilege, but you're likely to be happy you gave it to them. 'Specially if they have good dust containment equipment.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-08-2012, 11:12 PM   #7
Rick 768
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I have access to tools and like to play, but I'll check the pros and see what they have to offer.

Thanks,
Rick
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Unread 10-09-2012, 12:29 AM   #8
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I'll throw my two cents worth in as far as setting materials go. I did about 120 feet of 24x24. They were flat as could be, and I had to do a little work on the floor. I used the LASH system for leveling the tile, and used Laticrete 4XLT as it works just fine as a medium bed mortar. I used a 1/4x1/2x1/4 trowel for setting, and skim-coated the back of every tile.

Many people think that because they're four times the size of 12x12's that you can go four times as fast, but nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, it took twice as long. Took me about 10 hours to set that 120 square feet, simply because the shear size of those tile makes them so much harder to handle and cut. They were slick black, and I couldn't find a decent marker that I could use in making cuts, so I used masking tape on the tile as a cutting guide.

Like the others mentioned, having a flat floor is the biggest help of all. Trying to set one those tile over even a small hump in the floor is a losing battle.

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Unread 10-09-2012, 08:56 PM   #9
Rick 768
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Thanks Kman, I like the idea of a leveling system. I found the Lash brand at HD, watched the video them and the Tuscan system. Since this a one time project the Lash system looks like a good bet. I'm having a little trouble finding Laticrete products in this area. Mostly because my real job has me tied up from 6 to 5 everyday, makes it hard to shop the commerical stores. I will be picking up this tile Friday morning. So I will be making a decision mortar very soon.

Thanks,
Rick
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Unread 10-09-2012, 11:39 PM   #10
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If mapei product is available I've used Ultraflex LFT for 2'x2' tile before. I was happy with it.
http://www.mapei.com/CA-EN/product-d...22&IDLinea=102
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Unread 10-10-2012, 07:41 PM   #11
Rick 768
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Thanks for the input John, I found a supplier that handles Mapei. Ill check to see if they carry the Ultraflex LFT tomorrow. I found Tec product at a one of the bigger tile stores and they want $48.00 a bag for a 20 bag order. Their price seems a little steep, I'm not trying to cut corners just want to get the best bang for the buck.
Thanks, Rick
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