To backbutter mosaics simply grab a scrap piece of your substrate, in this case it was kerdi-board, and comb the thinset onto it just like you would if you were installing the tile to it. Equip the tile saw with a tile-cutting blade or use nippers to complete the cuts. For thicker tiles, larger notches are recommended. Next, Dean creates a custom screed by notching a plastic putty knife. Use a spray bottle at its finest setting to mist your work area with water as you stir and scoop. Let the joint compound or thin-set harden and you’re ready to set tile. And protruding backing can prevent you from pushing adjoining sheets close together. After marking the curve on the sheet of mosaic tile, he brings the sheet to the saw, where he removes individual tiles for cutting. Apply the mortar or mastic in the same manner as the rest of the wall and place the tiles. Dean lets this layer of thin-set firm up before moving on to the next step. You can use any kind of tile on the gazing ball, creating a pattern or a design on the ball. For larger batches, we mix in a 5-gallon bucket so that we can mix vigorously without slinging out any material. Alternatively, a measuring cup can be used for the water, with 1/2 cup being the equivalent of 4 ounces weight. This is concrete not cookie dough! There is only a tiny amount of water in a fine mist, and so you don’t have to worry about it messing up your unused thinset or throwing off your measurements, but it is highly effective at getting the dust out of the air. The scraping power of the trowel comes in handy during clean up too. Thinset tile mortar has a smooth, slippery consistency, similar to mud. We use the following materials to keep the work clean and efficient: The plastic tray or recycled container lid holds a small amount of thinset for use. Carefully set the mosaic sheets into the mortar; you cannot slide them more than a quarter-inch or so. Scraping with a trowel is the best way to remove the crust of thinset that forms on buckets and stirrers. Let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then mix it again without adding more water. Rinse away any residue with enough water so that you don’t leave a white limestone scum on the grass, which could kill it if conditions are dry. Cover the countertop with plastic sheeting held in place with masking tape. Then place your mosaic sheet into the bed of thinset and push it back and forth into the thinset, again, just like you would if you were installing it. Amazon Deals: Try Amazon Prime 30 days for free = The pallet knife was ergonomically designed to manipulate pastes on flat surfaces WITH MINIMAL BENDING OF THE WRIST and makes a butter knife just seem clumsy.). If you find a dip in a wall, flatten it by screeding a layer of setting-type joint compound over it as shown here. On most tiles, though, it isn't necessary to wet the back. Dean says that one of the most important tips for any tile-setting job, including mosaics, is to start with a perfectly flat surface. Take care to mix all the way to the bottom of the bucket and scrape the edges to make sure that no powder, lumps or clumps remain. Keep in mind that you can create a lot of dust after the water is added to the powder by stirring to rapidly. If the mosaic band is glass tile or thin mosaic, he flattens this layer of thin-set with a flat putty knife. This is particularly important when working with glass mosaic tile, which is non-porous and difficult to bond securely. You can break the plastic handle off your wife’s favorite spoon or bend a thin piece of pipe in a hurry if the batch is large enough. Tile installation requires grooves in the thinset to create air pockets which facilitate the adhesion of the tile. He’s done everything from single-tile repairs to an 8,000-sq.-ft. floor, and he currently runs Sorem Tile & Stone in Hudson, WI. Twist the tile slightly as you set it to create … You can find what amount of water to add per pound by dividing the amount of water recommended for the entire package by the weight of the package. Position the tile over the mortar bed and press it in place. We sell Thinset Mortar in 2lb containers. He eliminates the bulk of the waste with straight cuts, or by making a series of fingers and breaking them off. Try to dispose of most of your unused thinset as solid waste. If this happens to you, wait for the thinset to firm up a little. For most tile installations, a square-notched trowel with 1/4 inch notches produces grooves of the right thickness. 1 Mix the thinset … The installation method for any tile but especially a mosaic is to comb the area in a direction, sit the tile on the area, then gently press the tile into the thinset perpendicular to the thinset streaks back and for… Then just saw as usual. The glass tile in this video is a mosaic tile and is not transparent. To make sure mosaic tile is fully embedded and the faces of all the tiles are flush with the rest, it’s important to tamp them with a block after setting the sheets in the thin-set. Use a clean paint paddle or sturdy rod to stir, and make sure that your stirrer is stout enough for the job. It helps to control dust if all the mixing happens near the bottom of the bucket. To avoid this, before the application of thinset, I “pregrout” my mosaics by applying on top of the mosaic a mix of thinset and grout on top of the tesserae. Here Dean is removing the spacers after the adhesive behind the surrounding tile has set up. Install the mosaic or glass tile accent band. Flatten the Thin-Set. You don’t want to leave thin-set between the tiles because it may show through the grout. We use a small kitchen scale or postal scale for weighing out the thinset and the water. Although you should wear a dust mask when scooping and mixing the thinset powder, it is best to control dust at the source by slow careful scoops and stirs and never pouring or dumping the powder. Tamp them Flat. (3 min. Website, Text and Images © 2003-2018 J.E. He spreads a layer of thin-set in the band area and uses the notched trowel to screed the thin-set to the right thickness. Then the mortar is allowed to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and then it is mixed again for a minute or two. Trying to apply thinset to a large section of your mosaic all at once can sometimes cause your thinset to be too thick and then it will come up too high on the sides of your tiles, filling in where your grout needs to go. In a pinch, just use a block of wood, but keep the face free of grout, which could scratch the tile. HOWEVER, if you live some place with extreme cold or extreme wet, it never hurts to go to your local building material store and ask what contractors are using in your area before choosing a paint or a roofing material or a sealant or anything like that. It is also heatproof, so it won't lose its grip in hot environments. But he says a wood float with a handle on it works great too. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Cut the mesh between the rows with a sharp utility knife. Even the sand in grout and thinset is enough to stop up some plumbing systems. Thinset Mortar comes in 25-pound bags. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer), Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. for the thin-set. Our latest shed is also a pavilion—and you can build it, too! Wear a dust mask and do this outside. Keep the bucket covered and use the putty knife or margin trowel to scrap the sides of the bucket so that all the thinset is in a blob and doesn’t dry out. These instructions are written for doing detailed work one-tile-at-a-time by hand, and so this page might make using thinset sound more difficult than it really is. A tradeoff to skimming is that the notch ridges would have strengthened the thinset's bond. Thinset mortar is a type of cement used for the adherence of tiles and flooring to substrate, or subfloor materials. Q: To tile the ceiling above my tub, should I use mastic or thinset? Generally speaking any vertical tile installation should be done on cement … The thinset bag has mixing instructions on the label, but those were written for mixing the entire bag. Gradually add the thin-set powder, mixing it thoroughly. Whether you spread the thinset in small patches or put a smear of thinset on the backside of each tile will depend on your style and pace of work. Recently we added a liquid concrete dye to Versabond thinset, and we used many, many times the recommended dosage for concrete without any noticeable loss in bond strength or hardness as far as we could tell, although we make no guarantees. Skim (flatten) the surface of the thinset application with the long flat edge of the trowel. For a large area, the manufacturer recommends FlexBond thin set mortar (with water only). All rights reserved. We have a concrete mixing attachment that fits into our electric drill, and we use it for batches of 5 pounds or more. The solution is to place a thin scrap of plywood under the sheet of mosaic tile as you cut it. I foolishly … spread thinset and set tiles. (Versabond thinset is sold in white and gray.) If you get to the end of a wall or up against an object and are left with a gap that’s too narrow to fill with tile but too wide to caulk, you can close it by spreading the rows of tiles slightly. If you’re working with thin mosaic tile or glass mosaic tile that isn’t painted on the back, apply the thin-set with a notched trowel and then flatten it slightly with the flat side of the trowel before setting the tile. Go ahead and buy a 5-gallon bucket with a snap on lid and keep your material in there. Get the Right Substrate. Thinset, grout, concrete, and other products that contain portland cement are mildly caustic and can dry out the skin very rapidly and cause irritation. Polymer-Enriched Thin-Set Mortar Mosaic & Glass Tile Mortar is a regular-setting, polymer-enriched (“modified”), bright white, multipurpose mortar designed for installing sheet-mounted mosaic glass or stone tiles or individual tiles in thin-set … The mesh, plastic or paper backing that holds mosaic tiles together can get in the way if you don’t trim the edges. For detailed mosaic artwork where you are placing each tile by hand, you will probably want to mix 1 to 3 pounds at most. Grouting takes a LONG time so don’t start at 11pm. Note that these gloves are much thinner and offer much more dexterity than the thick grouting gloves. Using thinset for your adhesive works best if you can "butter" the backs of your tiles before laying them in place. On those type of tiles, it's a good idea to wet the back of the tile with water before applying the tile to the wall. No matter how you handle the thinset, you will occasionally get some on your fingers. This technique can also be used for flat tile. Traditional versions are cement-based powders that are mixed with water prior to application. Whether your spread the thinset or apply it to each individual tile, you will need a way of keeping your hands clean and a way of cleaning up random drops and smears. First Dean carefully calculates how wide the band will be by measuring the width of the tile band and adding the width of two grout spaces. Spread thinset in area using a 1/4 x 1/4 square notch trowel (Image 2), then begin to set tiles (Image 3). Then he spreads another layer of thin-set over the base layer and uses the notched trowel to create an even layer of adhesive. Use this procedure to use only 3 rags: If the above instructions aren’t detailed enough, I have also written an expanded version of this technique in a blog article called How To Keep Your Hands Clean When Using Thinset Mortar. (A good test is to cement a few rocks together, wait about 6 days, and then bust them apart with a hammer and look for crumbly material or a lack of adhesion.) Give yourself plenty of time to grout! Prepare Mortar To prepare powdered thin-set mortar for natural stone and mosaic tile, fill your bucket with water in the amount listed on the package. Dean Sorem installed his first tile in 1979 and has been a professional tile setter ever since. Once the thinset has cured, we flip the mosaic. If you attempt to set wall tiles using thinset without spacers, you’ll end up with a bunch of tiles that have slid into each other before the thinset has had time to set, resulting in a … Then use a toothbrush to clean the thin-set out of the grout spaces. Sometimes the thinset shows between the tiles, leaving no space between them to apply the grout of the right color. Since thinset tile mortar has … Home House & Components Fixtures Bookcases. For detailed mosaic artwork where you are placing each tile by hand, you will probably want to mix 1 to 3 pounds at most. The built-up thin-set base ensures that the surface of the mosaic band will be perfectly flush with the surrounding tile. This video by Karen Silton describes how to use thinset to attach mosaic tiles on a gazing ball. The slot in the bed of most tile saws is so wide that small mosaic tiles will fall in, making them difficult to cut. APPLYING ADHESIVE: Apply a good quality latex-modified thinset approved for use with glass or vitreous/porcelain tile. Glass tile installed on a kitchen backsplash using a high polymer content thinset suitable for glass tile. You have to pour the water in gently and stir slowly at first to avoid creating dust before the powder is wetted. Moorman for Mosaic Art Supply, LLC. Then trowel more thinset into the channel using your plastic notch trowel and install the mosaic tile. For either technique, a painter’s palette knife is the ideal tool for handling the thinset. Then grout and finish as desired. You can use that same ratio of 1 part water to 4 parts thinset to mix up tiny batches of thinset, such as 1 ounce of water plus 4 ounces of thinset. Mesh can stick out into the grout space and cause grouting trouble. Photo and mosaic: @Julie Sperling. This video shows how to achieve a full coverage of the thinset on the back of the glass mosaic tile. Spread Thinset. Thinset is very sticky, and if it has set for more than a few minutes, it will likely take more than a squirt nozzle to remove it. Thinset is used for outdoor mosaics, or mosaics which may come into contact with water, such as in a shower. Also, you need to test your dye with your thinset to make sure that it doesn’t affect the bond strength or hardness. This page explains how to mix and use thinset mortar for detailed work with glass mosaic tile and other tesserae for outdoor and wet mosaics where PVA adhesives such as Weldbond should be avoided. After the thinset is mixed, concrete dye can be blended into it if the thinset will be used for grouting and a custom color is desired. Most thinset is used only for attaching tiles, and so there is no need to dye the thinset if it will not be visible. Scrape fingers off on the wadded newspaper in the garbage can. Place a piece of plywood on top and gently press the sheets into the mortar. 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