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question marsha 
Aug-30-2010 08:11
12535 
Clear
Potters Touch tile
I am looking for several 4 3/8 potters touch, in Bone Color,also flat cap- surface caps,matte glaze.It was made by FL tile I live in Atl ga area
Dear MARSHA:
Potters Touch tile

Your quest is noted for all to see and I will contact my information source in the morning as well. Questions about needs should always include "exact" quantities to minimize back and forths. Keep tuned in.

And I would like all to remember the new quote I have "penned" today:

 

"It is easy to be happy, stupid to be sad,

and dumb to waste time and money". Armen Tavy 8-30-10

Marsha, here is what I got back on your search, it is probably your best bet:

 

Armen, I don't know exactly how to answer your customers emails so here's the answer to this one. You have to contact Florida Tile direct to see if they have any stock or know of someone who might. The only no I have right off is the Colorado location and they are very helpful. Ph is 303-744-2433. They did have some old v-cap for one of  my customers. Hopefully this may help. Florida's main location is in Kentucky.   Mike Ceramic Tile Supply, Inc.
 
question amj_cornellier 
Aug-29-2010 00:03
12534 
Clear
Mixed cement and plywood substrate
I have a 1985 built house with a 250 square foot room with good 3/4in plywood subfloor on wooden joists. Feels solid, level, and no bending when walking. I wish to install slate tiles and intend to add 1/2in of plywood to the subfloor. In the corner of the room was a fireplace which I've demolished and am replacing with a wood stove. The fireplace had a 6in thick cement pad under it which is higher than the plywood surface in the rest of the room. I wish to make the whole floor at one level, so I'm lowering the cement with a demolition hammer, to the level of the 1.25in subfloor. Can I transition from slate on 1.25 mixed plywood to slate on cement, or would it be safer to cover the whole floor with the same layer before tiling?
Dear AMJ_CORNELLIER:
Mixed cement and plywood substrate

I am so pleased that you submitted this question, because all precautions must be taken to keep families safe. This is the most important place where “EVERYONE MUST FOLLOW THE RULES.”.

One would think that a layer of non-combustible slate flooring would be adequate as a fire retardant; however, it "does not cut the mustard" so to speak, and fire codes everywhere request that there be a non-flammable, heat resistant cement or cement base finish beneath, as well as behind or alongside, any type of wood, paper, or coal/coke burning appliance. The sub-surface, underneath or behind, any non-flammable flooring or wall covering, must not be closer than 20" to 24" to any outer surfaces of a working wood burning "fireplace", "Franklin", or similar, "Pot Belie" type stoves, that use any type of incendiary fuels to create heat.

Your explanation of your intent is not quite clear to me the way you have written it, but here is the only way you can safely complete your project, keep your local Fire Marshall happy, and the “Grim Reaper” Away. You can tear out the present cement base, as you say, and fill in the cavity with plywood to a level not to exceed the existing height of adjacent 3/4" sub flooring, then install the new 1/2" plywood everywhere except in the limitations I have described above. This area UNDER the stove, and let us not forget the walls BEHIND or AROUND, must be adequately protected. They MUST be constructed of non-combustible cement or approved cement based products, and the easiest and simplest way is with ("any name brand") 1/2" cementitious backerboard, aka, "CBU".

When I said BEHIND, I meant ANY Vertical Areas within close proximity to any parts of the vertical surfaces of the stove that could get HOT. A heat producing stove/appliance must not be close to any wall surface that is combustible. Those measurements/dimensions are still 20" to 24" away from any of the parts of the "Appliance", except for approved ductwork that has an Adjustable Working Flu and Damper that effectively and efficiently discharges into a properly engineered chimney. This ductwork can get HOT and for a few dollars more you could buy "triple insulated" duct work for added safety. The distances I have given could possibly be different where you reside, so you should check with your local "Fire Marshall" or town building department’s engineer. REMEMBER, any walls (or ceilings) in close proximity to the stove, must not get more than a few degrees warmer than normal room temperatures or, YOU COULD BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!!

You might/could even reconsider removing that raised cement pad and make use of its height, even increasing its width if necessary, because in some jurisdictions, code/s could or may insist that there be a obvious "deterent" to prevent or discourage anyone, man woman or child, from carelessly placing a chair or other combustible object or material closer than the same minimum limitations I have already given you. If you have any small or large pets, they should be "trained" to stay away as well. Always, always, think safe, Armen Tavy

 
question Pman 
Aug-22-2010 16:40
12532 
Clear
Kitchen tile floor
I currently have 24" OC, 12" I-joists in my kitchen floor with a 1 1/4" subfloor. I am wanting to install 18x18 porcelain tile over 400 sq ft. Is this enough to use the Tavy Thin Skin or do I need to reinforce the floor even more? I really don't want to raise the floor except maybe another 1/4" more and the Ditra will raise the floor way too much and is a little expensive in my area. Please give  me your best recommendations. Thanks.
Dear PMAN:
Kitchen tile floor

Welcome to "TAVYLAND" where we prepare today for tomorrows tile future.

 As long as the 1 1/4" in comprised of two separate layers of wood sheeting and the top layer is fastened only to the bottom layer with alkali resistant screws or 1 1/2" galvanized roofing nails in a 8" grid pattern in all directions in the field, and every running 6" around the perimeter and other solid objects, No Problem. My TAVY Skin is installed, then skim-coated with a thin layer of modified thin-set mortar, which is allowed to dry at least to the touch before installing tiles in the normal way (tile installation can be delayed for a day or two or three if necessary).

18" tiles require special attention to mortar transference after they have been positioned. You must test a tile by lifting it with a screwdriver on occasion to make certain you are achieving no less than 85 % mortar transference to the backs of the tiles, after they have been set using "NTCA" approved tiling techniques. All four outer corners and the center of every tile must "get" mortar on them. I find that my 1/8" spacers are ideal for 18" and 20" tiles as long as the tile size variations are minuscule. Larger size variations would require larger spacers to offset the variations. All tiles should be skim-coated (very thin) just before they are set. Minimum trowel size is 1/4" x 3/8" x 1/4" and 1/2" is the largest. A 3/4" half-circle marble trowel is an option.

All tiles should be pressed, pushed, pulled, and then tapped or tamped into place. Don't trust luck, trust the TAVY Tile Puck for lippage testing, and these large format tiles should be set with the aid of the Bubble Level that is in the center of the "Puck". Need more tips, just ask. Armen Tavy

OOPs, I forgot to answer your question about reinforcing your floor. Here is my industry answer: 16" on Center is the "rule", which has expanded to max out at 19.2" O/C. However there are always considerations like: width of the floor joists, and "I Beams". Now there can be differences that can change the mathematics, but lets assume you are viewing your floor joists before sub flooring is attached. You would obviously see that the 24" on center is an illusion of sorts because the center of the beam is hidden from view. The centers of the "wood on either side of the 24" span could be correctly measured, for our purposes, from the outer and inner parallel edges of the tops of the I Beams. Since the mechanics of the "I" Beams themselves makes them less prone to deflection, the max industry approved 19.2" O/c can be stretched a bit more, especially if you have a full 1 1/4" two layer subfloor with the first layer fastened correctly to the floor joist and then the top layer fastened as per TCA Installation instructions. Extra rigidity can be added by simply using construction adhesive between the sub flooring sheets.

The best and least costly technique would be to draw a pencil line down the middle of the sheet separating it into two 4' squares. Use a moderate strength sub-flooring adhesive, available in the standard size cartridges that fit in a typical caulking gun, dispel the glue in the following manner. Staying at a maximum distance of 1 inch from the outer edges of each 4' square. Cut off enough of the tip of the cartridge at a 45-degree angle so it leaves a pencil (outer diameter of course) thick bead of glue when you squeeze the "trigger". Make a glue outline around the first square, then connect the 4 corners of the square, corner to corner to form an X. The end result will be 4 equal sized triangles that you could fill with "tangerine" sized circles of glue from the caulking gun. The circles of glue need to be spaced a couple of inches apart and should not touch. It is up to the individual to dispense the glue circles in an “artistic” balanced pattern in each of 4 triangle spaces.

Properly executed, it should consume the entire contents of one cylinder/cartridge of glue. A second cartridge of glue should be dispelled in the same manner on the other half of the board before the board is inverted into the precise as possible location so it can be fastened with Alkali Resistant screws or 1 1/2" galvanized roofing nails in an 8" grid pattern in all directions. After the first few fasteners are used to hold the sheet in position, the remaining fasteners should be secured from the center of the sheet outwardly to eliminate the possibility of "air pockets"/"air bubbles" and allow the sheet of wood to become as flat as possible. OF course the first sheet of plywood and all additional sheets of sub flooring should be installed perpendicular to the floor joists. The second layer of wood sub flooring should be installed in the same direction; however, the sheets should be staggered in a "running bond" pattern in both directions. The lower sub flooring’s outer seams should be near the centers of the upper sub flooring’s centers.

400 square feet is a sizable floor, and the combined weight of everything installed over the suspended floor joists must be taken into consideration. A typical kitchens floor may not necessarily be engineered with ceramic tile in mind by the builder’s architect, and since our tile industry would prefer that you not tile directly to any type of "WOOD" sub flooring, you may need to think about adding an Industry Approved ceramic tile membrane, and there are many to choose from. Just remember, NONE OF THEM, including mine, REINFORCE A FLOOR sufficiently on their own and should not be measured into the "equation" when testing for deflection criteria. Best advice I can give you would be to test your floor with a glass of water, full, but not quite to the top. The glass should be places at various test spots, and since your floor is quite large, I would chalk line snap a 10 ft grid pattern, place the glass of water at every intersection and then find someone who is in the neighborhood of 200lbs+ to nonchalantly walk past, across and around the glass of water placed in all the 10 ft. intersections. They could even “jump into the air” a few times. The water can wiggle slightly; however, if it "sloshes" out of the glass, rethink your subfloor support system.

If there is a basement or sizable crawl space, a few adjustable floor jacks here and there would be sensible. Remember, if you have the habit of throwing lavish parties and invite a hundred friends to your home after winning an "election", take care that your floor suspension system is adequate to support the load. If you decide, and you should, to include an underlayment of your choice, please consider mine, because it is the least expensive, the lightest in weight, raises the height the least, works the best, and is personally guaranteed by yours truly. I could easily write an additional 1,000 words or more, but it would not read well on a tile forum designed for simple questions and simple answers, which do not really exist. "Keep on Truckin” and “Tilin”, Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question schmidty169 
Aug-19-2010 12:21
12531 
Clear
Concrete mesh and uneven layers Part 2
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Dear SCHMIDTY169:
Concrete mesh and uneven layers Part 2

A lot of "accidental" mumbo jumbo text at the begining of your post. It happens.

A "cold joint" in the tile industry usually refers to two like cement products that are not "Chemically" bonded or fused together. A new cement pour alongside an old slab cannot bond on its own; there be a "cold joint". Because Cold Joints are not "fused", they can move independently from one another and in the tile business that is not a good thing. The clumps of mortar, that you are better describing now, could be a "spot" installation, which was a favorite method if installing large format tiles or slabs in the past.

The installation can look good, but can become very "fragile" as time passes. Casting plaster was a favorite installation material, and the bond of that product is always superficial. If that is the case, this "open spot method" of installation is/was a poor choice for a wet area. In addition, I would never fill in a "wet area" with concrete backerboard, because they are NOT waterproof on their own.

I am still having a problem understanding your description of the tile corners. If you would like to send some good photos of everything to: spacerman@tavytools.com I would review them for you and report back with my thoughts. Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question subwaywoes 
Aug-19-2010 11:07
12530 
Clear
HELP! Tile Failed - installation or bad tile?
The tile cracking is not presenting as "crazing" type cracking and it is not effecting all the tile.  It is in singular lines that you can follow from one tile to the next.  And by follow I mean that it goes through the tile body but not at all seen in the grout lines.  The cracks go in all directions and those tiles do not have a hollow sound.  This tile was very economical coming in at about 1.25 a square foot.  It is a thinner bisque and that bisque absorbs water very easily when you test a peice of it.  I have never seen anything like this in tile before.  Usually if there is wall movement it would be noted at the grout and the tile would crack through to the surface glaze.  It is very odd.  Our tile installers have installed thousands of square feet of subway tile and have never seen anything like this either.       
Dear SUBWAYWOES:
HELP! Tile Failed - installation or bad tile?

Whenever there is a singular line running randomly thru a group of tiles as well as groups in different directions the underlying surface is suspect. Since the underlying product is Ditra, it may well be that you have issues with "seams". If you butt laid the seams and the seams are not held fast, it might be the problem. If you overlapped the seams and the overlaps did not hold fast, then that might also be a cause. I am only speculating here since I am not able to see the installation with my own eyes. 

A low-grade economy tile is always more sensitive to even subtle substrate movements. However, the fact that none of the tiles in the cracked group sound hollow when tapped on, do confuse me as well. One of the worst products to install over concrete slabs, that may develop hairline cracks, is the economy "limestone/travertine" tiles. As the rep from Arizona Tile explained, his tiles or any tiles cannot crack on their own. It has to be the substrate or installation technique for this particularly sensitive tile. Since the installation has failed, and you are the one responsible to the customer, regardless of the quality of the tile, and they refuse to "sign off" on the installation, I would bet that upon inspection after removal of a section in question, you will find the "culprit". I am not finding fault with the ability of your installers, I am just saying that when things change, they can catch you off guard and tried and true successful installation methods of past may not always work with every product. If this turns out to be the case, and the tile is at fault because it could not survive in the hot shower environment, then Arizona Tile should (and should have placed) place a “disclaimer” on this particular tiles use in showers.

There is one more thing that can be suspect, and that is the extreme porosity of these tiles, and if they absorb a great deal of water, as you have stated when submerged, it might not have been the best choice for a (hot) wet area. We well know what can happen to something that is very porous. It can expand and contract dramatically, and when it is exceptionally thin, as is this tile, that expansion while (hot) showering followed by contraction when the walls cool, may be the contributing factor. In that case, it would just be a bad choice of tile for a shower environment. The "rules" say that the last person to touch the tile/s (meaning the installer) is responsible for the installations success. You may well be "out of luck" unless Arizona Tile accepts the responsibility for not informing you of this tiles limitations. Sorry otherwise, Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question Richard 
Aug-19-2010 00:35
12529 
Clear
Crema marfil - bad surprise
Hello, Our contractor just completed installation of a standard-grade crema marfil floors and we have some bad surprises. The installation is on the concrete slab, with ditra underlayment, and thin-set mortar (2 set, grey gris) from Home Depot. A thin layer of deposits now covers areas around most of natural veins in the stone. It is clearly visible against the polished surrounding surface. In one of the rooms we left a mattress directly on the floor that was completed about week earlier (without sealing); after several days the whole contact area is now covered by ugly white crust. I would never expect that mattress could do such damage. Do you have suggestion how to remove deposits before the surface is sealed? How to handle crusted area? Is there any way to prevent this type of discoloration and damage? I hope that you have some magic solutions. Regards, Richard 
Dear RICHARD:
Crema marfil - bad surprise

What you are describing to me sounds like it is "Grout Haze" deposits. Crema Marfil is notorious for showing the residue of latex polymers in the modified grout if extra care is not taken when "polishing" the haze almost immediately as it forms. I would use a grout haze remover immediately, followed by as many clean potable water washes and "polishing" as necessary. Make certain that the grout haze remover of choice includes use on "marble" finishes. The mattress just exasperated the phenomenon.  Never seal over grout haze. Armen Tavy

 
question subwaywoes 
Aug-18-2010 21:31
12528 
Clear
HELP! Tile Failed - installation or bad tile?
We used Arizona Tile white 3x6 subway tiles on the shower/bath walls in two separate bathrooms.  The first bathroom was installed in February and the second just recently in June.  The first problem we had with this tile was a slight off color of the white on several peices.  An Arizona Tile rep came out and agreed to provide the materials to replace the tile.  While waiting for that work to take place I noticed that there looked to be cracks developing in the tile that were behind the glaze.  I noticed that light shining on the glossy surface was not uniform and when I took a closer look it was obvious the tile was cracking from behind the tile surface and just hadn't come all the way through the glaze.  I realized I thought I had noticed this same situation in the very first bathroom that we had used this tile in as well.  Sure enough when I started looking closely I found multiple tiles cracking in the same manner on all walls.  The grout is not displaced or cracked anywhere in either bathroom.  The only movement is appearing behind the surface glaze of the tile.     These bathrooms were complete guts down to the studs and we used licensed, professional contractors that have solid reputations and guarantee all their work.  We are convinced this is a poor quality tile however Arizona Tile claims it is the way it was installed.  We stand by our installers.  We are spreading the word to see if there are any contractors or homeowners that have heard of this type of tile failure and especially if anyone has had tile issues specifically with Arizona Tile's glossy 3x6 subway tile.    
Dear SUBWAYWOES:
HELP! Tile Failed - installation or bad tile?

If every single tile in the installation "crazed", because that's what it sounds like, I personally would be delighted; however if there are only a few cracks, or what I really believe is "crazing, I would also find it hard to explain to a customer. I would suggest tapping on all the tiles in the installation with a solid piecee of metal (something similar to the chuck end of a 1/2" metal drill) and if there are any tiles that sound hollow, mark those with a tab of masking tape. If you do find that there are "hollow" sounding tiles, and those tiles are the only ones that are affected with the cracking or crazing, that might indeed indicate an installation problem. It is hard to speculate any further at this time until you test, as I have suggested, and get back to me. Armen Tavy

 
question ray 
Aug-16-2010 17:37
12527 
Clear
where can i purchase clear glass tile to custom paint myself?
I have searched over 100 at least tile places on the internet. I want to purchase some clear glass tiles that i can custom paint the back of for my backsplash. Any help will be greatly appreciated...thanks
Dear RAY:
where can i purchase clear glass tile to custom paint myself?

Since I am also known as the "Creative One", I say why not make your own. I have cut 4" thick x 8" x 8" Glass Blocks on a tile wet saw, so it may be possible to pass a sheet of 3/8" or 1/2" thick glass under a slightly "raised" wet saw blade. Have a glass company provide you with some sheets of glass the size of 12" x 12" tiles, or even large enough in size to reach all the way up to the bottoms of your upper cabinets (avg. 17 1/2", but make the glass tiles "square).  Adjust the blade depth on the saw to cut only to a depth of 1/8" to 3/16". The blade's thickness would serve as a uniform grout joint for your glass mosaic tiles .

The "simulated" small "mosaic tiles" on the sheets could be any size you want, 3/8", 1/2" 5/8", 1" or whatever. The wet saw would need a quality continuous rim marble blade to cut part ways into the glass. Even if the cuts were not perfect, it would not matter. It brings to mind the old "Latco" series irregular glass mosaics. However, it would be prudent to "Paint" the backs of the glass first, and then seal the paint with coating of polyurethane, before making the multiple cuts simulating individual mosaic tiles on the front side of the glass. The fabricated sheets of glass mosaics would be stacked like traditional flexible glass mosaic tile sheets using a spacer size to match the gout joint size between sheets, or in your case, as close as possible to the thickness of the saw blade.

I have done this type of "cutting" with 12" marble tile installations when I did not want to mess with multiple "slivers" of narrow fragile marble cuts at the end of a wall when the layout of a run was unavoidably a tad longer than full tile or when I wanted to add "Fluting" on a column or to conceal a centered "Dutchman" (cut) over a fireplace box.  Please get back to me with the results if this works for you. Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question david k 
Aug-16-2010 12:11
12526 
Clear
miter cut for ogee
We are installing a ceramic ogee as a crown along top edge of bathroom tile.  How do you do the inside and outside miter cuts?   thanks so much  
Dear DAVID K:
miter cut for ogee

It is best to use a ceramic tile "wet" saw. Make a perfect 3 sided 45 degree triangle out of a piece of plywood or buy a small "Speed Square" at your local hardware store and place it on the "wet" saw's table as close to the edge of the slot in the table so the saw blade cuts the tile and not your "guide".

Place the odd size ogee tile, in the right rotation for the cut, (you should be able to visualize this) against the piece of wood or "Speed Square" and pass both thru the saw blade without cutting the guide. In order to make both sides of either corner, you must use the "triangle" on both sides of the slot in the wet saws table. This will give you the ability to make both sides of the inside or outside corners.

It is a simple task for me, but even I have to make some sort of mark indicating the location and direction of the cut on the tile so the cut is made properly. Adhere a piece of masking tape to the "ogee" or use a grease or felt marking pencil to draw the line of the cut to guide you. Pass the tile thru the saw slowly at the end of the cut so you do not "clip" the extended corners of "outside" corners. Practice the cuts on a scrap piece of narrow wall tile before wasting an expensive "ogee". Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question Jimmy 
Aug-16-2010 07:59
12525 
Clear
Jimmy
My shower floor is leaking and I have to replace the tile.  The shower floor is not square.  How can I install new tile to mask the fact that the floor is not square?
Dear JIMMY:
Jimmy

Oops, I answered your first post before I read the second. The best way to "mask" a floor that is not square would be to tile it on a diagonal or install small or medium size pebble stone tiles, and the "stones" might be the best. Armen

 
question Jimmy 
Aug-16-2010 06:59
12524 
Clear
Jimmy
I need to retile my shower, but the shower is not square.  How can I lay the tile to mask the fact that it is not square?
Dear JIMMY:
Jimmy

Just wear a mask while showering and you won't notice it! Just a bit of humor on a beautiful morning in Southern California Jimmy. However, you must answer three questions first. Tell me what part of the shower is not square, the vertical wall/s (vertical corners not plumb and out of alignment) or just the floor pan area or both? Also, what is on the walls and floor of the shower at this time, and be as explicit as you can. In addition, I need to know your skills as a carpenter as well as a tile installer. Just waiting on you so I can help, Armen Tavy

 
question Justin 
Aug-15-2010 22:40
12523 
Clear
18x18
What size trowel do you recommend using for putting down 18x18 porcelain? Do I need to back butter if I use a 1/2 trowel?   I already have 1/4 hardiboard down.  I Used your tile puck putting down 16x16 travertine came out smooth as glass THANK YOU.    
Dear JUSTIN:
18x18

A 1/4" x 3/8" x 1/4" trowel can be used to correctly spread the thin-set mortar in neat left to right "corn rows" and not in swirls, while the trowel is held at no less than a 60-degree angle to the substrate. A great deal of pressure must be applied with the trowel while spreading the mortar so only the mortar necessary by the design of the trowel is left on the substrate.  It is always a good practice to back butter (a very thin skim coat) 12" floor tiles. However, I feel that it is especially prudent to ALWAYS back butter any tiles of larger format, i.e., 16”, 18", 20" and larger. The larger the tile the more care must be taken to insure that there is a minimum of 85% transference of mortar from the substrate to the backs of the tiles. The thin coating (back buttering) of mortar should be applied just before the tile is installed. A 1/2" trowel requires a more sophisticated touch in order to collapse those larger air spaces left by the 1/2" trowel. It is necessary to get enough mortar on the floor to set the tile so it never sounds hollow, but it is also important not to put so much that the tiles “swim”. Swimming is what a tile does as its own weight displaces excess mortar and causes it to drift laterally, or possibly even “sink”. 

 

The technique is simple. Spread the mortar left to right, back butter the tile, set the tile into place and then press down as you move it forward about 3/8 inches to collapse the high ridges of mortar, and then pull the tile back into position before shifting it away the approximate grout joint size. Use tile spacers, mine of course, to insure that the grout spaces are straight and uniform in size. In addition, remember to "pack the tiles tight against the spacers. The tiles should also be tapped with a rubber mallet to remove trapped air and to seat the tiles properly. As you proceed, you already know the rule about how to use my Tile Puck" to eliminate or at least minimize tile lippage. The spacers can be installed before or just after this procedure.

 

 

18" porcelain tiles may need a tad more back buttering to totally remove air pockets under its center. Try not to be clumsy and use a wet sponge to wipe off excess mortar from around the outside edges of the tile before setting them or you will have more awkward washing to do after the tiles are set. Also try to prevent mortar from coming up between the tiles, and one of the best ways is to use the tile to flatten the mortar alongside the tile that was set last by using the tile as tool held at a 45 degree angle to drag the mortar away from the tile leaving the grout line void of most of the mortar before setting the tile down and pushing it back towards the tile last set and achieving full contact, While “maintaining full contact”, and while pressing the tile down, push the tile forward and then pull it back before shifting it away the grout joint size. This dragging, pressing, pushing, pulling, shifting, as well as the tapping procedure, is repeated over and over again thru ought the installation.

 

All your grout lines should have little or no mortar left in them to taint your grout. Wondering if you are setting the tiles correctly, just use a screwdriver to lift a tile and inspect the mortar transference. There must be 100% transference on all the four corners and at least 85% of mortar transference everywhere else. If not, adjust your technique accordingly.

 

 

HardiBacker Boards are the “driest” underlayment substrates on the market, and the boards must be “wet down” with a sponge a few minutes before spreading mortar with the straight edge of a trowel, to effectively “key” the mortar into the pores of the backerboard. This procedure prevents the dry boards from sucking the moisture out of the thin-set which could result in a “false” bond. In addition, the boards must have been cemented, spaced, fastened and taped correctly, or all your following work will be done in vain.

 

There is a great deal of information here, and I have repeated some procedures to emphasize their importance. Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question JW 
Aug-14-2010 19:06
12522 
Clear
tile spacing
Opps! I meant to say LOWES did NOT carry your thin skin product - and I encouraged them to GET IT!!
Dear JW:
tile spacing

Thank You so much. Armen

 
question JW 
Aug-14-2010 19:04
12521 
Clear
tile spacing
Thank you very much for the detailed response to my 12520 questions. I'm in awe to receive so much detail. I went to LOWES, found and purchased as many of your products as I could use, but they did carry your "thin skin" product, much to my disappointment. I let management know I'd like to see all your products in the LOWES stores!! From now on I'll be a TAVY customer and fan. Thanks again. JW
Dear JW:
tile spacing

It is responses like yours that keep this “old man” humming.

My Thin-Skin Tile Underlayment is stocked in 181 Lowe’s Stores in 9 select states. In all the other stores in the chain, it can be special ordered by telling the associate to punch # 89400 into their store’s computer, which brings up my company, Tavy Enterprises. A "click" on Tavy Enterprises brings up “Thin-Skin” and the Thin-Skin "007" Glue. Although it is sold as a 2-Part System, each is sold separately, and each will cover 100 sq ft of surface; however, the “007” Multi-Purpose Glue must be applied with neatness in mind in order to get 100 sq ft of coverage over some substrates that are more porous than others.

We are waiting patiently for Lowe's buyers to make “Thin-Skin” available nationwide; however, training their floor covering associates in Thin-Skin’s attributes is a challenge. I have personally trained hundreds of Lowe’s employees cost to coast, only to find that after a few months they have been moved to another department or are no longer employed with the company. It is frustrating when you know you have a product so versatile that it alone can solve so many of the installation issues that are responsible for so many job failures. Thin-Skin will stick/bond to everything except Carpeting and Upholstery, and every brand and kind of thin-set mortar as well as self-leveling compounds “LOVE” to stick/bond to "Thin-Skin", so it is a "No Brainer".

 

 
question JW 
Aug-14-2010 08:57
12520 
Clear
tile spacing
I am going to use 100 grit sandpaper to rough up my well secured formica covered 22 inch x 58 inch bath vanity counter top and then install 12 x 12 porclean tile. Will it work to NOT leave a space between the tiles? What type of thinset should I use? I'm considering putting small cut pieces of the same tile on the existing outer edge of the formica top. This would be done by letting the above counter top pieces of tile "lip" or hang over about 1/4 inch - just enough for the small piece to fit under - or should I just use a hardwood strip around the edge and not try to put this small strip beneath the lip of the larger pieces. many thanks for a reply! Your site is awesome.  
Dear JW:
tile spacing

I love the awesome part of your question. All of the mortar manufacturers claim that their "Liquid Latex Modified" Thin-Set Mortars will bond to "Formica Type laminates, if you "scarify them first. These types of mortars are the top of the line and the most expensive. Installations have been successful using these products; however, there are alternatives, such as cement backer-boards, "Ditra Mat", "Protecto-Wrap" DuRock Membrane, etc., etc., and there is my own product TAVY "Thin-Skin". The mortar products need substrate scarification, as does "Ditra Mat" if you desire a "mechanical bond. Protecto-Wrap is a peel and stick, DuRock membrane is over 1/16" thick and is fastened with their special glue. Tavy "Thin-Skin" is only .009 inches THIN and is applied with my own special Multi-Purpose Adhesive for a "better BOND".

All of these materials can work for your projects, so you have many choices; however, preventing those edge tiles from falling to the floor may be another thing. You have to consider the weight of the 12" long x 1 1/2 wide Porcelain tile and the "mechanical bond" necessary to hold it in place. I personally can attest to the bond strength of "Thin-Skin" for this task as long as you follow the simple direction. "Dust" the surface. spread the "007"m glue with a small notched trowel, lay the Fabric into the adhesive and give it a quick light once over with the edge of a flat trowel, spread a very thin skim coating of MODIFIED Thin-Set Mortar, let it air dry for about 20-30 minutes and start your installation. The countertop will look like a cement slab and is indeed impressive. The only precaution is to install the Fabric in a continuous run from the back of the counter to the front and fold it over the edge. (Never cut the Fabric at the edge, it must wrap. If you intend to tile a backsplash, a short 4” or cabinet high, the Fabric should be wrapped up the wall as least 2". Additional Fabric installed on the backsplash to a height necessary to accommodate your tile should overlap down and over the counter Fabric 2" as well. Placing temporary pieces of lumber under the overhanging countertops can be used to support the edge tiles until the mortar has cured. Mortar may stick to the wood so place some wax paper on them before securing the wood strips with screws from below. You may aslo need a Ceramic Rubbing Stone to smooth out the mortar that usually "squeezes out" from behind the edge tiles, but be be careful not to damage the front of your cabinets when doing so. Temporary Duct Tape can help there as well.

This important procedure reinforces the base cabinet's connection to the wall that it is "Sort Of" attached to the wall with very few screws. These cabinets can easily move slightly, if downward pressure is applied to their frontal areas, which in turn can crack the grout joint where tile meets tile at the rear of the countertop. You can never do too much to protect your time, money and material so simple extra, insignificant in cost, reinforcements are worthwhile insurance. Adding a band of Alkali Resistant Backerboard Tape at the 90 degree inside corner of the counter top and on and wrapping the edge of the counter will give you the ultimate in protection for your counter edge tiles.

Regarding the cut tiles you want to place under the extended countertop tiles, you will need more than a 1/4" overhang. I suggest you check and measure the distance required with an actual piece of tile with mortar imbedded into the pours of the tile with a small putty knife and then covered with 100% mortar across its entire length then hold it in place while you measure. The mortar should be squished a bit when pressing these tiles into place. Use a “Tri-Square hanging over the counter edge to assure that these edge tiles are plumb. If you do not give yourself enough room for these tiles covered with mortar it will be to late to correct insufficient overlaps as these tiles cannot be adjusted after they have bonded.

These outer tiles must stay undisturbed, at least overnight, to assure that they are held fast. There is a lot of weight in suspension in this rather narrow strip, and if you have 100% mortar coverage and applied the pieces with adequate pressure you will be successful. It is prudent to use Duct Tape, over the counters edges, to secure these tiles in place until they have set firmly.

You do have a dilemma with the exposed edge of the countertop’s extended tiles, since they rarely have a factory glaze to give you a nice looking finish to look at. I do not recommend "paint", but I do recommend "Ceramic Rubs". They come in a variety of colors at your local hobby shops where the conduct ceramic classes. Ask your wife, she may or may have a friend that enjoys making ceramic objects that are fired in a kiln, painted and then glazed. The “Ceramic Rubs” are an added color décor. I hope you have taken the time to read much of what I have written in the past so you thoroughly understand the importance of proper tiling techniques. Good Luck, Armen Tavy

 

 
question kklaw  p_member 
Aug-13-2010 18:55
12519 
Clear
Hairline cracks
Hi Armen, Thanks for your response on question 12518.  I wonder if I can remove the grout with hairline cracks and regrout it using epoxy grout and also whether epoxy grout would have a little bit of flexibility to accomodate for very minute movement. Thanks, KK Law
Dear KKLAW:
Hairline cracks

You  can always remove grout if it displeases you and re-apply it. You could also "chop out" those tiles with hairline cracks and replace and re-grout, it is entirely up to you.

Will you damage anything that could cause you grief later? No, if you take your time and do not use "brute force". Epoxy grout is not flexible and in your case won't solve any problems better than a cement mortar will if it is mixed and applied properly. Always here to help, Armen Tavy

 
question kklaw  p_member 
Aug-13-2010 13:24
12518 
Clear
hairline cracks
Dear Tileman, I would like to seek advice on this hairline cracks on tiles at the height of one tile above the shower floor situation. The situation was discovered about 4 years ago. It was regrouted and I discovered that again. I would like to ask where using epoxy grout would help mitigate the situation besides using caulking in those areas. The shower has never been used since the first discovery of the cracks a few years ago. I would like to ask whether the hairline cracks would cause any water leak into the substrate on which the tiles are laid. I would appreciate your help on this. Thanks, Kwok Law
Dear KKLAW:
hairline cracks

The explanation may be that there is a "cold joint" where the shower floor pan meets the vertical walls of the shower. If the installer left a large cavity between the cement boards and the shower pan that was filled with "dry pack" cement (or whatever) that did not bond well to the vertical wall substrate (at this "low" location), the natural expected expansion and contractions in a shower stall could cause the tiles in this area to crack along the entire width of the "fault". Grouting only fills in spaces between tiles and cannot get into hairline cracks.

If the installer used the correct method to waterproof the shower pan to a minimum height of at least 8" off the base of the shower, then this "hairline crack" will only be an eyesore, and it should not cause you any "leaking" problems. Armen Tavy

 
question schmidty169 
Aug-13-2010 09:03
12517 
Clear
Concrete mesh and uneven layers
I started out replacing a tub which was 5'x30", I could only find 5'x32" which was fine with the wife as the one she wanted was 5'x32". I have photos. They put up some kind of mesh and stuck concrete clumps to it, then tiled over it. I have two dilemma's. First one is do I tile over the concrete or remove it (pain in the...). I'm thinking if I tile over it, I should at least fill in the empty spaces and smooth it out with some kind of filler (maybe a concrete one?). Someone was saying you can just tile over it as it, but others say the empty space will create weak spots. Also under the window the existing concreted area is higher than the shower tile just put in, I'd have to use some kind of corner tile to cover that change in depth? The second is the wall where the tub extends 2" past. Was suggested some boards could be added to the top half to level it with the bottom and then some backer-board could be adhered over that, then tile over it. Was suggested to user liquid nails, though I think screwing it in would be best. Wanted an expert opinion on this please.
Dear SCHMIDTY169:
Concrete mesh and uneven layers

In the "old days", tubs were always 30", and I am trying to remember when they were changed to 32". It should have been in the late 60s or early 70s, but no matter since hey are all 32" now and we have so many "wider" people today. (Not meant as a pun.) I do not understand your description of concrete clumps over wire mesh and spaces. If done properly, we would call this a "Mud Installation"; however, it is never left in "clumps", there should not be any "spaces", and it should be flat and plumb. Cannot advise you unless I can better understand what you are tying to describe, so it may take another post on your part.

The 2" area beyond the old tub's front is not considered a "wet" area, so simple filling in with a suitable stiff product, preferably 1/2" cement backerboard, should not be too difficult. I hope there is a stud close by so the filler can be "mechanically" fastened; the use of "Liquid Nails" in addition to fasteners can never hurt. All "cold joints" should always be skimmed with thin-set mortar, then covered with alkali resistant tape, and that is followed by a "skim coating" (all "skims" are very "thin") with thin-set mortar as well. 

However, I am still confused with your explanations, and my "expert opinion" cannot help you unless I thoroughly understand the issues, so please explain again with more detail about the "concrete", the exact location of the top of the window in relation to the tile, the "change in depth", why you may need a corner tile, and exactly where you would use it. Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question greg85 
Aug-12-2010 09:05
12516 
Clear
Armen, thank you but one more question
Firstly, thank you for your answer.  I did figure out a solution to my original problem.  That was to move the center line half a tile closer to the brick wall.  That way I am guaranteed to have to cut a tile for each end.  Now insted of having a 3/4 inch gap to worry about filling I am able to place a 6.5 inch cut tile at one end and about a 7.5 inch cut tile at the other. I began tiling the porch last night and since it's outside I wanted to ensure %100 coverage.  I first applied mortar to the floor troweling the grid horizontally.  I back buttered the tiles with a vertical grid and would then slightly twist the tile onto the floor.  I am hoping the floor and back butter would essentially press together interlocking them (my thought was that the mortar in opposite directions would help).  Well after watching one of your youtube videos about back buttering in noticed that you only apply the mortar smootly on the tile.  Did I create a future problem?  I want this floor to be right especially since the floor is exposed to the elements.  Also what would you say is worse for a ceramic floor's longevity?  Extreme cold conditions or extreme humidity? 
Dear GREG85:
Armen, thank you but one more question

This 1/2" tile trick is so simple, but is also the hardest one to explain. So no, it is not a problem in your case. The additional foresight of "combing" the skim coat with a small V-Notch trowel was proper on your part (reversing the direction is also okay) and I always do the same when I feel that it is a benefit to the situation, as in commercial, "wet", exterior, or when installing marble and granite; but to generally advise this technique to everyone, would probably get novices into trouble by getting too much mortar into play, causing unwanted side effects such as thin-set mortar in the grout joints, "tile swimming", and "tile lippage". All can also be caused by the natural heavy weight of the tiles themselves.

As you can see in the videos, it is always beneficial to "beat in the tiles" to reduce the chances of "swimming" and sagging, and to properly seat them, as well as remove trapped "Air". Exterior installations should always be installed with the best mortar possible and the best is always, "Liquid Latex Modified", especially in climates where the temperatures can go below freezing. The warranties on the bags are explicit. Armen Tavy

 

 
question greg85 
Aug-11-2010 10:54
12515 
Clear
how to fill gap between tile and brick
I am laying ceramic tile in my back screened in porch.  The area is a rectangle.  The entire perimeter is brick (two sides are the walls of the brick house, the other two sides are knee high walls of brick).  I set a dry run width wise and the tiles fit almost perfectly.  The problem is that there is a gap of almost 3/4 of an inch on both ends.  The gap is too small to cut a sliver of tile but thick enough to make the grout line along the perimeter look bad.  Usually quarter round could fix this but obviously brick is not plum enough to do that.  Is there a border material that can cover some of the thick grout perimeter?  What makes it worse is that the room is not square.  It varies by up to an inch so if i did cut slivers of tile it would accentuate how non-square the porch is.  By the way the tiles are 13" with a 1/4" grout line.  Tle color is beige and the grout color is silver (lite gray)  The room is 11.25'x16.5'.  
Dear GREG85:
how to fill gap between tile and brick

You have several options. Add a complimentary color or "decorative" "liner" aka feature strips or Listelos, or make your own liner by cutting strips out of the same tile on your wet saw and installing those (or any liner) one tile in from the perimeter tiles around the entire room or just at  the two opposing ends, with the "slivers". This changes the mathematics extending that last "full" tile so it reaches the bricks. The other option is to increase or decrease the spacer size. Each change in a grout joint size multiplies the correction and either extends the reach of that last tile or decreases it, so the cuts are larger (not slivers). You can find pencil liners that are 1/4" and liners that are 1/2" and grow in size and usually max out with the 2" or 3" Listelos. You could even consider installing a "narrow" row/strip of small pebble or stone tiles that are pre-arranged on mesh strips.

Your other option is to lay the floor on a diagonal, or add one diagonal row, one row of tiles in, around the entire perimeter or just at the two ends that are causing the problem. ALTERNATIVELY, lay the floor in a diagonal with full size cuts around the perimeter and fill the outer area with 13" border tiles parallel to the brick walls picture framing the diagonal inset.

And you thought it was going to be tough. Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question Joyce 
Aug-10-2010 13:48
12514 
Clear
Directional Arrows Backside of tile
Hi Armen, Is it common while installing large format tiles that one would follow the directional arrows underneath the tile as a guide? I thought that the arrows on the backsides of the tiles were for factory quality control usage only. Can you share any insight on this? Tile size - 16x16, the contractor is stating the the pattern looks uneven. The tile is a rustic look, so this doesn't make sense to me. help Please. Thanks, Joyce    
Dear JOYCE:
Directional Arrows Backside of tile

Nice to hear from you again “Joyce”.

Generally speaking, arrows are placed by some manufacturers to indicate the "Grain" or "Texture" direction of the tiles. They are usually used when "silk screening". In most instances the tiles are exact clones of each other, and in other cases it may be just the “direction” of the paint spray they use to colorize the tiles. The size of the tiles does not make any difference.

You have quite a few options when installing tiles with a directional arrow.

1-(THE EASIEST) Install the tiles with ALL the "arrows" pointing in the same direction, (including every single cut, or remnant of a cut)

2- Or, alternate the arrows 180 degrees as each consecutive tile is set in an entire row (in a checkerboard fashion) while still keeping track of arrows for any possible errors in placement. Each additional row is “stepped” one tile, so the arrows on tiles adjacent to each other, as well as above or below each other, do not point in the same direction when observing each tile side by side.

3-Or, alternate each tile in a clockwise rotation and keep doing so until you complete each row while keeping track of the rotation so as you start each consecutive row using a systematic rotation pattern you have decided on. You can vary or stagger the repeat patterns to suit you. You can also use blocks of arrows (4 tiles with arrows pointing in the same direct (throughout the installation) and rotate each 4-tile block.

4- Or, "step" each consecutive row, one tile to the right (or left) rotating them in a clockwise direction. 

Steps 3 and 4 can get confusing, if your direction arrows on the face of the tiles are not marked plainly. When using only a part of a tile, in cases where tile cuts are necessary, you MUST still pay close attention to the direction arrow, whatever the sequence pattern you decide on. In many cases, duplicate marks must be made somewhere else on a tile, so the remaining portion of the tile has a correct marking on it, if and when it is used later. (so as not to loose the sequence of the arrow pattern detail you have chosen)

In order to keep from making mistakes on placement, it is prudent to mark the face of each tile with a felt or crayon marker in order to keep track of the tiles as they are placed so the pattern sequence you decide on is not compromised (an arrow mark on a “beige” piece of masking tape placed in the corner may be easier to observe). A single tile or groups of misplaced tiles are usually more noticeable after the installation is grouted, and a careless mismatch in a “rotation pattern” could upset your customer enough to justifiably withhold payment for your services.

Experiment by dry laying a significant area to observe the/a pattern detail. Do not put marks on the center of a tile as this can cause an "optical illusion" and “confuse” what your eyes see. Choose a 2-inch corner of each tile and make your marks in that area only, except when trying to keep track of unused portions of cut tiles set aside for future use. (To minimize waste). ALWAYS make a (several) diagram of the pattern sequence you decide on to guide you as you work. It is very easy to get out of sequence, and drive you “crazy”. Any of the suggestion I have given, you except for #1, will definitely increase the normal time allotted for a typical tile installation. If you are not getting compensated enough to warrant this extra work, it might be best to approach your customer with the possibility of extra charges “UP FRONT”, “NOT LATER”.

NEVER randomly lay these tiles as they come out of the box (disregarding the arrows), because you will be sorry. Armen Tavy

 

 
question julivan 
Aug-09-2010 17:29
12513 
Clear
pattern choice
Hi there!! I just tiled my counter and backsplash in a diamond pattern. I am about to do my floor as well but my tiles are  12x24 and i don't want to have to cut every one of them in half. Any suggestions on what pattern to use? thanks
Dear JULIVAN:
pattern choice

In a running bond pattern, you would only need to cut half of them into halves. In an "even stack" you would install them like any other tile with tile cuts falling where they may at the perimeters of the room.

Another option would be a herringbone pattern, but that would require multitudes of straight cuts around the entire perimeter as would the same installation set diagonally which would multiply your cutting even more.

A basket weave is also option you can consider, two one way and two another, providing the "mathematics"  of the grout joint co-operate, when two 12" tile widths are placed side by side facing a 24" length and so on in multiple repeat patterns. This pattern can also be staggered, but that also can give you more tiles that need cutting around the perimeters of the room.

The very last would be a "Pinwheel Pattern" with one center 12" piece surrounded by four full-length rectangles staggered as they surround the center tile. One cut would suffice for two patterns. If your installation area is large enough, I like this one the best. You can even "step" this pattern. There are a couple of more ideas but they all require more cutting, which is what you are trying to avoid.

Good Luck, and use the right trowel, mortar and installation techniques when installing these large format tiles, and if you do not use my TAVY "Tile Puck" while you are installing these tiles, you may be getting yourself into a "lippage" situation you may regret. Unaviodable Lippage is also a concern when you install large format rectanular tiles in a running bond pattern. Armen Tavy

 

 

 
question hhi455 
Aug-08-2010 19:21
12512 
Clear
Tile differences
What are the differences in porcelin and ceramic tiles. What are the pros and cons of each. Thanks
Dear HHI455:
Tile differences

To make it “simple” for you to understand, All Ceramic Tiles are all made with the same principle. Create a ceramic "bisque" using a variety of ingredients, including clay; paint or silkscreen the surface for looks, and then "fire" the tiles in an oven at specific temperatures. Un-Technically, the hotter and longer the bake, the harder the "wear" surface. For floors, the ratings range from a # 3 to a # 5, which is the highest rating, making it the sensible choice for commercial installations.  From the simplest (#3 "no-shoes" rating) 4 1/4" wall and floor tiles to the hardest #5 commercial rated 10", 12" 16", 18" 20" and 24" or even larger format tiles, they are all considered "CERAMIC". Of them all, “Porcelain” is the hardest, internally and externally, giving them the longest wearing surface.

Until recently, the harder the tile, the higher the price; however, because of intense competition and a competitive market, the harder, longer wearing Porcelain, and Rectified Porcelain tiles have become very price competitive with the "softer" lower density, “shorter wearing” economical tiles. It is hardly worth the savings, since the labor to install any of them rarely varies, making the material savings portion of a contractor's "bid", when comparing one to the other less significant, if the installations are less than 100 sq ft. Of course, as the installations grow in size, a simple 50 cents to $2.50 or more can multiply significantly cutting into your building or remodeling budget.  You should always take into consideration how important the “wear (and slip coefficient) rating” is to you, when you finally make your decision. A slick and beautiful, but slippery when wet, ceramic tile installed on a kitchen, bath or entryway floor, can be disastrous.  

The smaller the job, the better you can afford a higher priced tile. The look and feel of a tile will always get your attention first, but if a "wear" rating is your main concern, just narrow your search to tiles that are rated #5. If “looks” are more important than a longer wearing surface, there is a larger selection to choose from; however, never go under a #4 rating in areas where shoes will be worn and rarely should you consider anything under a #5 rating for "busy" kitchens. I hope this “simplicity” helps you. Armen Tavy

 

 
question bandnc1989 
Aug-04-2010 17:00
12511 
Clear
Sintesi 13x13 inch tile
we are in the middle of a remodel and looking to match the old flooring does anyone know of a supplier for Sintessi 13x13 inch tile from italy? Preferably near AZ
Dear BANDNC1989:
Sintesi 13x13 inch tile

I will forward your request to Mike Molen of Ceramic Tile Supply in Oceanside CA for his comments since he is the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to tile sources. However, your request is also being viewed by thousands of others who may help. Hang in there. 

I have said this in the past and nothing has changed when it comes to limiting back and forths. Give all the information you can at all times "up-front". The color and quantities you are looking for. Armen Tavy

Here is Mike's reply:Armen, I see the factory under www.gresmalt.it but not knowing the name of the tile pretty much makes it impossible to find. They could go to the web site and look at thirr product selection to see if they can see anything close. Under Italytile.com and then sintessi you can find different importers from that factory. I did not see any in Arizona but closest was Colorado. Of course a lot of these factories don't update their info very often. Mike 

 
      
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