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Old 11-09-2007, 11:27 AM   #1
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grout instead of thinset?


I'm finishing up a 3'x5' shower, following M. Bryne's instructions in his book. (By the way, wives don't like it when a one year project turns into a five year one. My wife now uses a "Doug conversion factor" for any completion times I give.) I need some advice. I've tried searches here and on google, I can't find the info I need.

1. Can I use grout instead of thinset mortar for setting a 2"x2" tile floor in the shower? I remember reading this could be done, but I can't find the reference. I'm worried that the thinset mortar will ooze between the tiles, and I won't have enough space for good grouting, causing irregular coloring and strength. I'm using gray Versabond thinset and Hydroment sanded grout, which is a bit darker than the gray thinset. Grout is more expense than thinset, but I've put enough time/money into this that a few more dollars won't make any difference.

2. When laying out the sheets of tile for the shower floor, the tile makes a nice symmetrical rectangle around the drain. The nearest point is .5", the farthest about 2" away. Can I fill this rectangle in with mortar instead of trimming tiles with a tile pincher? Will it look good? Strength/cracking issues?

Thanks, Doug
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:53 PM   #2
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I'll bump you back up to the top with my 2 cents...

1) In some cases you can use grout to set tiles, but I'm not sure I'd want to do it on a shower floor. Someone else will be along soon to give a more definitive answer.

You could try what I used in my shower, after finding a pro here who uses the technique - grout the sheets of tile from the back before installing them, then set in thinset. You go back and fill in any holes in the grout the next day. My tiles were paper face-mounted so it was probably easier to hold the grout in that way, but I'm pretty sure the pics I saw here were mesh-mounted. (It was an all green-glass floor... I'll look for the post for you.)

2) What you described doesn't sound attractive. I'd cut the tiles to fit or adjust the layout.

Found the thread - see post #7:
Michele (DIYer on hiatus from projects... for now)

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Last edited by river-wear; 11-09-2007 at 01:58 PM. Reason: found thread
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:08 PM   #3
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Hey Doug - I personally would not try to grout the tile before installing. I do understand your reasoning behind it but instead I would just use a 3/16" v notch trowel to keep thin set oozing to a minimum and then I use a finger nail brush to clean lines in between tiles up of any excess thin set. A toothbrush would work fine also. Use it wet to scrub the lines, then wipe tiles and lines clean with a wet sponge. I also would not try to grout in area's that should be tile - you will regret it later I believe. Spend the extra time necessary to pinch those tiles nice and clean around your drain - if you have a grinder it would be easier or better yet a wet saw. Practice on a piece or two first - it isn't that hard and you will definitely like the end result better.

I am sure the experts will be along shortly to confirm this....or even have better suggestions. Be sure to keep us posted and how about some pictures? They love it around here when they can see something !!!
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:17 PM   #4
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Hi Doug, I would not recomend using grout to set the tile alone, how ever I have a little trick I use for small mosaics on shower floors. I will mix some of the grout in with the thinset to get it close to the grout color to reduce the thinset bleeding through. If it"s a light grout color, I"ll use white thinset, If it"s a dark grout color I"ll use grey thinset.
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:22 PM   #5
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if you use the right notch trowel you wont have to worry about it oozing up through the joints.
and the little bit that does can be sponged off or a kind of wet hand brush
will wash/brush it out of the joints easily.

ps. cut the tile as tight as you can around the drain.
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