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  • Tile novice

    LOML wants tile on the walls above the stove and sink as backsplashes. She has decided she likes the 4" x 4" "Venetian Stone" tiles at Lowes,(It is a baked tile with a clear glaze on the front, 1/4" thick at the edges and about 3/8" in the middle). She wants them on the diagonal (45 degree runs). I have calculated it will take probably 200+ cuts to do what she wants, and cut in around the light switches,outlets, etc.
    The surface I am applying these to is 1/2" drywall coated with contractor grade flat latex paint that was installed when the house was constructed about 2 years ago. It is in very sound condition and not grease/water saturated. Based on research so far, I am planning on using sanded grout with a 1/8" spacing.
    Your advice on the following questions would be appreciated:
    1. Is it okay to use mastic adhesive and apply directly to the existing wall, or would 1/4" hardi-backer board be a better option?
    1a. If I use the backer board, is thinset better than mastic adhesive?
    2. What grade tile saw will work? Of the ones I have seen so far, the 4" blade type do not seem worth even the relatively cheap price (under $100). The 7" blade ones (table-top type) vary in quality and price from $80 to $200. I will be making the 40 mi trip to the nearest HD next week to check out a 7" one they have on the website for about $80. Even though I foresee some more work in the future, (countertops, etc, not floors) I do not wish to spend $300 for an overhead slide type that will not be used often.
    Any additional pointers or advice will be appreciated as I have never installed ceramic tile, altho I have watched the videos put out by Randy Davis (a tile setter from Mississippi) which gives me the basics of applying the thinset/mastic, layout, grouting, etc.
    In summary: I don't know enough to be scared off, but do know that there is a lot I don't know!!

    Go
    Practicing at practical wood working

  • #2
    Re: Tile novice

    Since it's not a bathroom or damp area, mastic will work fine. 1/4" cement board and thinset would be better since the it would reduce the chance of cracking over time. Thinset is almost always better than premixed mastic. With 1/8 or larger grout joints you should use a sanded grout. Any of the $60-$100 wet tile saws will do the job. Since you're not doing a large job, you don't really need a $700 saw. It's not a difficult job, just time consuming and takes patience. Use a 3/16" V-notch trowel.

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    • #3
      Re: Tile novice

      From my name you might guess this is what I do. Mastic is more than fine, the . Don't bother with hardi. The sheet rock is just fine. What kind of counter tops do you have? I wouldn't do bigger than a 1/8" grout joint and i agree with newman anything bigger than 1/8" always use sanded. Get some Tavy spacers from Lowes they will make your life much easier. Also does the tile have a bull nose in the series? If you can find one of the workforce 7" saw it will do everything you will ever want to do with tile. I have a MK 770 and use it more that my MK101. ANd like newman said the 3/16" v-notch is your best bet.

      Also un-screw all your outlets so that you can tile behind them. Make sure the ears of the outlet sit on the tile. You will probably need longer screws after that. Also GFCI will need a extra notch for the outlet cover screws.

      Also you might want to get a tube of color match caulk for your grout color. The grout often cracks at the counter tops but not as much with sanded grout.

      My most common tile for Backsplash is tumbled travertine 4x4's. You can but them right up to each other and use unsanded grout. They look great.

      Hope some of this helps.

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      • #4
        Re: Tile novice

        Oh yeah that's a good point - I forgot to mention the flexible grout in the tubes. It's a good idea to use the stuff in the corners.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Tile novice

          Thanks for the replies and the advice. I'll let you know how it is going after I make the trip to HD next week. Looks like their workforce saw will be what I need,(providing they have one on hand). Will also check out their tile selection. My plan is to get the saw and make a few cuts to get a feel for it, and then "go for" it.
          The counter tops I have are the chipboard/formica top with oak edging. At present, they will stay. They do have the 3 1/2" backsplash of the same material. My plan now is to put the ceramic above that. Would it be better to remove it and go from the existing top? Measurement-wise, it will not save me any cuts (actually makes it worse).

          Go
          Last edited by Gofor; 05-25-2007, 08:38 PM.
          Practicing at practical wood working

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          • #6
            Re: Tile novice

            I agree with the cheaper 7" saw at HD. I used one for a couple of years on basic around the house tile projects and it worked fine for me. Think I paid around $50 at the time. Would recommend you use it outside or at the least get something to put under it as water does get out and messy. I have an old plastic bottom from a dog crate I set my saw in and works fine to contain everything and hose it off when done. I didn't and still don't trust the fence all that much though. You should probably check the fence setting with a reilabe tape measure or similar often and ensure you tighten it well. As I recall the saw I bought came with a spare blade. If the one you choose doesn't and you will be making a lot of cuts you may want to consider buying a spare at the same time if it is a long drive for you to get to such things.

            I personally used the 1/4" hardibacker on similar projects, but it sounds like people recommend either way. I also used mastic with the acrylic in it, even though the backsplash won't be getting all that wet so it probably isn't really necessary. Since the tile is getting a bit thick in the middle, depending on where your cuts end up you may want to consider putting in some box extenders in your electrical boxes. This will allow you to safely extend the depth of your boxes to account for the hardibacker (if you choose to use it) and the tile itself. They are cheap and easy to install and keep things up to code. The flexible grout is great for the corners. I have also just put caulking in them as well, depending on the situation, although I personally prefer the former.

            Good luck. Take your time, keep a speed square handy for the tricky cuts and I think it will turn out to be a project you will find challenging and fun at the same time.
            Last edited by wwsmith; 05-26-2007, 12:25 AM.
            Still enjoying all 10 fingers!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tile novice

              I had planned on the box extenders for the outlets. I don't like having a lot of space for critters to get in or sparks to get out!! If that means using the backer board, I will go with it. Cutting on the diagonal, I will have to manufacture some bead molding to edge it anyway, so if it is thicker, it won't be too much problem. As for the fence, I used to have an old TS that got me into the practice of measuring before cutting, so that won't be anything new. Thanks for the tip on the mess. I hadn't considered that aspect of the wet saw. I have a plastic "mud sled" I bought a while back to mix concrete in for some deck post footers which should work well for setting the saw in.
              The local Lowes has 7" blades for about $30, but I will check HD when I am there also. From what I have been able to see on the net, the HD workforce 550 saw appears to be a bit better than the $90 one a Lowes and the $99 one at the local hardware, but sometimes the pics don't show everything. I'll find out next week.

              Thanks again for the help.

              Go
              Practicing at practical wood working

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tile novice

                here is an excellent resource for all aspects of tiling http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/index.php

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tile novice

                  Hotmeds: Thanks for the link. I have it bookmarked.
                  Update: Picked up the Workforce 550 at HD ($88) and made a few cuts. Works well after I tweaked the splitter and table top mounts with a dremel to get everything lined/squared up with the blade. All metal except for the miter guide, and blade guard. Getting close to buying all the materials but have one last question (I hope) before starting. The mastic I can get locally limits porcelain wall tiles to 2" x 2", and wall tile to 6" x 6". The 4 x 4 stuff I will be using is 3/8" thick at the center, so I am planning to go with the thin-set, which is stronger.
                  The thin-set comes in the bag, and also premixed in 15 lb buckets. Is there a downside to using the premixed for a relatively small job like this? (I figure about 27 sf.) I do have a mud stirrer if the bag-type is better. (I have a 1/4 x 1/4 square notched trowel, Is the 3/16 V trowel better?)
                  And to revisit one other item which I am having trouble deciding on:
                  If I go straight to the wall, its permanent and means major rework (ie sheetrock replacement) should Someone ever change her mind. If I use the 1/4" hardi-backer, I will be able to remove everything (difficult and will require chiseling down to the screws, but do-able) and mainly just have patchwork on the sheetrock. Any more thoughts on this?
                  Go
                  Practicing at practical wood working

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tile novice

                    Sheetrock is cheap. 90% of the time I just cut the sheetrock out to remove a backsplash. Also if the wall is painted it you can remove the tile and save the sheetrock. Did you look for a bullnose tile to match the tile? It will look much better than wood trim. I can send you some pictures if you want.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tile novice

                      Beings the tile is on a diagonal, the edges are all cuts. I have seen no bullnose tiles for a diagonal installation. I will see how using a border of straight bullnosed strips will look. I will also try a bevel cut on the edges and see if I can polish it. Either way might be simpler than reproducing the ogee molding on the cabinets.
                      Thanks for the ideas.

                      Go
                      Practicing at practical wood working

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tile novice

                        Yes you would have to put a straight row of bullnose. Just make sure you start at the bullnose so you have full tiles there. When I am doing 4x4 tumbled trav. I use half tiles, cut and laid straight, as bullnose and put the tumbled side out and grout it in. Good luck.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tile novice

                          Thanks for all the tips. LOML has signed off on the bullnose edge, which will be 1 1/4" strips to match the cabinet molding width + grout line. I will be going straight to the wall, altho I will sand it first to give it a good surface for the adhesive to bite, and remove any surface grease/soap residues that may have splashed on it. I am submitting the following for any observations or advice. There are reasons for all my choices, altho they may be based on faulty knowledge. Bought the materials today and found out that the project will be delayed a few days as I have to help my SIL move (I'm the one with the truck/trailer).
                          Game Plan:
                          Tile: Lowes 4 x 4 Venetian Stone (a color through porcelain tile almost 3/8" thick at the center. Appears to have no glaze and is polished somewhat.
                          Layout - 45 degree diagonal
                          Spacing; 1/8"
                          Intended Adhesive: Laticrete 317 (White) with 333 admix
                          Intended Grout: Laticrete 1500 series Sanded Grout with 1776 admix
                          Trowel: 1/4 x 1/4 square notch
                          Substrate: Latex painted Drywall about 2 yrs old.
                          Wetsaw: HD $88 Workforce (I have tweaked it with a dremel tool, so table is now square and fence is parallel to blade). Cuts the tiles but don't know how many blades I will go through having about 200 or more cuts to make.
                          Tools on hand: Wetsaw, Trowel, 2 x 5 smooth margin trowel, Tile nippers, Sponges, buckets, mud mixer for the drill.
                          Materials: All purchased
                          I plan to skimcoat the wall first to get a feel for the mixing and troweling. If I do, is there a maximum cure time with the admix?
                          Providing it all goes well, I will be back for advice on sealing the grout/tiles.

                          Go
                          Practicing at practical wood working

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tile novice

                            This is directed to humbletile: Great info in your response. I have no knowledge of tiling, but have done some home improvement projects/side jobs, and woodworking, so of course, my friends think I know everything about home improvements (the fools).

                            Anyway, I have a friend redoing a powder room approx 48"square. His plumber said there is an 'adhesive' that can be used directly on vinyl to install tile flooring. I always thought this was a no-no. And to make me even more afraid, he said the 'young man' in the flooring aisle at the big box said 'yeah, it can be done'.

                            So, I figured I'd ask the expert (s) here for advice. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tile novice

                              There are 4x4 and 3x12 bullnose in the Rialto tiles "Venetian Stone" at Lowe's (also 6x6, but won't look good with 4x4 tiles methinks) available in all the colors that the 4x4 field tiles come in.

                              1/8" grout lines are right on the border between sanded and unsanded grout. FYI the main advantage to sanded grout is that it provides strength in wider grout joints, while the main advantage to unsanded is that it is simply easier to work with, especially for noobs. Personally, unless you're going to be flipping your house on its side and walking on your walls, I'd go with unsanded.

                              Mastic will work fine in the kitchen, too - it has a faster 'grab' than thinset so you shouldn't have to worry about tiles sliding down your walls before it dries, and it costs a little more than half of premixed thinset.

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