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Old 01-04-2008, 07:58 PM   #1
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Tiling - what a nightmare


I can usually tackle most any DIY project but I'm having no luck tiling a floor.

How do you use the small end of this trowel?


The wide notch-free edge (circled) drags away most of the thinset that I am trying to get in tight areas. The long side does not have this edge on it and I am having an impossible time with this thing.

I did a tile kitchen backsplash several years ago and didn't have a problem but this has been hell so far and I only have 6 tiles set. They make it look so easy on TV.

IMO, tiling is something that should be left to the professionals. I will never try to do it again.

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Old 01-04-2008, 08:54 PM   #2
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Tiling - what a nightmare


I believe that you can do this job. In tight spots, backbutter the floor and use the notched side on your tiles. They also sell a small (long and narrow) trowel.

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Old 01-04-2008, 09:03 PM   #3
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Tiling - what a nightmare


I'm under the impression that an even layer of thinset is extremely important. I was very thorough with preparing the subfloor and I don't want to do a poor job when laying the tile.

I gave up for now because I got too frustrated. First the thinset was too thin and the notches weren't holding their shape, then I added more dry and it seemed too thick that the trowel was pulling away too much material.

Not sure if I'll try again. I may make a few calls to see if I can get a pro to come in and lay the tile. They are already laid out and cut to size so a big chunk of the work is done.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:12 PM   #4
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Tiling - what a nightmare


If you hold the trowel at a 45 degree angle you will get a very even amount of thinset, any small differences are insignificant. The thinset should be able to hold its shape, if it doesnt, just add a little addl powder and remix
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:54 PM   #5
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Tiling - what a nightmare


That's what I did do originally but my "starter course" ended up being 7 inches from a wall and that was too tight a space to tilt the trowel 45 degrees and holding it upright, well, that's what started this thread.



This is where I stopped. I worked on troweling that 7 inch space over and over and I had to keep scraping up the mortar and starting over because I couldn't get a consistent layer in there with obstacles on 3 sides. You can see the mess I left behind on the wall from trying to trowel toward the wall.

I didn't have this problem with the backer board because I started at the wall and worked my way out. With the tile, I started in the middle of the floor and was doing a just a little at a time because once troweled out, the thinset (Ultraflex 1) had a 20 minute working time. I should have gone all the way to the wall to begin with but I had my laser line sitting there originally.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:02 AM   #6
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Tiling - what a nightmare


I don't see why you should be having such a difficult time spreading thinset. Just spread the darn stuff. Where that trowel removes some, go back and butter the back of the tiles at the edge as needed. Also remove that flat part of the trowel, or get a good one.

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Old 01-05-2008, 12:17 AM   #7
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Tiling - what a nightmare


I thought about cutting away that corner on the trowel, I probably will.
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:18 AM   #8
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Tiling - what a nightmare


If that factory shape in your red circle (of your tool picture) isn't working for you, simply take your tin snips and cut the corner off. Say what? If the factory tool doesn't work for you (and your style), then modifiy the tool. Make the tool fit your needs. Works for me....

BTW: Great job on the tile you did apply. Wish my tile skills are as good as yours.
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Old 01-05-2008, 03:38 AM   #9
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Tiling - what a nightmare


You can do this yourself if you've come this far. Buy a new trowel, all the ones i've seen don't have a corner like that. You can put the thinset on the back of the tiles and then lay the tiles.
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Old 01-06-2008, 08:02 PM   #10
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Tiling - what a nightmare


I did cut the corner off that trowel and it made it so much easier to work with. I finished the tile job today without any major problems.

One thing I did learn about tiling: Buy plenty more than you think you need. The Lowes I got them from is 25 miles from my home and I had to run there this morning to get more tile because I was just one short.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

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