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Unread 12-13-2003, 04:12 PM   #1
Bill Beyer
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Exclamation ditra thinset

Been on another message board bugging everyone about what type of thinset to use with ditra. Was pointed over here and spent four hours reading all the posts. So much information to go through!

Added new 1/2" plywood over existing 5/8" plywood for installation of 13" x 13" porcelain tile (480 sq ft). Ready to install ditra. Tile store gave me a copy of the Joint Technical Bulletin that John posted to the site. However when I got home and went to the Laticrete site they seem to have revised the bulletin. They no longer seem to recommend the 272 thinset.

Per tile store recommendations, I bought 253 Gold for between ditra and plywood. I bought 272 thinset, but no additive for tile to ditra. Neither are on the Laticrete site.

I don't really have a problem using unmodified thinset for tile to ditra because I really need to be able to use the floor within a few days of laying the tile - holiday visitors! Grouting may even have to wait until after the holidays...

Here are my questions. Is what I have ok? Tile store is now closed ofcourse, so I can't get the right stuff for use tomorrow.

Should I just go to HomeDepot and get Versabond & Masterblend so that I can work on it tomorrow?

Since the Versabond is for putting the ditra down, should I just get that to get started and then Monday I can go back to the tile store and get Laticrete 253R as recommended by laticrete?

I really need to move forward with this floor or my wife is going to kill me.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 04:16 PM   #2
bbcamp
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Hang in there, Bill! Help's comming. It's a little slow during the weekends.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 04:58 PM   #3
David Taylor
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Hi again, Bill.

Use any modified thinset underneath Ditra and a premium non-modified thinset above. It doesn't matter where you get them, just get them. Versabond is fine for underneath.

I would, of course, get that tile store employee (who did know the facts on which thinset to use) a bottle for the holidays. Take it to him when you pick up the unmodified thinset on Monday.

I really couldn't say it on the other board, but Laticrete likely backed off their position because they'd be selling a lot of unmodified thinset - something they wouldn't make much money on.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 04:59 PM   #4
JJC
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Hi Bill,
I'm not familar with Latacrete products. That said, what you do need is modified thinset that will bond the Ditra to the plywood. The brand doesn't matter, since they all have to meet certain specs. I use Mapei products, Ultraflex2 to bond to the plywood. This has the Polymers already in the mix as a dry powder, simply mix with cool potable water. The trick to remember when mixing the thinset for the Ditra, is too mix it a little "wetter or looser" than normal. This is due to the fact that you will need to have the thinset pennetrate the fleece or backing of the Ditra. Dry cut it first and then simply peel back or fold back one half of the Ditra mat to spread the thinset. Since one half of the mat stays in place, this will aid you in th placement of the mat. After that just follow their directionsfor installing Ditra. To set the tile,I use the unmodified thinset "Kerabond" by Mapei. Be sure to fill the cavities of the Ditra before combing or using the notched side of the trowel.
One important thing for you to consider....Holding off on the grout until after the holidays. Walking on the ungrouted tile with company (holiday visitors) etc. is not a good idea.

Good luck and happy tiling.

Jim
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Unread 12-13-2003, 05:04 PM   #5
David Taylor
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I think what Jim's trying to say is for you to dry-cut the Ditra to the space, roll it up and then put thinset down. Put the rolled up Ditra in the thinset and roll it out as you spread more thinset ahead of it.

Don't peel anything on the Ditra itself. Leave it intact.

Sorry Jim, it came across kind of funny.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 05:12 PM   #6
JJC
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David, Thanks! Thats what I tried to say. Only to fold it back onto itself, rather than roll it. Maybe I better leave it alone as I'm having another "senior momment". I have a difficult time convincing my fingers to type my thoughts.
Thanks again
Jim
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Unread 12-13-2003, 06:41 PM   #7
Rd Tile
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Be carefull what thinset you use for the porcelain.

Dave, I know you know more about Ditra than I ever will, but just came from a job today where I have to rip out 100 sq. ft. of porcelain, they used a good unmodified thinset and the tiles can be taken up with a scraper, the backs are clean, no bond, this could have been avoided if they used an additive, which was stated right on the bag, must use latex additive for porcelain, no one bothered to read the label.

What I'm trying to say is, all unmodified thinsets won't work with porcelain.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 08:38 PM   #8
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Hi Bill,

I agree with everything that's been said here, including the part about Laticrete backing out of the deal. I think they just got cold feet.

We debuted the technical bulletin here, and in short order the proverbial doo doo hit the fan within the industry. The fight was on, and what is amazing is that the detractors from the bulletin simply ignored the TCA testing results that we published as well.

The entire flooring system was first tested at the TCA lab using the Robinson floor testing method under the standards spelled out by ASTM and ANSI. The flooring system passed with flying colors. Then the tiles were pried loose from the Ditra and were tested for shear bond failure (all tested materials ultimately fail under this test. It's the point of failure that is significant.). Again, the samples tested well above the minimum accepted requirement.

So, my question then became, hey, what's the problem? To this day none of the detractors has acknowledged that hard cold data.

I've stated several times here that I've been bonding porcelain tiles with un-modified dry set mortar since before Ditra came into being nearly 20 years ago. The key is in using high-quality products and keeping the mix loose. The extra bit of water extends hydration and gives the product time to develop a hold. If you don't do it that way you chance the type of failure RD mentions above.

I know I'm a wordy guy, and I don't want to bore anyone, but there is yet another factor the detractors refuse to consider. Using Schluter Ditra you don't NEED a super powerful bond. The mat allows such a high degree of movement that shear bond issues never develop. It's a more or less "floppy" installation that weaves and bobs with the shifting and "breathing" that affect every tile installation.

I use any good quality thin set that is available at the time I need it. I often use Versa Bond under the mat and Master Blend to set the tiles with.

I guess it's easy to see I'm a company man, eh David T.?

And yes, E3, it will work with Nobleseal, too.

Sign on so we can get you cookied, Bill.

Last edited by John Bridge; 12-13-2003 at 08:44 PM.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 08:53 PM   #9
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I just remembered something to add, and I AM a wordy guy.

People who attend the Schluter training given at the tile school throughout the year get, among other neat items, a copy of an article written by Paul Carty, an engineering professor, and by Peter Nielsen, technical director of Schluter Systems. The article is quite comprehensive and does a fine job of explaining the similarity of Ditra to a floating mud floor system. The fact that we were always able to make porcelain tiles stay on mud beds before modified thin set or admix even existed is well defined in the article. Ditra does essentially the same thing as the mud bed.

I got permission to re-produce the article (which is copyrighted) in my new book. It's in the back as an appendix. Just one more good reason to order the book, eh?
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Unread 12-13-2003, 10:10 PM   #10
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In defense of laticrete they claim they retrackted the statement becouse they have tested and find that a polymeric thin set works best.I was at the meeting when this was discussed and Peters thin set Expert said the same "a cheap latex mod is best"HOWEVER a dry set will work and sets faster.
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Unread 12-13-2003, 11:54 PM   #11
Bill Beyer
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Thanks guys, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to explain everything in detail to me. I've been hard at work on the floor, that is why I didn't reply until now. Will be ready for the ditra tomorrow, so your replies are very timely!

I only have one question - sorry. Will either one of the products that I bought today (Laticrete 253 Gold Multipurpose or 272 Drybond without additive) work for adhering the ditra to the plywood. Everone is being very kind in telling me to use a premium modified thinset, but to be honest I don't know what products meet that classification.

Seems to me that neither one is right, so I will go to HD and get the Versabond. That's step number 1.

Then Monday I will return the 253 Gold & 272 Drybond. In its place, I will get 253R Gold Rapid Multipurpose per the Laticrete website. I think everyone agrees that in my position, a premium unmodified is the best choice. What products fall into this classification? So far the only products I have access to is HomeDepot (versabond & Masterblend) or Laticrete. Have not seen Mapei or anything else...

Thank you

BTW - John, wordy is good. When looking for help, I would rather too much information than not enough!
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Unread 12-14-2003, 02:31 AM   #12
David Taylor
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The Laticrete 253 Gold will work to put the Ditra on the plywood.

The 272 will work for the porcelain to the Ditra.

Did the laws of physics suddenly change at Laticrete's testing facilities for them to switch opinions, Eric? No. They changed their mind for the simple fact they weren't going to make as much money selling dry-set mortar. Their marketing department retracted the joint bulletin with Schluter, not their chemists.

The first thinset company to make an agreement and stick with it (no pun intended) is going to be well-positioned in the marketplace. Laticrete, quite simply, dropped the ball on this one. They had the other thinset manufacturers nervous because they were raising the stakes coming out with the joint bulletin.

If you can imagine the other thinset manufacturers scrambling to test each one of their mortars with Ditra late at night, then you've got a pretty good idea of how it was back in June. Laticrete's announcement was big news in the thinset industry. The other companies knew they had better get on the bus or be left behind. When Laticrete recinded the agreement a large, collective "whew" was heard from the others.

Now we sit, waiting to see which manufacturer has the 'intestinal fortitude' to step up to the plate without backing off. It'll happen - it's just a matter of time before it does and I have a fairly good idea who that'll be. Six months after the fact, they can't believe Laticrete shot themselves in the foot the way they did. This company wants to do it right this time and not waffle (again, no pun intended) on the issue. They can see the benefits of such an agreement far down the road.

Eric: I know the reason you're defending Laticrete and it has nothing to do with type of thinset one chooses to apply porcelain tile to Ditra. Most people see orange when they look at Ditra. Why do you see red?

Had you not realized it, John had said this issue also applied to Noble's products, too. Are you saying you're with Laticrete's current view or do you concur with the original joint release? Just so you know, I'll be comparing your answer to something written not too long ago.

RD: If the backs were clean, I'd have to disagree with it being traced to the thinset type. I'd say it was the time allowed before installing the tile into the thinset. There should be at least some trace of the thinset being forced onto the tile.

John B (a company man), Bill V., Dave G. and I all know an unmodified thinset will stick well to porcelain. We did it years before modified thinset became popular - and did so with a product not having the mechanical keys on the back, as it does today.
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Unread 12-14-2003, 07:44 AM   #13
Chris3
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Foot Traffic - How Long?

I have the time to wait so after much thought and sleepless nights I chose Versabond to install my 13" x 13" porcelain over Ditra. I am going to wait a week before grouting but my question is how long do I have to wait before light foot traffic?
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Unread 12-14-2003, 08:35 AM   #14
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David, if I continue to use modified with porcelain over Ditra and wait the 2 weeks for it to cure, before grouting, is this acceptable.

I'm sure like you said, it wasn't just the thinset that caused the tile to come up at that job I'm now fixing, yes, everything else done to this floor was wrong also, the backs of the tile were only set half in the thinset and backbuttered with daps of thinset that held in some places and not in others, they also set Denshield over the original plank subfloor with wire lathe and thinset and called it a mud job, this all failed within 2 months of installing the custom cabinets, which can't be removed now. I now have the fun task of cutting the tile at the cabinet bases to remove and install a real mud bed. The tile was installed under the cabinets. I start in 2 weeks, besides my angle grinder, if I can even get it under the bottom lip and hammer and chisle, anyone have an idea of how to break them out at the base, without damaging the cabs. It's polished porcelain. Wish me luck.

Dave, Anyway getting back to the Ditra, I'm sure the unmodified works, I'm just chicken, cause I've never used it before, like I asked above, is there a problem useing modified and waiting to grout.

Thanks, Richie...
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Unread 12-14-2003, 09:50 AM   #15
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It seems this has spilled over into the Pro Hangout, and I would like to invite everone to continue the discussion there. This is not really the place to get into deep issues. We've got folks who want to get on with their projects. Again, though, everybody is welcome in the Hangout.

http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/show...5&pagenumber=2
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