View Full Version : Keeping wall tile in place while setting
12-30-2000, 06:01 PM
I have quite a bit of tile to set on walls this coming week. It's irregular-edge 4x4 tile sheet mounted into 12x12 sheets. Normally one would use spacers to keep wall tile from sagging while the adhesive dries, but with this stuff I'm not sure.
Two things have occurred to me:
1) get a bunch of different sized spacers and use them according to what fits, possibly using a knife to cut them in half
2) get out the table saw and chop saw and spend some time making a bunch of wood spacers of different thicknesses, maybe 1/2" wide, 1" long, and ranging from 1/16 to 1/4 thick
Any good suggestions? How do you guys do it? I need a very slick approach to this. Just laying some of the sheets out on the floor, I can see that precise placement of them is needed to make them look like they are NOT sheet mounted.
12-30-2000, 06:50 PM
When we install sheet-mounted tile on walls we usually start at the top and "hang" the sheets, working toward the floor. On the top course of sheets you can use nails, driven slightly into the substrate to suspend the tiles. On the next course down you might be able to simply tape to the upper sheets .. . maybe a few more nails, etc. The key, of course, is layout.
Dale M Moulton
12-30-2000, 07:40 PM
Adhesives are available (in Australia at least, I know this for a fact because my company makes one)that will hang tiles on the wall (mosaics or monolithic) and will not slump, I am sure someone over there will help you with a brand name you can purchase close to where you live. Mosaics are no problem, the better and more accurately you set out the wall with a grid pattern of equally spaced lines (get some help to spring the chalkline)will keep you on track and produce a professional job.
12-31-2000, 12:02 AM
I use nails, tape, wedges, spacers, shims, straightedges, sticks, dowels and just about anything else that will hold tile up.
I never trust the thinsets that claim to be No Sag, fearing that I'll come back after lunch or the next day to find slumped tilebonded in the wrong place. My local supplier recently sold me five bags of their No Sag thinset, and it sagged.
For me, a true mastic-like thinset is like a beer that won't give me a headache the next day. Can I claim as a business expense a trip to Australia to buy some of Dale's product?
12-31-2000, 09:06 AM
You could claim it as a business expense. It's whether or not you could defend it in an audit that matters! The airline would probably make you buy an extra seat so the bags of thinset could sit there on the trip back.
Seriously, the tile store here has thinset claimed to be no-sag and they told me right up front it will sag.
01-01-2001, 01:39 PM
If you do come across a no sag thinset that works, please let me know!
Dale M Moulton
01-02-2001, 03:11 AM
Well well well,
It looks like I have a new market in USA.
Our product is pure white, so you can slop it around and it won't disclose through the grout (not really the intent of the colour but it makes it a whole lot easier on the fixer) it's flexible, it's a one part powder that hydrates, so can be used under fully vitrified tiles or glass mosaics, it is buttery to use, it notch trowels up beautifully, it has a great pot life, it is not expensive to use (about AUD3.50 per square metre)Thats about AUD3.00 persquare yard.
AND IT WON'T SLUMP WHEN APPLIED AS DIRECTED.
If you don't believe me, you pay the freight and I will ship a sample free of charge.
01-02-2001, 09:08 AM
I am also interested in this wonderful "Aussie" technology. Any idea what the shipping would be to Iowa? Im sure it would be cheaper than three tickets down under...one for me, one for Rob, and one for the goods on the way home.
01-02-2001, 07:43 PM
I am interesting in seeing what this stuff is like-thanks for the offer. I speak for my friend Dave when I ask how much Australian beer can be sent with that thinset? I'm told that the Fosters here in the US is a joke to you Aussies.
What is the name of your company? Location?
01-02-2001, 07:54 PM
Correction to typo: I am INTERESTED in seeing what....
Also: Does your company have a website?
01-02-2001, 08:16 PM
Well, well, well indeed, my Aussie friend. I think we may be confusing two issues here, folks. The no sag thin set we have in the States works very well on the horizontal (takes an initial set in a couple of minutes. It would work on the vertical also if you could keep things in place for a minute or two.
I think your powdery stuff is probably the same as ours, Dale. You just have more time to stand around holding the piece up while it sets. Sort of like watching the grass grow, what?
BTW, I'm still waiting for my Christmas present.
01-03-2001, 08:08 AM
Maybe Dale just studied the "standing around" section in your book too long !
You do not say anything about how the tiles are mounted....dot-mounted, paper back-mounted, mesh back-mounted. If there is no free-play between individual tiles, you are going to have an alignment problem. If not, you may have to do some slitting of the backing to make all the tiles align as you want them (My wife's company mounts her very irregular tiles on a fabric mesh that allows for extensive re-positioning of the tiles).
There are plenty of thinset mortars that will hang your tile without sagging if you spread and comb out the mortar properly and if you do two things:
#1 Press the sheet into the mortar approximately 1/2-inch above the desired location for the sheet. Make certain that all tiles in the sheet are making full contact with the adhesive.
#2 Pull the sheet (or individual tiles if they are movable) down into position and press all the tiles in the sheet back into the setting bed surface again.
Most thinset mortar adhesives will stretch slightly before they begin to hold fast. Setting the tiles a half-inch higher than desired, pulling them down into position, and then pressing back into the surface has helped me in the past.
As for Austalian, or Italian, or any other foreign materials, only those that conform to ANSI A108 specs should be used.
Dale M Moulton
01-03-2001, 03:57 PM
Dear MB,and all.
It would be improper to advertise on the forum and not my intention. Dot fixing is outlawed in Australia, all fixing is done to standards set by practical experience standards.
Your version of fixing systems is accurate, horizontal combing is required but the initial slump is negligible.
01-03-2001, 07:17 PM
Thanks for all of your responses. I just finished setting the first wall one hour ago and it was quite successful.
The tiles are on what I would say is a paper mesh. I used Custom Building Products Premium Plus Thinset and their acrylic admix, per the instructions on the packages. The stuff was incredibly sticky, much more so than the same powder mixed with water. The tiles did not sag AT ALL, in spite of my being amply prepared with shims, spacers, wedges, nails, tape, spit, and other goodies. I combed horizontally (mostly because it's easier to do) and smeared the sheets into the thinset from above, much as MB suggested. I waited and watched the first couple, and they did not move. After five minutes they were hard to move. SO, I set the rest and cleaned up. I could barely get the mortar clean out of my bucket. Hopefully this initial positive impression of the product will be accompanied by many years of stable performance.
01-03-2001, 07:49 PM
I'm glad to hear that this method works. This won't be the first time that MB passes on something that makes my life easier. Thanks, Michael.
By the way, dot-mounting is not what Dave is refering to when he mentions dot-fixing which means to slap four or five "dots" of thinset on the back of a tile and then press it home. The dots spread out and allow a quick leveling of the tile. Unfortunately, it also leaves a rather large void behind the tile which leads to a loss of compressive strength, possible freeze/thaw damage, and maintenance problems. Absolutely useless for floor installations and equally bad on walls.
Dot-mounting refers to small plastic dots which hols sheets of mosaic tiles together. Dot-mounting is a manufacturing process.
01-05-2001, 07:34 PM
I set a different tile today with the same thinset, and it did not hold nearly as well on the vertical. This was a 12x12 with a deep ribbed pattern on the back. Spacers were needed to hold this stuff in place. The tile I originally asked about is 4x4's mounted into 12x12 sheets, using a paper web material that's glued on. I now think that this tile holds because of the paper--the thinset squeezes through it and it sticks fast.
There are two reasons why your new tile did not stick:
1. The weight of the tile (per cubic inch) exceeds that of the first batch.
2. Ribbed-back tiles move up to 50% of the back of the tile away from the setting bed. The closer the back, the greater the wet-bond.
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