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Unread 11-15-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
Dano382
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Kitchen Backsplash project questions

First off I used this forum to complete my kerdi shower project and its been in for a few years now with no issues thanks to this forum

Now I'm starting our kitchen backsplash project so I have a few concerns as well as products to use. Our kitchen counters as well as backsplash was all ceramic 6x6 tiles. We finally had granite installed and will be installing 3x6 tumbled travertine in a subway pattern with 1/2"x1/2" glass inlay going along middle of backsplash the length of wall.

First off I will tell you my concerns. When they demoed the wall tiles some drywall was damaged. I have replaced the areas that were big but some of the smaller areas I'm wondering do I just re-mud the damaged spots? I have chipped away at the excess thinset and got most of it off. I did notice that some of the original drywall had oil based paint on it and they scored it to get a bond but it came off really easy compared to the raw drywall. Do I just sand with 80 grit or use a primer insted to get a better bond?

After I have walls relatively clean of excess thinset and all damaged drywall re-muded, can you float a thin layer of thinset to get a fresh bonding surface or is that not needed?

Aslo thinking about adding a section of kerdi band behind sink area just for water barrier.

Now onto products to use.

1. What thinset is the best for 3x6 tumbled travertine with the glass inlay I am installing?

2. what size notched trowel?

3. Do I use a grout release or seal the tile (511) prior to grouting because tile is porus with voids and don't want to fill voids with grout?

4. Do I use caulk style grout where tile meets countertop?

5. Smallest grout line I can go? sanded or non sanded grout?

If I've missed anything fell free to add any suggestions.

Thanks again...
Dano
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Unread 11-15-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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You need to get as much of the old thinset off the wall as you can so the tiles will lay flat. Sometimes, it's just easier to remove and replace the drywall. Any repairs you do can be left un-primed or painted. Any paint you leave should be scuffed and degreased.

1) Any entry level modified thinset will be fine. Versabond will work.

2) A 3/16 x 5/32 or 3/16 x 1/4 v-notch trowel will be fine.

3) I personally would fill the holes in tiles used as a kitchen backsplash. If you don't fill them with grout, they will get filled with something else, and you won't care to much for that. However, if you do want to leave the holes ungrouted, a grout release will help, but you will likely spend a lot of time cleaning the holes out.

4) You use sanded or non-sanded (depending on your grout) caulk between the countertop and tile.

5) I'd look at the gap the glass inlay has and see if you can live with that. 1/8" would be as small as I would go, though. If you use 1/8" grout lines, use unsanded grout. If you go with bigger lines, use sanded, but be careful not to scratch the glass or switch to an unsanded grout there.
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Unread 11-16-2012, 10:44 AM   #3
Dano382
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Thanks Bob, you always are a great help and always have good info. So any modified thinset will work fine? Off to get supplies today and start laying out design. Picked up tile yesterday....

Dano
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Unread 11-16-2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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Just did this same project with 4x4 TT and had to use a rather large grout line as the difference it tile sizes required that to look good. I was told here to measure a nominal subset of tiles and whatever the largest difference in size was between the smallest and larges tile, x3 is the grout line size. I ended up with 3/16

Tumbled travertine backsplash

Thread here at the forum
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Unread 11-21-2012, 08:30 AM   #5
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Everything seems to be going very smooth so far with install. I have completed second row of tile. I'm curious to know if it is recomended to clean the travertine prior to grouting and sealing. The tiles are very dusty with travertine powder. I have been wiping then down as I go but not sure if there is a process for deep cleaning.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #6
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Remove any excess thinset as you tile, because it will only get harder the longer you wait. The tile should be "damp sponge" clean before grouting. Clean the excess grout off the surfaces to be sealed thrououghly, otherwise the sealer will make that more or less permanent.

Hopefully, the backs of the tiles are not too dusty. That could affect the thinset bond. Again, sponge clean is good enough.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 10:45 AM   #7
Dano382
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Thx Bob... No thinset on tiles themselves and what is on drywall just above new tile is very thin layer that I scraped off with putty knife after at few tiles are installed.

Kinda in a dilemma on where to lay glass inlay. If I put them up after second row, it will run beneath the light switch covers and all the way around and just under window. Is that more the norm that pro's would do for asthetics?

Second choice would be another row of tile then glass. This would cause some of the glass to be covered by switch plates and also run into window and I would have to kill it there and start again after window.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 11:33 AM   #8
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Ask Mrs. Dan where she wants that accent row. Then put it there.
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Unread 11-21-2012, 12:56 PM   #9
Dano382
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LOL Bob, thats the problem. She thinks higher I think lower. Lower=less work, Higher=more work I know it's personal choice but, thought I would get some opinions because everyone has one
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Unread 11-21-2012, 05:01 PM   #10
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Hi Dan,

I hate to go against Mrs. Dan, but I agree with you on this one. I did not like the idea of my accent tiles being broken up by electrical outlets or the window. I ended up cutting my first tile in half just so I would get the accent pieces to fall under those obstructions.

I was lucky, my wife agreed with me on this one. Anyway, I thought this picture would give you an idea of what the accent tiles being located low on the back splash would look like.

Good luck with your project.
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Unread 11-26-2012, 06:52 AM   #11
Dano382
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Thanks Leo for the pictures. You did a good job. After we decided to run glass after second row Mrs. Dan was glad we went that route Got alot done this weekend should finish it up this week, only one more row left and a few cuts to finish window area.

I really hate doing this glass inlay. Mainly because of thickness of glass and getting groute joints even.
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Unread 11-26-2012, 07:43 AM   #12
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Dan,

Normally we skip the inlay and install all the field tiles first. Some wood blocking helps keep the tiles from sliding down. Then come back and screed the glass inlay area before setting the inlay.

Is it too late to remove the glass and try again?
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Unread 11-26-2012, 11:14 AM   #13
Dano382
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Hey Paul, yes it's already done. I did float a 1/16 of thinset to bring it out a little but, still not completely flush with field tile but I can live with it. If I ever do glass again I will use your method next time.

THX.
Dan
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Unread 11-26-2012, 11:41 AM   #14
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So I'm looking at the polyblend grouts. I see they have a 100% commercial silicone caulk and a polyblend ceramic tile caulk. Which one would be correct to do counter top to first field tile?

Also some of my grout areas from tile to glass exceed 1/8", which is above recommended size for non sanded grout. Is that ok or should I just go with sanded and hope not to scratch the glass and stone inlay.
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Unread 11-26-2012, 12:12 PM   #15
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You can use either caulk for that joint, but 100% silicone will likely last longer and hold its appearance better.

Use the unsanded. If there is a problem, you will notice it the next day. Shrinkage is the reason for using sanded grout in larger grout lines. If your unsanded grout cracks, it will be hairline cracks running diagonally across the widest part of the joint. If you see one, fill with more of the unsanded grout, mixed a tad looser so you can work it into the crack.
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