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Unread 02-08-2009, 02:35 AM   #1
CharlesW
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Custom Building Products Custom Blend

Is Custom Building Products Custom Blend a no no?

I'm not happy right now. I just started installing Ditra in a shower remodel that I've been working on for ages. Stopped for the night and was doing a little reading and stumbled across some information suggesting against the use of Custom Blend by Custom Building Products.

Can someone tell me why it shouldn't be used? Do I need to pull all the Kerdi I've put up and start over? (I've got Kerdi Band, Kedrdi Kerick, etc in all the corners and have one wall of the shower covered.)

Thanks in advance,

Charles
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Unread 02-08-2009, 05:03 AM   #2
scuttlebuttrp
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I've never used it; but everyone here keeps explaining that it's very poor quality unlike most of Custom's products.
Give your Kerdi a tug at one corner. If it's set well you shouldn't be able to seperate it from the wall. If it starts coming down; well you just started the demo process. From what I here from others, it will come down fairly easy.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 09:00 AM   #3
ceramictec
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it is pretty much loaded with more sand then portland.

it is a unmodified but not a high quality one, its an economy thinset.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 09:30 AM   #4
CharlesW
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Brian and Royce,

Thanks for the reply. More than a little frustrated last night. Oh well it's not the first time I've had to take a couple steps back.

I'm going to give the Kerdi a tug but will probably just pull it down and scrape the CustomBlend off the hardibacker as best I can. Dang.

Wonder if the Kerdi can be reused or should simply be tossed? I'd rather not just throw it in the trash if the CustomBlend hasn't really stuck to it. Thoughts?

As always, appreciate all the help given here.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 09:48 AM   #5
Brian in San Diego
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Charles,

The CustomBlend is some, how shall I say it...cheap stuff. I don't think I'd go tugging at the kerdi if it were mine. The force you put on the kerdi by tugging on a corner is not the same as the force the tile will put on it when attached to the wall. We have to remember that CustomBlend still passes ANSI A118.1 product specifications and as such should be suitable for the application for which you are using it. Would I use it? Not on a bet. Would I be eager to start pulling the kerdi off? Probably not. I guess it all depends on your comfort level. Since you are installing over hardie you had a couple of things working against you...a cheap thinset coupled with an extremely thirsty substrate. If you made the thinset loose and you properly hydrated the hardiebacker then you may have a fighting chance. if either of those steps were missed or compromised then even my confidence is beginning to wane.

If you decide to do the pull test and further decide to take it down then you should be able to rub the thinset off the hardie with a brick. Just rub the brick over the surface and it should smooth things out nicely for you.

I would throw the CB in the trash. Get a quality unmodified like Laticrete 317 or Mapei Kerabond. There are others. To be any good it has to cost more than 11 bucks a bag.

Brian
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Unread 02-08-2009, 10:07 AM   #6
CharlesW
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Brian,

Thanks for the feedback.

I wetted the hardiback down and mixed the thinset to a loose consistency....but I'm pulling it down. Bummer but I'd rather do it now than have problems with the whole thing later. Too much invested to not do it right.

I was going to get some Laticrete MegaBond says it must be used with latex additive if used over cement board...then we're into the issue with modified thinset voiding the Schluter warranty.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 11:35 AM   #7
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That's why we recommend always using products per the manufacturer's instructions, Charles. Schluter recommends the Ditra be installed over sheetrock and there is no conflict there with any manufacturer about the type of thinset to be used.

Like Brian, I would not have pulled down the Kerdi if I had managed to get it successfully installed with the Custom Blend. The requirement for shear bond strength between the thinset and the Hardibacker and between the thinset and the waterproofing membrane is only 50psi. While I don't favor the use of the CustomBlend, that bond strength is pretty easy to accomplish and it was unlikely your Kerdi was gonna fall off the wall.

But if you're more comfortable starting over with new Kerdi, I am, too.

You still won't have a warranty from Schluter, so you could also use a modified thinset for that application if you wanna, eh?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 01:42 PM   #8
ckl111
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I had the misfortune of using Custom Blend on my first Kerdi job too. Not only did it not stick well for me, I found it built-up in the corners and joints because of the high sand content.

The kerdi peeled of cleanly like a banana in my case with no damage to the fleece what so ever so I reused it. I also forgot to mix the thinset loose the first time so that didn't help matters. It might be different with your case. If you find you can't remove the kerdi without tearing the fleece, you probably don't need to remove it.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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Picking at a corner of Kerdi is not a good "bond test" because: 1) Like Brian explained, the forces of peeling Kerdi away from the thinset are different and far exceed the force per sq/in than that of what it would be with stiff tile on it.....and 2) it takes TIME to develop the full strength of the thinset bond.

So, even with the best thinset, you'll be able to peel Kerdi. Stop picking at your Kerdi, please. You want a good test, construct a test board:
with drywall over a small stud panel,
Kerdi it,
AND TILE IT.
Then wait a couple weeks before prying the tile off.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
CharlesW
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As always, thanks for all the input.

Right or wrong the Kerdi's down, and the walls are cleaned up and ready for another go.

Just looked at the Kerdi handbook and it lists cement backerboard as a suitable substrate. May use Versabond though as the backerboard sucks the water right out of the thinset even with prewetting the backerboard.

Thanks again.
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Unread 02-08-2009, 04:10 PM   #11
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Yeah, Charles, the dampening is especially important with the Hardibacker. That stuff really sucks the moisture out of anything you spread on it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:22 PM   #12
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I also purchased some custom blend from a big box store and used it to stick some Kerdi to a shower wall. I had all kinds of problems with it. I couldn't get the kerdi to stick to the thinset in a lot of areas. I thought this was from air bubbles trapped under the Kerdi but no matter how I tried to apply the Kerdi I couldn't get it to stick. I have since had to remove my shower from my master bath because I had some design flaws, apparently my architect (me) doesn't do a real good job with laying out small spaces. It looked like everything was going to fit on paper, and when I snapped some lines on the floor, but once my vanity was placed I can see I don't have the room for the shower I wanted. Now I need to rebuild the shower, showerpan, Kerdi et al. I'm not going to be using the custom blend this time. I've been looking for some Ditra Set D-25 in my area but the nearest distributor is 150 miles away, wants $25 a bag, and has to special order it. So I'm looking for another product to use instead of the Ditra Set.

Can anyone recommend another real high quality unmodified thinset that I can most likely find in my area?
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Unread 02-09-2009, 12:32 PM   #13
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Try flooring stores, Dean. Anyone who carries Bostick products can get the Ditra Set for you. And it's worth the effort. Even in my little town I can order it through my little floor/wall coverings place and pick it up within a week for only about $13 a bag.

Other choices in other Big-Box stores (Lowe's) is Laticrete 317 (or Megabond) or Mapei Kerabond. Or just get some Versabond from Homer's and forget about a Schluter warranty, which you ain't gonna have use for anyway.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:12 AM   #14
CharlesW
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Ditra in shower has been re-installed (following the above discussed mishap with Customblend) and left to set for about a week. About twelve hours ago I filled the shower pan with close to 2 inches of water for the 24 hour water test. Water seems to be wicking up the Kerdi itself and thinset in the corners. Is this normal? The water level doesn't seem to have dropped but the inspector will be here tomorrow and will be sure to ask as the product is new to him. Seem to remember reading about something similar somewhere here in the forum.

As always, many thanks.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:56 AM   #15
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Charles, based on my experience of having a leak, you will see the thinset under the kerdi in the pan darken if it gets wet.....Assuming you used grey thinset....have no idea how white would react.

The Kerdi is transparant enough to see the thinset underneath get wet....anyway, that was my experience.
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