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Old 12-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #1
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


I'm two weeks away from starting this project, I have done a lot of research and don't want to make a mistake that will cost me time or money. Here is some detail, any advice at this point is greatly appreciated.

Kitchen floor 10'x14' - porcelain tile 12x12 (Ripping up old vinyl)

Subfloor is 3/4" OSB (under) and 1/2" plywood (over)

Joists are 16" OC Beams appear to be 2x10s (3 together) 9.5' apart

Will be laying cement board with modified thinset and proper screws

Tile on unmodified thinset

Some answers that I have not come across (yet):

1. Leave gap between tile and wall empty - or caulk? What kind of caulk? (I will be using quarter round)

2. Tile under all 3 appliances?

3. How long do you wait between laying tile and grouting?

4. How long do you wait after grouting before bringing appliances back in?

5. Is grout sealer necessary?

6. I am investing in a wet saw. Do I need a tile cutter as well?

Thanks!!!

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Old 12-28-2011, 04:15 PM   #2
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


1. Doesn't really matter as it will be covered with shoe moulding. You can leave it empty if you like.

2. Up to you. The only time you'll ever see it is when you pull the appliances out. All your appliances will be perfectly happy sitting on top of plywood, and provided it's the same level as the tile, will make it easier to slide them in and out.

3. 48 hours is a minimum. 72 hours is better.

4. Again, 48 hours at a minimum, 72 is better. They are both cement products.

5. Depends on how you define "really necessary." Does it retard staining and deterioration? Absolutely.

6. Probably not, unless you have detailed cutouts that you need to do. The wet saw can make smaller cuts, and even curves by dadoing along an drawn radius. By the way, the Ryobi overhead tile saw that HD sells for $99 is awesome.

The best piece of advice that I can give you is, as first time tiler, for you to work on smaller sections at a time. Mix up enough thinset to lay four or five tiles, and work with those. You'll learn a tremendous amount doing that, getting a feel for the cement, the trowel, how the tiles behave...how to space and level them. If you have this huge pail of thinset that you feel like you need to charge through before it sets things will turn ugly pretty quick. Take your time and work in smaller batches until you build confidence.

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Old 12-28-2011, 07:18 PM   #3
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


Hi Joe,

Quote:
Tile on unmodified thinset
Why? You need to use modified mortar for the tiles too. Who told you to use unmodified to set the tiles?

Quote:
2. Tile under all 3 appliances?
Yes of course. You could skip the tiles under the dishwasher, but the range and refridge get pull out and tiled.

Quote:
3. How long do you wait between laying tile and grouting?
Most manufacturers want you to wait 24 hours. However in real life a 24 hour delay means skipping a day which is not practical for those in the business. Most tile setters will work 'smart' and grout starting the next morning. So, 15 - 16 hours is what I wait in most cases. Of course I'm extra careful on the areas laid last.

Quote:
4. How long do you wait after grouting before bringing appliances back in?
The appliances could carefully be placed a few hours after grouting. However I do not recommend it. I suggest waiting a few days if at all possible.

Quote:
5. Is grout sealer necessary?
I highly recommend it with cementitious grout.

Quote:
6. I am investing in a wet saw. Do I need a tile cutter as well?
I recommend a tile cutter for most straight cuts. Actually, depending on the tile and situation, you could easily avoid the wet saw in favor of a side grinder for a fraction of the price. Not always, but I've been able to do many jobs without using a wet saw.



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Last edited by JazMan; 12-28-2011 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


I think an episode of Holmes Inspection got me confused. So when should unmodified be used? It will make it easier to use the same mortar under hardiboard and under tile (as well as with the hardiboard tape).

Last edited by joemontana16; 12-29-2011 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:01 AM   #5
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


Quote:
Originally Posted by joemontana16 View Post
I think an episode of Holmes Inspection got me confused. So when should unmodified be used? It will make it easier to use the same mortar under hardiboard and under tile (as well as with the hardiboard tape).
In an older post Bud says to use unmodified for cement board and modified for tiles - the opposite of what I listed above:

Porcelain Tile installation

Use DITRA if you wish, it's a good product and serves a purpose.
Otherwise use cement board.
Trowel: 1/4" X 3/8" X 1/4".
Typical [COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]grout[/COLOR][/COLOR] gap these days is 3/16".
Room perimeter requires a 1/4" gap all around for expansion.
At the tub a 1/8 gap will suffice, then caulk it.
[COLOR=blue! important][COLOR=blue! important]Caulk[/COLOR][/COLOR] is used at all changes in plane and changes in material construction.
Use unmodified thinset for the tile if using DITRA.
Use modified thinset for installing the DITRA over the plywood.
Use modified thinset for installing the tile over cement board.
Use unmodified thinset for installing the cement board.
Yow I know...confusing.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:21 AM   #6
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


Quote:
In an older post Bud says to use unmodified for cement board and modified for tiles -
And Bud still says that, but some variables may change that from time to time. In this case it stays the same. Unmodified under cement board, modified under tile.
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:45 AM   #7
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


Follow up question. The bags of mortar on the shelf at big box store aren,t labelled "modified or unmodified". What key words,brands,clues tell me what's what? Thanks.
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Old 12-29-2011, 12:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Follow up question. The bags of mortar on the shelf at big box store aren,t labelled "modified or unmodified". What key words,brands,clues tell me what's what? Thanks.
Sure they are, they always have been anyway.
What box store "brands" are you dealing with?

Unmodified is generally: "Dryset".
Modified is generally: "modified", "fortified", "polymer added".

The unmodified will cost around eight bucks per fifty pound bag, the modified will cost starting around eighteen bucks (and up) per fifty pound bag.
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:27 PM   #9
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


So then which of the thinsets is used for taping the Hardiboard?

Also...why leave 1/4" gap between hardiboards if your just gonna fill it up with mortar?
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Old 12-29-2011, 04:45 PM   #10
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Some brands of concrete backer recommend modified under, while others, including Hardie, say either is fine. They all recommend modified to install the tiles.

Quote:
So then which of the thinsets is used for taping the Hardiboard?
It's best to use the thin set you're gonna use to set the tiles. Might be good idea to tape the seams as you install the tiles. Some people have a tendency to create 'speed-bumps' when seaming and tiling later.

Quote:
Also...why leave 1/4" gap between hardiboards if your just gonna fill it up with mortar?
I don't believe they tell you to leave 1/4". Maybe 1/8", and then you fill and tape. Be sure to leave at least 1/4" around the perimeter of the room and leave unfilled.

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Old 12-29-2011, 04:52 PM   #11
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The wise thing to do is to tape and fill the seams as you install the tile. Don't install the tape and thinset one day and then install the tile another day.

The gap (1/8") between the panels is so that when taping the seams plenty of thinset can be pushed into the gaps thereby maintaining the integrity of the panel-strata throughout the installation.

If the seams were jamb-up then voids would remain at the seams and the panel integrity would be questionable.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:53 PM   #12
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


Joe,

Back to your reference about Mike Holmes. I like his shows, matter of fact I contribute to his "Mike Holmes Forum" just as I do here.

The best I can say is that he is learning about tile installations. He's getting better.

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Old 12-31-2011, 04:15 PM   #13
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


I'll try to avoid starting another thread...two more questions:

Do you start laying the hardiboard in the center of the room like you lay tiles? I'm assuming it doesn't matter, I'll probably have to cut less if I just start in a corner.

I can get white thinset for free from a coworker. I am laying dark grey porcelain tile. I know there is no chance of it showing through, but I am still hesitant, I might still drop the money on grey colored thinset. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:47 PM   #14
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


Quote:
Do you start laying the hardiboard in the center of the room like you lay tiles?
NO. I do not start anything in the center of the room. Where did that come from?

Quote:
I can get white thinset for free from a coworker.
Quote:
I might still drop the money on grey colored thinset. Any thoughts?
Why buy gray when you can use white? And white is free? Your friend's white thin set isn't old is it?

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Old 01-01-2012, 08:10 PM   #15
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Porcelain tile kitchen floor - Getting started


I think it's ok. He did a bathroom in the fall.

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