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Old 05-26-2008, 12:08 PM   #1
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Wall tiling trowl size help please.


Hello,
I'm in the middle of a bathroom renovation. We've made it to the stage where we're about to start the tiling on the walls around the tub. This is our first go around at tiling so we're in the midst of buying all the tools we'll need to get the job done. The store couldn't answer our question about trowl notch size that would be appropriate for our situation.
We've got a 13.125" tile that is 0.25" thick (porcelain) that we're putting on the walls. I understand that for the walls you're supposed to use the V notched trowls, however the only ones we saw at the store were for tiles up to 6". What depth/width V trowl should we be using?
Also there has been debate over mastic adhesive or thin set mortar.. thoughts?
Thanks!

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Old 05-26-2008, 06:07 PM   #2
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Wall tiling trowl size help please.


For a tile that big you probably need at least a 1/4" v-notch. That is a guess, so I hope a tile expert can weigh in.

As for mastic versus thinset adhesive, I'd definately go with thinset. Don't get the wet pre-mixed stuff. Buy it in bags and mix it yourself...Much better quality.

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Old 05-26-2008, 09:32 PM   #3
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Wall tiling trowl size help please.


This is rather large tile for a wall so you will definitely need a 1/4" notch. Probably a 1/4 x 3/8 square. I have never seen a V trowel that large.
DO not use a premix they turn to gum when wet. Use thin set you mix. Epoxy would be the best but normal thin set will do. You might stop into a tile store not a big big store and talk to them about your project. You can get the thin set there too and any tools you may need. They will know exactly what and how to do the job.
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:41 PM   #4
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Wall tiling trowl size help please.


OK, you probably weren't expecting this reply but here it goes:

You need to waterproof behind the tile. You didn't mention what your backer material is. A typical installation will either be a waterproof backer material like DensShield or wedi. Wall installation should be with 1/2" panels. That should be followed up with a liquid membrane like RedGard over the screw holes and seams.
OR directly over CBU, a sheet membrane like Kerdi.
Tile and grout are NOT impermeable. Water can and WILL get behind them. This is why wet locations like a shower or tub surround need to be waterproofed. If you don't, water damage and/or mold will follow.

As for what to use to adhere tiles to the WATERPROOFED wall, 1/4x1/4x3/8 notched trowel for that sized tile will work. When you spread the thinset on, use a horizontal stroke. The horizontal grooves will hold the tile to the wall better than a vertical one. As for the thinset itself, you want to use a powdered thinset that you mix yourself based off the waterproofing you use. DO NOT USE A PRE-MIXED THINSET AND ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU EVER USE MASTIC IN A WET LOCATION.

As I said, I'm sure you weren't ready to hear this but it's the way it SHOULD be done. Anything less is an irresponsible installation and you're asking for trouble in the future.

Good luck
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:56 PM   #5
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Wall tiling trowl size help please.


Also, I didn't see this before I replied but epoxy is not the best for a shower area install. The reason is epoxy-based adhesives don't like heat. Actually, aren't they recommended to be removed with heat? Yes a typical shower doesn't get THAT hot (like a steam shower) but still, it's not necessary. There is nothing wrong with using a the correct thinset as per the waterproofing material you are using. Just don't cheap out on whatever the thinset needs to be. A good quality thinset over a waterproofed backer will last a LONG time!
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:45 AM   #6
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Wall tiling trowl size help please.


Thanks for all the responses guys, I'm going to use a thinset for sure now, and I don't intend on cheaping out.. I want to make sure this lasts awhile. I had thought of using the mastic, just because it was recommended by a contractor friend. Thanks for the info on the size of trowl and those are some great tips on how to apply it to get the best results.
As for the waterproofing, I've installed a Fiberrock Aqua-Tough tile backboard and installed it as per the manufacturers instructions sealing all the joints etc. I'm very aware of moisture issues and mold, I hear the crazy stories regularly (my wife is an environmental officer specializing in housing environmental issues).
Thanks again!

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