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Old 02-01-2018, 10:04 PM   #16
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


@w0j0 - thanks for the suggestions and your input on the layout and tile choice. I'll be sure to keep the offsets to a minimum, and thanks for your input on what to do about that area around the pocket door. The previous tile just had a 2" strip along there and I didn't really like how it looked.
@kwikfishron - these are the box-store tiles, so I'll keep the offset in mind (I've been warned twice now!). I was planning to undercut the door jambs. Any suggestions on how far to cut up? I've heard I should place a piece of cardboard under a tile (to simulate the thickness of the mortar), and cut to that line. Do you agree? I have a multitool for the job. I'm trying to plan my layout as to minimize the amount of tricky tile cutting I need to do. I'd like to avoid having to cut the U shapes in in the tile to fit around the door jambs. It seems it would be easier to have two pieces of tile that meet at the jamb and cut an L in one (or both of them), but I'm not sure how I can adjust the layout to make that happen in a way that doesn't look weird. Not sure if that would even be recommended.
@Marson - That is a very good question. In fact yes, the concrete was cracked. That is the reason I pulled up the old floor - it had cracked along the same line where the concrete cracked. I pulled up the old flooring over a year ago, and patched the crack with epoxy (first I excavated a V shape along the crack with an angle grinder, then filled it with epoxy). I had considered putting down a RedGard membrane. However, there is no sign of the crack returning, I don't have any cracks in the tiled kitchen or other bathrooms, so I'm thinking I should be good without a membrane (the slab is about 20 years old).
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:14 PM   #17
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


Have you looked at starting a full tile at the left of the door opening and doing a straight cut for under the vanity. if that puts you in a good place on the side of the door you would have less fancy cuts.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:39 PM   #18
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


Thanks @Nealtw . I was just looking at that myself. I think that might be the way to go. Looks like I would only need a small cutout at the jamb on the door side, and that leaves pieces about 3" wide along the door-side wall, and almost a full tile width at the pocket door.

Planning this layout is both frustrating and kinda fun at the same time. I may need to over-think this some more...
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:13 AM   #19
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


Overthinking is a good thing, if you do it before the project (and not after you've made some big mistake). I'd suggest reading back through many old threads. I got some great advice in this forum & documented it in some of the threads I wrote, and good advice in many other threads.

Really take your time to make sure the tiles are extremely level. Others here can say more, but I can tell you, you will notice differences in height of just 1/16". I laid 12" x 24" a few years ago and people here recommended a certain (firmer) thinset to better handle the weight. Yours won't be as heavy as mine, but the length makes keeping them level tricky.

I also used a product that is shaped a little like a T (got it from HD) - the top bar of the T fits under the 2 adjacent tiles & the vertical bar comes up between them. You then adjust the height of the tiles by pulling up with the plastic tab that's sticking up. Once dry, you separate the plastic tab from the plastic that's under the tiles. I'd buy at least a 4 foot level - you can get plastic ones that will work at HD for <$10. The longer tiles are trickier to keep level, in my opinion.

You really want to do your research first, then really take your time as you tile. It will take longer, but the job will look so much better.
Back-butter your tiles, too. I found that helped.
Have a lot of things like popsicle sticks & damp rags, to clean up any thinset that squeezes up between the tiles or onto the tiles. Wipe the top of the tile immediately if any thinset gets on them. You have to get grout between the tiles, and you don't want your thinset showing.
Plan carefully where you start, and how you progress, so you don't end up trying to squeeze yourself into a very awkward position. It's better to stop, let what you've done cure well, and then come back to it in a few days.
Don't mix huge amounts of thinset - I mixed it in smaller batches, so I could really take my time. Work hard to keep your lines, in both directions, as straight as you can.
Buy quality thinset that you mix - the better quality stuff isn't much more expensive, but it makes a difference in terms of applying and longevity (it also has a shelf-life, so check expiration dates). Don't let thinset dry on your tools. I used a paint spinner to mix my mortar in a square plastic dishpan with rounded bottom edges (I mixed it outside, away from anything I didn't want it to potentially land on). Hand mix it to get it started so you don't spray the dry mortar everywhere. Use a putty knife to check that everything on the bottom along the edges got mixed in.
Those spacers that go between the tiles really do help when you're new to tiling.

There are others far more knowledgeable than me here, but the above is based on my experience with a few tiling projects.

You want caulk between the tile & the tub, not grout. Leave a gap, and caulk after your thin set & grout have set.

I used similar 12x12 tile in a bathroom, and made the mistake of using white grout which just discolors due to dirt. I'd suggest using some off white or light gray.
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Last edited by lazzlazz; 02-02-2018 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:31 AM   #20
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


As @lazzlazz mentioned above.
https://www.google.ca/search?q=tile+...w=1920&bih=970
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:32 AM   #21
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


Those little leveling things are slick. Never knew such a thing existed.
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Old 02-02-2018, 06:49 AM   #22
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


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Those little leveling things are slick.
They are. But you will also find the occasional accounts of loose tiles where the levelers pulled the tiles off the mortar. Likely user error.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:39 AM   #23
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My first experimenting with tile was also a 6x24. It turned out ok, but could be a lot better. I had no idea what I was doing. My second room with 6x24s turned out almost perfect.

The thing to do is have at least a 48" level to put across 2 full tiles every time you lay one down. They must be perfectly level with each other or the next row will have lippage which will transfer to the next row and so on. 1/3 offset is easiest to work with. I recommend a 1/2 inch trowel and back buttering. Use a thick enough mortar bed that you can compensate for any minor humps in the slab or varying tile thicknesses. Good luck!
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:15 AM   #24
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


@lazzlazz and @omgdiddy - thanks for all the additional tips and details of your experience. I've seen those tile levelers at home depot, and many others online. I've seen mixed reviews on them. I wasn't going to use them, but with all the discussion here about lippage, I think I may reconsider. And thanks for the tip about leaving a gap and using caulk where the tile meets the the tub. I was wondering about that. I've seen the sanded caulk that matches the grout, so I'll plan to get some of that. And I'll probably go with an off-white, or something that more closely matches the veining. The counter-tops are 4" tile in that bathroom with white grout and it is a real pain to keep clean and sealed.
I've got a 4' level, so I'm good there. I don't have a corded drill, so I was planning to mix the mortar by hand. Would you all recommend I get a drill to mix with?
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:26 AM   #25
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzycat1 View Post
@lazzlazz and @omgdiddy - thanks for all the additional tips and details of your experience. I've seen those tile levelers at home depot, and many others online. I've seen mixed reviews on them. I wasn't going to use them, but with all the discussion here about lippage, I think I may reconsider. And thanks for the tip about leaving a gap and using caulk where the tile meets the the tub. I was wondering about that. I've seen the sanded caulk that matches the grout, so I'll plan to get some of that. And I'll probably go with an off-white, or something that more closely matches the veining. The counter-tops are 4" tile in that bathroom with white grout and it is a real pain to keep clean and sealed.
I've got a 4' level, so I'm good there. I don't have a corded drill, so I was planning to mix the mortar by hand. Would you all recommend I get a drill to mix with?
For that much mortar, I'd recommend the harbor fart mortar mixer. It's close to 100 bucks but worth it's weight in gold.

https://m.harborfreight.com/dual-spe...not%20provided

The sanded caulk looks nice but can be a pain to work with and it shrinks substantially as is dries. Mapei makes a colour matched RTV caulk called Mapesil T and works great in areas subject to regular water exposure.


Sent from my mobile look-at device
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:27 AM   #26
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


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They are. But you will also find the occasional accounts of loose tiles where the levelers pulled the tiles off the mortar. Likely user error.
The QEP brand at HD call for 1/2" square notch trowel.

Possibly wrong trowel was used.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:15 PM   #27
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


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They are. But you will also find the occasional accounts of loose tiles where the levelers pulled the tiles off the mortar. Likely user error.
If the tile pulls up, they either didn't wait long enough for the thin set to cure, or they did a poor job (or maybe used premix?).

I waited a week or more to remove the tabs - just to be sure - especially since I had Schluter Ditra under the tiles. Probably overkill, but I had other things to do.

I think I used these from HD: QEP LASH Tile Leveling, Aligning and Spacer Clips Part A (96-Pack) 9.97 and there's also Part B Wedges (another 9.97). The wedges can be re-used on another project - you'd just have to buy more clips.

It was $20 well spent. But having a quality mortar underneath helps. As you set the tiles, get them right, but then check back after setting a few more tiles, and check again after a few more, just to be sure. Then check again a little later. My tiles were spaced 1/8" apart - you want at least the thickness of a popsicle stick, so you can clean out thin set that squeeze between this. This especially happens if you have a high tile that you want lower - if you have too much thin set, be prepare to just pull up the tile, remove some of the thinset, backbutter & notch again (right away - not later). You may need something flat to help pull the tile off it can be a little hard to do, even when the thinset is fresh.

A nice looking job is a matter of using quality thinset (mixed to peanut butter consistency), taking your time, being fiddly, and really getting things right.

Last edited by lazzlazz; 02-02-2018 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:03 AM   #28
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


The manufacturer recommendation to not use a 1/2 overlap is merely due to manufacturing tolerances and lippage. Check it out on a flat surface, and if the tiles you have are reasonably flat, you can use any pattern you like. Sometimes the lippage will be so small you won't ever pay attention to it again after installation.

Having said that, I like the pattern in the first photo in this thread.

I would not leave a thin tile on the right hand side (2" offset). I would put a full tile against that wall. This will leave a 4" tile in the small shower area. A small area of 4" tile (2/3 of a tile) is better than a larger area of 2" tile (1/3 of a tile.)

If there is any cracking at all in the concrete, I would definitely install Ditra as an underlayment. Noble Seal is also an option. This will of course determine your thinset type as well (white unmodified for Ditra). While you will do your best to not leave excess thinset oozing out, it's still better to have white thinset underneath light colored grout, so any high spots that you didn't catch don't show through. (Of course if using dark grout, use gray thinset).

For the grout line, I would recommend 3/16" as it gives you a little more margin for error when laying the tile (the inevitable problem spots or slightly off tile). 1/8" is a tight tolerance that allows for virtually no error.

Going underneath the door trim is of course the best way to do it (cutting around trim is the mark of an amateur). This is tricky, but it is done by pros every day.
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:13 AM   #29
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Re: First DIY Tiling Job - Looking for Tips and Advice.


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Originally Posted by fritzycat1 View Post
I've seen those tile levelers at home depot, and many others online. I've seen mixed reviews on them. I wasn't going to use them, but with all the discussion here about lippage, I think I may reconsider.
I would not recommend tile levelers for this application. The reason is that if there is any curvature ("warpage") to the tiles, they will not work right. (Remember the manufacturer recommended not using 1/2 overlap? Same reason - tile warpage). If you check every tile and they are perfectly flat, you could use them. I don't think you'll find it very necessary because on a job this small, you can just fuss and bother and get it right by hand. This will of course mean that sometimes you have to pry up a tile and add a glob more thinset under it to get it higher.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzycat1 View Post
The counter-tops are 4" tile in that bathroom with white grout and it is a real pain to keep clean and sealed.
You should consider a quality premixed grout such as Mapei Flexcolor CQ. It seems very expensive at first, but when you factor in
- mixing and cleaning of regular grout
- cost of sealer
- labor of sealing
you'll realize that the extra $40 it costs is money that very well might be well spent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzycat1 View Post
I don't have a corded drill, so I was planning to mix the mortar by hand. Would you all recommend I get a drill to mix with?
Not recommended. It would be too bad to have to buy a drill for one time use, but you really want a strong drill to mix. You're looking for low speed (low RPMs) and high torque. Such as this bargain
https://www.harborfreight.com/power-...ill-63112.html

There are specialty mixers
https://www.costway.com/electric-mor...aign=connexity

but the Harbor Freight one can also be used as a drill in the future if you keep it. Another option is to rent one.

If you decide to save the money and mix by hand, I would recommend mixing up only very small batches at a time, enough for a few tiles. You will get very tired of mixing, believe me. Although slaking will help.
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