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Unread 03-28-2020, 10:06 PM   #1
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Tiling a bathroom

Hey, newbie to the forum with a few questions for the experts.

I’m tiling a shower (walls & floor) and the bathroom floor. I will be installing the shluter slopped floor pan, Kerdi membrane and dietra.

Everything I read indicates that the proper way to tile is from the floor to ceiling. However, I couldn’t seem to find a valid reason as to why this is preferred. I was hoping to start at the ceiling and work down so my final cut (smaller piece) would be at the floor. Would you strongly advise against this? I’ve read other posts where installers start at the second row off the floor, work towards the ceiling and then come back to fill in the first row. This approach makes me think that there is a greater chance of the tiles not fitting if the pre planning is off just a bit?

Lastly, what is the proper approach for tiles meeting in the corner. Do you leave a gap to grout or silicon....or no space at all?

Thanks for the help,

Last edited by 12/3; 03-28-2020 at 11:27 PM.
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Unread 03-28-2020, 10:20 PM   #2
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You could work from ceiling to floor. You will quickly learn why it's better or easier to work from floor to ceiling.
What will you use to keep your tile from sliding down the wall when working from top to bottom? There in lies the problem.
Measure your distance, add your tile height and add your spacers, do some math and figure out where the second row will start. You will be within a half inch of what you wanted and it will look great.
Or You could always go for equal sizes top/ bottom instead of going for a cut piece at the bottom. This can look better in many situations. Your bottom row will be greater than half a tile versus potentially having a 2 inch piece down there.

I usually leave a 1/16th to 1/8th joint in my corners and caulk them with the appropriate siliconized caulk. I am consistent with whichever joint I choose.

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Last edited by Shady at Best; 03-28-2020 at 10:32 PM.
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Unread 03-28-2020, 10:37 PM   #3
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I've never had a problem with layout on a vertical space like that. Just measure the wall, floor to ceiling, then lay out the tile on the floor with the appropriate spacers and measure to see how it will turn out at the ceiling. Make adjustments as needed.

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Unread 03-28-2020, 10:51 PM   #4
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Welcome, Kevin.

While there are thinset mortars, a lot of them actually, that are advertised as "non-sagging" and would actually work in your top down scenario, I would not recommend you try that if you're not very experienced in their use.

As for starting from a level ledger board near the bottom and working up, I find that a most acceptable method and use it on almost all my showers. I favor tiling up from such a ledger that I have placed to allow slightly less than on full tile at the bottom and then cut the bottom tiles to fit after the floor has been tiled. That's but one method of tiling the shower.

If you plan to have benches, niches, accents, and such, you'll find that there is no substitute for very careful planning and even more careful measuring, regardless the method you choose to install your chosen layout.

As for the corners, the ceramic tile industry requires a flexible sealant in the tile layout at all changes of plane in the backing material. I do not agree with Travis above that you should use a "siliconized caulk" in your shower. You really want a 100 percent silicone caulk in that application. Such silicone caulks are now readily available in satin and sanded finish to match any grout color and are much more acceptable than the clear silicones of the recent past.

A gap in the corners of 1/8th" or one grout joint width, whichever is larger, will do fine.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 03-29-2020, 07:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for the help to my questions.

BTW: my tiles are 12” x 24” and I had planned to use Laticrete 317 or Shluter set mortar. I’m using the Raimondi leveling system.

A few more questions:

When I back butter the tiles do I leave the mortar smooth or notch it like I would on the floor?

What’s the trick to not getting mortar in the grout lines besides “don’t put too much mortar”. Haha

When setting the tiles I see that many move it left to right, is an inch back and forth too much or too little?

Is a rubber mallet ever used for setting the tile?

Any advise to avoid tile lippage?

I’m new to tiling but have a background in construction so with some guidance I should be good! Thanks in advance for your patience with my novice questions.

Last edited by 12/3; 03-29-2020 at 07:48 AM.
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Unread 03-29-2020, 09:58 AM   #6
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Welcome, Kevin,

Leave the back of the tiles smooth after BB'ing them. You might want to sponge them off first to remove any dust or kiln release. I used two 5G buckets when working with my 12X24's; one with water and the sponge, the other to set the tile on.

Several tricks to reduce the amount of mortar squeezing into the joints. Use the smallest trowel possible to achieve the coverage you need, but wall/floor flatness, and tile flatness will dictate trowel size. For mine I was able to use a 3/8" slant notch trowel, but a 1/2" square notch trowel is commonly recommended for 12X24's. If, or when really, you do get mortar in the joints wait for 30-45 minutes for the mortar to set up a little then use a tool that's about the width of your grout joints to dig out the grout. I'll come out easier after it's set up a bit, and won't smear as much.

Moving the tiles left to right, or up and down depends on which way you combed on the mortar. If you combed the mortar horizontally then you'd want to shift the tile up and down to collapse the ridges. In either case you'll want to set a new tile as close to one you've already set so you can move it away from the already set one - that'll help prevent mortar from getting in the joints. You're leveling system might prevent you from moving them very much.

The mallet will do you virtually no good on 12X24's. But it will leave a lot of marks that you'll have to clean off, if you like that sort of pain.

The lippage control system will go a long way to, well, controlling lippage. Being very consistent with how you comb on the mortar with your trowel, like the angle at which you hold the trowel, will also help.

Don't comb on more mortar than you can get tiles set into it, you do not want the stuff to skin over of the wall, nor on the back of your tile after BB'ing.
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