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Unread 02-23-2015, 08:12 AM   #1
uppercasem
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Tiling a Tub Surround & Tile Floor - first time tiler!

I've gotten lots of advice on my project thus far from reading other people's questions (thank you!), now I'd like to ask my own.

Some background: we'll be using 3x6 American Olean subway tile on our tub surround + tiling our floor with Ann Sacks small format hex tiles. We are using Easy Mat on the floor as a final layer to top-off our subfloor and Kerdi rolls on the walls for waterproofing.

I've had a hard time getting answers from our vendors on what grouts and adhesives to use with our floor tile. I am hoping you can help. I can't post links yet, so here is the long description of our floor tile: Ann Sacks Savoy 3/4" Hexagon Mosaic, 3/16" thick. Each sheet of tiles is 11.614 x 11.811 x .197 inches. The spacing between individual tiles is less than 1/8".

We are using Polyblend non-sanded grout for our wall tile that we'll be mixing ourselves and would like to use a Polyblend product in a different color for our floor.

1) Given the size of this tile and the small gaps between each, should we use sanded or non-sanded grout for the floor?

2) The size of our floor is ~35 sq. ft. We can either buy 1-25# bag of sanded grout or individual boxes (10# ea.) of non-sanded grout. How much would you suggest we plan to have on hand to get 100% coverage?

3) We have one 3.5 gallon bucket of pre-mixed RELIABOND for adhering the subway tiles to our walls. Would you recommend using the same or a different adhesive for the floor?

4) Based on materials I've read, I plan to use a 1/4" v-notched trowel for the floor tile and a 1/4" x 3/8" sq. notch trowel for the walls. Are you all in agreement with these tool choices?
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Unread 02-23-2015, 09:42 AM   #2
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1. Hi Martha. With joints less than 1/8, you could use unsanded although you probably could get sanded grout to work. If you do use unsanded, make the grout a little stiffer than usual. Making it too thin tends to cause low joints that may crack as it dries out. I try to use sanded most of the time being careful not to scratch the surface of the stone.

2. If you use sanded, one bag will be plenty. If you use unsanded, 10lbs will probably be enough. I have seen sanded polyblend in small boxes at Home Depot. They are 7 lb or 10 lb, can't remember for sure.

3. I believe that's mastic. I wouldn't use it on your walls or the floor. Go get some white modified thinset, like Versabond.

4. You can try the 1/4 inch V notch for the floor but it may be too big. If too much thinset mashes up into the joints, use a smaller notch. Also, the 3/8 notch will probably be too big for the walls. I use a 1/4x1/4 square notch for 3x6 tiles and it seems to be about right.
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Unread 02-27-2015, 08:36 AM   #3
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Thanks! Other thoughts?

Thanks for your reply, Davy. I'd like to hear from others as to whether they agree/disagree. Unfortunately I don't think I can return this RELIABOND, so I'd like to be able to use it at least on the walls.
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Unread 02-27-2015, 10:10 AM   #4
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Welcome, Martha.

What Davy said.
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Unread 02-27-2015, 10:45 AM   #5
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Versabond or Prolite?

Strike again for the local tile dealer that sold me the Reliabond! Oh well, I would rather lose the money on that than have an install that doesn't hold up down the line.

I just got off the phone with a local tile setter who said yes Versabond works great but also suggested ProLite as an option. I am open to either, I want to be able to work in small areas at a time and not worry about it drying up on me. Also, in case this is relevant... my walls aren't the squarest in the universe (we re-did 2/3 walls in the shower surround but left 1 original plaster knee wall that follows the roofline in place), so I may have to layer up some thinset in some areas to keep everything looking straight in the end.
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Unread 02-27-2015, 12:13 PM   #6
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Martha, you do not wanna "layer up" any thinset mortar. All tile setting materials manufacturers and the ceramic tile industry say that thinset mortar is "not to be use for leveling or flattening the substrate" for a tile installation. Thinset mortar is made for bonding the tiles.

If you need to do any repairs to make your walls suitable for your installation, you need to use something other than thinset mortar. Without more information, and perhaps a couple photos, it's difficult to say just what would be appropriate.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-01-2015, 10:34 AM   #7
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Let's talk Schluter for a bit, shall we?

Thanks again for all of your help thus far. We are working on installing Kerdi membrane around the shower at the moment and are taking stock of the "accessories" we have. The mixing valve seal is 4-1/2 inches, and I see that Kerdi ONLY sells it in this size.

The rough opening for our mixing valve in the wallboard is 6 inches, and the mixing valve includes a diverter. Does this mean:

A) I should not use the Kerdi seal and instead approach waterproofing this area w/ the Kerdi Fix method

OR

B) is the Kerdi seal only meant to "reveal" the lower half of the mixing where the actual protruding components sit?

I can take a photo as necessary.
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Unread 03-01-2015, 10:38 AM   #8
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Photos are nearly always useful.

I've never used one of the pre-made mixing valve seals. I use the Kerdi Fix on the raw edges of the wallboard and depend upon the plumbing trim to divert the water away form the big hole in the wall.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:09 AM   #9
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1/8 in spacing - where?

Hello again. The project is coming along and I've nearly finished tiling the back wall. I am aware that I should be leaving an 1/8" for expansion between the 1st row of tiles and the tub and between the tiles that touch walls to the left or right. Where tile meets tile (in corners that will eventually be caulked), though, I am not sure what to do. This applies to the corners of the tub where the walls at the head and tail of the tub meet the back wall (tiled first). Do I leave an 1/8" gap here or abut the tiles directly against the back wall's tile?
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:15 AM   #10
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Gaps everywhere !
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:17 PM   #11
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so 1/8" there too...

...and the caulk will magically make this space disappear in the end? Lovely. If you agree/disagree, please chime in. Thank you!
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:20 PM   #12
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yes the 100% silicone caulk that matches your grout
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Unread 04-01-2015, 01:50 PM   #13
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When to grout & trim setting tips

Hello again!
All of my tile is in place except for my trim tile and the first row of tiles that meet the floor... they will be installed after the floor tile is finished.

1) I have heard of a technique for setting trim tile that involves back-buttering the tile with mostly mud/thinset and then buttering a bit of grout on the "finished" edge. This way the grout is already in place under the "front" edge of the tile. This makes sense to me. If it's a widely accepted way of setting bullnose trim, I'd like to move forward, but I thought I'd ask here first. Do others do this? If not, what is your preferred technique of getting mud and grout where they need to be?

2) What is standard practice for grouting? Do you grout the majority of the wall BEFORE putting in the floor tile and then go back and grout the last/first row you put in once the floor is in place, OR do you wait until after the floor is in, you've got 100% of your wall tile in place and grout everything (as in walls, then floor) at once? I could argue either way for which is more efficient, so again I'd love your opinion on this.

Thanks! I'm happy to clarify any of this as necessary.
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Unread 04-01-2015, 01:52 PM   #14
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Also... plumbing!

Also, I am seeking recommendations for a place to ask plumbing questions (a similar forum to this one). A plumber friend is helping with some of our project but I have to order all of the parts for him (I don't want to bother him with questions) and I'd like to get some assistance.
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Unread 04-01-2015, 02:42 PM   #15
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1. If I understand the question you'd not be grouting that area at all, Martha. You'd use a color matched caulking between the bullnose and the wall.

2. I do, because I'm messy. On a direct bonded waterproofing membrane shower system (Kerdi is one such) I don't even install the drain nor mud the floor until the ceilings and walls are tiled and grouted except for the bottom row of wall tiles.

3. You might try terrylove.com for your plumbing questions. Tell'em we sent you. Or you might just axe'em here; we've got some knowledgeable folks in that arena.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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