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Unread 11-18-2020, 05:47 PM   #1
espo21
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Trying to tile a backsplash on a wavy wall

Hi everyone, I'm trying to tile a backsplash on a wall that's pretty wavy, with gaps in the 1/4' - 3/8" range over a 6' span. I've spent quite a bit of time researching previous posts as this question seems to come up quite a bit. Seems like the general response is to build up the low spots with hot mud and screed it up using a straight edge. Prime then tile. So this was my plan. (I'd love to rip it all out and add durock but the wife shot that idea down quick

I reached out to USG to see what product they would recommend for doing this, and their response was a resounding NONE. They said no product of theirs is designed to take on the weight of tile when applied at that thickness.

So now I'm stuck.. I'm looking to go with a marble 3x6 subway tile. Am I overthinking this? is this just a CYA move by them and building the low spots out would work just fine?
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Unread 11-18-2020, 06:41 PM   #2
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You can use a patching compound like Custom's "Fix it all". It sets fast and can be sanded afterwards if it needs it. I'd probably apply it in several thin coats.

It's not by the book but I've used thinset for this in thin coats. It takes longer to set though.
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Unread 11-19-2020, 08:31 AM   #3
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thanks Davy I'll take a look at that. I appreciate it
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Unread 02-01-2021, 06:17 PM   #4
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Question on how to space these tiles

Hi everyone, I was hoping I could ask a question.
I'm getting ready to attempt to install a tile backsplash, and my wife picked out a 3x12 ceramic tile with a scalloped edge. I've attached pictures of both the front and back of these. the 3 tiles are butted up against each other in both photos.

I'm trying to figure out where to put the spacers. they seem to be very random in where they touch, so locating the spacer is virtually impossible. am I missing the obvious? do I just install these butted against each other with no spacers? I was going to go with 1/16" just to get them off each other but not sure how to do that.
sorry, but I'm at a loss here. thanks!
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Unread 02-01-2021, 07:07 PM   #5
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Use plastic wedges instead of spacers.
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Unread 02-01-2021, 07:08 PM   #6
Lazarus
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Do NOT butt them together. All tile needs a space for expansion and contraction. Use a 1/8" inch spacer and sin not more....
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Unread 02-01-2021, 08:14 PM   #7
markch
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I'm using almost identical tiles but blue (daltile?) for my shower. Going with 1/8" since the increased width helps for tolerance with the scallop. It also works out to close to 3" per tile + grout so I figured that's what the manufacturer intended.
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Unread 02-01-2021, 08:25 PM   #8
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Also, once I got the spacers, I set up a "story stick", where I arranged the tiles with spacers on some scrap plywood that is the length of the wall, and marked out the boundaries of the tiles. The 17 tiles ended up being 1/2" shorter than what I originally estimated by multiplying the width of a few, though it randomly worked out in my favor. You don't want to end up 1/4" too short and setting a sliver of a tile at the end. Actually, as I write this it's starting to seem reasonable to offset my original layout by 1/2 tile to make sure I'm not stuck with a sliver or thick grout line.
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Unread 02-01-2021, 09:22 PM   #9
smifwal
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I have done a several backsplashes with a similar tile, don't all those wavy lines intermediate you I put spacers (hard plastic Tavey brand) at the ends of the tile, I do one row at a time.
That is a tile you might have to play with in the corners but by looking at the ones you have they look like they are pretty consistent on both ends it is the middle that is touching, when I get to the corner I manipulate the next wall tile to get the corners to line up by adding wedge if necessary.

it is a custom look and your lines are not crisp straight lines so if you have a little bit wider space in the corner it is not the end of the world cause you won't see it, But if you don't get the corner tiles from one side to the other it will stand out like a sore thumb.

I hope this makes sense if not I will draw it out for you.
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Unread 02-01-2021, 10:19 PM   #10
espo21
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Thanks for the info guys.
Shawn I’m pretty new to this, so I apologize if I’m not fully understanding you. I think you’re referring to the tiles on the return walls lining up height-wise in the corners with the tiles on the back wall? If that’s the case, thankfully I don’t have to worry about that. This is a pretty basic backsplash with just one back wall, end to end. I won’t be doing the side returns so in theory it should be pretty easy in that regard.
Is that what you’re referring to? If not I’m lost lol
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Unread 02-01-2021, 11:34 PM   #11
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If you are doing just one wall then disregard my explanation. Spacers on the very ends of the tiles would be my installation method. You have a wavy tile and you will have a wavy grout line, which is real cool, eccentric some might say. I did these tiles many phones ago so I don't have any pictures of the finished work.
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Unread 02-02-2021, 02:47 AM   #12
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Run your tile 1 or 2 or 3 (depends on speed & thinset & site conditions) rows at a time put a straightedge after the course is laid and put your spacers and wedges as needed to keep things within your tolerance for “flat” or “level” as desired. I’ve done a few showers and backsplashes with a tile similar to this (CLOE 2 3/4” ish by 8”) one with wedges only, another with 1/16” spacers and wedges and another with 1/8” spacers too. The way the tile is a tight joint gives a 1/16” grouted, 1/16” gives nominal 1/8”th, and 1/8” gives a nominal 3/16” grouted. All will look well, so long as you’re consistent as Shawn (smifwal) explained
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Unread 02-02-2021, 07:47 AM   #13
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I JUST installed this same tile. The exact same but lighter shade of gray. Villa tile from floor and decor.

I used 1/16in spacers and just used more of them. Be careful as if you are unlucky the wavy edges can line up so you end up with no space. When this happens, just use an additional spacer in another location on the tile. In other words make sure your smallest gap is 1/16. This will make some places larger than 1/16, but I would rather have that. Also, ensure the tile is level.

This is how I did it. I have some pics in the professional discussion forum in the "post your latest finished work" thread.
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Unread 02-02-2021, 08:03 AM   #14
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Here is a pic
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Unread 02-02-2021, 02:50 PM   #15
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This is nice to see -- making me think of using 1/16" to de-emphasize the grid lines (and make cleaning easier in the future).
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