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Unread 08-03-2007, 09:05 AM   #1
H-man1
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Thinset/Dryset combination for Ditra

I've been lurking here for some time now, and appreciate the information I have obtained. With your help, I put down slate tile on my front porch, and started a granite tile countertop in the kitchen.

Now, I have a large project that I would like to get some input on. I am putting down 12" slate tile on a second story of our new building. I've checked, and the deflecto says the joists and spans are fine--the woman that built this place spec'd it out like a tank--plenty of steel beams, etc. Last weekend, I put down 1/2" plywood over the existing 7/8" osb (the only thing I didn't like about the woman's choice in building materials). This weekend, I will be putting down the Ditra.

I know that JB uses Versabond for both sides because he said that he can't get a good nonmodified dry set for the top side (ditra to tile bond). For slate, I would think that this is a no-no, as I know I used a medium set mortar for the slate and granite that I laid before, with the bag specifically stating it was for stone, marble and granite.

I will be buying Versabond for the floor to Ditra bonding, but wanted to know if Kerabond would be fine for the Ditra to slate bond. Kerabond is $17 for 50 lbs. here. Keraset is $13.50, and Ultracontact is $20. The Stone and Granite medium set is $20 at HD, and I wasn't overly impressed with it, but all the tiles I set in it seem to hold well once cured.

Any input would be appreciated.

Homer
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Unread 08-03-2007, 09:24 AM   #2
Brian in San Diego
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Homer,

If you are concerned about the slate "sinking" prior to the thinset curing, then a medium bed mortar is what you want, however, everyone I have checked is modified. If that isn't a concern, then the Mapei Kerabond is a good choice as is Laticrete 317. I have set 18x18 travertine over ditra using Custom's Marble & Granite. I would not hesitate to use Versbond over Ditra, but it will void your warranty should something go wrong. If you want to "play by the rules" then go with one of the others mentioned.

Brian
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Unread 08-03-2007, 09:38 AM   #3
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I know someone carries a non-modified medium bed.. I think it may be Latticrete. I use Ditra-set these days on the top of the Ditra..and Ditra-set with additive is great for under the mat. The Bonus about this stuff is it has almost "0" shrinkage and can be built-up similar to medium bed without much concern over strength loss.

I personally would have no hesitation using Versa-bond for both sides in your situation. I've done thousands of ft of slate the same way with no issues. Please remember this is tech. agaist Schluter's recomended practice and as usual if something goes wrong it's "all you".

Good Luck Homer
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Unread 08-03-2007, 10:02 AM   #4
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Trask,

If you're referring to Laticrete 220 Marble & Granite, it is modified. The product description is a bit confusing however..."A fortified dry-set mortar..." I called the local Laticrete rep and he checked with their technical support and they said it would not meet Schluter's requirement over Ditra.

I may try it on my next stone installation over Ditra, however.

Brian
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Unread 08-03-2007, 11:22 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys. I think I'll go with the Kerabond unless there is a compelling reason to use Versabond for both sides (does Versabond have better application qualities?).


I'm no pro, so I want to be able to take advantage of any warranty that I can get. Thanks for the confirmation and the attaboys.

All the best,

Homer
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Unread 08-03-2007, 11:50 AM   #6
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Well if your after the warranty that is a compelling reason NOT to go with the Versabond.
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Unread 08-06-2007, 07:17 AM   #7
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Thanks guys. I finished up the subfloor and put down almost all the Ditra this weekend. We unboxed and sorted about 1/2 the slate and powerwashed the slate to get that dust off of everything. As it dried, we put the first coat of sealer on top of each tile. Hopefully, this Saturday we will get a good jump on setting the floor.

The Versabond worked great. If it wasn't for the fact that it would ruin my Ditra warranty, I would have used Versabond on top and bottom. I'll be using Kerabond instead.

Thanks for the info.

Homer

P.S.--Marlin, I agree that keeping the warranty is a compelling reason to use dry set. That's why I was asking if there was some other reason for using Versabond that I wasn't understanding.
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Unread 08-06-2007, 09:43 AM   #8
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Homer,

The Kerabond is a very high quality unmodified..It will work great for setting your tile.
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Unread 08-06-2007, 02:59 PM   #9
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Thanks, Trask! Let me tell you, this lugging/shuffling/messing with 1000 square foot of slate tile is for the birds! I know I will probably do a similar project again when my wife and I build a new house, but I'll think twice before taking up this task on a second story.
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Unread 08-08-2007, 06:56 PM   #10
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Okay, as it turns out, the Lowe's in my area do not carry Mapei products anymore, and cannot get them in time for me to do this. They do not carry Laticrete 317, but carry the low end "Floor Adhesive" that is a non-modified thinset. I can also get Mapei Keraset at Menard's, but not Kerabond or Keraset.

If I want to go with an unmodified, these seem to be my choices unless I go with Home Depot, which carries Custom Blend (I think that's the one).

I can try to find a flooring store nearby, but don't know if I'll find one. Is this stuff junk? I did not like the Marble and Granite "fortified premium mortar" that I used on my porch, as it did not spread easily. Versabond was a dream to work with.

Given these options, what would you guys do?

Thanks in advance.

Homer
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Unread 08-08-2007, 07:11 PM   #11
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Custom makes an unmodified thinset that you can get at HD. I think it only comes in grey. But if your putting down slate that is what you would want anyways.
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Unread 08-08-2007, 11:55 PM   #12
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Homer,

You want to avoid CustomBlend as if it were a mosquito carrying the West Nile Virus. You also want to avoid the "low end" thinsets that all the other manufacturer's offer up. Anything that says "economy" on the bag is not a good thing. If HD has PremiumPlus, that is a quality unmodified. Given the choices you've presented in the last post, I would use Versabond and the heck with the warranty.

Brian
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Unread 08-09-2007, 12:01 AM   #13
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I agree with Brian..if you can't get a quality unmodified I'd use Versa-bond...We've used it for years with no ill results...give it a bit more cure time than unmodifed. I also use rapid set over Ditra all the time and it's the best of both worlds..Downside is it's expensive and has very short open times.
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Unread 08-09-2007, 02:57 AM   #14
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anything less than 10 bucks a bag prolly isn't worth......... 10 bucks a bag.
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Unread 08-09-2007, 04:36 AM   #15
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Thanks, guys. I was leaning toward using Versabond given my present choices. The earliest I would be able to grout would be a week after laying the tile (I can only work on this project on the weekends), anyway, so I don't think that cure time will be a problem. I had heard nothing but bad things about Custom Blend, and HD around here doesn't carry Premium Plus. All the box stores carry only the low end dry sets, even if they carry 2-3 modified thinsets.

I can't wait the 7-10 days for them to special order what they should have in stock already. I'll call around to a few of the tile dealers and see if any of them carry a premium dryset, but will at least know I have a fallback with Versabond so that I can get this done this weekend. I'm working against a deadline, so every weekend counts, and I have some help this weekend--so this weekend is twice as important.
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