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Unread 04-16-2021, 01:09 PM   #16
ss3964spd
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Nothing mysterious about their trowel, John, except possibly the price they ask for it.

A 1/4" x 3/16" V-notched trowel by one company is the same as that from another.
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Unread 04-16-2021, 01:28 PM   #17
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That would be true, Dan, but the Ditra trowel is a square notch, not a vee notch.

At 11/64ths" it's a weeee bit smaller than a 3/16ths" square notch and really is just right for installing Ditra, but I agree you can install Ditra just fine with one of their other recommendations. Actually, I think the best part of owning a Ditra trowel is that it's really handy for installing some smaller mosaic tiles, too. Mine has installed a lot more tile than Ditra.

Not to mention that the trowels are free!! Well, unless you consider the cost of a trip to any number of Schluter seminars to get a free one, at which point they start costing about twelve hunnert bucks a pop.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-16-2021, 05:07 PM   #18
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The biggest thing with installing Ditra is getting the thinset the right consistency. Part of that is to wipe the surface of the floor down with a wet sponge first, just prior to applying the thinset. Otherwise, the floor may suck too much moisture out of the mix, making the mortar too stiff to flow properly to embed the Ditra. The bond is created by the thinset flowing around the fleece fibers...it doesn't stick to them. When the thinset cures, it grows crystals that then lock everything in place. Sort of like Velcro, but the hooks are rigid rather than being flexible.

This time of year can have things a bit cool. That can make Ditra a bit stiffer, so first thing is to reroll it backwards to help take some of the curl out of it. In the worst case, you may need to weight those edges down, but if you've done your thinset properly, and embedded the sheet, that may not be useful. Once you think you've got it properly embedded, pull back a corner and make sure both the floor and the mat a completely covered. If they are, your technique is good, and the sheet will go back down easily, with almost no work. Then, stay off of it for at least a few hours unless you're going to add tile immediately. You either want to be adding the tile to a cured sheet, or a wet one, not one that is partially cured.

When mixing the thinset, the bag will give you a range of water that is acceptable...use the maximum. If you're not mixing a full bag, a bathroom scale can be your friend to get the proper weight, and then figure out how much water to add...mix it with a proper paddle, at the specified speed, for the specified time, and the mortar should be nice and creamy making the whole job easier.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 06:53 AM   #19
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I installed the Ditra and prefilled the waffles with Schluter All Set. So I’m now ready for tiling. I’m using large format, 12x24” tile.
My question is: Can I use Ultraflex LFT for the thinset, or should I continue to use the Schluter All Set?
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Unread 05-14-2021, 08:57 AM   #20
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The Ultraflex will work just fine, John.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 09:12 AM   #21
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Thanks Dan!
There’s no issue with the modified Ultraflex over the prefilled Ditra? I only ask as, after reading about this issue in the many posts on this site, it appears to be the most controversial subject.....modified or non modified over Ditra.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 09:33 AM   #22
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There is no controversy, John. Schluter makes an "uncoupling" product. Schluter dictates the method and materials to install the product. One of their recommendations is the use of un-modified thinset mortar. You either follow those recommendations or you don't. If you don't, you won't get a product warranty from Schluter. If you do, you may get such a warranty.

Other companies make similar "uncoupling" products. ALL other such companies require the use of a modified thinset mortar. If you don't follow their recommendations, you don't get a product warranty. If you follow their recommendations you may get a product warranty.

It's really that simple. The ceramic tile industry currently has no standard for such "uncoupling" products. You decide what's best for you in your situation.

No controversy at all.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 09:46 AM   #23
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Yeah, you're very much not the first to question it, John, and surely won't be the last. It is worth noting, however, that All Set is a modified thinset mortar. https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us.../p/SET_ALL-SET

Without going into all the technical details, not all modified mortars use the same modifiers. And some thinset mortars have more modifiers added than others. Ultraflex, I believe is one of those. The draw back is that mortar will take longer to cure, especially under a large format tile like those 12X24's when they are set on an impermeable underlayment like Ditra.

You won't want to grout the tile for a few days.

FWIW, I used Versabond, also a modified, to both pre-fill my Ditra (Heat) and set my 12X24's. About a year and a half ago. While not exactly a long term test they are all still rock solid.
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Unread 05-14-2021, 03:46 PM   #24
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The original modifier used in mortar was latex based...that one MUST dry out to become stable. Cement cures at the same rate, regardless of the modifier used. Applying a load or stress to the mortar before the modifier is stable can allow movement, and that can fracture the cement that has cured. Most all of the newer modifiers are stable while still wet. The issue is, the way the specs are defined, you cannot readily tell if the modifier needs to dry to become stable or not...an unmodified just needs to cure, drying isn't an issue. FWIW, cement NEEDS moisture to cure, and lack of sufficient moisture leads to a weak bond (as can excessive amounts). But, thinset does NOT bond to Ditra, that's a mechanical connection based on the shape of the top, and the action of the mortar flowing around the fleece on the bottom, but it's not adhered to the sheet like it is to the tile.https://youtu.be/aubjjQ9DkiY

So from a stress viewpoint, the tile is not adhered to the flexible (horizontally) Ditra membrane, but is adhered to the tile, so the thinset and the tile can move independently of what's beneath (i.e., the floor!). So, the stress on the mortar joint is cushioned by the membrane which limits it considerably, which also means the bond to the tile is not stressed, either.
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