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Unread 04-05-2008, 11:27 AM   #1
Gordo7475
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Customblend = Thinset?

Hi there. Sorry for reopening an old thread but I am in the middle of a bathroom renovation being done for me by a local contractor who said he was experienced in using the Schluter system.

He used Custom Building Products "Customblend" Standard Thin-Set Mortar to adhere the Kerdi fabric to a waterproof backer board.

I honestly have no clue about the difference between modified and unmodified, but I realize that Schluter recommends unmodified thinset.

Does anyone know if CBP "Customblend" is modified or unmodified?

Thanks!
Gordo
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Unread 04-05-2008, 11:49 AM   #2
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CustomBlend is unmodified. But more importantly, it's as cheap a thin-set as they come. Not much better than dirt as I see it. That local contractor of yours certainly gets an A+ for knowing how to cut corners on materials.

You make sure he doesn't use that crapola stuff to set your tiles, OK!?

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Unread 04-05-2008, 04:30 PM   #3
Gordo7475
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Thanks, Mike. I was beginning to have my doubts about this guy and now they are being confirmed. He bought the wrong size Schluter pan for my job (claims the size I needed was not in stock and was a 7-10 day wait....nice planning!), although he was able to cut it and make it work. The directions do say you can do this, but......I'm not thrilled.

The thing that tipped me off about the possible mortar problem was that there is a TON of mortar that seeped through the Kerdi fabric. It did not look nice and neat like the video I watched. Will this be a problem?

Do you have a mortar recommendation for setting the 4x4 tumbled marble tiles I chose? I will insist he uses it, not the Customblend.

Gordo
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Unread 04-05-2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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I'll assume those 4"x4" tumbled marble tiles are going over Kerdi. There are lots of good options for unmodified mortars for that application, Gordo.
Ditra-Set from Hydroment; Mega Bond from Laticrete; Kerabond from Mapei; 317 Floor and Wall, another good one from Laticrete; Full Set from TEC; just to name some of the more popular ones.
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Unread 04-05-2008, 05:37 PM   #5
Tim K
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possible mortar problem was that there is a TON of mortar that seeped through the Kerdi fabric. Don't see how it could "seep" through sinces its water proof. sure it isn't thinset comming out between the seams??
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Unread 04-05-2008, 07:03 PM   #6
Gordo7475
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Yes, Mike. The tumbled marble tiles are going over the Kerdi. In fact, the whole reason that I requested the Schluter system was because I knew that the tumbled marble is porous and I didn't want any problems with water coming through the tiles. The contractor did intend to use a waterproof backer board and some sort of (unspecified) membrane. But I insisted on the Schluter.

You know Tim, that's a good point - how did it come through the waterproof Kerdi fabric? I can only guess that perhaps when he was smoothing the Kerdi he didn't clean off the trowel? It seems like there is more mortar than can be explained by a dirty trowel, but I can't think of any other way.

I tried to attach a few pictures; don't know if it will work.
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Unread 04-05-2008, 08:53 PM   #7
Mike2
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That quite a crazy quilt pattern he has going in those bottom two pictures. I have to say, Gordo, those areas don't look real good. That is one shower that definitely will need a thorough and extended water test before proceeding with tile. Additionally, with some of the thin-set build-up we can see, it's going to be difficult to get the tile to lay flat.

Gordo, I think it's time for you to begin your own thread. I can see this discussion of issues continuing on for some time now. You get a new thread started and we can merge these posts into it.
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Unread 04-05-2008, 09:04 PM   #8
Gordo7475
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My Schluter Shower Install - Keeping Tabs on my Contractor

OK so as Mike suggested, I've started a new thread on this project. My contractor said he was very comfortable with the Schluter system, but I am quickly losing faith..............

The corners he did don't seem to pass muster with the crew here and he seems to have already caused future problems with the tile install by overdoing it with the thinset on the top of the Kerdi fabric.

Any suggestions on how I get this guy back on track?
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Unread 04-05-2008, 09:05 PM   #9
Gordo7475
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Thanks, Mike. Just started a new thread:

My Schluter Shower Install - Keeping Tabs on my Contractor

Look forward to further discussion!

Gordo
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Unread 04-05-2008, 09:14 PM   #10
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OK, got you all set up with those other posts, Gordo.

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Unread 04-05-2008, 09:23 PM   #11
Gordo7475
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Awesome, Mike. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the guidance from you and the others. When you hand over a big fat check to a supposed expert, it's sad that I have to tell him how to do his job. But such is life............

I asked my contractor to come over tomorrow to discuss. I want to specifically point out to him the areas that appear deficient.

The town inspector is coming over Monday to check the shower pan for watertightness. Don't know how much he knows about the Kerdi system.

Any other relevant questions you can think of to ask my contractor? I did tell him not to use CustomBlend for the tiles. I gave him the list of products that you came up with to chose from.

Thanks,
Gordo
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Unread 04-05-2008, 09:42 PM   #12
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Yeah, ask him why the crazy patch work and excessive build-up of thin-set on those corners. Ask him how he intends to get the tile set without excessive lippage. Ask him about the 2-inch Kerdi overlap rule. Ask him ... I could go on and on.

Quite frankly, Gordo, that shower is a mess. I've seen literally hundreds of pictures of Kerdi showers posted by first-time DIY'ers here on the forum that look better.

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Unread 04-06-2008, 06:54 AM   #13
Gordo7475
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Thanks again, Mike. I plan to discuss all of those things with him. I can see a major argument ensuing, but I am going to ask him to take it down and start over. Doing the install incorrectly defeats the purpose of having the Schluter system in the first place.

Gordo
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Unread 04-06-2008, 07:08 AM   #14
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Welcome, Gordo.

I can only reinforce Mike's comments about that Kerdi installation. We can all appreciate the learning of new products, but that's waaaay beyond what I'd expect for even a first time use of Kerdi. It's just not that difficult. I'm not a full-time tile guy, but my first attempt at Kerdi didn't look at all like that. I got pichers, too.

I'm especially concerned about that area at the corner where the top of the curb meets the wall. Can't tell that there has been any overlap there at all. Could be behind the wall membrane, but it's not apparent to me and that is one of the most common areas of shower waterproofing failure.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 04-06-2008, 08:36 AM   #15
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I have to concur with everyone else. Installing Kerdi just isn't all that difficult. I would be concerned about the skill level of this guy.

Just my 1.5 cents worth.
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