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ArtTeacher 04-03-2008 02:58 PM

20" porcelain tile tips
:eek: Help! About to install 2500+sq.ft. of 20" porcelain tile. Not a complete rookie, but have never set big tile before, just 13" and under. Scared about using a "U" shaped trowel - seems really big - and controlling the thickness of the mortar (polymer additive included - using Mapei Ultraflex 1) and 1/8 grout space. We seem to have a nice layout, just worried a bit about the process. Any tips? I would appreciate some!

Bud Cline 04-03-2008 04:55 PM

The substrate must be very very flat. Especially with only a 1/8" grout joint.:)

ArtTeacher 04-03-2008 07:45 PM

Thanks, Bud.
Bud - we set 3x5 sheets of 1/2" durarock (mortar+cement board screws) on 3/4" tongue/groove plywood. Then we thinset all the joints - floor seems very level and very sturdy. Got any tips for the actual laying of the large tile? Thanks for your help! ArtTeacher.:thumbsup:

Bud Cline 04-03-2008 08:15 PM

Maybe you had better lay a straightedge across all those seams to verify they are flat everywhere. Normally the best time to tape the seams is while installing the tile. That way the hard seam buildup won't cause tiles to teetor.

The thinset should be spread on the floor in one direction only with particular attention being paid to what will be the corners of the tile. You may also have to backbutter each tile using the flat side of the trowel to skimcoat thinset onto the tile in addition to combing the floor. After you get several tile in place it's a good idea to go back and pick up a few installed tiles to verify your thinset coverage. Coverage of 100% is your target, 85% is acceptable according to standards.

You must also be very very consistent in the way you mix your thinset. You must maintain the same consistency from batch to batch. Mixing more batches would be preferable to mixing more thinset than you can use in a few minutes and having it stiffen in the bucket. Stiff thinset will cause the tiles to stand proud. Tiles set early in a batch mix will depress more so than tiles set later in a batch mix.

Use a power mixer for consistency. About 350 rpm is the recommendation.

Brik 04-04-2008 08:47 AM

Make sure all your backer screws are flush and everything is perfectly clean. One cement crumb could mess you up.

ArtTeacher 04-05-2008 08:21 PM

Thanks for your input Bud and Brik! We put down 60 tiles today. We're tired and sore, but the project seems to be going pretty well. We are very concerned about keeping the ultraflex1 mapei mortar the same consistency. Also I have found that trowling is VERY important part of the installation. I have developed some techniques for keeping the tiles level and prevent "oozing" out through the grout joint. These techniques probably seem simple, but I didn't 'feel the groove' until I had layed about 25 or so. But now that I'm in the saddle, I feel good about what we're doing. Thanks for all your help guys and have a wonderful spring! ArtTeacher.

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