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Old 06-21-2011, 06:01 PM   #4786
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Gulf Island Building.


No kidding Jim. If anything goes wrong with the 'puter, I would need to call my son in law over to fix it.

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Old 06-21-2011, 06:11 PM   #4787
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Well, this is one of those live and learn things again I guess.

I'm down to the nitty gritty on the big floor now, and have run out of the tiles from Saltillo. Which means I had to cut some of the original batch up - which we got before we even moved over to Ruxton some 14 years ago.

The original tiles, which were made in Guadalahara, are of such a superior quality it's hard to believe.

The tiles are larger by an inch, they are flatter, they are a more consistent thickness and they are obviously fired better. I say that because in cutting several down to the same size as the Saltillo tiles (11 1/4" square - sort of) they are much harder than the newer tiles. A real shame the chap in Mexico couldn't find more of these for us.

So for anyone contemplating using these tiles, see if you can track some down from the big "G" instead of Saltillo. It will be worth the trouble.

And as for breakage...now I'm hardly surprised that the Saltillo tiles don't travel worth a hoot. The breakage was awful. Whereas, in the first box I just opened up with the old tiles, there was a very tiny chip out of one corner of one tile, that was all.

As soon as you handle these things, the difference is very obvious.

Now earlier, Bud was mentioning about some of the families who would add their initial to the back of the tiles. In the first box I opened, there were tiles with the letters "O", "X", "V" and "T". Mix and match I guess.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:14 PM   #4788
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...and we have just had one of the little green frogs join us for the summer. He (or she) likes to sit in the hosta's.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:17 PM   #4789
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On the back side of the kitchen, there are two separate short counters, which will have the same sort of fake travertine tile as the big curved one in front.

For some reason, I had not put in the plywood at the back of the kick under the counter, so that needed to be done before I could properly cut and set the floor tiles there. I did that this morning.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:19 PM   #4790
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To the side of the other counter, which will be used to service the wall oven, I was also missing the wood at floor level.

The tiles have been cut and fit for that now, and hopefully will get set before I quit for the night.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:45 PM   #4791
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Gulf Island Building.


Have you grouted any of the Saltillos yet?
Had you planned on sealing the tiles?
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:14 PM   #4792
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Quote:
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Have you grouted any of the Saltillos yet?
Had you planned on sealing the tiles?
No grouting done yet, and yes the tiles will be sealed.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:41 PM   #4793
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At the risk of repeating myself I can offer that grouting Saltillo can be a giant PITA. The porosity of the tiles will immediately wick the moisture out of the grout. They should be sealed a time or two, particularly the edges. Some worry that sealing the edges will compromise the bonding of the grout to the tile edge but for the most part I disagree with that theory. The grout has plenty of crevices and imperfections and voids under the tile to grab onto. Total bonding to the edge of the tile isn't mandatory in my opinion.

I try not to mix too much grout ahead and spread too far ahead of what I can clean up in a few minutes. The grout can cling to the tops and edges of the tile and stain it in some cases. Of course the sealer will mitigate that possibility. One wouldn't want to soup-up the grout by adding extra water to stay ahead of the process because too much water will cause weak grout and reduce its compressive strength.

The sealer should also be totally dry........totally.

A final cleaning of any haze should be done as soon practical without waiting more than a few hours. Once the haze has formed the longer it is allowed to sit the harder it is to remove.

Just a refresher if this seminar has already be presented. Can't remember for sure.

I learned about Mexican tile installation in Texas many years ago and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) my first few jobs were out of doors in the Texas sun. That's not an experience I would wish on anyone.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:48 PM   #4794
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
At the risk of repeating myself I can offer that grouting Saltillo can be a giant PITA. The porosity of the tiles will immediately wick the moisture out of the grout. They should be sealed a time or two, particularly the edges. Some worry that sealing the edges will compromise the bonding of the grout to the tile edge but for the most part I disagree with that theory. The grout has plenty of crevices and imperfections and voids under the tile to grab onto. Total bonding to the edge of the tile isn't mandatory in my opinion.

I try not to mix too much grout ahead and spread too far ahead of what I can clean up in a few minutes. The grout can cling to the tops and edges of the tile and stain it in some cases. Of course the sealer will mitigate that possibility. One wouldn't want to soup-up the grout by adding extra water to stay ahead of the process because too much water will cause weak grout and reduce its compressive strength.

The sealer should also be totally dry........totally.

A final cleaning of any haze should be done as soon practical without waiting more than a few hours. Once the haze has formed the longer it is allowed to sit the harder it is to remove.

Just a refresher if this seminar has already be presented. Can't remember for sure.

I learned about Mexican tile installation in Texas many years ago and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) my first few jobs were out of doors in the Texas sun. That's not an experience I would wish on anyone.
I can only imagine how rapidly both the thinset and the grout would have dried under those conditions. I remember it being bad enough on the bedroom deck outside. I lost half the first batch of grout because it dried so quickly in the bucket...lesson learned.

Bud, I just went and took a look at a few dozen cutoff pieces in the scrap pile of tiles, and you're most definitely right about the edges of the Saltillo tiles.

All kinds of cut marks, small porous holes, and in most cases, the tile has a sharp line just above the bottom of the tile which ought to hold like nobody's business.

So, here's what I plan to do. I will go for a couple of coats of sealer, the first I will try and do just on top of the tile. The second I will deliberately let go down the sides.

Something else I learned about these tiles is not to try and set them with a close gap. Because of the crooked sides on almost every tile, sometimes when using the smaller gap the edges would very nearly touch depending on which direction the tile faced.

The Saltillo tiles almost all are curved. So when the tile is set, I found myself needing to add extra thinset under the hump of the tile. Of course, some were much worse than others. I did try to keep the humps running in the same direction, and that seems to have kept the floor feeling quite smooth to walk on.

The tiles from Guadalahara are much flatter, and I don't anticipate having anywhere near the trouble with them.

I'm going to try a grout bag first, which I know might be slow, but it should make for less cleanup afterwards.

Sure am glad I'm only doing this once.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:05 AM   #4795
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The crowned surface of that type of tile is some of the charm in my opinion. I love that stuff but don't get to use much of it any more now that I live in the conservative north.

It wasn't unusual (in the day) to set those tiles using a 1/2" or larger grout line because of the irregularities of the tiles. That too is part of the charm.

Back then we used a thinset trowel with a 1/2" or 3/4" notch to compensate for the bowed tiles. Nowadays they offer a "medium bed" thinset to compensate for the crowns (concave bottoms) of the large tiles. It just has extra coarse sand in it.

I'll let you in on another little secret. If you don't mind grey grout (known as natural) using mortar mix is one helluva lot less costly than buying tile grout especially with those thick tiles. In fact, the masonry mix is the same thing as the Portland grout for the most part. You can color the masonry mix but it is hard to get batch-colors consistent. You can also use "white glass block mortar" and it will take color pigment better and offer up more color choice when adding pigments. The only problem using the mortars for grout is the size of the sand, it is more coarse than what standard grout will be.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:13 AM   #4796
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Back in the late 60s or early 70s I did a tile job in a bathroom where I had to lay a thick grout bed like they did back then. I soaked the tiles over night and sprinkled Portland cement over the dried grout and laid the wet tiles in the dry Portland, the tiles held great after they dried. Is that type of tile setting done now days or is that a thing of the past?

One more question, in recent years when I used thinset and laid tiles or porcelain I always buttered the back of the tiles as well as on the Hardie backer, is that an over kill?
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:23 AM   #4797
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
The crowned surface of that type of tile is some of the charm in my opinion. I love that stuff but don't get to use much of it any more now that I live in the conservative north.

It wasn't unusual (in the day) to set those tiles using a 1/2" or larger grout line because of the irregularities of the tiles. That too is part of the charm.

Back then we used a thinset trowel with a 1/2" or 3/4" notch to compensate for the bowed tiles. Nowadays they offer a "medium bed" thinset to compensate for the crowns (concave bottoms) of the large tiles. It just has extra coarse sand in it.

I'll let you in on another little secret. If you don't mind grey grout (known as natural) using mortar mix is one helluva lot less costly than buying tile grout especially with those thick tiles. In fact, the masonry mix is the same thing as the Portland grout for the most part. You can color the masonry mix but it is hard to get batch-colors consistent. You can also use "white glass block mortar" and it will take color pigment better and offer up more color choice when adding pigments. The only problem using the mortars for grout is the size of the sand, it is more coarse than what standard grout will be.
Bud, I am using a 1/2" notched trowel, but it isn't enough for some of the tiles...hence the addition of the extra thinset.

I think the missus has decreed that we will be using the pre-colored grout and to hell with the cost. It probably boils down to an extra two or three hundred dollars, but in the overall scheme of things it's a very small portion. Besides, I don't think I could trust my mixing ability to get colors consistently the same.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:35 AM   #4798
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No, it's not a particularly wonderful sunset... but it IS the summer solstice, which is the only reason I'm posting this one.

Enjoy.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:42 AM   #4799
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Quote:
Back in the late 60s or early 70s I did a tile job in a bathroom where I had to lay a thick grout bed like they did back then. I soaked the tiles over night and sprinkled Portland cement over the dried grout and laid the wet tiles in the dry Portland, the tiles held great after they dried. Is that type of tile setting done now days or is that a thing of the past?
Thirty years ago that method of setting tiles was pretty common. Most tiles were smaller then also which made it easier to achieve proper contract between the tile and the substrate. Another method was to pre cut each tile then cast a mud bed and immediately press the tiles into that mud bed as you spread and compacted the bed. You would then install the same mud using as the grout as you backed your way out of an area. When you were finished setting tile you were finished with the job. THAT's what a tile-setter was years ago. A real tile "setter".

Then Henry Rothberg invented the "thinset method" and the thinset product to go along with the method. In those days thinset was the procedure and not the setting product. Henry Rothberg by the way is the founder of Laticrete International and he is still going strong.

Quote:
One more question, in recent years when I used thinset and laid tiles or porcelain I always buttered the back of the tiles as well as on the Hardie backer, is that an over kill?
Overkill? No not at all. In fact spreading thinset and then backbuttering each tile with a smooth striking is common and recommended today for the larger format tiles. A few years ago they came out with "medium bed" thinset in hopes of doing away with backbuttering but I still do it most of the time.

In the case of any cementitious substrate (including and especially Hardibacker) you must introduce moisture into the substrate with a wet sponge or sprayer to keep the backerboard from prematurely wicking moisture from the thinset and wrecking the drying time.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:49 AM   #4800
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What would we do without you Bud? Man, I wish I had a tenth of your tiling knowledge...

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