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Unread 11-23-2021, 02:15 PM   #46
chrishmm69
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It has begun!

After hemming and hawing over 2 other tiling projects in the last decade, then farming them out because I was a wimp, I finally started my own darn tiling project.

Of course, the bathrooms were about 30 sq ft, and my kitchen is 7 times bigger....

Took a while but I got 2 courses laid down. I setup straightedges and everything...but didnt take into account what will happen once thinset ends up squeezed against them. So I did away with the straightedges and just started measuring off the wall (already checked, the wall Im starting off of is square to the walls on each end of it).

I think I used too much thinset, at least in the beginning. But once I got the hang of it I started having tiles that were pretty level with each other once set, then moving them side to side got them level with the one next to it, and Spin Doctor did the rest for lippage.

Some questions -

1. I have a "haze" of thinset on the tiles. Im currently washing them down with a grout sponge and clean water, and its mostly going away, but in case all of it does not, what is the recommended way to get rid of it? There are no chunks of thinset, just a haze from me handling the tiles (while backbuttering, etc).

2. I had to stop for a bit, so for now I put the Spin Doctor "posts" about where I think they need to be for the next course. Is that the way to do it? Not sure how fast the mortar will setup to the point that I cant insert them later, so I did it right away.

3. Is there a way to tell I used ENOUGH thinset? Based on how far I got with 1 bag, Im pretty sure Im close to dead on or maybe a bit over (i.e. I got less sq ft out of this first bag). I cant easily pull up one of the big tiles, Im not sure how representative a small length would be. They sure dont move back and forth easily so I think Im good, but Id rather be sure if I could.

And an observation - Versabond LFT is STICKY as all get out. I tried to take up one of the full tiles (47x8), but practically bent a margin trowel trying to pry it back up. Settled for checking a much shorter piece (6") which still took a lot of effort to move. Considering what I found on the tile I took out of the kitchen, Im pretty sure my installation will be nuclear bomb proof.

Mostly because of the advice and posts on this forum, so a thank you is in order!
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Unread 11-25-2021, 07:30 AM   #47
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1. Nearly impossible to prevent getting mortar on the face of the tiles while installing them, and it'sa good idea to clean as you go. But you do want to get it all cleaned off, haze included, before you start grouting.

2. Yup. You've gotta install the posts before the mortar sets up. You could probably wait for an hour or two, but definitely don't wait until the next day - they ain't going in then. Avoid getting mortar between the flat side of the post and the edge of the tile, as doing so could make your joint wider. Because the "fingers" will displace mortar I often times used the fingers of the posts to dig a little mortar out from under the tile.

3. Enough is determined by setting a tile and then removing it to check for coverage. And that you're struggling greatly to remove one is a good sign. Ideal enough is full coverage without excess mortar being squeezed high up into the joints.

4. Good job not wimping out.
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Unread 11-25-2021, 09:34 AM   #48
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Thanks!

After day 1 I did put the spacers in place....they were nice and flat against the edge of the tile, no mortar in the way, etc.

Came back day 2 and a few of them seemed to have shifted (I didnt go near them, I promise!) which made trying to get consistent spacing....interesting.

After putting down another 3 courses yesterday, I decided I will use a carbide triangle type blade on my MultiMaster, to cut slots into the thinset for the next set of spacers. Will be doing that when I get back to tiling, interested to see how it works. I mean in theory it should.....

As far as cleaning, Im cleaning each tile after I set it, and then I go back when done for the day for one more pass. It keeps most of the haze off the tiles. There are no dried chunks which is good, I suppose the haze will come off with some good scrubbing if necessary. The one thing I do worry about is if any is hidden under the Spin Doctor shields and caps, but Ill deal with that when the time comes.

Coming out decent so far, at least to this ham-and-egger.

Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!
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Unread 11-26-2021, 09:30 AM   #49
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Starting day 3 of tile! Decided to snap a few of the levelling spacers off (needed the caps for today), and of course...not all of them broke clean. A lot of them didnt, actually.

I know its a common issue....what is the best way to fix? I tried digging one out with a utility knife and that was proving to be a pain. Hoping there might be an easier way...

Thanks in advance.
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Unread 11-26-2021, 09:40 AM   #50
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This helps. https://www.flooranddecor.com/instal...RoCFOEQAvD_BwE

For those that I couldn't remove with that I used a Dremel with a cut off wheel. My variable speed. I kept in at low speed and very carefully ground down the spacer.

The trick to avoiding difficult removal in the first place is to unscrew the spinner after tightening to clean out excess thunder from around the spacer then tighten back down. That tool is great for that too. Also make sure you are hitting them from the narrow side. Less likely to break that way. I learned all of this the hard way but all in all I only has a few not come out clean.

Careful not to chip you tile.
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Unread 11-26-2021, 09:52 AM   #51
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Excellent tips, thank you! It never even dawned on me to tighten, remove and clean, then re-tighten. I will use that method going forward.

And will pick up the spacer removal tool ASAP. Lots of Floor and Decor stores around me, luckily.

Thanks again.
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Unread 11-26-2021, 08:21 PM   #52
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FYI I had some luck with using my linemans pliers, grabbing what was left of the spacer (if it broke above the surface of the tile) and yanking it up, or wiggling it back and forth in the grout space, to get it to snap.

I used the plastic shield between the pliers and tile so as not to chip or crack anything.

The process worked well for a bunch of them...there are still plenty that need to be removed (or ground down), but it was nice doing something that I knew wouldnt harm the tile.
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Unread 11-27-2021, 08:00 AM   #53
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I didn't really have any issues with getting mine to pop, Chris. On the floor I just kicked them with my booted foot, on the walls I used a rubber mallet. All of them, though, were assaulted from the thin edges with the caps still torqued down. But I was very careful about avoiding mortar in the joints.

I had a small handful that the threaded shaft broke off from the flat spacer, leaving the spacer. For those I used short length of 2X4 placed against the thin edge, and wacked the other end of the 2X4 with the mallet. I did have one that broke off just below the tile surface, just used a hand held grout saw to grind it down.
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Unread 11-27-2021, 10:14 AM   #54
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I havent had such luck, but I did start removing the caps at the end of the day, cleaning out the joints and replacing the caps. I think that's the best thing to do, especially once the thinset is set up a bit. Makes it easier to get it all out of there vs when it was creamy and would smear instead of chunk up.

Ill just have to suck it up and carefully grind down the ones that are still in the way of grout. Most are actually in an area you will never see (under cabinets), but Im going to use those to figure out a good process of getting rid of them without damaging tiles, so I can have some experience going into the ones where you WILL see the tiles once cabinets are in place.

I was using a mallet to snap mine off....I might try my foot instead, maybe that somehow makes a difference.
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Unread 11-27-2021, 11:15 AM   #55
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The tool used to pop them probably won't matter, I employed the mallet for the ones on the walls only because, well, my limbs don't bend like that. LOL
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Unread 11-27-2021, 08:55 PM   #56
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Yep, I think you're right. Using my sneaker popped off cleanly about the same amount. I can tell there is thinset around most of the ones that didnt pop cleanly, so its definitely "user error". Honestly had no idea to go back and re-check them, and I couldn't really see what was happening with the shields in place. If I used just the caps I might have noticed.

So now, after finishing for the day, Ill go back and remove the caps and shields, clean the grout lines, wipe down the tile and re-install the shields and caps. Hopefully those courses will be less troublesome when I try to break them off. Ill have enough work fixing the previous ones as it is.
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Unread 11-28-2021, 08:31 AM   #57
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I think maybe Im leaving the clips in too long. First batch was a few days, second batch was 2 days. I put down 2 courses yesterday, I may break those clips off tonight (I started cleaning out from under them just now).

Even the 2 day old batch had a bunch that didnt break cleanly. Maybe breaking them only a day after installation has enough "give" to let them break clean?
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Unread 11-28-2021, 09:20 AM   #58
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I honestly don't remember how long I waited, but I'm pretty sure it was at least 2 days cure time before I popped them. But I was very careful to avoid mortar in the joints, which wasn't too difficult considering that I troweled the mortar onto the back of each 12X24 tile individually.
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Unread 11-28-2021, 05:45 PM   #59
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12x24 is like a cheat code at this point These 47x8 are killing me. Ive not been able to master the "just right" amount of combed thinset, so I end up placing tiles twice or even 3 times, which ends in a well embedded tile that wastes too much thinset and makes a ton of mess.

Im going to let the clips sit for about a day before snapping them off. I did some that sat for about 1.5 days and they came off cleanly. We arent walking on the tiles so I wouldnt expect them to move even without the clips in place....hopefully 1.5 days is enough set time to hold, while still allowing the clips to come off completely.

Still havent found an easy way to get rid of the ones that are stuck. I did see a recommendation for a heated utility knife blade, maybe to melt the clips into submission. Seems crazy but it just might work.
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Unread 11-30-2021, 05:32 PM   #60
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Finally some success...very very carefully using a carbide grout removal blade on my Fein MultiMaster. I can melt the spacer down while keeping the blade in the grout line, so I dont risk scratching or chipping the tile (though I scratched one or two in very small spots). And while Im there I clean out the grout line itself, clean up the dust and move on to the next spot. Actually doesn't take that long and its already starting to look much better.

About 2/3 of the way through installing all of the tile, then Ill go back and really clean up the grout lines before (finally) grouting. On a good/bad side note, the kitchen cabinets arrived today....if only the floor was done!
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