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Unread 01-27-2004, 10:37 PM   #1
G.Wills
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Very first tile wall

I started my very first tile job last night... back wall of a 3 x 5 shower (yes, I did all the right prep work including a good preslope, shower pan, properly tested for leaks)... after setting three rows of tile, I pulled one off and observed that less than half the tile's back was "wet". I pressed the tiles hard to make contact but obviously something is not right... no contact - no bond.

Two questions...
1. How do I know that consistency of mortor is right (I used Flex-Bond) and how can I assure the bond is good. Seems I might have mixed it too "dry".
2. Is the color of the thinset important (grey vs. other)...why?

I removed the three rows of tile - very few were more than 30%wet with thinset. I decided to ask for advise before doing any more...

Thanks,
Glenn
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Unread 01-28-2004, 06:31 AM   #2
bbcamp
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Well, Glenn, it could be the mix. But it could be a couple of other things. Did you wipe the backerboard with a damp sponge before burning in the thinset? Did you burn in the thinset? How long did you wait after combing out the thinset before you set the tiles? Is your notch big enough for the tile you are using? Did you hold the trowel at a severe angle, thus reducing the effective notch size?

Otherwise, the mix should be kinda creamy, like a good milkshake. White or gray, thinset is thinset. You use the white for a number of reasons, among them the color of grout you intend to use, the type of tile (glass in particluar), and most importantly, how it will look under your fingernails.

The pros will be along after they find their coffee and point out some things I missed.

Bob
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Unread 01-28-2004, 07:17 AM   #3
G.Wills
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Sounds like I need a lesson... I did not wipe down the backerboard and I don't know what "burning in" the thinset means. I used a 1/4 x 1/4 trowel per directions. The thinset was pretty stiff. The surface of it looked like it was drying.

Glenn
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Unread 01-28-2004, 07:20 AM   #4
John Bridge
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Hi Glenn,

Just dampen the board a little, mix the thin set a little wetter, and do a small area at a time. Get the tiles on immediately after spreading.
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Unread 01-28-2004, 07:48 AM   #5
G.Wills
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Thanks John... how hard should I have to press?

I have access to Custom Products materials... which thinset do you use for shower walls?

Glenn
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Unread 01-28-2004, 10:49 AM   #6
Scooter
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Sponging the wall is a good idea if the backer board is Hardiback. Indeed, that is a written requirement and instruction for that product. Other backerboards don't requied pre-sponging, but it is not a bad idea, especially if your mix is a tad thick.

"Burning in" the thinset refers to the first of two strokes you will do to apply the same. Load up your trowel, and with the flat edge spread the thinset onto the surface with moderate pressure, leaving about an eighth of an inch of thinset on the surface. You are trying to smoosh the thinset into every nook and cranny of the setting bed. I hold the trowel at a fairly low angle to the setting bed, like 20 degrees or so, so pressure can be evenly applied to the thinset and setting bed.

The second move is the actual spreading of the thinset, which we call combing it out. Ya'all use the knotched end of the trowel, held at about 60 degrees and comb it out in one direction only. I know some guys make pretty patterns and waves, but go one direction.

Set the tile and give it moderate pressure, so the thinset squeezes out just a tad. You don't want to make it a mess or make it like toothpaste comming out of a tube. Just enough that it makes contact and the ridges you made are smooshed down.
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Unread 01-28-2004, 05:59 PM   #7
John Bridge
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Glenn,

The Flex Bond is excellent material -- overkill if anything.

I suspect you've mixed it too stiff. When mixed correctly, the stuff gets all over everything including the tile setter. Give it another try.

On your next tile project, work you way down to Versa Bond. It works for almost everything.
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