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Unread 03-27-2007, 10:23 PM   #46
cx
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Take that Ditra outside and hose it down real well, Scott. It should be OK to re-use.

When we got to play with alla trowels in the world at Schluter school, my favorite for Ditra was the 1/8x1/8x1/8 square notch, which I ain't seen another one of since.

As I recall, the 1/4x1/4 vee notch did fine, but people complained about the 3/16x3/16 vee notch. Many sleeps since then.

Don't recall if I tried the 1/4x1/4x1/4 square notch at all, but I know I find it way too big for Kerdi, which should be very similar. I think a fella could use that trowel successfully if he laid it over pretty significantly, but let ol' JB tell you how he does it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-28-2007, 07:57 PM   #47
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Ditra Trowel Size?

Sorry to bump this, but CX didn't entirely answer my question (God luv 'em!).

Does anybody have a solid recommendation on a type and size of trowel to use for installing Ditra. No way does Schluter's recommendation work.

Also, some advice, please, on mixing Kerabond thinset. I only need a couple of gallons at a time. How many parts water and parts powder? Mapei just tells you how to mix a whole 25 or 50 lb bag! No way I need that much.

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Unread 03-28-2007, 10:06 PM   #48
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I think we may be over thinking this a little scott but that has never killed anyone. I have been using ditra since it showed up here in Austin and I use a 1/4x1/4x1/4 square notched trowel. I do not want to contradict Dave Gobis as he is one of the most knowledgeable people on the web when it comes to tile but I was told by the ditra rep not to roll for fear of crushing the cones. The squares. You also have to mix the thinset a little looser than what you would use for tiling.

I like my thinset to fall off the paddle in 3 seconds, not flow off. Just a little stiffer when you laying over the top of the ditra. It is also best to start with the flat side of your trowel and work it into the squares and than rake it with the teeth. Hope that makes sense.

I use rubber grout floats to set the ditra into the thinset and I look at the ditra from the top and you can see it change colors when the thinset sets into the scrim felt. This requires some elbow grease for sure.

As for Houston considering half of Houston is a swamp You are doing a good thing with the ditra. I recommend that you set the ditra one day and let it cure and then lay the tile. If you lay tile on wet ditra and have to pop up a tile you will break the bond and that is not a good thing. Do not fill in the squares until laying tile or you will create a cold joint/bond. Hope this helps some and good luck.


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Unread 03-29-2007, 04:52 AM   #49
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Don't worry about contradicting me,your right. They prefer not to roll for that reason, however if you do, the maximum weight is 75#, and they prefer 50#. We host Schluter classes, and they have Schluter rollers but rarely use them. For trowels they use either 3/16 or 1/4 V notch, 1/4 square works too but new guys tend to get too much thinset under the sheet and make it lumpy.
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Unread 03-29-2007, 03:22 PM   #50
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Thanks, guys. I think I'll go with the 1/4" v-notch, as it sounds like I'll have less problems with that.

Any specific instructions on the thinset mixing? I have about 30 - 40 sq ft of Ditra to lay down. I figure about a 2 gallon bucket full of thinset will do it. But how do you figure how much water to start out with? I'm using Kerabond thinset.

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Unread 03-29-2007, 10:01 PM   #51
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Bump

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Unread 03-29-2007, 11:02 PM   #52
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2 quarts
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Unread 03-30-2007, 07:18 AM   #53
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Scott, the instructions on the bag are gonna give you an idea of coverage for various applications (not yours specifically, of course) and will give you a quantity of water to mix with an entire bag of thinset. You'll hafta do the math for each smaller batch you want to mix.

Put about two-thirds or three-quarters of that water in the bucket and start mixing in the measured amount of thinset. Add the remaining water when you see that the mix requires it.

Once you have made a couple batches at the manufacturer's designed mix-water ratio, you'll have a good feel for how much more or less water it takes to get the consistency you want for the particular application.

Keep in mind that a little water makes a lot of difference once you are at or near the design ratio.

Some things you just hafta get some feel for. This is one of'em.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-30-2007, 12:09 PM   #54
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CX, thank you again for the great advice. I was starting to get the feeling I had hit a nerve here, and that this was a subject where the pros don't like to give out their secrets.

So just so I'm clear: Mapei says for a 50 lb bag of Kerabond, use 6 qts of water. For a 25 lb bag (have not seen one of those ), use 3 qts. As 01floor said above, use 2 qts. That would mean about 17 lbs of powder. Based on your very excellent instructions above, it seems that you would actually weigh out this amount. That right? Somewhere I got the impression (from JB's book?) that one just puts some water in the bucket and starts mixing in the powder until it looks like a good mixture. That's fine for a pro, but not so good for a DIYer.

Be aware that I'm an engineer by schooling and tend to overthink things and need specific instructions to feel comfortable!

Scott
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Unread 03-30-2007, 12:29 PM   #55
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Quote:
Somewhere I got the impression (from JB's book?) that one just puts some water in the bucket and starts mixing in the powder until it looks like a good mixture.
That's precisely how most of'em do it most of the time.

The very best way to determine what the manufacturer has in mind is to mix a full bag, or very carefully measured part of a bag (not less than half a bag for the test would be my recommendation) with exactly the amount of water specified on the bag. And mix it at exactly the speed range given, for exactly the time specified. Let it slake for exactly the specified period, and re-mix exactly as instructed.

That, theoretically, is how the pookey is designed to be used. If that doesn't suit your particular needs at the particular time, mix it with a little more or a little less water for the next batch (don't try to "re-temper" a mixed and slaked batch with more water).

Some of the newer hi-tech thinsets will make even an experienced person scratch parts of his anatomy when mixing per manufacturer's instructions, especially some of the non-sag versions. I can testify to that after having mixed several full bags in the presence of a manufacturer's rep one time. No way would I have believed the advertised water specification had he not been right there to say, for perhaps the fourth or fifth time, "No, no, just keep mixing, it'll work, it'll work." It worked.

We have had reports of some brands/types of thinset recently that are clearly marked incorrectly as to necessary mixing water. How will you recognize that? I dunno.

Measure some out. Mix it. Make yard bunnies. Write off the cost to education.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-30-2007, 12:52 PM   #56
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Scott, there's just no substitute for experience in this case. Fortunately, that experience can come pretty quick when it comes to thinset. I started out treating it with the precision I imagined would be necessary for making a nuclear bomb. Well before my bathroom was done, I had a pretty good feel for how much water to start with to end up with the amount of pookey I wanted. Now I might be lost with another brand of thinset, but I can mix MegaLite with the best of them.

It's time to quit asking questions about it and start mixing!

By the way, my wife is an engineer. I kind of know what you're going through.
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Unread 04-13-2007, 09:25 PM   #57
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Next Question

OK, guys. I've become somewhat competent at mixing thinset, after wasting a good bit of it practicing. And I got my Ditra down without much trouble.

So now comes my next question. I've got six tiles down so far, over two days work. Yes, I'm working at lightning speed, thank you At first, I had a lot of trouble getting my trowel to make good looking ridges (I'm using a 1/4x3/8 square notch). And I kept pulling up the tiles to make sure I was getting good coverage, which it was not at first. Thus, the slowness. But here is the question: what is the purpose of combing the thinset? Since setting the tile spreads the ridges out, why not just spread an appropriate thickness of thinset and go with that?

In all the books and videos on tile installation that I've seen, they always show the spread thinset with nearly perfectly formed ridges. As I said, I'm having trouble achieving that. But then I thought today, while laying some tiles, why do I need that? So in the areas where the ridges were less than ideal, I just blobbed down some additional thinset and placed the tile. This sped things up considerably. I got three tiles down in less than an hour, where it took me almost two hours to get three down Wednesday evening. I'm not looking to set any speed records here, but I do want to get this project done before summer.

Scott
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Unread 04-14-2007, 05:52 AM   #58
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Scott,

I'm just hazarding a guess here, but I believe the whole purpose of ridges is to evenly distribute the right amount of thinset over the surface of the back of the tile - even distribution of the correct quantity.

I'm glad you hear that you got your Ditra down. I suspect your tiling speed will increase too. There's definitely a learning curve.
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Unread 04-14-2007, 08:33 PM   #59
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Buttering the tile?

Hi Scott,

I'm no pro by any means, but I have watched alot of home improvement shows... HA HA HA HA HA

One thing that I have seen done time and time again is that with a larger tile (i.e. 12x12) they tend to "butter" the back of the tile and also trowel the floor to ensure good coverage... once they get about 3 to 4 tiles down then they will use a box level and ensure that the tiles are the same height... not necessarily level... by pushing down on the level any tile that may be higher.

This however, may be a good place for one of the pros to chime in and say if Im on or off the right track...

BTW... thanks for this thread... I too have learned alot from reading your questions... thanks.

Mike.
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Unread 05-03-2007, 03:53 PM   #60
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OK, I have all the tiles down in my bathroom. I'll be grouting this weekend. It was a lot of work, but it looks great so far.

But now I see a problem and I'm mad at myself for not seeing this coming. This bathroom leads to a hallway. I'm planning on putting Pergo laminate flooring down in this hallway. I have cut the tile to end in the doorway, and my plan is to bring the laminate into the doorway as well to meet the tile (with appropriate expansion gap, of course). But now that the tile is down, it is much higher than the laminate will be. I had planned to use a T transition piece to drop in the gap. But that will only work if both floor surfaces come up to the same level. I know Schluter makes transitions for this situation, but these require that they be embedded in the thinset and the tile set on top of them. I've already got the tiles down in the doorway, and I really don't want to have to bust them out.

Does anybody have a suggestion or know of something that will work in this situation? Thanks for the help.

Scott
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