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Unread 01-09-2020, 01:39 PM   #1
JHarbinson
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Thinset Not Bonding Well To Tile

I’m tiling a shower with subway tile over Hardi. Using Custom’s Versabond thinset which I have used for years with excellent results. I’ve attached a picture of the back of the tiles. Problem I’m having is despite installing as I have always, backbuttering and 1/4” notch, the tiles don’t seem to be adhering well. Even 48 hours later I was able to pull them off by hand yikes! I’ve tried a different bag of Versabond (rule out bad bag). Thoughts?
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Unread 01-09-2020, 03:26 PM   #2
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1> did you damp sponge(wipe) the back of the tile?
The Thin set is sticking to the substrate just not the tile?
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Unread 01-09-2020, 03:39 PM   #3
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Did not dampen the tile. Yes, hardi actually has a nice neat exact duplicate of the tile back and the tiles are clean despite back buttering.


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Unread 01-09-2020, 03:50 PM   #4
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I would say..Damp sponge the back of tile to wipe off any dust,etc. and also the board just before bonding tile to it..Hardi- Board "sucks" the water (moisture) out of the thin-set pretty fast. that tile,its Porcelain?
.
just one guys opinion!
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Unread 01-09-2020, 03:56 PM   #5
JHarbinson
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Thinset Not Bonding Well To Tile

Here’s the label from the tile


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Unread 01-09-2020, 04:02 PM   #6
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It’s the first time I’ve ever used this brand of tile but have set many showers, tub surrounds, floors, backsplashes, etc over Hardi and never had this issue. I’ve always used Versabond too.


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Unread 01-09-2020, 06:37 PM   #7
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That tile looks like a thirsty one, if you dribble water over the it does it disappear almost instantly?
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Unread 01-09-2020, 06:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smifwal View Post
That tile looks like a thirsty one, if you dribble water over the it does it disappear almost instantly?


Yes!


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Unread 01-09-2020, 06:50 PM   #9
jadnashua
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Cement curing is a chemical process, triggered by moisture. The cement grows crystals that grow into the imperfections of the tile. No moisture, can't happen.

The tile says it can absorb >10%. A typical porcelain is much less than .5%. Try a wet sponge on the back of the tile before back buttering it. As an experiment, if you then tried to wipe it off, or even sponge it off, it should be hard to do cleanly. If that works, start setting tile.
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Unread 01-09-2020, 07:26 PM   #10
Lou_MA
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How big of an area are you working at one time?

You’ve got an extremely thirsty substrate as well as tile. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both surfaces are skinning over before you’re able to get the tile properly bedded.
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Unread 01-09-2020, 10:08 PM   #11
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I set something similar a few years ago from the tile shop, and I was setting over a waterproof membrane. You could set 1 tile at a time and still have the same problem that you are having. The tile is going to suck all the moisture out and sponging the back( no offense to anyone that said wipe the back with a sponge) is like giving a guy/gal a shot glass of water after they ran a marathon. The tile is going to want more water before it is hydrated. I am not going to tell you to go as far as soaking them in a bucket but you need to get them wet. If it is anything like the ones I had(the backs was like a soft clay you could scratch a groove in it easily) and you will be surprised at how much water it will absorb.

I just noticed this is a shower, what is the method for waterproofing?
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Unread 01-09-2020, 10:22 PM   #12
jadnashua
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The other thing in a shower is that on a tile that can absorb that much moisture, it could easily cause the color to change as the tile gets saturated.
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Unread 01-10-2020, 05:01 AM   #13
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Years ago when we set a lot of 4 1/4 tiles, many times in the summer I'd dip a handful of tile at a time into a bucket of water for 15-20 seconds and then stack them against the wall on their edges and let them drain. It allowed me to get the tiles set and adjusted before the thinset firmed up. I'd also wet my mud walls with a damp sponge or garden sprayer if the walls were real dry. I haven't soaked tiles in a long time but I still wet my walls if they are bone dry.
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