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Unread 05-02-2021, 08:03 AM   #1
Radicaljbr
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Schluter membrane pulls off?

Should the Schluter membrane be able to be pulled off after install? Or should I ignore and install tile? It’s only a felt like material on the back so I guess it would never be impossible not to rip it down. Maybe I’m thinking about it too much and should just install tile?
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Unread 05-02-2021, 08:07 AM   #2
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Yes, it’ll be able to be pulled off. Especially in the first day or so following install. That kind of peeling force will never be applied by the tile though so it’s an irrelevant test of Kerdi’s strength.

As long as you used the right thinset, mixed properly, applied correctly over a clean substrate, with full thinset coverage (hopefully you pulled back acorner and checked during install) and no “tiger-striping” visible, you’ll be fine.

Edit: above applies to both Kerdi and Ditra, although tiger-striping is much more visible on Kerdi.
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Unread 05-02-2021, 08:16 AM   #3
Radicaljbr
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Thanks. I read the instructions over and over. First timer using it. Used Unmodified thin set with 1/4x 3/16” V notched trowel. Put it over drywall. Wetted the drywall first. I did check the edges and had to reapply a little here and there but hard to check the middle sections without taking it all down. I did notice maybe about 70% coverage or so. I added some thin set there. I did peak off a small section today which I’ll repair. I was just curious how hard it should be to take off. Pretty sure I’m good and will start to tile soon. Just wanted to hear someone else say it does tear off. Lol
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Unread 05-02-2021, 09:08 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, John.

Which mortar did you use?



P.S. Happy 1,000th post, Lou!
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Unread 05-02-2021, 10:15 AM   #5
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Ha, thanks Bubba! Didn’t notice until now!
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Unread 05-02-2021, 11:21 AM   #6
Radicaljbr
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Thin set is called Custom Blend. Got it as HD. I’m sure it’s not the best. But isn’t thin set just concrete and sand?
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Unread 05-02-2021, 12:25 PM   #7
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Welcome, John.

That Custom Blend is about the worst choice available for installing Kerdi - or anything else other than CBU on floors - that you could hope to find.

Custom makes a lot of good products, that's just not one of them. You simply cannnot purchase a good quality un-modified thinset mortar at any of the home centers these days and that's why many of us recommend a modified (ANSI A118.4) mortar for installing Kerdi, despite the manufacturer's preference. At Homer's you can find VersaBond at a very reasonable price and it works quite well with any of the Schluter products. See my warranty information below.

There are good quality un-modified thinset mortars available out there, but you'll need to go to one of the real tile installation distributors to find one. Or you can purchase Schluter's own modified mortar at their grossly inflated price, which they say is fine to use with their membranes despite their un-modified requirement.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-02-2021, 02:18 PM   #8
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I mean I’ve already installed it. Are you saying I should take it all down and start over? What would that entail? Would anything be reusable? Drywall? Membrane?
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Unread 05-02-2021, 02:38 PM   #9
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John.

If everything is adhered, nothing loose, leave it alone for a few days. If the Kerdi comes off easily after that you might have problems. As CX mentioned, Custom Blend is not the best. Of course, you didn't pay the best price for your mortar, did you?
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Unread 05-02-2021, 02:42 PM   #10
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Not saying that, John. If you've installed your Kerdi successfully (we can't see it from here, eh?), leave it alone. The bonding requirement for any A118.10 waterproofing membrane (Kerdi is one such) is a minimum of 50psi, which isn't much. It can be done even with something such as Custom Blend, but it's not as easy as with a better mortar.

Again, if you've got your membrane properly bonded, leave it alone - including not trying to peel it off the wall.

And no, nothing would likely be reusable. That's one of the drawbacks to that kind of membrane; once you've coated the fleece with mortar and allowed it to dry, there is no way to successfully re-use it.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 05-02-2021, 03:20 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone!
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Unread 05-02-2021, 04:04 PM   #12
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Custom Blend is about the lowest quality unmodified thinset you can buy. There are places where that's great to have, but setting Kerdi is not one of them! Two things make one more expensive and useful when installing any membrane like Kerdi: the amount of cement in it, and the size of the particles (both the cement and sand, plus, sometimes, other things to help it along which makes it smoother rather than grainy). That makes it smoother and much easier to embed the membrane properly. As said, if when you pulled the sheet back up to check, if you had full coverage on both the sheet and the underlying surface, it should be good, but it would have been easier and achieve a stronger bond when done right with a premium mortar (which the instructions all for). I've found that it's fairly easy to tear Kerdi off beyond a week, but really hard once you reach a month. As long as it's not disturbed prior to that full curing, all is well. Other than for a flood test, you can install the tile immediately after installation of the Kerdi without issues (unless you need to pull a tile off for some reason).

A membrane like Kerdi gets bonded by requiring the thinset to literally flow around the fleece of the membrane. When it cures, it locks it in place sort of like pouring hot wax on fabric...a pain to get out. Thinset doesn't 'stick' to Kerdi, so the bond is the tenacity of the strength of the fibers. After full curing,, and that can take much more than a few days (although it has a lot of the ultimate strength after a few), if you did tear Kerdi off of the wall or floor, you'd be tearing the fleece off the core sheet, and you couldn't get it to rebond, it would need to be replaced with fresh stuff.
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Unread 05-04-2021, 12:48 PM   #13
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Ok so it’s been installed for 4 days now. I can tear off a section rather easily so I’m concerned now. Where I took it off I can scrap the thin set off very easily down to the drywall. That’s not good, right? Shouldn’t it be more hard? It’s like powder when I scrape it with a putty knife.

So I could remove it all down to the drywall and start over right? Buy new Schluter membrane and Schluter all set? I just don’t feel good about being able to rip it off the wall as well as the thin set scraping off easily. I feel it should be locked to the drywall like it should ruin the drywall when trying to scrape off the thin set. I wish someone lived around Cleveland and could look at it
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Unread 05-04-2021, 12:51 PM   #14
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Unread 05-04-2021, 01:26 PM   #15
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If you can scrape it off down to the drywall with little or no damage...go for it. While a good unmodified is fine, I just use versabond....not highly modified and works quite well.
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