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Old 02-10-2013, 06:22 PM   #31
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


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Just a tip; Do not use spacers with off-caliber tiles, they'll make corrections more difficult. Besides the square, check for rectangularity. These's other things like warpage, bowing and many more. I see the spec says absorbency is 3-6%.
Duly noted.

The book that I have, "Home Depot Tile 1-2-3" says the anything under 7% water retention should be good for a floor.

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Maybe you were misled by PEI 4? That tells you nothing about quality.
I thought the PEI rating was for wear resistance.

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Jaz
Is it standard practice to take every tile in a job and put it up on a framing square?

Fifteen boxes, Eleven tiles a box, and this is a fairly small room.

I have a couple extra boxes and it's an in-stock tile for the time being. If I keep these, I'll square them up as I put them down, set the off square ones off to the side so I can return them.

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Old 02-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #32
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


The absorption of the tile is one of many criteria. In the last 10-15 years porcelain ceramic has gotten so inexpensive that all but the very cheapest is likely to be porcelain, for floors at least. People also use large porcelain on walls. True porcelain has a .5% rate or less. But just being porcelain doesn't tell you it's good quality tile. It just tells you it's hard and should last a long time. Witness porcelain for $1.50 2.00 a ft.

PEI is a simple test that records how many cycles it takes for the tiles to show scratches. Take a low quality tile, give it a textured finish and wala.........PEI 4. Means very little, all except bright glaze wall tiles will last a long time. You need min. PEI 3 for residential.

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Is it standard practice to take every tile in a job and put it up on a framing square?
No never. Just on occasion we check a few pieces to show how much off they are. The biggest problem is tiles are rectangular. Hopefully the alarm goes off before tiles are bought.

As a tile setter I cringe if the customer wants to buy cheap tiles. It means they don't wanna spend the right amount for materials and usually want the labor for peanuts too.

To install tile correctly over a wooden subfloor such as yours, the labor, concrete backer, setting materials etc should be at least $7-8 a sq. ft. (Maybe more in your case since it's kinda a small area). So why would anyone spend that much but want tile that is worth $1.50? Makes no sense.

Plus with such poor quality we'd often have to "fight" with the tiles trying to get it set uniformly. So, we have to sell for less and it takes more time. Usually I run from jobs like that. It's fine when people do it themselves, they will tolerate poor tiles and installations that aren't quite as nice as they could be. That's one reason for forums such as this. We try to help DIY's so they can at least get started on the right foot.

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Old 02-10-2013, 07:38 PM   #33
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Understandable.

I usually don't factor in labor costs since I do a lot of labor myself.

Also, the area where I live (Woodbridge, Virginia... Washington D.C. metropolitan area) labor prices can be vary WIDELY. We're densely populated, and the housing market hasn't quite followed the national trend. Some areas held on pretty nicely, others only a few miles away had dozens of foreclosures.

There's lots of fly by night companies that charge peanuts usually using illegal labor and no insurance.
There's retired guys that were in the trade long ago when stuff was built well and are just doing a few jobs here and there.
There's licensed contractors that get in with one of these big box stores, also sometimes using questionable labor.

With prices varying widely, there's also workmanship that varies widely and neither price nor quality seem to relate. You can find an inexpensive contractor that does crap work or one that does great work. Likewise you can find an expensive contractor that does good work or one that does crap work...

Because of this, I prefer to do work myself...
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:56 PM   #34
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Oh yes, I know what you mean.

You're lucky to be in that area, the real bad economy does not effect you as much as the rest of the nation, generally.

My son normally now lives in McLean and I was there last summer doing some work for them since the labor there is so high. It's not real high, (just where it should be IMO). just higher than most other parts of the country. I couldn't believe the prices they're able to get there. But then again you guys are paid more $$ there too, which is good.

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Old 02-11-2013, 08:05 PM   #35
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Jazman, I have seen the roofing nails many times, however after redoing many floors, I have seen the nails in bad shape,in some places. Use the screws, they are made for the job, and it doesn't void the warranty of the hardibacker.

To make sure the screws get in, I use 2 methods. 1. Use an impact driver when putting in the screws. 2. Use a counter sink bit where you are going to put the screws. Nothing is more annoying than when you are in the middle of laying a couple hundred square feet of tile and you run into screw after screw too high and you have to re do the screws to get them low enough!

Do yourself a favor, make sure the screws are in deep before you start with the thinset
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Old 02-11-2013, 09:08 PM   #36
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


This problem only happens with Hardie. Solution; Use a different CBU instead, or use Ditra on floors, it's a much better method anyway, although $$$.

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however after redoing many floors
Wow, that means the floors didn't last very long, why did they fail?

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Nothing is more annoying than when you are in the middle of laying a couple hundred square feet of tile and you run into screw after screw too high
I know, I know. I rarely had that problem. I'd pull my putty knife over the screws while taping the seams and sharp eye. Another reason to use roofing nails. If you miss one you can even hammer through the thinset.

Using roofing nails is a perfectly good method and all manufacturers approve. But you're supposed to use hot-dipped galvanized not the cheapo electro-plate (?) ones. There's ways and tools to make the job easier, but unless you only use Hardie, it may not the worth the cost. Plus we're dealing with mostly DIY'ers here.

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:23 PM   #37
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Welp, I've tiled about half the room and have run into several problems.

1.) I'm hopefully never going to be putting a table in that kitchen. If I do, I'll need paper to make sure the table doesn't wobble... Probably the Sunday edition.
How do I keep my tiles completely level over the entire room? I know it's because my angle on the trowel is not consistent. Is there a notched trowel for dummies that has a kickstand or something on it so that it stays at the same angle the entire time? I almost have to pry the tiles up with a screwdeiver to pick up once I've plopped them down into the thinset. (I guess it's a good thing that there are no air bubbles under there.)

2.) I've burned up three drills so far mixing Thinset, including my High Torque DR500 750 RPM Black and Decker... I've used inch and a half auger bits with this thing; It's an original, Made in USA Black and Decker drill too, not one of the cheapo ones. I've also burned up Two Ridgid R71211, which is sold as a 1/2 inch VSR Mixer. Home Depot has said I am not to return the third one because it appears that I'm abusing them if I'm returning two in one day. (Luckily Ridgid has a lifetime service plan.) I'm not even mixing full 50 lb bags of thinset because they dry up too quickly. I make it half a bag at a time in a 5 gallon bucket.
Can I mix the thinset with a little extra water so long as I allow extra cure time?

3.) I'm scraping the excess thinset out of my grout lines with a point trowel, however there are some places where I forgot to do that. Can I go back and clean up the grout lines with a chisel so that the thinset doesn't show through my grout?

4.) I have a feeling that I should have laid out all the tiles and cut them before anything... Either that or waited to do the edge tiles until later.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:27 PM   #38
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Post some pics up or your progress. Going forward Jaz gave you correct trowel size but if you found your self fighting to move thinset around its too dry. If you have thinset in between grout lines you either preset down to hard or to much was used.....So In other words if you run a square block or a level over the tiles that you laid so far you will be hitting tiles?

Last edited by JetSwet; 02-20-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:44 PM   #39
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Pele,

Sorry you're having trouble.

1. You're suposed to make sure the floor is flat before you start, kinda hard to fix now.

2. I've burned up 3-4 drill motors in over 25 years. If you have a heavy duty 1/2" chuck with variable speed, you must be doing the mixing all wrong. Let us know how you're doing it step by step. It'll help others too.

3. I have never used a pointing trowel to remove excess thinset, got a soft sponge? In an extreme case I use a small piece of the cardboard box the tile comes in, then a sponge. Chisel to remove thinset from between? ah ah...ur kidding right? How about a utility knife the next day held at an angle?

4. Some people do that and I still can figure out why. A small area like a table top maybe, but why lay them twice? And are you good enough to set them all on the exact spot again? It'll take you 2-3x longer to set the same area.

We're waiting to hear how you mixed your thinset. And absolutely post pics showing the entire area and with a straight edge on the floor showing why you need a newspaper.

Jaz
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:55 PM   #40
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


The floor was flat. I'm having inconsistent thicknesses of the thinset under the tiles. Even with two tiles right next to eachother on the same sheet of HardiBacker are off level.



I put 2.5 to 2.57 quarts of water in a 5 gallon bucket. Then I add half the bag of thinset and stick the mixing paddle in. (Full bag calls for 5.0 to 5.5 qts of water.)

The recipe calls for 5 minutes of straight mixing followed by 10 minutes of sitting, followed by 2 more minutes of mixing.

Usually the drill is very hot or smoking by the time the first 5 minutes are up and I have to pull it outta the bucket to even get it to turn on the second mixing.



I'm thinking that I need to lay out all the tiles so that I know how big my edge tiles need to be. If I stop laying tiles and go to start cutting them, my thinset start drying while I'm cutting.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:30 PM   #41
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


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The floor was flat. I'm having inconsistent thicknesses of the thinset under the tiles. Even with two tiles right next to eachother on the same sheet of HardiBacker are off level.
I don't see how that's possible. What are you spreading with?

The drills must be low amp, kinda cheap ones for this kind of work, maybe?

Water first is the key, but do not add the required 1/2 a bag all at once. That's probably what's causing problems. Be sure to mix at low speed too. Also, what thinset are you using? 5 min. for initial mix is too long, IMO.

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I'm thinking that I need to lay out all the tiles so that I know how big my edge tiles need to be. If I stop laying tiles and go to start cutting them, my thinset start drying while I'm cutting.
No. Use your tape measure and mark the floor. You should have a good 20 minutes or so open time, plus are you back buttering? Tell me which thinset, which trowel and type of tile, be specific. Are you doing anything to the Hardie just before you spread thinset? No? Why not?

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Old 02-20-2013, 07:33 PM   #42
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


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I don't see how that's possible. What are you spreading with?

The drills must be low amp, kinda cheap ones for this kind of work, maybe?
Black and Decker was a 5 amp... I figured that might be a little low.

The newer one was a 9 amp one and is built for mixing.

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Water first is the key, but do not add the required 1/2 a bag all at once. That's probably what's causing problems. Be sure to mix at low speed too. Also, what thinset are you using? 5 min. for initial mix is too long, IMO.
Bag says:
Mapei Grey Ceramic Tile Mortar - Polymer Enriched
According to the Lowes Receipt, it's Item 12955 - Model 10650136

Those are the instructions on the back of the bag... Mix 5, Sit 10, Mix 2.

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No. Use your tape measure and mark the floor. You should have a good 20 minutes or so open time, plus are you back buttering? Tell me which thinset, which trowel and type of tile, be specific. Are you doing anything to the Hardie just before you spread thinset? No? Why not?

Jaz
Running a 1/4 x 3/8 square notch trowel.

I wetted down the HardiBacker, just by sprinkling water on it. It's not in any instructions, but I've seen people on here recommend it because the HardiBacker is very dry and pulls moisture out of the thinset.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:08 PM   #43
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If you have thinset in between grout lines you either preset down to hard or to much was used..
Wait... You can press down too hard?

Aren't you supposed to hit them with a rubber mallet?
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:26 PM   #44
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


Well.............? It all sounds right. The only thing you didn't elaborate on is if you added the entire 1/2 bag into the bucket with all the water in it.

5 minutes of mixing then 2 more sounds way too long for me. I don't normally time it, but I'd say 2 minutes and then 30 seconds or so. I mix the initial time till there's no lumps and looks nice. Mixing too long will "burn" the mix, which means it'll set up in the bucket faster. Plus if you're slow you need to stir it now and then.

I mist the Hardie cuz it sucks. Sponging is probably the best method, but I mist. You have to keep an eye on the thinset and touch it with your finger to check it.

The 1/4 x 3/8 x 1/4" trowel sounds right for most 12-14" tiles, but you didn't answer that one. (specific type of tile) As for thinset in the grout joint. Maybe you're sliding the tiles? Are the groove going the same way?

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:31 PM   #45
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Dirty HardiBacker? Screw heads?


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Originally Posted by Pele2048 View Post

Wait... You can press down too hard?

Aren't you supposed to hit them with a rubber mallet?
Well if your not jokingly stating what you just said?...lol... then yes you can defeat the hole purpose of trowling thinset if you press down hard enough. Your only suppose to press a tiny bit with your fingers wile slightly moving the tile for better bond of thinset to get the air out between top of thinset lines and tile.

You also should back butter larger format tile like 13" +" this means taking thinset and just like buttering toast on back of tile but I only do that for wall tiles and if you do you have to do them all you cant miss any, some tilers will do it always some do it on the floor.

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