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Old 04-25-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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Mastic vs. Thinset


Wasn't sure where to post this Q. My Uncle, who worked as a plumber and at a family contracting business for 20+ years (very handy and prior home remodel experience too), recently gutted and rebuilt our master bath, including the tile shower and floor.

He requested to use Mastic. It was completed about a month ago and we are already having shower floor issues. Some grout has come up and now a few tiles (12x12) squish water up when you step on them. I'm worried as my recent online research has been highly in favor of thinset in wet areas, especially floors. I didn't question the use of mastic since Uncle was well educated in all things bathroom, or so we thought.

What do we do? Have we just spent thousands on a shower that will fall apart in a few years? Thinking I need to call a tile professional to re do the entire shower pan tile. Thoughts/suggestions are very appreciated!!

T in TX

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Old 04-25-2011, 12:01 PM   #2
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Mastic vs. Thinset


A few years? Sounds like it's already falling apart. No question, thinset should have been used. You're going to have to tear it out and redo it. Preferably before you get water damage because it's leaking.

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Old 04-25-2011, 12:42 PM   #3
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yes, agreed on the floor portion. hoping the walls will be ok. he let each stage set for days before moving on to the next phase. i felt and touched the tiles and there was no movement.

can the tile be reused if we do have to go back and start over?
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:51 PM   #4
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Mastic vs. Thinset


Tile as big as 12" x 12" will seldom work well in a shower floor. What was he thinking? Throw all the tile out, and use small, small tiles.
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:10 PM   #5
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throwing out the tile is not an option. i have found a guy that my friend used to install all her travertine and the work is beautiful. he says he can redo the floor portion with thinset and cut the tiles into 6" squares.
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:37 PM   #6
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6" x 6" is pushing the maximum size. Seriously.

And be sure to find out if he is going to reshape the 'pre-slope', dividing it into four flat planes. If not.... well you just might not be happy with the number of tiles that may have to be cut in half.

Also, carefully examine the factory edges of your tiles right now. See how they are kind of rounded on top? Cut into a bunch of 6" x 6" tiles, all of your reconditioned tiles will have sharp saw cut edges. Make sure he bevels and relieves the sharp edges. They still won't look perfect, but a whole lot better than if he just leaves them in the original cut state.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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thanks...great info. i will check with him. i remember when we bought that tile, we looked for smaller versions/complimentary trims to use as maybe border and there was nothing. we'd have to either buy a completely new tile that would match well enough, or just cut it.

wish us luck!
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:07 PM   #8
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Mastic vs. Thinset


Ouch!

Are you aware that tile and grout, even if it is installed correctly and sealed, does NOT make a shower waterproof.

Go to the flooring forum, and at the top of the page is a subforum on tiling. Then at the top of the remodeling forum is a subforum on kitchen and bath remodeling. Do a search for showers in both and research the proper way to build a shower and shower pan.

If you paid attention to how he built the pan from the floor up, see if you can compare his work to what is said in the threads.
If he doesn't know enough not to use mastic in a shower, what else doesn't he know?

Keep in mind it is possible putting the tiles back down may just cover up other water damage issues developing underneath.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:55 PM   #9
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Mastic vs. Thinset


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tahmeroo View Post
Wasn't sure where to post this Q. My Uncle, who worked as a plumber and at a family contracting business for 20+ years (very handy and prior home remodel experience too), recently gutted and rebuilt our master bath, including the tile shower and floor.

He requested to use Mastic. It was completed about a month ago and we are already having shower floor issues. Some grout has come up and now a few tiles (12x12) squish water up when you step on them. I'm worried as my recent online research has been highly in favor of thinset in wet areas, especially floors. I didn't question the use of mastic since Uncle was well educated in all things bathroom, or so we thought.

What do we do? Have we just spent thousands on a shower that will fall apart in a few years? Thinking I need to call a tile professional to re do the entire shower pan tile. Thoughts/suggestions are very appreciated!!

T in TX
mastic is used (at least how I've used it) in areas such as backsplashes, while thinset is used on floors and shower surrounds. Sometimes thinset is referred to as mastic, so just because he asked for "mastic" doesn't mean that's what is used. However, it sounds like something isn't quite right. Be sure the subfloor isn't the cause of cracking grout and tile.
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Old 04-25-2011, 04:10 PM   #10
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Mastic vs. Thinset


I do know he used vapor barrier in the entire bathroom and concrete backer board to the ceiling on all walls in the shower, and completely re-poured and lined the pan. so far, i believe his only real mistake was his choice of adhesive.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:49 PM   #11
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Mastic vs. Thinset


Mastic was the wrong product for this application. It re emulsifies if it gets when. They used to use it years ago before learning better. thin set never reacts to water once it sets.

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