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Unread 02-29-2008, 12:15 PM   #1
JoeM
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Joe's New Shower Project

Hello all, let me start by saying that this is by far the best DIY web site I've ever seen on the web. I've been finding just about all the answers to all the questions I have without needing to post (well i did post one other question several weeks ago, and it was answered within a couple of hours). The moderators and professionals that monitor and contribute to this board are extremely patient and always seem to be willing to help even the most inexperienced "weekend warriors".

As a matter of fact, I was at Home Depot with some questions about the schluter products they sell. The associate in the flooring department there didn't have any of the answers. I then suggested she go to this site and that she should recommend it to her customers if they have tiling questions. Hopefully that's one "Home Center" that will at least be giving a competent response to tiling questions -> Visit the johnbridge web site

OK, that's enough of that. My situation is this:

I have been using a borrowed, cheap 7" $88, home center special, wet saw for ceramic tile (some porcelain, some regular ceramic). I've done a laundry room floor and a bathroom floor and the saw does well for the cuts that will be hidden behind trim. I.e. The edges are not clean and they've all got miniature chips all along the cut edge.

The problem is, I'm going to be tiling a shower next and I will have visible cuts on the inside corners of the walls and at the ceiling and floors. So I need to get clean cuts without chips. I noticed my angle grinder with the 4" dewalt wet/dry blade cuts very cleanly without chipping (I just cant hold it steady enough to do the straight cuts).

All that to ask, is the problem with the chipping likely being caused by the under-powered saw, the cheap diamond blade, or user error? If it's the blade, what brand of blade should I buy that will give me a cleaner cut? Dewalt sells the same wet/dry diamond blade in a 7" would I get a similar edge with that blade in the wet saw that I get with the grinder?

If user error, can someone explain to me the proper way to push the tile through the saw?

Thanks in advance for the help.
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Last edited by JoeM; 03-01-2008 at 07:19 PM. Reason: New title
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Unread 02-29-2008, 01:46 PM   #2
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Hey Joe,

Home depot has made a "strategic" decision to replace all knowledgeable store personnel with "clerks" moving forward, so it's no surprise that they don't have the answers you are looking for.

Realistically for the average DIY warrior - most cuts can be accomplished with a score and snap tile cutter. For those intricate cuts - the die grinder with 4" diamond blades are indispensable, especially for vent cutouts and toilet flanges.

Remember to always start with full tiles on the exposed sides if you can and work back to the corners as long as you aren't leaving slivers of tile. Try to end with at least half a tile if possible.

Regarding the chipout - most common problem is a cheap/worn diamond blade or the forcing of the tile through the saw. Let the saw do the work, not you. I also like to butt some scrap tile against the edge where the blade will come through the tile to help with chips on the through pass.
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Unread 02-29-2008, 02:13 PM   #3
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It's most likely caused by a worn blade. Can't recommend a brand; I just go for the middle of the line on each new project.

Personally, for all the tiling you do, you might consider a better saw. I love my Felker TM75.
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Unread 02-29-2008, 02:37 PM   #4
JoeM
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Worn blade...

Thanks,
I was thinking the blade might be the problem, so I'll go get a new one. Any recomendations on a good, mid priced blade? Based on the "clean" cut i get with the wet/dry dewalt blade on the grider - I used it to cut out for the toilet flange and for the tile around the oval whirlpool I put in - I was thinking of getting the same blade (7") for the wet saw. Of course the grinder does spin quite a bit faster than the saw...

And I'll be a little more patient when cutting, and if that doesn't work, I'll use a second tile to guard against "chip out". Would masking tape work instead of a 2nd tile? Just to save on the blade and the time to get through the blade.


As far as getting a better saw, I figure buiding this entire 800 SQ foot addition myself has saved me probably 40K, so I could justify the cost to my wife. However, I am quite cheap, and I'd rather put the $$ tward that $1500 cabinet saw I've been eyeing .

I do have a score and snap cutter along with a good set of nippers, but I ran into some problems with the tiles breaking in the wrong places (User error, not scoring the whole way accross). So I've been using the saw for all the hidden cuts up to this point.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 05:59 AM   #5
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I've been using that same type of saw and have found some of the chipping was being caused by the table halves not being perpendicular to the blade. Also, the two halves of the table may not be in the same plane. This can cause the tile to not be fully supported near the blade. The blade pushes down (somewhat) on the tile and if it's not supported near the blade it will flex and chip along the cut line...especially near the end of the cut.

My saw is borrowed too, so I can't really experiment with permanent fixes to this problem. What I do is shim and/or bend the table halves so that they are as close to being perpendicular to the blade as possible. This seems to reduce the chipping to an acceptable degree.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 08:13 AM   #6
Rd Tile
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If the blade isn't getting enough water, that will cause chipping.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 09:02 AM   #7
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I hate dewalt blades period. Too thin. Get the Husky or MK or whatever is in the $50 price range. Get continuous rim not the slotted discs. The thin blades of dewalt deflect on cuts coming in at an angle to the edge of tile if laying tile at a 45 so thats why i hate them. They get way off line.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 02:47 PM   #8
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Shower questions

Ok, now that i've got my tile cutting problem worked out, I'm going to be starting my shower. And I've got a couple of questions:

1) I've got some fiberglass reinforced pvc membrane roofing material that is used for comercial flat roofs i was going to use as a moisture barrior instead of poly or roofing felt behind the cement backer board. It's approximately 1/64" thick. Does anyone see a problem with this?

2) When, in the construction process, should I install the shower fixtures? I'm putting in 2 shower fixtures one on each end of a 5' wide shower, and i'm also installing the tub faucet on one side. Should I install all of the plumbing, including the valve prior to installing the cement board or, if i have have adequate access from behind (and i do -- Havent installed the wall board on one side, and i have an access "closet" on the other) would waiting until after the cement board is up have any advantage. I was thinking I'd have less of a chance of damaging the plumbing and valve.

Would it be possible to retitle this thread "Joe's new bathroom project"
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Last edited by JoeM; 03-01-2008 at 04:13 PM.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 06:41 PM   #9
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bump
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Unread 03-01-2008, 08:28 PM   #10
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Joe,

Don't see why your roofing membrane wouldn't work as a vapor barrier. Go for it. Just make sure the membrane goes over the top of the shower pan liner.

Typically the rough plumbing is installed prior to shower construction. The valves need to be installed so the fixture is flat with the tiled walls. I don't see the need to install it afterward and think it would be more trouble.

Perhaps one of the moderators can help you with the thread changes - or you could just start another thread.
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Unread 03-02-2008, 11:30 AM   #11
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Thanks Juan.

Ok for another question. I installed my Dry pack mortar bed last night, finished up around 11:00PM. It stll looks fairly damp and i'm a little (more than a little worried ) that I did somthing wrong when I put it down.

I've read all I could find about making the mortar and packing the deck. So here's what i did:

First, I started with "play sand" in bags and portland cement. I used 1 50lb bag of sand to about 10lbs of portland (i weiged it using a regular stand on bath scale holding the cement and subtracting my weight).

Next, I dry mixed the cement/sand mix.

Now I started adding water and raking with a hoe until it looked like, well, like the picture in the "how to make deck mud" thread in the liberry. I only mixed enough to do about 1/2 the floor as I read it has a max open time of 45 min. OK so 30 minutes later, i was satisified with the back 1/2 of the pre slope and mixed the 2nd half of the mortar (I did a dry mix of the entire amount then divided it and added water in batches)

Now i would have thought the surface would look a little dryer - 12 hours later. I know it's going to be sandy, and i don't want to mess it up if its ok, But i guess what i'm asking is: How do i know if its ok or not i.e. how do I know if I need to rip it up and start over?

Thanks,
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Unread 03-02-2008, 11:47 AM   #12
ceramictec
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Joe,

are you just doing your pre-slope prior to waterproofing membrane ?

it will dry and should be dry easily in 24 hours.
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Unread 03-02-2008, 12:02 PM   #13
JoeM
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Yup, this is the pre-slope. I've done a lot of diy work with concrete, block & block mortar and several floor tiling jobs. So i'm fairly familiar with "wet" cement based products. But this dry pack stuff Is strange... So I'm just worried.

So i'll wait the 24 hours until this evening to make a determination. So are you saying, if it's not dry to look at and hard by then, i should rip it out and try again? If so, I think i do some experimentation with the stuff (wetness and such) before actually laying another pre slope. Also, If i do need to pull it up, should i staple some new wire mesh (i'm guessing i will no doubt not be able to get the morter ouf of that) on top of the existing before the next attempt?

Thanks again!!
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Unread 03-02-2008, 06:06 PM   #14
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Joe, 24 hours may not be enough time for your mortar bed to "dry out".

Brian is in Florida and he says 24 hours down there. I'm in Washington State and it can take several days up here. I'll say 3 days for the surface to look dry. Where are you? Florida, Washington, in-between, or off to the side?

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Unread 03-03-2008, 07:21 AM   #15
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I'm in "Lower Slower" Delaware. So are you saying wait 3 days before checking for hardness? And as far as hardness goes, how do I know if it's ok or not. I don't have a problem taking it back out and starting over, because i'd hate to see my shower floor tiles start popping up because my pre slope was no good.

Also, since the same procedure is going to be used for the more criticle (at least from a tile movement perspective) 2nd layer, I'd like to know what to look for. I.e. Take a screw-driver and if i can "easily" erode to the floor, Do i have a problem (haven't tried this, but ...)

Does any one have a good rule of thumb for the amount of water to add? Say a ratio of 20lbs portland cement, 100 lbs pre-packaged dry sand and ??? water? Sorry if i'm

Also, can i get a moderator to change the title of this thread to "Joe's New Shower Project". I'd start a new thread, but I've read that is discouraged.

Thanks again!!!
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