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Unread 01-09-2021, 04:13 PM   #1
fungosaurusrex
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Advice on 24"x48" tile

Hello,

First of all thanks to everyone on this site for the great advice. I've been using it since I went out on my own as a contractor and I would have made some terrible mistakes had I not had some guidance from the threads here.

Currently I'm installing a backsplash for a client who is having me install 24"x48" artisan tiles behind their stove. The tile is going from countertop height to the ceiling.

Today I prepped the wall (painted drywall) by sanding it all down with 120grit sandpaper on an orbital sander. The wall has a dip from countertop height up about 3 feet so I floated it out with Mapei large Format thinset, which is what I'm going to use to install the tiles.

I floated from about 1/4" or 5/16" to nothing over the three feet.

I have never installed such large tile so I'm pretty nervous about the project and want to make sure an enormous tile wont fall down because I missed something on the install.

I read some threads about using thinset to float but I didn't see anything on walls specifically. The thinset will have about a week to cure before I can get back to the project so I'm hoping that will take care of any shrinkage or delamination issues.

If anyone has any thoughts or advice it would be much appreciated.

Thanks
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Unread 01-09-2021, 06:34 PM   #2
cx
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Welcome, Danny.

I would want a far more aggressive grit to rough up those walls before bonding to them with thinset mortar, but looks like that ship has sailed.

The posts you saw about using thinset mortar to flatten a substrate should have been telling you that technically the tile installation product manufacturers and the ceramic tile industry all tell you that thinset mortar is not to be used to flatten or true the work of others. Yes, it's done alla time. No, it shouldn't be done alla time. But it looks like that ship has sailed along with that first one, eh?

Handling and setting those big tiles is not for the faint of heart. You have some help lined up for that?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 01-09-2021, 07:32 PM   #3
Kman
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I would recommend a six-month rigorous workout program before starting that job.

What do you have to cut out the holes for the receptacles?

I'd use a 1/2" notch trowel for setting. Skim the wall first with mortar then comb mortar on the back of the tile, or vice versa. Whichever you do, make sure you get as close to 100% coverage as possible.

Good luck, those monsters are nothing to play around with. The ones I set were about 40 pounds each.
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Unread 01-09-2021, 09:46 PM   #4
jadnashua
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You'll need some glazier suction cup handles, and as mentioned, cutting can be an issue.

They may have changed the recommendations since I was first introduced to large tile, but at the time, they used a handheld sander without the paper installed to help vibrate and embed the tile into the mortar. SOme tile is translucent, and any voids will show up as striations or variations in color unless you get full coverage, which, on any tile is a task, but a major one with a large format tile. On a wall, while full coverage is good, it's not as critical as on a floor or if it is translucent.

The normal technique of sliding the tile back and forth probably can't be done with a tile that large, so even sliding it a little for proper alignment can be a major pain, so be careful when placing it, and because it's so heavy, don't use flexible spacers...you want rigid wedges, or they'll get compressed as the tile moves under gravity.
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Unread 01-09-2021, 11:26 PM   #5
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A leveling system may be of help to you. If you don't have one already, the LASH system is widely available, easy to use, and is low cost for startup. It's not the best system out there, but for a one-off, it'll work.
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Unread 01-10-2021, 12:48 AM   #6
jadnashua
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Some tile has some built in stresses, so when cutting it, it can be a problem. Keep that in mind as the tiles are expensive, so you don't really want to trash one in the process. This time of year, even cutting with a wet saw can be a problem...you want the tile and the water to be the same temperature, otherwise, the thermal shock could cause the tile to break while you're cutting. Doing a dry cut to make electrical box openings means localized hot spots, and that can be a tile breaker.

Cutting holes for electrical boxes may take some delicate work. If there's a place in town that does water jet cuts, you might want to talk to them...that tends to be less stress on the tile, but even that could cause a tile to crack, especially when handling it.

I've heard that some tile places will cut the tile to size for you...have no idea what they may charge for that. The tools to cut large format tile are an investment. For a one-off, you might want to see if someone has them you could rent rather than buying them, unless you feel you'd use them enough to pay for them.
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Unread 01-12-2021, 05:46 AM   #7
fungosaurusrex
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Thanks to everyone for the advice! I wound up not continuing the job because the client wanted to install tile himself while my schedule had me on other projects.
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Unread 01-12-2021, 09:55 AM   #8
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Potential win, win, Danny.
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Unread 01-12-2021, 09:59 AM   #9
diddly
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backsplash

I would have large pieces of relatively flat and rigid construction paper at the ready to be used as surrogates for the tile you can cut out, especially for the outlets and then to transfer on to the tile. cutting this large a tile freehand even with sketch and measure method is perilous..

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Unread 01-17-2021, 05:37 AM   #10
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Agree with CX, some of our best jobs are the ones we don’t take on. You’ll have plenty other opportunities for LFT in the future, they’re not going away or getting smaller anytime soon. Do charge more, as your prep & layout time are increased, then staging/handling is a whole different ball game depending on access and foot traffic, install isn’t bad if you have these down pat ahead of time. Best of luck in your ventures man!
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Unread 01-17-2021, 01:41 PM   #11
smifwal
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You want a set of these if you do end up doing some of those monsters, you can find these cheaper than the link ,but it was the easiest link for me to copy and paste. You definitely want the one that has the vacuum button, it lets you know when it has lost suction.Those turds from harbor will just let go on you with no warning

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HSP11S..._uhjbGbP2EGRBJ
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