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RE: Can I mix finishes in a small bath? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: buyorsell888 on 03.10.2010 at 02:44 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I discovered the shower doors I want have a towel bar that is brushed and chrome so I'm going with chrome faucets and showerheads. yea. cheaper.

doors I'm ordering

HTML is the language you create websites with. I am no expert but I have a few codes memorized like putting a photo in a post or a link.

The problem is that if you type them out to show someone all you get is the broken link/photo icon.

<> these are the brackets. They need to be around the code not the parentheses I've used below.

(a href=paste the link here)type about the link here(/a)


clipped on: 05.27.2010 at 02:01 pm    last updated on: 05.27.2010 at 02:01 pm

RE: tile experts, others, please weigh in / give advice (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: bill_vincent on 01.24.2008 at 11:07 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Clumsy, my patuty!! WOW!! Where do you live??? Can I come out and tile your bathroom??? :-)

In all seriousness, that's going to be one sweet masterpiece to put together!

Before I get to your questions, though I do see one problem. It's going to be tough to run the chair rail through the shower and have any kind of glass enclosure. Not impossible, but tough. You would have to work together with your glass guy to figure out EXACTLY where the glass would go, so you could leave notches in the chair rail. I can guarantee you-- they're not going to notch the glass for you. :-)

Now, on to the questions:

#1-6) What you have drawn is excellent. With reference to the subway tile, no, the corner pieces do not need to be mitered. What you can do is cut the pieces, but then turn the cut edge into the field, and use the "factory" edge as the bullnose. Now, I said they don't NEED to be mitered. However, if you'd PREFER to miter them, there's no reason why you couldn't. It's not like it's ceramic where you'd have to worry about a sharp edge. As for the chair rail and liner, you're right. Those WOULD have to be mitered. The biggest tip I could give you about mitering the chair rail would be to have a piece of 2x4 handy with a 45 degree mitered end on it. You can place the mitered side of the 2x4 against the wet saw tray table's edge, and that'll give you the correct angle, and the thickness of the 2x4 will give you something to make sure you're standing the chair rail up straight while you cut it.

If you decide that you want to miter all the outside corner tiles, the only advice I can give you is leave a little "meat" on the edge. You don't want to take the miter all the way to the face of the tile. If you do, you'll end up with an extremely ragged edge. Leave 1/16" of meat or so on the front edge. The finished miter will still look just as tight, and it'll be 100% stronger.

#7) Don't worry about continuing the cuts. Atleast not on the subway tiles. For the most part, the ONLY time you really need to worry about it is when you use a diagonal layout. With running bond (the brick joint pattern), there's no need to continue it. Take each wall individually. Now, the best thing is to center the walls. However, sometimes that gives you small pieces on each end. With a square layout, moving the layout over half a tile, so the tile is centered instead of the grout joint, the problem is solved. With running bond, if you move it over half a tile, it puts you right back where you started!! So how do you move the layout over and still keep it centered? Move it over a QUARTER of a tile (1 1/2"). What this does is it'll give you equal, but alternating cuts. Lay it out on paper and try it-- You'll see what I mean.

#8) Yes, that's normal.


#9) Ya had to give me a hard one!! :-) You're right-- this CAN be tricky. But you're dead on the right track. You need to figure out your coursing (each course is one tile and one grout joint). Lets say yout tile is exactly 3" high, and you're using a 1/4" grout joint. Going by your drawing, I come up with a height of 51 1/2" high. You show a 6x12 piece on the bottomwith the 1/4" joint, that's 6 1/4". Next is 12 courses of subway tile. That's 39 inches (with 12- 1/4" joints). Then the pencil liner, which, if it were me, would get an 1/8" joint (to match the joint in the 3 rows of mosaics), so that's another 1 1/8", and then I'm assuming the chair rail is 2", plus another 1/8" joint, 2 1/8".

Just a side note-- this would be another reason for NOT using the chair rail, unless you have the shelf come out over the top of the chair rail. With the other three sides, you can either cap the edges of the niche pieces, or you can have the niche pieces cap the edges of the wall. But the shelf MUST come over the edge of the wall tile. You want any water running down the face of the tile, rather than going into the grout joint. Alot of times, I'll even use a piece of granite tile, and round it out PAST the face of the tile, so that it doesn't even come doen the face of the tile, but actually gives a drip edge.


Okay-- back to your niche. Just for the sake of argument, lets say the height is 51 1/2". You want to take into account the thickness of the cement board, as well as the kerdi (figure 5/8"). I would also, as you surmised, give it extra as a "fudge" factor . That way if you need the play, it's there, and if you don't, you can always fill it in with thinset. If it were up to me, and the chair rail was definitely going to stay, I'd set the framing at 50 1/2". The only question is, are you going to set your levels off the finished floor, or off the subfloor? Personally, I'd set it off the subfloor, but when I actually set the tile, set it over the finished floor, cutting it in. That way, if the floor's out of level at all, you'll never see it. Either way, it's up to you. The point is, I'd set the bottom of the niche framing an inch below what you expect the actual coursing to be.

#10) That's the way it LOOKS when it's done. :-) You start with a full course above by nailing a piece of wood, and tiling off of that, and then removing it afterward and cutting in the bottom. As for the Kerdi in the shower, you can patch the holes afterward with Kerdi-Fix. You want to wait as long as possible to tile the shower and bathroom floors. You never want to be working over finished work any more than absolutely necessary.

#11) I already addressed this above.

#12) Install your wood trim first and tile to it.

#13) Diamond hole saw. You can check some of the online tile tool supply sites. if you have a hard time locating them, let me know, and I'll see what I can do to find em for you.

#14) this is where we get back to the thing about going from center to 1/4 and 3/4 tiles to get back to center. It works with diagonal layout, too. One other thing to think about, and this would work as a nice design feature, too-- from the chair rail up, turn one row of subway tiles on end, running them lengthwise up the sides of your diagonal tiles as a border.

WOW!! This reminds me of Rodney Dangerfields's movie Back To School-- to paraphrase right after he finishes the oral exam and says "I feel like I just gave birth!! To an apprentice!!"


clipped on: 05.25.2010 at 11:32 pm    last updated on: 05.25.2010 at 11:33 pm

RE: Subway tile border/design questions - ideas please! (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: kgwlisa on 06.06.2007 at 06:13 pm in Bathrooms Forum

It all depends on what you consider to be too much. I'm doing a black and white bath and I love borders, so I'm going for something with a little more graphic punch. I'm 90% certain I will be using a 1/2" black liner and a black chair rail separated by a 3" high embossed tile for a look kind of like this:

I also have black porcelain sconces (not that style, the kind with turtle shades) and I'm planning on 1" hex floors with black accents (have not yet decided how those accents will go though). I was considering doing the white cap but it just seemed to lack oomph and when I surveyed friends for their opinion they unanimously preferred black for the chair rail in order to match my bold and sassy personality ;).

I also don't get that black isn't neutral... I can't think of a color I like that doesn't go with it. BUT I can understand wanting to go for a change when renovating your bathroom.


clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:37 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:37 am

updated pictures (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: kgwlisa on 03.29.2008 at 10:12 am in Bathrooms Forum

Okay, here we are. It's going to be picture heavy so apologies in advance but I'm just so pleased to see so much progress!

Oh and klb, I forgot to say that it's a one piece toto guinevere. I LOVE MY TOILET (I was without toilet on the bedroom floor for 3 months!)

And here are some shower pics, not done yet but getting close:

The shower has a custom corian base in silver birch, which reminded me of terrazzo. I love it now that it's exposed. It's filthy but should clean up easily with some soft scrub (yay corian). The "casing" around the door is made of a 2x6 bullnose and a piece of chair rail. It sort of matches the wood casings I have which is essentially a 4" wide flat with a 2 1/4" profile around the outside of it. Still waiting on the custom profile to arrive (had to match the old stuff) so no pictures. My goal of the shower was to try to keep it mostly simple while adding some architectural detail like you'd find in any room - a baseboard, casing around the door, a frieze at the ceiling (not really a "crown" but sort of) and a "picture" on the wall which is the niche. The niche shelf and shower seat are both black corian as well. The herringbone ceiling was inspired by old pictures of the city hall subway station in NYC with its herringbone vaults.


clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:35 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:36 am

B & W checkerboard/subway tile kids' bath

posted by: hoffman on 01.13.2008 at 08:43 pm in Bathrooms Forum








Kohler Memoirs toilet & sink
Kohler pinstripe faucets & accessories
Kohler villager tub (the only one that would fit)
Rejuvenation medicine cabinet, pushbutton switches & light fixtures
Daltile subway tile & black liners
marble mosaic checkerboard floor tile
Pottery Barn Kids towels & shower curtain
BM "white satin" paint
Nero Marquina (black) marble windowsill


clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:20 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:20 am

RE: chair rail and frameless shower door (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: codnuggets on 09.04.2008 at 10:49 pm in Bathrooms Forum

You could do this...

Sorry, I don't have a closeup of the returns after the glass install, but you get the idea. There is a metal channel along that wall the glass is sitting in. You could also have the glass notched, but it will likely cost a little more and require a precision install to get it exactly right. I had planned to have my glass notched but I ended up having to do the returns due to a communication mixup. I think I like this better anyway, and after watching how much fudging they did with the install, I'm not sure how well the notching would have worked out.



clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:17 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:17 am

RE: trim tile in subway tile shower (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 01.06.2010 at 11:42 am in Bathrooms Forum

In my tub surround, I did a double liner and put the ivy vine detail in between.
Border tile
I just wonder if the thin double pinstripe you propose is going to have much impact over a single line, since it happens in such a small span of height.'
I did a single liner and chair rail elsewhere:


clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:14 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:14 am

RE: FAQ/Answers Bathroom Plumbing for dummies (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: mongoct on 06.25.2008 at 09:07 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Let me know if this is the sort of info you're looking for, if it's too basic, or not inclusive enough. It's a rough first draft and can be edited as required:

The sort of where, what, and why of pressure-balanced versus thermostatic:
Pressure-balanced or thermostatic temperature control valves are code-required in bathroom plumbing because they eliminate potential scalding and cold water shocks that can occur in a shower.

If you are using the shower and a toilet is flushed, as the toilet uses cold water to refill the tank, the pressure in the cold water line drops a bit below what it was when just the shower was running. If you had a non-balancing valve, youd still get the same amount of hot water that you originally were getting, but with the drop in pressure in the cold water line youd have less cold water coming out of your shower head, creating a potential for scalding. Vice-versa, if someone turns on a hot-water faucet elsewhere in the house, the hot water pressure drops and you get a shower of mostly cold water.

A pressure-balanced shower valve is designed to compensate for changes in water pressure. It has a mechanism inside that moves with a change in water pressure to immediately balance the pressure of the hot- and cold-water inputs. These valves keep water temperature within a couple degrees of the initial setting. They do it by reducing water flow through either the hot or cold supply as needed. Because pressure balanced valves control the temp by reducing the flow of water through the valve, if your plumbing supply is already struggling to keep up with the three shower heads and nine body sprays that you have running in your shower, if a pressure balancing valve kicks in and chokes down the water supply to keep you from getting scalded you could end up with insufficient water flow out of the heads in a multiple shower head setup. When it comes to volume control, in terms of being able to turn on the water a little or a lot, for the most part pressure-balanced valves are full-on when water is flowing or full-off when the valve is closed. Flow-wise, think of them as having no middle ground.

Where flow and volume control are important, as in a shower that requires a high volume of water, a thermostatic valve may be the better choice. They also control the temperature, but they do not reduce the amount of water flowing through the valve in doing so. Thermostatic valves are also common with 3/4" inlets and outlets, so they can pass more water through the valve than a 1/2" pressure balancing valve.

Which should you choose?
In a larger multi-outlet master shower, while a 1/2" thermostatic valve may suffice, a 3/4" thermostatic valve might be the better choice. But it does depend on the design of your shower and the volume of water that can be passed through your houses supply lines. In a secondary bathroom, or in a basic master where you have only one head, or the common shower head/tub spout diverter valve, a 1/2" pressure balancing valve would be fine.

If you want individual control and wanted multiple valves controlling multiple heads, then you could use multiple 1/2" valves instead of one 3/4" valve and all would be just fine.

What do the controls on the valve actually control?
While it may vary, a pressure balanced valve is normally an "all in one" valve with only one thing you can adjustthe temperature. The valve usually just has one rotating control (lever or knob) where you turn the water on, and by rotating it you set the water to a certain temperature. Each time you turn the valve on youll have to set it to the same spot to set it to your desired temperature. For the most part you really dont control the volume, just the temperature. With the valve spun a little bit, you'll get 100% flow but it will be all cold water. With the valve spun all the way, youll get 100% flow, but it will be all hot water. Somewhere int eh middle youll find that Goldilocks "just right" temperature, and itll be atyou guessed it100% flow. So with a pressure balancing valve, you control the temp, but when the valve is open, its open.

A thermostatic valve can be all inclusive in terms of control (volume and temp) or just be temperature controlling. If its just temperature controlling, you will need a separate control for volume or flow. Example, with an all inclusive youll have two "controllers" (knobs or levers) on the valve, one to set the temperature and a separate one to set the volume. In this case you can set the temp as you like it, then use the volume control lever to have just a trickle of Goldilocks water come out of the valve, or you can open it up and have full flow of Goldilocks water coming out of the valve. You can leave the temp where you like it when you turn the volume off after youre done showering. The next time you shower, turn the volume on, the temperature is already set. Some thermostatic valves are just temperature valves with no volume control. Youll need another valve/control to set the volume. Read the product description carefully to see what you're getting.

What size valve should I get?
Yes, valves actually come in different sizes. The size refers to the size of the inlet/outlet nipples on the valve. For a basic shower, a 1/2" valve will suffice. For a larger multi-head arrangement, a 3/4" valve would be better. Realize that youll need a water heater that can supply the volume of heated water you want coming out of the heads, so dont forget that when you build or remodel. Also realize that if youre remodeling and have 1/2" copper running to your shower, capping 1/2" copper supply tubing with a 3/4" valve provide you with much benefit as the 1/2" tubing is the limiting factor. You can, however, cap 3/4" supply tubing with a 1/2" valve or a 3/4" valve.

Is one better than another?
Thermostatic valves are "better" in that with them you can control both volume of flow and temperature, so you have more control, and they hold the temperature to a closer standard (+/- 1 degree). They also perform better if you are running multiple outlets in the shower, as they do not choke down the amount of water in order to control the temperature. But you pay for that added flow and added control. Pressure balancing valves can be had for about $100-$200, thermostatic valves can be twice that amount. And more.

Will I suffer with a pressure-balancing valve?
For what its worth, when I built my house over 10 years ago I put pressure-balancing valves in my own house. While I have two outlets in my shower (sliding bar mounted hand-held on the wall and an overhead 12" rain shower head on the ceiling), I have a two separate pressure-balancing valves, one valve for each head. With both heads going in the shower, I notice no loss of flow in the shower when the toilet is flushed and the sink faucet is turned on simultaneously. I also notice no change in temperature. So they work for me.

If you are remodeling, if you have your existing sink running and you flush the toilet and notice a drop in volume coming out of the sink, then a thermostatic valve might be the better choice even if you're not having a multi-head setup installed.

If, as part of the remodel, you plan on running new supply lines through your house to the new bath, then properly sized runs will take care of that flow restriction and you can probably do a pressure balancing valve instead of a thermostatic.

So in a house with tricky plumbing, or with a restricted water supply, or with multiple outlets running off of one supply valve, a thermostatic valve might be the safer choice.



clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:11 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:11 am

bathroom tile FAQ's

posted by: bill_vincent on 07.01.2008 at 09:31 pm in Bathrooms Forum

This is going to take me a while, so I'll post as many as I can each night until it gets done. To start, here's the first set of questions and answers:

Okay, here we go. These questions come from the thread on the discussions side where I solicited questions from everyone for this thread. These are in the order they were asked:

Q) What are the different types of tiles you can use in a bathroom and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

A) There are several types of tile available. They fall into two general groups: ceramic and natural stone. I'll take these one at a time:

Ceramic tile-- For purposes of this discussion, there's glazed conventional, unglazed porcelain, and glazed porcelain. All three are good tiles for bathroom use, but the porcelain is a better choice only because of its density and lack of water absorbsion, which makes upkeep and cleaning easier. Also, with reference to steam showers, you DO NOT want to use natural stone, being that the steam would tend to permeate into the stone even more readily than liquid water, and could end up giving you algae problems, as well as mold and mildew problems, unless you don't mind being tied down to your bathroom.

Natural Stone-- There are several types of stone that are used in bathrooms. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're all GOOD IDEAS for bathrooms, expecially the softer (and more absorbant) stones, such as slate or limestone. Now, I know I'm going to get a world of flack about this from epople who have bathrooms finished in these materials. I know they CAN be used.... so long as you're aware of the extra upkeep involved. But if you're someone who doesn't like to keep after things, you may want to pick an easier material to maintain. Generally speaking, the softer the stone, the more the upkeep. Limestone being the softer of the stones, and that would include travertine, next would be many slates (although some would actually be harder than even most marbles, such as brazilian and british slates), then marbles, with quartzite and granite rounding off the list as the harder and more dense stones that you could use.

Q) What should I be sure to look for when choosing tile for a bathroom?

A) Short answer-- something that you like! The bathroom is the one place that just about anything the showroom has can be used. The only limitations are basically the upkeep you want to put in, and slip resistance on the floors of your bathroom and shower. Now, although ceramic tile is basically maintenence free, you don't want to use something with a texture to it that will catch all kinds of junk in the shower, making it more difficult to keep clean. At the same time, you don't want to use a polished stone or bright glazed ceramic tile for the shower floor, either. These both CAN be used, but again, it comes down to upkeep for textured wall tile, and doing something to rectify the slippery floor.

Q) Where should I use tile and where not?

A) Tile can be used on every single surface in the bathroom, if that's what you like. This is all a matter of taste... for the most part. About the only place where there's a requirement is any place there's a showerhead involved. If tile is to be used either in a shower or a tub/ shower combo, The tile MUST go up to a minimum of 72" off the floor. Past that, it's up to the disgression of the owner.

Q) What size tile and what layout patterns to use in various areas?

A) Again, this is a subjective question that can really only be answered by the owner. The ONLY place where there's a recommendation for mechaincal reasons is on a shower floor. TCNA recommends that mothing bigger than 6" be used on shower floors due to the cone shape of the floor's pitch. In addition, most installers will request no bigger than 4", and prefer a 2x2 tile to work with on the shower floor. This is also advantageous to the homeowner who'll be showering in there, because the added grout joints will add more traction to the floor.

Now, I've heard many times that you shouldn't use large format tiles in a small area like a powder room floor, and if you have a wide open bathroom, you don't want to use real small tiles. My response to both is the same-- HORSEHOCKEY. I've done bathrooms both ways-- 24x24 diagonal in a 3' wide powder room, and 1" hex ceramic mosaics in an open 100 sq. ft. bathroom floor. The rule of thumb is if you like it, it's right!

Q) How do I find/choose someone to install the tile?

A) Many people will tell you to get names from the showroom you get your tile from. This is no good, unless the showroom is willing to take responsibility for the installer by either having them on payrool, or as a subcontract. Then they have something to lose if they give you a bad installer. Many people will also tell you to get references and to actually check them out. This ALSO doesn't work. I've been in this work for just under 30 years now, and I've yet to find a single installer who ever gave the name of someone they had a problem with. They say even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while. The same can be said for "fly-by-nights" and good work.

So if you can't trust recommendations, and checking references is a lost cause, what do you do? REVERSE THE PROCESS!! Instead of finding an installer and getting references, get references, and thru them, find your installer!! No matter where you live, if you drive around, you'll find constructions sites and developements. Stop and ask who the GC uses. Get a name and phone number. Sooner or later, after asking around enough, you're going to find that the same names will begin to show up time and time again. THESE are the guys you want to use. But don't expect a bargain price, and be prepared to wait, because these guys will be in high demand, even in the worst of times, and they may demand a bit higher price, but they'll be worth every penny, if for no other reason, just because of the peace of mind they'll give you in knowing you're getting a good quality installation. Ask anyone who's gone through this experience, good or bad-- that alone is worth its weight in gold.

Q) What are the proper underlayments for tile?

A) There are several, and I'll take them one at a time:

CBU (cementitious Backer Units)-- This is the term that generally covers all cement boards (such as Wonderboard or Durock) or cement fiber boards (such as Hardibacker). This is the most common used tile underlayment. Generally speaking, it comes in two thicknesses-- 1/2" and 1/4"-- and each has its use. !/2" must be used for wall installations, due to the fact that the 1/4" is way too flimsy with nothing to back it up, and would flex too much to last. Besides, the 1/2" CBU will usually match up nicely to most sheetrocks. The 1/4" is used for floor installations, unless the added height of the 1/2" is needed to match up to other floorings. Being that neither has very much structural strength, so long as the subfloor is 3/4" or more, the 1/4" CBU is all that's needed. Keep in mind that even though it's basically fiberglass reinforced concrete, the only thing it adds to the floor is a stable bonding surface, so the 1/4" will do just fine. One place where alot of contractors will try and shortcut is by using greenboard instead of CBU for shower walls. This is expressly forbidden in the IRC (International Residential Code) by the following code:

IRC Greenboard Code:
The 2006 International Residential Code (IRC) states in
Section R702.4.2 that "Cement, fiber-cement or glass mat
gypsum backers in compliance with ASTM C1288, C1325
or C1178 and installed in accordance with manufacturers
recommendations shall be used as backers for wall tile in
tub and shower areas and wall panels in shower areas."

The 2006 IRC also states in Section R702.3.8.1 that
"Water-resistant gypsum backing board [Greenboard] shall
not be used where there will be direct exposure to water."

Membranes-- There are several around that work well over many different surfaces. Most of them are what's called "Crack Isolation Membranes". Just about every manufacturer has one, from trowel ons or roll ons, such as Hydroment's Ultraset or Laticrete's 9235 or Hydroban, to sheet membranes such as Noble's CIS membrane. All will give the tile a little more protection against movement than just going over CBU. However, there's another class of membranes called "uncoupling membranes" of which the most popular by far is Schluter's Ditra, that are made from bonding two layers together, usually a fabric fleece backing and a plastic sheeting with dovetailed waffling to "lock" the thinset in place ( as opposed to accepting a thinset BOND). These membranes will, as their name implies, uncouple their two layers in case of movement, to save the floor, and for thinset floors, it's the most protection you can give your tile floor.

Plywood-- This is one where I get the most flack. I'm one of a dying breed that still believes in tiling directly over plywood. However, I can very well understand the reluctance of the industry to embrace this installation method, even though the TCNA DOES approve of its use for interior installations (Those with a handbook can check Method F-149). The reason I say that is it's a very "tempermental installation method. You need to be very familiar with what you're doing, or you risk failure. There are even many pros I wouldn't trust to tile using this method. Everything you do is important, from the species of plywood used, to the direction the grain is laid with relation to the joists, to how it's gapped, and a host of other specs, as well-- many of which won't be found in the handbook, and if you miss just one of them, you're flirtin with disaster. All in all, when people ask me about it, I tell them that with the membranes available, there's no need to go directly over plywood. There are other methods that will give you just as long lasting a floor, and aren't NEARLY as sensitive.

Mudset-- This is the oldest, and still, after THOUSANDS of years of use, the strongest installation method available. In a mudset installation, a minimum of 1 1/4" of mortar called "drypack" (mixed to the consistancy of damp sand) is either bonded to a concrete slab, or laid down over tarpaper or 6 mil poly with wire reinforcement, packed, and then screaded off to flat level (or pitched) subfloor. This is what most people see when tiling a shower pan. Initially, the mud will be a somewhat soft subfloor. But over time, if mixed properly, it'll be stronger than concrete.

Q) What are the proper tile setting compounds?

A) This is one where I could write a book. It all depends on what kind fo tile you're installing, and what the underlayment is that you're going over. I'll give a generalized list:

Polymer/ latex modified thinset: For all intents and purposes, this is the "cure-all". For almost any installation the modified thinset, which is basically portland cement, silica sand, and chemical polymers added for strength, will work. There are some that are specialized, such as the lightweight non-sag thinsets (such as Laticrete's 255 or Mapei's Ultralite), or the high latex content thinsets (like Latictrete's 254 Platinum or Hydroment's Reflex), but with the exception of going over some membranes, there's a modified thinset for every installation.

Unmodified thinset: This is the same as above, but with no polymers added. It's usually used in conjunction with a liquid latex additive, but will also be used mixed with water for going over some membranes. It's also used as a bedding for all CBU's.

Medium Bed Mortars-- This is a relatively new class of setting mortars, used mainly for large format tiles, where the normal notched trowels just don't put down enough material, and with thinset, it would be too much, causing too much shrinkage as it dries, causing voids under, and poor bond to, the tile, but at the same time, there's not enoough room for a mudset installation. This mortar is usually used with either a 1/2x1/2" or 1/2x3/4" notched trowel.

Mastics and Premixed Thinsets: THESE HAVE VERY LIMITED USES!! Let me say that again-- THESE HAVE VERY LIMITED USES!! They work well for vertical installations, where the tile used is 8x8 or less, and it's not a wet area. ALL THREE of those conditions must be met!! I know just about every pail of type 1 mastic says it can be used in showers except for the floor. DON'T BELIEVE IT!! Also, both mastic and premixed thinset (which is just mastic with a fine sand mixed in to give it bulk) claim they can be used for floor installations. Unfortunately, for the amount of material needed under virtually all floor tiles to bond to the subfloor, neither of these will fully harden. I had a personal experience where I helped a sister in law across country, telling her husband exactly how to do his main floor, what to use, and how to use it. Unfortunately, he went to the big box store to get his tile and materials, and they talked him into using premixed thinset. I didn't hear about it until SIX MONTHS LATER when his tile and grout joints started showing cracks all over the floor. When he called me I asked him what he used for thinset, and sure enough, this is when he told me. I told him to pull one of the tiles, and SIX MONTHS LATER, IT WAS STILL SOFT!!! DOn't let them talk you into it!! Use the proper thinset, and don't try and shortcut your installation. You're spending alot of money for it to be "just practice"!!

Q) How do you deal with different thicknesses of tile?

A) Whatever it takes. I've used membranes, built up the amount of thinset being used, I've even doubled up tiles when it worked out that way. Whatever it takes to get the two tiles to be flush toeach other.

Q) What are the typical tools required to lay tile?

A) Generally speaking, this is a list for just about all installations. Some may require specialized tools, but this would be for all:

Proper sized notched trowel
measuring tape
chalk line
margin trowel
high amp low speed drill and mixing paddle (best would be 6 amp or better and less than 400 rpm)
several buckets
score and snap cutter for straight ceramic cuts
4 1/2" grinder with a continuous rim dry diamond blade for ceramic, anything other than straight cuts
wet saw (can be used for ALL cuts, ceramic or stone)
grout float
hydra grout sponges (2-- once for grouting, one for cleaning)
24" and 48" levels (for vertical work)
heavy duty extension cords
screwgun or nailgun (where CBU will be used)

Q) What about tile spacing and tpes of grout?

A) According to Dave Gobis from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation in Pendleton, South Carolina, there will finally be a new standard for ceramic tile next year. The tolerances are shrinking. There will also be a standard for rectified tile. Along with that, there will be a revision to the installation standards that will specifically recommend a grout joint no less than 3 times the variation of the tile. For rectified tile the minimum grout joint width will be .075 or just over a 1/16".

As for grout, there's only one thing that determines whether you use sanded or unsanded grout, and that's the size of the grout joint. Anything less than 1/8" you use unsanded grout. 1/8" or larger, you need to use sanded grout. The reason is that the main ingredient in grout is porland cement, which tends to shrink as it dries. In joints 1/8" or larger, the grout will shrink way too much and end up cracking ans shrinking into the joint. The sand give the grout bulk, and the sanded grout won't shrink nearly as much and therefore, can be used in the larger joints.


clipped on: 05.23.2010 at 01:10 am    last updated on: 05.23.2010 at 01:10 am