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Unread 01-14-2007, 01:13 PM   #1
lojoma
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Advice for 1" hex tile sheets?

Hi all,

Thanks for those who gave opinions on how to level out my floor.

Now I'm ready to get started setting the tile, but I was hoping for some helpful hints regarding the actual installation. They are American Olean Satinglo 1" hex white with black "dots". What issues can I run into when setting these?

Here's a few that I'm aware of:

1) Check each sheet to make sure it has the correct pattern! I was doing a dry fit to see how it would look layed out and realized I have a box where about half the sheets have a black dot out of place. I never noticed it as I was putting them down...I only caught it when I looked at the floor as a whole standing up.

2) Need to use white thinset and try clean up as much of the ooze between the tiles as possible. I'm REALLY looking forward to that. The Byrne "Setting Tile" book recommends 100% solids epoxy since it can be used as both adhesive and grout, and that way you don't have to worry about ooze between the tiles. But I get the feeling from the boards that that's not a DIY friendly product so I'm not using it.

3) Make sure you get full coverage on the back of the tile. I'm curious about peoples' experience with correct trowel size. Seems I read someone used a 1/4" x 3/16" v notch for a similar application. Any thoughts here?

Oh, and what's the "correct" tile orientation? Should the "flat" edge of the hex run parallel to the longest wall? Or does it matter?

Thanks for any thoughts,

John Mark
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Unread 01-14-2007, 03:43 PM   #2
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I've never used epoxy to set small hex tiles but it can be done. You will still have to clean the epoxy off, especially when it sticks up higher than the tiles. This can be a mess. Maybe someone else has done this and can help better than I can. I'd rather use the right size notch trowel, I'd start with a 3/16 V notch and have very little ooze up.

On small tiles, I like to lay a straight edge down and set the sheets against the edge. This gets them about as straight as possible. If you don't have a straight edge, pop lines every so often to set to.

It doesn't matter whick direction the flat sides go, lay it out either way you think it looks best.
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Unread 01-19-2007, 11:49 AM   #3
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Started putting tile down....

Okay, so I dove in and got started!

First, let me say this to everyone. If someone says they want to use 1" hex sheets as their first tile job, please tell them they are stoopid. :-)

Since I've never mixed thinset before, I goofed the first batch and it was too runny. The stuff oozed up through EVERY SINGLE TILE when I beat in the sheets. I started with an area 2 sheets x 3 sheets so it would be small enought to take care of the ooze...but my gosh, it was so much! I finally caught on that it was too runny, so I pulled up the sheets and cleaned the floor and the tiles and started over. What a mess!

Second batch went much better. Much thicker and with less ooze, but there was still a bunch.

I found I could only work with two rows of tile at a time...any more than that and I couldn't reach far enough to clean out between the tiles. So it's pretty slow going to say the least.

I found that by the time I had laid the last sheet of the two rows, the first sheet had started to set enough to where the ooze was easy to clean out without being too messy, and by the time I got to the last sheet to clean it was set enough as well.

I also found that since the border of the tile is zigzaggy, I couldn't apply the thinset just to the edge of my layout line...I had to go beyond it so the next row of sheets that "notch" into it have something to set in!

My questions for anyone: 1) How long do you usually have to wait for it to "gel" a bit to pick out the ooze?

2) When I stop and go back to pick out the ooze, the little bit of adhesive that has to go beyond the edge is going to harden, too, so I had to go back and scrape it off, too! At least I thought I did. How much time do you have between when the adhesive is combed and when it is not usable anymore?

3) How long can the thinset be in the bucket before it's not good? When I stopped to pick out the ooze I had to leave a good bit in the bucket, and I hate to waste if it's got a fairly long life. I'd say it took me 10 minutes to lay out the tile and 30 minutes to pick all of it out...too long for it to sit in the bucket?

Thanks for any insight!
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Unread 01-19-2007, 11:59 AM   #4
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I typically limit thinset mixes to 1 hour so your timing was about right. If I'm doing a large floor I keep working with it until the thinset won't stand up when I trowel it.

Tom
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Unread 01-19-2007, 12:00 PM   #5
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What size trowel are you using? Did you go with the 3/16" V notch that Davy recommended? I've been using that size on some very thin 3/4" mosaics and it works pretty good, so long as my notch stroke technique is good (firm pressure, 45 degree angle from the tiling surface, etc.)

I'm not sure what thinset you are using, but it should tell you somewhere on the bag what the "pot life" is. That's how long it can sit in a bucket and still be usable. It varies a bit with temperature and humidity, but I have consistently got close to 4 hours with Custom's Megalite.

I can appreciate the difficulty of your project. But, it sounds like you are determined to get through it. I've had to pick up some sheets after being unhappy with how I laid them. You just do it, learn, and move on.
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Unread 01-19-2007, 12:12 PM   #6
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Here's the floor so far

Hi,

Yes, I did use the 1/4 x 3/16 V trowel and it seems to work pretty well. I seem to get full adhesion with it.

I thought I'd attach a pic of the work thus far. I love the way it looks. We're going to do 3x6 subway on the walls.

Thanks for the "pot" time info...wasn't sure what that meant. I'm using Versabond.

[IMG]Hexing is vexing[/IMG]
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Unread 01-19-2007, 12:14 PM   #7
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Here's a more close-up view of the tile
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Unread 01-22-2007, 12:28 AM   #8
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I finished the majority of the setting this morning...I have a few edge pieces to go back and get but I'm very pleased with the results.

Thanks for everyone's help! I'll have some grout questions, I'm sure.
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Unread 01-22-2007, 06:15 AM   #9
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The tile looks great! Looks like you have a wall that's a little crooked, but you know what? I used to own a house built in the '30s with tile like that on the floor. All the walls were a little crooked - solid as a bomb shelter, but crooked.
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Unread 01-22-2007, 01:24 PM   #10
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Thanks for the kind words. Yep, all the walls are a bit on the non-straight side to say the least. House is 1945. This bath is in an addition from the 70s. I think the homeowner must have done a lot of the work himself...and he wasn't too handy. The other bath is original as far as we can tell and has a really great black and white basketweave pattern floor. We thought the hex pattern would tie the new part of the house to the old part well.

An example of the former owner's handywork: the original part of the house still has its original wiring and it is GROUNDED and in good condition still! Blew my mind when I tried the electrical tester and it had a true ground. New part of the house: used non-grounded wiring. Idiot. So, when I had all this down to the studs we had some work done to get at least the bath grounded properly.
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Unread 01-22-2007, 06:57 PM   #11
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It's looking good. Anytime the thinset comes up in the joint, get a little smaller notch trowel or lay the trowel down on less of an angle when spreading. That will make the notches in the thinset smaller.
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Unread 01-22-2007, 08:31 PM   #12
lojoma
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ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I just took a look at the last picture I posted...there is one black tile out of place at the very top of the picture. This is the back of the closet so maybe no one will notice....

I tried so hard to be aware of misplaced tiles on the sheets. I just knew I would miss one somewhere. At least it's not in the middle of the room.
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Unread 01-22-2007, 08:35 PM   #13
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Oh, I see it.. Didn't see it b4 though, does that mean anything? Probably not hard to fix if you can't sleep at night.
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Unread 01-22-2007, 08:53 PM   #14
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Now that you mention it I see it. I'd leave it - sort of a "where's elmo" or the intentional good-luck flaw in the Indian blanket.

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Unread 01-22-2007, 09:43 PM   #15
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I would definitely leave it. To anyone who mentions it to you, I would have them believe that they're the simpleton for "just not getting" the "meaning" of the variation.
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