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Unread 06-18-2003, 09:13 AM   #1
Vader,Darth
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Wet Setting- 1st attempt

I've made a few mud floors before, but never tried to wet set. I've never been comfortable enough to try it, but a time constraint and because the job is only in front of a fireplace and not a high traffic area is sending me in that direction.

When I make mud, I usually make it just so it packs in my fist. I'll pour it in, level my edges and go from there.

When wet setting, does the consistency of the mud need to be looser? Do you smooth and pack the floor BEFORE you put the tile on it? Do you just press into the floor with the tile in order to set it? I would assume that once you pack the floor, placing the tile into it becomes difficult.

If worse comes to worse, I'll just wait an extra day and set it with thinset, but I wanted to try something new.
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Unread 06-18-2003, 02:52 PM   #2
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Sith Lord,
Your mud will be looser than dry pack and stiffer than a plaster mix. The consistency is dependent on the depth. You want the mud to stand up on its own but be able to pat the piece down enough to obtain good coverage. I chop my mud into little piles thoroughout the space the tile will go. The hard part is not enough mud ,you have bad coverage. Too much mud will bump the piece next to it up.
I will mention that if you tap on the piece for to long it will draw the water to the top and make a mess and cause the piece to slump, even if slightly. The name of the game is to put the piece in and move on. Once you get use to it, its fairly easy. The depth of the mud cand determine of fast you can go. I try to start out at 1/2" at the high spot depending on how bad a floor is. Its the most comfortable for setting and chopping the mud IMO. Anything over an inch needs to be close to a drypack but not quite that dry.
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Unread 06-18-2003, 04:03 PM   #3
Art in Stone
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The chopping, that Rock is talking about, is to produce peaks and voids . It looks like a lot of little mounds evenly distributed through out. When you place your tile down, the little piles will compress and an even coat will remain. Making the mounds the appropriate height is the key to this type of installation. Once you can eyeball the height, you'll fly.
By the way, you can also dry pack it.
Place slurry on floor, put drypack in, butter tile, set tile. You can use one of those flower watering things that look like a shower head, to pour water over drypack before setting tile. That will help you push the tile down into place to get it to the right height. You might want the use of a rubber mallet also.
Good Luck.

P.S. I always add either 1/8 or a 1/4 of Lime or Clay to my floor mix. 4:1:1/4. Sand, Cement, lime or Clay. It helps to keep the water in the mix.
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Unread 06-19-2003, 07:07 AM   #4
Vader,Darth
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Cool

Sounds like fun.

When you guys talk about making little peaks and valleys, I assume I'll be making waves about the same size as a trowel with thinset would? This seems very much like working with 'real' concrete as a mason would.

I think I may pass on this wet set attempt because I have to go at least 2 inches deep, and because I'm not comfortable with it. I may screw it up. The homeowner ripped out the tile, mud floor, sub floor, and went down to the joists. To boot, they now have oak floors about 3/4" thick to add to the height problem.
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Unread 06-23-2003, 10:30 AM   #5
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can wet setting be used with marble? what's the min thickness of the bed?
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Unread 06-23-2003, 03:11 PM   #6
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Yes, its primary use is for stone, for the reason of lippage as far as a tight joint is concerned. I like to keep the depth at a 1/2". Using a 1/4" can be tough because the amount of sand in the mortar as opposed to thinset. 1/2" to 3/4" is the most comfortable depth for me.
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Unread 06-24-2003, 12:03 AM   #7
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I'm not real familiar with wet setting per say, but are we talking a 1/4- or 1/2" over a subfloor or over backer board?
I'd be inclined to be somewhere around an inch+ so I've got room for wire. Anything I've torn out that has been fresh set has come in closer to two inches..Guess that's why it's been there 80 years.
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Unread 06-24-2003, 05:21 PM   #8
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Ive done it over slab and backerboard. The thinner mud bed doesnt require the wire in the bed, its strong enough with out. The 1/4" I eluded to is the bare min. , if its that shallow I switch to thinset combo. This method does differ from the fresh setting and I agree they are a bear to ripout, I saw one that was 4" - 6" deep in an old bathroom. Wet set is old school, I learned from someone who was doing it for 30 yrs., it does have merit.
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Unread 06-24-2003, 06:51 PM   #9
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I've done many large marble floors this way with only 1/4" mud. I found if I use silica or blast sand it works better, get away from the big gravel that's in it.
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Unread 06-24-2003, 08:03 PM   #10
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Okay, I've been quiet. Now someone tell me how a quarter inch of un-reinforced mud over backer board is going to do the trick.
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Unread 06-24-2003, 08:08 PM   #11
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Don't look at me sir, I meant over slab.
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Unread 06-25-2003, 04:13 AM   #12
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John thats a valid question and I can tell you I dont know. This is what Ramon and I want someone to do .As the long as floor is structurally sound I havent had a problem. I hav done some with lathe as well and I havent heard or seen any problems with either. Repeat business gave me the chance to look at few jobs years after and they were solid. I will add that when going over backerboard, if I can find it I get a couple bags of high strength fiber enforced mason mix to add to it.

Some of the things I do are unorthodox to most but myself or my brother are the guinea pigs so to speak. 150 sq ft dining room floor with 12x12 limestone over backerboard in wet mud is 12 yrs old and going in his home.
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Unread 06-25-2003, 11:23 AM   #13
Art in Stone
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I just got back, haven't kept up with this.
I wetset for stone tiles 16" and larger or for irregular floors( mostly all of them). I usually use 1/2"or more of mud. I can't really say that I've ever used 1/4", but I'm sure it's happened. I always put a string from one side of the installation to the other and lift the string(with some tile) until I have at least 1/2" at the highest point(of subfloor). Sometimes I have 1 1/2" of mud at the lows, but thats the whole idea.
As for installing over backer, we usually go with paper/lathe over ply, but we've also installed many floors over cement board using this form of installation. We haven't had a problem as far as I can remember. The subfloor needs to be adequately supported, but thats nothing new to anybody in here. It works extremely well.
My own home in Florida is installed in this manner both 1st(slab) and 2nd(cement board) story. I installed Crema Marfil 18" tiles in March of 93' and there isn't a loose tile in the whole house. My brother's house is 24" Saturnia(Travertine) also installed like this(over slab). His installation is 10 1/2" years old, still solid. My ex-partners home is 3000 Sq Ft of 24" Osso Romano(Travertine) also about 11 years old, solid as a rock. These examples are of our own homes which were all bought around the same time(aprrox. 10-11 years ago).
I can only say that we too have done, and still do, what would seem unorthodox to many but as we have discussed here before,
it doesn't mean that it's wrong.
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Unread 06-25-2003, 06:26 PM   #14
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O. k I'm getting it now. This is more akin to a "medium bed" than a thick bed. I thought we were back to the "Ohio screed " for a bit. From a purist perspective something in me says the methodology is wrong. Mortar just doesn't seem right to me..even if the tiles are backed with thinset ..I've seen alot of masons cross over to the tile trade and employing this method.

Now from a real world perspective I've lost several bids to a company that uses masonary mortar mix over backer board. His work looked great and his price was a bunch cheaper than mine. I can't say his work has failed that I have seen.Still if your going to go to all the labor of putting in backer board correctly, then use mortar over that, why not just float it off to begin with?
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Unread 06-25-2003, 06:40 PM   #15
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That is what I meant (on irregular slabs), seems to be easier to float up with alittle wet mud than to fight with only thinset especially with large marble. Trask, I was going to say the same thing, instead of using mud over backer I'd rather just make the mud alittle thicker and do away with the backer.
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