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Unread 12-23-2003, 10:57 PM   #1
jv
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Question Choosing spacer size

I there any rationale to choosing the size of the tile spacers? I'm getting ready to redo my entry way 6' * 9' with 12" tiles? My wife would prefer the grout lines to be thin. What is recommended? What's too thin?

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Unread 12-23-2003, 11:20 PM   #2
John Bridge
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Hi Jason. Welcome aboard.

I shoot for about 3/16 in. I don't use spacers on floor tiles. I make grid lines on the floor.
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Unread 12-24-2003, 09:01 AM   #3
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Why not?

Do you avoid spacers on the floor just to alleviate having to pull them out or do you find that it's faster to just chauk lines?

And thank you very much for replying.

Thanks,
Jason
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Unread 12-24-2003, 09:20 AM   #4
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Better, easier, faster, in that order, Jason. Welcome aboard, by the way.

I don't do a lot of tile work, but I have tried the spacer method on floor tiles and found it wanting. If you do a proper lay-out, the procedures for which are laid out (hehe) somewhere around here, and set your tiles to the lines with confidence, you'll get a better job and a faster one, too.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-28-2003, 11:56 PM   #5
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Status update

Recently I saw something about Tavey spacers, so I ended up using those for my entry hall. They definitely beat using traditional spacers... I also chauked lines on either side of my "main" column of tiles. The chauk lines definitely helped initially, but then I realized that as I putting the thinset down, I was covering the lines. You watch the DIY shows, and they also show big patches of tiles being laid at a time... so how do you use chauk lines?
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Unread 12-29-2003, 12:36 AM   #6
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Ya, how do you keep with the chaulk lines when you cover them with thinset???
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Unread 12-29-2003, 01:26 AM   #7
Sonnie Layne
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don't cover them with thinset, simple......

snap lines for every other grid, in this case, 24" +- apart, depending on tile size and grout size. Burn your mortar in and trowel it out within these grid lines and you won't have a worry. I do sometimes use a straight edge to nudge the tiles in a nice line if they have a lot of reveal, or cushion on their edges (wavy, instead of straight). A good eye is best, but being astigmatic, it's robbed me of a portion of that, and shooting good pool as well heck, I can't see straight when I'm sober

The minimum width of the grout lines will often be dictated by the accuracy of the tile itself. Not unusual to have a few tiles 1/8" out of square in the 12" to 16" size. Get that picture in your head and figure. If you've got time, you can do a dry lay out and see how it all works out.

Good luck, keep us posted.
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Unread 12-29-2003, 11:06 AM   #8
castle.stone
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Please explain, "Burn your mortar in and trowel it out within these grid lines." Do you mean only trowel up to the line?
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Unread 12-29-2003, 11:57 AM   #9
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Regarding chalk lines... A trick I've found to protect your chalk line is to lightly spray it with clear laquer to keep them from being rubbed off. This is especially important with complex patterns where there is a bit of walking around and prefitting. A recent herringbone layout of 4" x 16" tiles with a border made this paramount for me.

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Unread 12-29-2003, 07:50 PM   #10
John Bridge
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You trowel the thin set to within a quarter-inch of the line.


Hi Bill, Welcome aboard.

We have had some knock down drag 'em outs over spraying lacquer on the floor. It is a bond breaker. Now, I realize you're not spraying a lot on there, but I felt I had to mention it.
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Unread 12-30-2003, 12:30 AM   #11
Sonnie Layne
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Curtis,

there's a term for the initial troweling of mortar with the backside (smooth) of your trowel. It's called "burning in" the mud. If you read the instructions on your thinset bag/box, it'll likely explain how to do this. Basically, you slop some mortar down on the area, say a 4 sq ft area, then turn your trowel to the flat side, with it held at around 45 degrees, or a bit less, you "force" the mud into contact with the substrate. Only after you have this initial bond should the thinset be troweled out with the toothed side of the trowel. It's contriversial, but just a sprinkle of water on the substrate can help this to happen.

This, well, it's supposed to indicate whether or not your mud is gonna adhere to the substrate. This would be indicated by whether or not the flat troweled (burned) area stuck to the deck or rolled off the top. It can reflect whether the dust on the substrate has been properly removed, whether or not any sealers have been removed, whether enough water has been used in the blend, etc... in the end, it's most important function is to serve as a good bonding agent between the new thinset mortar and your existing substrate. I personally like to trowel on a damp surface.
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Unread 12-30-2003, 05:08 AM   #12
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Excellent explanation, how much do you apply when you "burn" it? 1/16???
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Unread 12-30-2003, 05:18 AM   #13
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castle

I'm not one of the "regular" pros around here, but I think I can answer this one for you...

There is no set thickness when you burn thinset into the substrate. The purpose is to assure that you will have every bit of contact possible between thinset and substrate. The idea is that you're getting thinset into the pores of whatever you're setting on to achieve a mechanical bond; to "burn" it in. You should be left with little more than a grainy film when you're done, and then go ahead and comb out the thinset with the notch side and go to town.
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Unread 12-30-2003, 05:24 AM   #14
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curtis,

Fogot to mention one thing. It is also a good idea to wipe the area to be tiled, whether it be a CBU or even a slab with a damp sponge to remove any debris before you start troweling. You don't want to saturate the substrate, you just want to make sure that nothing gets between the floor and the thinset.
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Unread 12-30-2003, 10:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Bridge
You trowel the thin set to within a quarter-inch of the line.
Well, having installed the first tile in the bathroom last night, and having covered up my lines... my concern is not having a small area of the tile with not thin set, does the quarter-inch margin get filled in when you press the tile into the thin set?

(Not trying to get exactly to the line would make things a lot easier.)

Thanks,
Gene
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