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Unread 01-22-2005, 12:08 AM   #1
amylou
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Smile saltillo tile install

I am planning to install saltillo tile in my hallway. Any tips would be helpful. I've heard you should soak the tiles in water or linseed oil before installing. Also have read to wait 2-3 weeks before sealing. Does this mean before applying the penetrating sealer or the top sealer? Is it best to pre-seal before grouting? I will be installling the hand-made saltillo,not the manufactured tiles. I already have saltillo in my entryway, living room and dining room and absolutely love it! I live close to the border so will pick up the tile myself. I keep hearing how difficult it is to put in so I would appreciate any suggestions to make it easier. Thank you!
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Unread 01-22-2005, 06:26 AM   #2
Davestone
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If it's the rough back type you need to take a brush to the backs first.I myself like to seal first.....do not soak in linseed oil,or water if you want to seal it in the near future.....I don't know where all this bogus info comes from. There's a lot of info here on saltillo, but we generally use a light sanding on top to take off dust and dirt, then use an impregnating sealer, to seal it off so it doesn't eat up too much sealer then go over it a couple coats with whatever top sealer you want, and a coat over the installed tile to cover the grout. Be sure to use at least a 1/2" notch trowel.
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Unread 01-22-2005, 10:43 AM   #3
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I am installing saltillo myself aswe speak. We sealed the tile prior to installation. Used mortar with admix. For a safety measure I back buttered every and each tile to ensure 100% coverage and prevent air pockets. 1/2 in. trowel of course. I built a dolly where I would carry my tiles face down. I would back buttered them while facing down on the dolly (about four tiles at a time).This saved my back and shoulders. I would lay mortar on the floor with the the trowel and lay the four tiles in one shot ensuring proper aligment.(Get up once in a while, and take a look at the overall aligment for a sanity check). I layed out my field tile first and when it was dry I concluded by cutting and laying the border tiles. This way I could measure and cut all in one day.(If your renting a overhead wet saw with a sliding table, I highly recommend it.). Two advils in the morning, two at night. Get a good trowel with offset handle and a long float when laying out the grout. If you're laying tile in concrete you need to consider if a anti-fracture barrier my be needed. Since my foundation was relatively old (20 yrs) I only covered the existing cracks with AFM.
Good Luck with your project
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Unread 01-22-2005, 12:36 PM   #4
amylou
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Smile saltillo tile installation

The reason I was told to soak the tiles is because of the high absorbency of the tile. I was told saltillo will pull the moisture out of the mortar and can cause problems with the set up process...tiles may not be secure. I got the information from tile businesses that gave me the estimates. It is quite popular in southern AZ so gathered they had extensive experience working with it. I even had one person tell me that some will even soak in motor oil to darken and age the tile. Thank you for the comments and tips. Any more helps are welcome and appreciated. I won't be installing for a few months so I have time for suggestions. Thanks again!
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Unread 01-22-2005, 02:16 PM   #5
Davestone
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Trust, me, you don't want to soak saltillo in oil products,if you want to change the appearance, use a stain.My guess is these people have heard about using oils applied with a rag, and confused it with the soaking idea.If you soak the tile in water it'll take forever to dry, and hinder the sealer, and you'll never stop the efflourescence.You could preseal then dip them in water to protect the grouting process.If you over seal the edges slightly it'll help keep it from sucking the life out of the grout, though.There will be others along with their opinions, and you can pick through them, a lot of them will also be from the South.
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Unread 01-22-2005, 07:08 PM   #6
cx
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There are a couple schools of thought on laying Saltillo, Amylou. I'm a seal-first kinda guy, like Davestone. Ol' John Bridge and some others hereabouts are water-soak guys. Ain't nobody aughta be no oil-soak guy, though.

Lotta people use various oils after the install to seal and darken the floor, but I've never tried that. I've always sealed the surface of my tiles with two coats of a solvent-based sealer (no longer available) before installation, and two more coats after it has dried for a couple weeks.

I've always laid over a fresh mud bed with very loose thinset - lots of very loose thinset and kinda wiggle the tiles down 'till they're as close to level as Saltillo gets. The sealed surface is a lot easier to grout, but you still need very wet grout because the edges and the mud bed will snatch water out of it at a rate that will water your eyes.

It's pretty labor intensive, especially over the mud bed, and it's one of the few jobs I don't undertake without help. There is just a lot to be done alla time while you're mudding the floor and setting those tiles.

You got any dog and chicken tracks?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-22-2005, 07:28 PM   #7
Davy
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Figure out which way you want to install it, like CX says, there are two different ways to do it. Seal it before grouting like Dave said or soak them with water. I soak them in water like JB does, guess it's the old way of doing it but in my opinion you come out with a better job. It does take longer, Dave said that too, probably 3 weeks from grouting till the final sealer goes on. You'll have a nice floor either way you do it.

I have heard of guys putting motor oil on Saltillo but not before it's installed.
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Unread 01-22-2005, 07:45 PM   #8
John Bridge
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Welcome aboard, Amylou.

Well, there you have it. I'm a water soaker, but I've known a lot of pre-sealers, too. Both ways do the job.

There is a third way of doing it. You install the tiles dry but seal them just before grouting, than again after the grout has dried. I don't know which way is best. Like I say, I'm a soaker.
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Unread 01-22-2005, 08:30 PM   #9
doitright
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John & Davy, I thought we were referred to as the hosers!
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Unread 01-22-2005, 08:37 PM   #10
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You're a hoser too John?
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Unread 01-22-2005, 08:41 PM   #11
doitright
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Oh yeah! I used to tell clients that I would bring a garden hose in and water their floor (to help make it grow ). They didn't believe me until they'd see me hosing their floor. I also think it helps for a nice slow grout cure.

The only problem I had, was it would soften all that mastic underneath!

(Anyone reading, just kidding about the mastic!)
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Unread 01-22-2005, 09:03 PM   #12
rsahd
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Amy saltilos are so easy just take any type of waterproofing sealer tompson whatever HD sales spray the tiles piror to seting them, they are not perfact in size regular thin set butter back the tile twist and go. remember these tiles are not perfact so don't try to make them perfact thats the personality of the saltile. the reason you seal prior to laying them because it's easyer to clean the thin set and grout off them , remember they are real poures. not a pro just someone who's worked with a lot of saltilos rsahd
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Unread 01-22-2005, 09:04 PM   #13
amylou
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Smile saltillo tile install

In answer to CX- yes, I do have a few paw prints! I hear they're good luck. I'm hoping for another one in the new install. Thanks every one for the tips. I won't pre-soak the tiles in oil but still haven't decided if I should soak them. Did you soak the tiles overnight? I had one installer tell me to soak them the night before the install.
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Unread 01-22-2005, 09:18 PM   #14
doitright
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Hi AmyLou

I didn't soak the tiles before install, we literally watered them before grouting. Take a sponge and slowly wring it out on top of the tile. This will show how porous the tiles are.

I'm guessing this tile is being installed on top of slab concrete?

BTW, I don't recommend using Thompsons Water Seal. It traps the moisture in.
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Last edited by doitright; 01-22-2005 at 10:09 PM. Reason: forgot to finish sentence
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Unread 01-22-2005, 09:37 PM   #15
Davy
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The reason to preseal or soak is because the tiles are very porous. The thinset isn't affected but the grout is. The grout would dry within a few seconds, turning it to powder. Even if you preseal you might need to flood the joints with water since the edges aren't sealed.
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