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Unread 07-30-2013, 07:39 PM   #1
mrbreakit
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Pebble Floor Issue

I'm having a problem similar to Bobbie (thread http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...d.php?t=107711) with the same type of Kerdi construction. Theses are flat bottom man-made pebbles glued to a mesh backing. After 3 days I can easily lift many of the pebbles with one finger. I put a few in water ande the glue quickly turns to slime and they fall off the mesh. I seems the mesh glue easily dissolves in water and covers the entire bottoms of the pebbles.

1. Am I going to have a problem with loose pebbles down the road?

2. Tile store said to use Laticrete sanded grout with 1776 with these and epoxy is not recommended because the stones are a matte finish. OK?

3. I'm tempted to pull it all up, clean the pebbles, get rid of the mesh, smooth the shower floor out, and start over. Or should I not worry about it?

4. BTW the tile store insisted I use 255 between the kerdi floor and the pebble sheets. I built it up a bit to get a more slope. I know modified is wrong, but they were adamant it would be fine.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 08:02 PM   #2
Higher Standard Tile
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A modified will work fine with Kerdi if you allow time for it to cure before grouting.

255 is a good one but thinsets should not be used to improve the slope.

How much did you build it up? How stiff was your thinset?
If too stiff you won't get good transfer to the back of the stone.

No matter what you set it with pebbles don't have much bonding surface so the grout will hold it toghether

The 1500 sanded with 1776 will do fine.

I've used epoxy with matte pebbles before. It does give the pebbles a little sheen which brings out the color. If you really want the matte look stick with the cement grout. But I like it with the epoxy.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 08:02 PM   #3
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1- Yes, but you already knew that

2- You can use any grout you'd like. I'd shy away from cement based as is traditional with pebbles there is much residue on the grout after a while and its easier IMHO to clean Spectralock or Fusion Pro

3- I'd be taking it out too. The good part; demo will be easy

4- Grind it down with one of these but not as to make a hole in the kerdi. Then don't look back, no sense in worrying about it now.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 08:32 PM   #4
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How much did you build it up?
About 3/4" at the far end.
255: "Excellent medium bed performance, 3/4" thick without shrinkage."

How stiff was your thinset?
About like peanut butter. 255 is a little "rubbery", push a few stones down and it raises up stones around it. Wife said "You mean you are setting tile like the Three Stooges?" Yep.

I have plenty of time to let it set up since it's a DIY job. Surprised how warm the 255 got and the faint sulfur smell. (no sulfur in lake Michigan water BTW).

I think I will go with the following:
Rip it up. Should take 5 minutes.
Soak the stones in water with rubbing alcohol to free them. Rubbing alcohol help dissolve water-based glues and latex products very nicely.
Smooth/repair the floor.
Lay them by hand.

Any advice on trowel notch type?
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Unread 07-30-2013, 08:40 PM   #5
mrbreakit
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BTW, the box has a good Chinese-English warning. These are Banti Orient from China distributed thru a French company:

Dear tile layers: thanks to control the product.
We don't accept any complaint after use.


How's that for a warranty?
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Unread 07-30-2013, 09:11 PM   #6
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OK, floor is out. Took about 20 minutes with a putty knife.
Thanks for all the advice!
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Unread 07-30-2013, 11:07 PM   #7
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The 255 can be built up 3/4" but that is for when you are setting large tile or stone. Better to have your slope where you want it before the Kerdi goes in.

I use a 1/4" x 1/4" notch trowel for pebbles and I tap them into place with a grout float as I set them. I usually mix it slightly wetter than normal, but that is so it can penetrate the mesh. I usually don't set them individually expect for the edges and around the drain. (I'm a hack )

After you spread it, lightly touch the thinset with your finger, if your finger stays clean then it is too dry or has skinned over.

And as you know an unmodified is what is recommended by Schluter over their membranes and it will hold the pebbles just fine.

If you stay with the 255 make sure you mix it and then let it rest 5-10 minutes then remix before using. This is required for all thinsets but especially important for the highly modified ones.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 01:04 PM   #8
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A modified thinset will remain somewhat 'spongy' for days, and maybe weeks or even longer when used over a waterproof membrane like Kerdi which is the reason why they specify a dryset mortar...it will cure just fine, it does NOT need or want to dry, too.

FWIW, the bond strength of your pebbles to a good dryset mortar will be about 250psi shear strength once it is cured. With a good modified, maybe 350psi. But, guess what the shear strength of the mesh of the Kerdi is? A minimum of 50psi, and often tests to about 75psi. Sort of makes the modified thinset look kind of a bad choice, since it would break away from the Kerdi long before the stone would break off of the thinset. The only modified thinsets Schluter will warrant over one of their membranes is a fast setting type - those use hydraulic cement, which provides adequate strength without the drying. Those are a pain to work with since it goes 'off' quite quickly, you must work quickly with small batches.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 01:21 PM   #9
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Does anybody have any longer/ish term experience with the water soluble latex in mesh mosaics being a serious problem ?

I just finished my shower floor install, and based on the prompts here to remove the tiles from the mesh from a layout standpoint first, and a desire to get the latex out of the picture second, we went through the effort to clean the goop off the tiles before install (w/ Ditraset)

It seems like the latex pretty much negates any contact between the bottom of many of the tiles and the thinset, so it would be a problem... yet many people obviously leave the mesh in place - so does it really work OK in practice ?

Both of the mosaics I used on my project had latex that fairly quickly swells and dissolves in water... why do they use that stuff ?

Feels frustrating to go through efforts to choose proper setting materials,etc. only to have a major contaminant thrown in the mix.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 03:47 PM   #10
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Someone here advised putting a sheet in a bucket of water and if the tiles fall off, they could be troublesome, but every mesh I've seen comes off with water exposure. The pebbles that were holding had thinset that pushed up around the perimeter a bit. The ones that only had bottom contact were easy to remove. I'd be worried about the glue expanding when it gets wet and eventually pushing the pebbles up. Perhaps this is all negated but the grout and is nothing to worry about.

The other PITA was the stones coming off in the wet saw. I wonder if it might help to backbutter the sheets with modified and let them dry before cutting or installing them.

Thanks again for everyone's advice. If all goes well, I'l be grouting a week after the 255 was put down. The 255 is now fully exposed on top, with Kerdi on the bottom. Seems plenty firm, but I can delay grouting if that is your expert opinion.

I have a new strategy. When the tile store salesman gives me advice I will nod appreciatively but then come here for the real answer.
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Unread 07-31-2013, 06:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
I have a new strategy. When the tile store salesman gives me advice I will nod appreciatively but then come here for the real answer.
Good idea. Do they have decent free coffee at least?
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Unread 07-31-2013, 10:49 PM   #12
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Mine does not have good coffee or advice.

I am soaking a sliced pebble matt right now because of this thread. I have already set the floor on hydroban using Platinum 254. I will report tomorrow what the glue does.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 08:46 AM   #13
mrbreakit
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Never tried their coffee. It looks kind of scary. They also said heating mats have to go on top of Ditra with 254.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 09:36 PM   #14
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one day submerged, still staying put
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Unread 08-02-2013, 05:26 PM   #15
mrbreakit
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Ran the pebbles through the dishwasher (with approval of the Direktor of Decorating) and that got rid of the glue.
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