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Unread 12-09-2007, 11:34 AM   #1
KP Texan
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How to test tile after its been set? What should I do?

I just got done laying tile on a my bathroom countertop last night. I used 1-1/4" of plywood, thinsetted durock to the top of it and screwed down. I set 6" Lowes Rialto tile on top of it using Mapei Ultraflex 2 thinset. The time to set up my diagonal pattern took a bit longer than I had anticipated and I have this underlying fear that some of my mortar may have skinned over before I set the tile (I did the counter in 2 stages of mortar and total area was about 15 sq. ft.). Every tile I laid had thinset squish up between the grout lines.

Is there any way to test the soundness of my installation? All of the tiles appear to be firmly set. I tried the thump test but cant really tell the difference between the earlier tiles I set and the later tiles I set. Though none sound hollow, there is a bit of a discrepancy between the thump sounds of some tiles but I think it may be due to where the stiffeners are placed under the counter top. I will be using Spectralock for the grout and bought extra incase I need to fix any. I have extra tiles as well.

I'm thinking about just going ahead with the installation of the backsplash and grout and then if something comes loose later I will just repair it. What would you guys do?

Thanks,

Wes
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Unread 12-09-2007, 12:00 PM   #2
ceramictec
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the Ultraflex should have bonded nicely to your tile.
you can take a key or screwdriver and tap lightly on the
tile to here if you have any hollow or loose tile.
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Unread 12-09-2007, 12:01 PM   #3
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A couple question Wes:

Did you pre-moisten the Durock first, before applying the thin-set? And then, how long did the combed-out thin-set remain open before the last tiles were laid?

Mapei lists the safe "open time" for Ultraflex 2 at 20 minutes, but over thirsty Durock that time would be much less.

Testing by tapping for hollow sounds is one way. Another would be to simply pull up one of the last tiles in question to see how strong the bond is.

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Unread 12-09-2007, 12:08 PM   #4
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Unread 12-09-2007, 12:35 PM   #5
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I wiped down the durock with a really damp rag about 10 minutes prior to grouting. The combed thinset probably set out 20-30 minutes but after I realized what may be happening, I combed back over some of it with fresh thinset. I also used a short piece of 2x4 to level the tiles and press on them firmly. Too much mortar came up through many of the grout lines so I had to clean them a bit in order to give anough room for the spectralock. I really don't care to pull off any tiles for fear of damaging the good ones. Like I said, I don't have any hard evidence that my tiles aren't adhered well but the thought of it is a bit disturbing.

So the main question now is do I just roll with what I've got and put the spectralock down or do I mess with it by pulling tiles? I suppose being a bathroom countertop, the tile won't have the strain on it that a floor or kitchen countertop would.

Thanks so much,

Wes
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Unread 12-09-2007, 01:30 PM   #6
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Wes,

If you had thinset ''squish'' up through your grout lines, it`s a pretty good indication the thinset did not skim over.
Good luck,

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Unread 12-09-2007, 02:44 PM   #7
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Okay I've been testing my tile with a key and everything seems to be in order for now. But after close examination, I've got another issue: some of my lines are not perfectly straight. I'm what many would call a perfectionist and tend to worry over small things like that. Here are a couple photos to show the area in question:


The lines are toward the center of this photo


Showing the worst line


View of entire countertop

What is your opinion on this installation? Is this something that would pass in the industry or that a decent (or maybe amatuer) installer would deem acceptable. This irregularity barely shows if you view from the top and only really shows if you get down level to look at it.

Thanks,

Wes
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Unread 12-09-2007, 03:11 PM   #8
ceramictec
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Grout it !

it looks to me like your tile is of odd sizes.
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Unread 12-09-2007, 03:21 PM   #9
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Well, it did pass the wife test which is the most important of all. She just called me crazy and shook her head...

Thanks,

Wes
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Unread 12-09-2007, 10:25 PM   #10
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Wes
If you grout color is close to the tile color you will never notice. If there is a strong contrast between the grout color and tile color it will drive you crazy for ever.
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Unread 12-10-2007, 05:13 AM   #11
ckl111
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Quote:
Well, it did pass the wife test which is the most important of all. She just called me crazy and shook her head...
Wow, that's one I fail a lot. No matter what, there's always something wrong.... Like Brian said, Grout it up.
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Unread 12-10-2007, 05:23 AM   #12
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It would pass in Florida.
WhatBrian said. Your tile look like it's different sizes. Grout with a color that matches.
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Unread 12-10-2007, 12:17 PM   #13
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This should be pretty close to the contrast I'll have:



It's Spectralock in Mushroom and it appears to be fairly close to my tile color. Do you think that color will do or can you guys recommend a better color of Spectralock for the Lowes Rialto White tile?

Thanks,

Wes
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Unread 12-10-2007, 12:23 PM   #14
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FYI Wes: Because of the rounded edges, the grouted space will appear to be much wider than it actually is. You'll need to take that into account when estimating how much grout you'll need.
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Unread 12-10-2007, 05:54 PM   #15
tilelayer
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that tile has a beveled edge also and will need to be sponged out slightly, second nature to us tile setters.
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