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Unread 12-04-2017, 03:53 PM   #1
CrashOverride
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Crash's Bathroom Remodel

Hi all,

I'm beginning to work on remodeling our shower and I've been reading the forums as much as I can for answers. I'm ready to install the shower valve rough-in but I can't determine how far back to set it. I figure I'll have the following layers- green drywall (1/2") + thinset and kerdi (1/8") + thinset (1/4"?) + tile (3/8").

The tile we're using is 12x24 ceramic laid horizontally. My reading says to use a 1/2" square notch trowel and skim the back of the tile. That seems like it will leave too much thinset (possibly more than 1/4") between the tile and kerdi. I'm also worried it will be difficult to flatten the 1/2" ridges down. The tile seems to be pretty flat and kerdi overlap should be the only imperfections on the wall. What do you guys think, is 1/2" square notch plus skim the way to go? I put some pictures of the tile below if it matters.

Thanks for the help!
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Unread 12-04-2017, 04:17 PM   #2
Maniac979
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Not a pro but I did a small mock-up to make sure I was locating the valve properly. If you are using a Kohler valve they make an extension if you bury the valve too deep in the wall. If you don't get the valve deep enough, you are in deep trouble with Kohler.
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Unread 12-04-2017, 04:38 PM   #3
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Sounds pretty close +/- 1/8"
Ditch the greenboard and use regular drywall under the kerdi.
On tile that size I would suggest 1/2"x1/2", 1/4"x1/2" u notch, or euro notch. When you skim the back of the tile you do so with a a lot of pressure to essentially burn thinset onto the back which will aid in bonding. When you trowel the thinset on the wall do so in a single direction, parallel with the short side of the tile. Once on the wall slide the tile at least 1/2" perpendicular to the trowel direction this will collapse the ridges.
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Unread 12-14-2017, 04:07 PM   #4
CrashOverride
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For the 12 x 24 x 3/8" tile mentioned above for our shower walls would you use regular Versabond or Versabond LFT?
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Unread 12-19-2017, 11:49 AM   #5
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Anyone? Maybe I should ask a different way, what medium bed mortar would you use for those tiles over Kerdi? I looked at Schluter All-Set but didn't see good reviews.
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Unread 12-19-2017, 12:00 PM   #6
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Are you concerned with their "warranty"? If not there are a ton of great options. Any non-sag will work.
My favorites are
-Ardex x5 or x77
-laticrete tri lite
Versabond LFT will work but I'm personally not a fan.
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Unread 12-19-2017, 04:38 PM   #7
CrashOverride
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Thanks for the help Ryan. I found a place near by where I can get Laticrete Tri-Lite. I also appreciate the info you provided in response to my first post regarding skimming the back of the tile and using regular drywall.
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Unread 11-20-2018, 11:39 AM   #8
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I'll be tiling directly on slab on grade. Do I need to sponge down the slab to make it damp before putting down the thinset? The slab is about 20 yrs old.
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Unread 11-20-2018, 11:43 AM   #9
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It's always a good idea to sponge the substrate before setting tile, Brandon. If for no other reason, just to remove all dust and other contaminants. Your concrete needn't necessarily be damp, but damp is fine. Wet is not.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 11-20-2018, 11:46 AM   #10
jlbos83
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Is this tiling slab on grade in the shower? If so, a rethink may be required!
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Unread 11-20-2018, 02:05 PM   #11
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Thanks CX and Jeff for your input. I will wipe it with a damp sponge as you mentioned. This tiling directly on the slab is not in the shower. It's pretty much all of the bathroom outside the shower area. For the shower pan I plan to comb a layer of thinset and then build the drypack pan. This will be using kerdi drain and kerdi. I think that's a good way to do it based on what I've read on these forums.
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Unread 11-20-2018, 05:05 PM   #12
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Great! I really liked the Kerdi shower I did, on a slab, before we sold the house!
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Unread 11-25-2018, 01:44 PM   #13
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In our shower we're doing a 12x24 white tile which is 3/8" thick. I am planning on using a 1/2" square notch trowel for that. On one wall we're going to have a glass mosaic decorative panel with a white pencil border. I'm assuming I should switch down to a smaller trowel for the mosaic area. What trowel size makes sense in this case and how do you handle the difference in mud thickness? Going from a 1/2" trowel to a 1/4" trowel seems like it will put the mosaic on a different plane compared to the other tile.
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Unread 11-25-2018, 02:05 PM   #14
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You'll need to build up the difference. The easiest would be to apply a additional strip of Kerdi or Ditra to the wall and then to set your mosaic on top of that. You can also combine them for various height needs, e.g. two layers of Kerdi or a layer of Ditra and then a layer of Kerdi. Most likely, you will only need one layer of either.

Doing it just with a skim coat of thinset might be more difficult as it is hard to impossible to get it even. Doing it with huge amounts of thinset to elevate the smaller tiles while setting them will result in a mess with thinset mortar oozing out between the grout lines.

I would set the field tile first, leaving the space to be filled with the mosaic empty. This requires good measurements, obviously. Then, later, you can judge by how much you need to build up your substrate to get your mosaic flush. It's a bit of an art and an exercise in patience to get the two types of tile flat.

Check out Sal DiBlasi's video on the matter:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEV5x93iNAw
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Unread 11-25-2018, 02:53 PM   #15
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Depending upon your "pencil border," Brandon, you may not need to worry excessively about a slight difference in thickness between your field tiles and your decorative strip. A little thinner or thicker may not matter at all between two border strips.

But if you need to make the surfaces flush, you may be able to do that by simply applying a bit of mortar to the accent area between field tiles by making a small jig to gauge the thickness such as in the photo below. Let that mortar cure at least to firmness, then set your tiles.

Name:  Accent Mortar Tool.jpg
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My opinion; worth price charged.
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