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Unread 02-29-2008, 01:09 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 136
Tile over existing sealed saltillo

We've decided to cover the existing saltillo tiles in our kitchen with some 12 inch ceramic tiles from lowes. This will actually bring the kitchen up to height with the surrounding pergo floors so I really don't want to tearout.

The tiles and grout lines look like they have been sealed and waxed quite a few times over the last 20 years. What are some opinions on the prep work needed before tiling? Will I need to strip off all existing sealants before I can tile? I was planning on just mopping with a strong cleaner and scuffing the surface. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Unread 02-29-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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You might try renting a floor sander from Home Depot.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 07:52 AM   #3
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Well, this is just an opinion, but very few tile guys will strip saltillo. Too nasty an experience. In order to do a half-decent job of stripping whatever is on the saltillo, you'll have to resort to the use of solvents that are toxic. Close enough without me going into a long story about it but suffice it to say 'methylene chloride'. Some might just try to strip it with an alkaline wax stripper but they might just leave a worse mess than before they started.

I know a few pros who will run from this job - and they're the good ones.

But without seeing it, I would say it needed stripping because of issues with the thinset you'll be using. To me that's a recipe for eventual problems.

Let's see if anyone else sees a solution.
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Unread 03-01-2008, 08:54 AM   #4
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Welcome back, mbauer. Please give us a first name to use, preferably in a permanent signature line.

I think I'd rather remove the Saltillo and mud the floor than try to prep the surface for new tile.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 03-01-2008, 09:27 AM   #5
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It's gonna be a mess looks to me like, no matter which way you go about it. If you are going to leave the tile down, they must be down solid without any hollow tiles anywhere. The floor sander will work but will be dusty. It would actually sand down some of the high points of the floor which would probably help some but I'm still not sure if you will end up with a flat enough floor.

Taking it out and mudding back up would be best but it can be a tough job if you've never mudded a floor before.

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Unread 03-02-2008, 09:55 PM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
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Please excuse my total lack of experience in this field...

I claimed that I had saltillo tiles. But, after some research I found that I really don't have saltillo. My bad... I've heard them referred to as mexican or saltillo tiles...

What I actually have is something like the 6x6 on this page.

red tiles

These are manufactured tiles. Definitely not handmade with lots of variation and waviness. They appear to have been sealed however. That was my main concern before tiling.

Thanks to the poster that recommended HD for a floor sander. I ended up sanding the floor with 120 and cleaning it really well. I have the Byrne book which basically said the same thing. Things are going pretty well. I'll post a pic after the grout goes down.

Thanks for all the help on the forum. You guys are very generous with your time and advice and many people appreciate it. Me being one of them!!!
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