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Unread 10-15-2017, 07:32 AM   #1
Farm7729
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Tile not sticking to mortar

Short of the long, I put down about 150 sf of American Olean tile 6"x24" porcelain and the next day it wasn't adhered. Through research I've found that I probably mixed the mortar too thick.

Fast forward, I've removed tile and mortar, cleaned floor and relayed 4 tiles to see what happens. After 24 hours there was only one way for me (beginner) to know how stuck they were and that's pull the tile up. The tile was definitely harder to pull up but still came up with a flat screw driver. My question is should these tiles be able to come up? Everything could be perfectly fine with this second go around and I just don't know it. I'm just not looking to do another couple hundred sf just to have to pull them up again. Any suggestions are appreciated.

American Oleander porcelain tile 6"x24"
Mapei Large Floor Tile Mortar
1/2" trowel
3/16" spacers
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Unread 10-15-2017, 07:33 AM   #2
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Also, on the second go around I wet concrete slab and butter backed the tile.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 07:40 AM   #3
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Got a pic of the backside of your tile you pulled up? How about what the slab looks like?

The best advice I can give is to follow the water ratios directed on the bag of thinset, make sure and collapse the trowel ridges, and dont spread more than you can get covered before it starts to skim over
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Unread 10-15-2017, 07:46 AM   #4
Farm7729
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Let's see if I did this picture thing right. Bottom is Back side of tile. Top is mortar still on slab.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 07:47 AM   #5
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I'll also be doing more of a left to right setting motion to try to collapse the trowel more.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 08:51 AM   #6
Davy
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After spreading a section, take a blob of thinset with the flat side of the trowel and firmly skim coat the backs of the tile before slapping it down. Then wiggle it in while pushing it down a little. Then go to the next tile.

The thinset will not be cured after one day.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 01:51 PM   #7
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On a floor, you want 100% of the edges and at least 80% of the rest of the tile covered in mortar. The bigger the tile, the less pounds/sqin you apply when you press down on it. As said, you need to push the tile back and forth across the ridges to spread the thinset and get more even coverage. In Europe, they tend to use a trowel with a slanted notch...once you comb the thinset, the slanted notches fall over, giving you a more even, but calibrated, layer of thinset. Those style trowels are available here, but are not mainstream.

A modified mortar on a large tile can take weeks to fully cure, but will be fairly stable after 24-hours. Keep in mind that the industry specs strength after a 28-day cure...most of that occurs in the first few days, but in fact, it continues to get stronger for years.

Some tile have a coating on them from the factory...you may want to try wiping them off with a wet sponge first. They can't be dripping wet when you spread the thinset, or you won't get a good bond, but damp will work.

If your slab has had a sealer installed on it, thinset may not bond well to it, but it appears that bonded, but you didn't get good coverage on the tile.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 03:13 PM   #8
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That doesn't look like the mortar spread from a 1/2" square notch to me. Are the notches clean, so that the ridges are squared off and uniform? Did you skim thinset into the substrate with the flat edge of your trowel before combing it out?

The "screwdriver test" is not really a good one to check for bond. You're exerting an upward force on the tile, and in your case with mortar that hasn't had sufficient time to dry.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 03:19 PM   #9
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You're saying that tile was backbuttered? I don't think you're doing it right. Did you clean the tiles first?
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Unread 10-15-2017, 03:30 PM   #10
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It looks like that tile may have a crown to it (the middle higher than the ends). If that's the case, you may need a bigger notched trowel to achieve even coverage. Put a straight-edge along the top of the tile and let us know if there is a crown, and how much. The ends got covered, but the middle did not.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 03:33 PM   #11
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Well that tile could have a 90 degree angle to it but that still doesn't explain why there's really not a speck of thinset on a tile that was supposedly backbuttered.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 03:41 PM   #12
jadnashua
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If a tile is properly backbuttered, it will have a full coat of thinset on it. That takes a little technique. It also usually requires moderate pressure to force the thinset into the pores and imperfections. When done, you might see the tops of the ridges, but essentially the rest of the tile will be a solid coat of thinset you couldn't get off without washing it off. Because we can see the notches from the thinset on the floor, you either did not have enough thinset there, or you did not set the type properly to spread it out. The slant-notch trowels make for an even layer of thinset that can make getting full coverage easier, since you don't have to compress the ridges to fill in between. But, it will work with proper technique, it's just harder.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 05:47 PM   #13
Farm7729
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Tried again today and feel a ton better about it. From info I got from you guys and trying it out today, I'm contributing the failure to not setting them properly with a mortar that was too stiff.

I have been butter backing (atleast what I understand it to be) since the failure and in the previous pictures. This pic is what it looks like before being laid.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 08:07 PM   #14
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I think you'll have better luck with the skim coat tiles.
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Unread 10-15-2017, 08:12 PM   #15
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Yep that looks like a proper butter job.Just to be sure set a couple and then pull them up. You will know if you have good coverage.
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