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Unread 10-05-2005, 12:12 PM   #1
Logic
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Question Ceramic & Glass Tile Installation Questions

Hello All,

We are planning to remove an existing ceramic tile backsplash (approx 17" x 30") and replace it with a combo of both ceramic (different color) and glass tile. My husband installed the existing backsplash about 4 years ago, directly over drywall coated with builder primer/paint. Neither of us recall what product was used at the time, other than to say it had to be something from Home Depot...and we have had no problem with the tiles since then.

My questions are as follows; we are planning to pry the existing tiles off with a putty knife. Once done, we are not sure what to do with the resulting surface, as it is sure to be uneven. Therefore, any suggestions on how to handle this would be greatly appreciated. The area in question is between the range top and the over-the-range-microwave.

The second question involves the glass tiles. They are comprised of 2X2 and 2x6.....and will form the border around the new ceramic tiles. The manufacturers instructions are limited, other than to say "A high quality latex-modified thinset is recommended".

The tiles are about the same thickness as the ceramic..and they appear to derive their color from the opaque painted back. They are made by the CP Group, a UK company that distributes to Lowes. I have emailed them for further info, but in the interim, I was hoping to get the opinions of those here.

I have read various posts here regarding glass tiles, and I am confused about the latex-modified thin-set issue.
I was planning on using Versabond..but now, I'm not sure...I looked on the web sites of some of the others recommended here..and I believe only Custom's Megaflex even mentions using with glass...Tec Super flex and the Single Flex products don't seem to mention glass at all..

So...does Versabond qualify as a "high quality" latex-modified thinset? And, does the term latex-modified indicate that a Vesabond will do..or that one should use unmodified..and then modify with latex. And if so, how much latex does one use? And, should we "backbutter?

Also, I've read a few times here about people having an issue with the thinset poking through the grout. I'm not clear on this..as we never had a problem before with whatever we used to adhere the ceramic tile poking through the grout...is this just a thinset issue..and if so..why?

I know..many questions...but any and all info and insight is appreciated.
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Unread 10-05-2005, 01:36 PM   #2
bbcamp
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You may find it easier to rip the sheetrock and tiles off the wall at the same time. Sheetrock is cheap and easy to install, and will be fine for a backsplash.

Versabond is not a "highly" modified thinset. In the Custon Building Products stable of thinsets, Versabond-Flex or Flexbond will work. I would use white thinset, just to make the color "pop" if there was any translucense to the tile.

Since the tiles are opaque, you should set them just like ceramic tile; you backbutter only if you can't get good coverage, or need to level the tile with it's ceramic neighbors.

Thinset poking through the grout is the result of 1) using a too large notch on your trowel, and 2) not cleaning up the grout lines while the thinset is wet. Doesn't happen as much with mastic since you use a smaller v-notch trowel.
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Unread 10-05-2005, 01:46 PM   #3
Blayne
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One comment on backbuttering the glass tiles - I would highly recommend you do this. I installed a glass tile (from Interstyle) backsplash in my kitchen about 6 months ago. The tiles sound like they are similar - clear glass with a colored opaque coating on the back. The first half of the tiles were done without backbuttering, and afterwards, you could see some very faint lines coming from behind the tiles. Turns out these were the valleys in the thinset where it didn't quite come in contact with the back of the tiles. And even though the tile backing is opaque, the spots where the thinset didn't actually touch the tile could be seen.

It's not terrible, and can only be seen with certain lighting conditions, but backbuttering the individual tiles with a very thin layer of thinset completely eliminated the problem.

Gotta love than hindsight....

-Blayne
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Unread 10-05-2005, 02:30 PM   #4
Logic
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Thanks so much for the prompt responses. So, I take it that there is no way to smooth out the existing sheetrock well enough to install the new tile successfully? I know it's cheap...we even have some we could use; however, we were trying to avoid cutting out the sheetrock, reinstalling, taping, sanding etc....since it seems it would be more labor intensive as well as time consuming...

Other than that, I am now far less confused. We will go ahead and use the Versabond Flex or Flexbond..and back butter just to be on the safe side.We will make certain that we clean the grout lines very well prior to the thinset drying...and use a small notched trowel to further avoid the dreaded "grout poke". Is there a specific notch size to look for?
Thanks again!
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Unread 10-05-2005, 06:09 PM   #5
pitterpat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic
Thanks so much for the prompt responses. So, I take it that there is no way to smooth out the existing sheetrock well enough to install the new tile successfully? I know it's cheap...we even have some we could use; however, we were trying to avoid cutting out the sheetrock, reinstalling, taping, sanding etc....since it seems it would be more labor intensive as well as time consuming...
Since you are using a "highly modified thinset" you should use the mesh tape that is supposed to be used w/tile backerboard and install it as you are tiling. that way you do not use drywall compound or sand. You can smooth out any bumps you get with taping the joints as you are tiling because the thinset will still be workable. OR

You coul chip out the top row or two (depending on the size of the tile you have now and then cut out the rest of the tile and drywall together using the line you created from carefully rmoving the 1st two rows as you guide. Then when you put the new drywall in the seam between the old and new drywall will be hidden behind the tile. You'll still use the water resistant mesh tape and thinset and do it as you tile so that in high spots you create with the thinset can be smoothed out as you are tiling.
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