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Old 12-22-2006, 08:58 AM   #1
DennisL
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Leveling Substrate

I'm preparing to tile a corner shower surround with subway tile. The rest of the room will have painted walls. I've installed Hardibacker on the wet areas and green board at the border of the area to be tiled. Unfortunately, some of the seams are not in a plane, especially after taping the joints. (I swear that I did not use too much mortar in the tape job; it just accentuated an existing imperfection.) Can I level these area with thinset in the same way one might do this with joint compound on a regular wall?.

Thanks for the help.

Dennis
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:09 AM   #2
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Subway Tile Spacing

I'm about to install American Olean subway tile ("Greenwich") in a corner shower surround. We would like to have minimal (one-sixteenth?) grout lines. The tile does not have spacing lugs, but when laid out touching, seems to have the desired appearance. I've read here that the grout must reach the mortar to hold effectively, but this won't happen if the tiles are butted. If I use one-sixteenth spacers, the resultant grout line will be too big.

How does one handle this? Use spacers and live with the bigger grout lines, or is there a grout that will hold on the tile edges? (I did not notice this detail in the store. They sold me white unsanded grout, white latex modified thinset, and no spacers.)

Thanks for the help.

Dennis
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Old 12-22-2006, 09:44 AM   #3
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Welcome, Dennis.

I've merged your two threads. Bookmark this one and use it for all your questions on this shower project so folks can keep up with the history.

If your wall joints fall outside the shower area, you can float those joints with regular sheetrock mud. If in the wet area, you must use thinset. But the joints should fall outside the wet area so you don't have any sheetrock, even a small edge, inside the shower area. Sheetrock mud is much easier to finish for painting than thinset.

You can set your tiles with a very tight joint if they are very square, very consistently sized tiles, but you should have a grout joint everywhere rather than actually butting the tiles together in my opinion. I think if you lay out a dozen or so of those tiles you're gonna find they need some small spacing at least to maintain the layout.

There's at least one debate raging in the Professionals' Hangout about the subject of butt-jointing stone if you care to wade through it.

You might wanna click the link to the right side of the page and get you some blue Tilespikes to use for that installation. You can get a pretty narrow joint with them and still have some adjustment for the imperfect tiles.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:04 AM   #4
DennisL
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Thanks CX

Tile spikes it is then.

The sheetrock joints are outside the wet area and under the tile border. There is also an irregularity at one of the Hardibacker joints, so I'll level with thinset. I just was not sure it was suitable for that use.

Thanks again.

Dennis
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:05 AM   #5
NastyBurn
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Ok. Now this is really frustrating! In a previous thread I chimed in on, talking about the same tile, I was told that the "bump-out" (self spacing) nodes on the sides of the tile were adequate... now I'm reading this...

What gives?

Pete
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:16 AM   #6
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Hi Dennis and Pete,
Because of the off-joint stacking of the "subway" tile, most manufacturers include either several spacing lugs along each edge of their tile or use a continuous lug to provide the correct spacing. It sounds like, from Dennis' description, that he has the "contiuous lug" style. The lug is not glazed, which will allow the minimal grout joint to find "purchase" in the body of the tile even though it won't pass through to the mortar bed.
Best of luck,
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:49 AM   #7
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So that means I can butt them right up against each other, correct?
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:52 AM   #8
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Correct. In this case butting the tiles together is preferred. It's a soft-bodied tile with an eased-edge and it should absorb any tension that might build up fairly well.
Best of luck,
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Old 12-22-2006, 11:59 AM   #9
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Tres interesting.

Dennis said his didn't have lugs and I've never seen those continuous lug thingees. Learn somethin' new every day.

Bet I'd want me some Tilespikes anyway. I like Tilespikes.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:08 PM   #10
Scooter
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Just use tile spacers on edge. I mean they are stupidly cheap, and I re-use them, so really whats the big deal here?
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #11
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Well, Scooter, the big deal may be that we're in the shallow end and the visitors may not know quite as much about spacing tiles as do you, eh? So we try to tell'em.

Havin' the holiday blues out there in Cal-ee-for-nee-a today, are ya?
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:17 PM   #12
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CX,
The continuous lug isn't appearant until you put the tiles together or look at the tile in profile. Being only 1/32", it's easy to mistake for just part of the bisque. I'll agree though that a pouch of narrow wedges/tile spikes is going to be handy as the tiles aren't always going to line up perfectly. Using the wedges/spikes under the first course is also extremely important as that will provide space for a caulk/expansion joint.
Best of luck,
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:23 PM   #13
Eugenius
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Subway setting style...or railroad as I often erroneously call it...has always been a challenge to me as has any other lugless or lugged tile, for that matter. I guess that the crux of the jist is that ceramic tile, granite, marble, whatever from 1x1 to 20x20 are not manufactured to NASA Space Shuttle specifications. The tile vary in size from 1/32 to 1/8 or more. Although I use spacers, finish nails, whatever, my favorite spacer and ultimate tweaker of almost exactness is cardboard from the boxes that the tile came in.

Happy holidays and tile tweaking to all.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:00 PM   #14
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Eugenius,
I use cardboard shims whenever I need a quick spacer and wedges aren't immediately on hand. Cardboard compresses though so any more than a course or two can end up pinching the cardboard so I don't rely on it too much.
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Old 12-22-2006, 05:20 PM   #15
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Dryall shims are another good choice.
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