My first tile job. Tips?

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Old 03-17-08, 01:18 PM
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My first tile job. Tips?

The master bathroom in my house needs new tile. The existing tile and grout is badly damaged (several cracks, lots of bad grout) and rather ugly. The floor is small, maybe 3' by 6', and I've already got sufficient replacement tile along with grout and thinset.

I've read a number of pages that describe how to lay down tile but I haven't yet found one that addresses how to remove the old tile and prep the floor before laying new tile. So I'm really just guessing here. Plus, I've never set tile before so this is an entirely new experience for me.

What should I expect to be doing? Is it safe to assume that the process basically amounts to removing the old tile (with a hammer and chisel, I'd imagine), cleaning the floor, laying new thinset down, laying the tile, grouting and sealing? I occasionally read about "underlaying" the tile but I don't know if this is something I need to do. (Or, if my bathroom tile already has underlaying, do I need to replace it since I'm replacing the tile?)

My other big question revolves around setup time. It seems that the thinset wants a 24 hour setup time, the grout wants a 48 hour setup time, and I can't seal the grout for two weeks after laying the grout. All of this means that the floor can't be walked on (or wet) for more than two weeks, which is something of a problem since the shower is used in there daily. Are these numbers accurate? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process? (I have to wonder about this since I watch DIY TV shows and they seem to be walking on their newly installed and grouted and sealed bathroom tile in a day or two.)
 
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Old 03-17-08, 04:08 PM
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What should I expect to be doing? Is it safe to assume that the process basically amounts to removing the old tile (with a hammer and chisel, I'd imagine), cleaning the floor
Uh huh

laying new thinset down, laying the tile, grouting and sealing?
probably not

I occasionally read about "underlaying" the tile but I don't know if this is something I need to do.
Yeah you will need underlayment

My other big question revolves around setup time. It seems that the thinset wants a 24 hour setup time, the grout wants a 48 hour setup time, and I can't seal the grout for two weeks after laying the grout. All of this means that the floor can't be walked on (or wet) for more than two weeks, which is something of a problem since the shower is used in there daily. Are these numbers accurate? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
You will be able to walk on the tile after 24 hours. You'll need to do that to grout. You can walk on the grouted tile the next day and can continue to walk on the tile forever.

I have to wonder about this since I watch DIY TV shows and they seem to be walking on their newly installed and grouted and sealed bathroom tile in a day or two.)
Or you can hire one of those shows to do the whole job in a half hour.
 
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Old 03-17-08, 04:31 PM
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You need to stop watching those damned shows!
 
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Old 03-17-08, 05:17 PM
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Hi sgodun,

Your best bet is to get a couple of good basic tile books...not the decorating kind. Study the books, gather your materials, do a dry layout, and then see if your going to have any problems.

There are also lots of tutorials on the web...go to Youtube and type in "tile installation".

Doing tile is not going to be difficult after the first time. If you have any problems, we'll be glad to help.

Connie
 
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Old 03-17-08, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
You need to stop watching those damned shows!
Yeah, no $h|.
 
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Old 03-23-08, 07:21 PM
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Just following up on this for those who helped.......

Friday evening I turned off the toilet water line, drained it, detached everything and removed the toilet. Not difficult, but messy; inside the tank were two screws holding the tank to the base, and around those screws were black rubber washers. They had deteriorated so much that my hands were covered in black rubber smudge in a matter of minutes, plus one of 'em broke in half as I removed it. I cleaned up and called it a night.

The next morning I started fresh. First up: Removing the old tile. I had expected to have to hit each tile with a chisel to remove them, but surprisingly that wasn't the case. I had previously removed one small tile for color matching purposes so I started from that point. I put the chisel in the space and started to draw back the hammer when I noticed that the tile was already lifting, so I just reached down and lifted the tile cleanly off the floor. From that point it was pathetically easy; all except maybe 4-5 tiles lifted cleanly off the floor with just my bare hands, and those 4-5 tiles just needed a tiny bit of leverage from the chisel to come off.

Next up, I went around the perimeter of the bathroom and knocked off all the grout that was stuck to the bottom of the wall tile.

Then it was time for the scraper. I spent about a half hour scraping up as much of the old Thinset from the floor that I could. (The Thinset was directly on the plywood floor, no underlaying was used.) Once that was done I swept up, then busted out the belt sander with an "extra coarse" belt. Ten minutes later and the floor was exceptionally clean.

One small bit of damage presented itself right next to the shower stall. The wood floor was damp and had started to separate a little but it wasn't too bad. I set a small portable heater to blow on the affected area while I cleaned up and had lunch. When I came back all the water was gone and the wood was warm and dry. I checked the floor from the underside (my basement has an unfinished ceiling) and neither saw or felt any water damage on that side so I pronounced the area reasonably stable and carried on.

I laid out the underlaying and trimmed it to size, cutting a hole for the toilet flange. I mixed the Thinset, spread it across the entire floor according to the directions on the bag, laid the underlaying on top and pressed down. Piece of cake.

I then started laying the tile. I worked in small areas, laying down two or three 12" tiles at a time. There was a minimal amount of trimming. I had a tile cutter that I used to shorten the tiles. For the areas around the door trim I used a tile nipper. The only real pain in the a$$ was the toilet flange. As luck would have it, the flange sits almost entirely within a single tile which means I had to cut a 7 1/2" hole within a 12" tile. I started at the edge (the flange overlapped the edge a little so I had a good starting space) and used the nippers to scoop out a hole. It took six tries to get it right; four of the tiles broke while I was cutting and the fifth was perfect except for the fact that I flipped the template over when I traced the pattern so it was off by about an inch, which I gotta say sucked a lot.

It took me about an hour to lay out the new tile. It took me about three hours to cut that damned hole.

Anyway.... Tile set, I cleaned up and moved on.

Sunday morning (this morning) I mixed the grout and applied it. I had a little bit of experience with this so I wasn't totally in the dark. This took about an hour from start to finish, including mixing time, and it came out not too bad. Some of the tiles are a little off but that's okay since it's still worlds better than where I started.

So, one "scary" renovation complete. Thanks all. As I write this I have not yet reinstalled the toilet. The tank is in my garage with a rust stain remover applied to the inside walls that's working well. It has to sit for 24 hours before being rinsed off. I also have to clean the bolts that hold the tank to the base (I already bought new washers) and the bolts that hold the base to the flange since they're covered in wax.

Now, my remaining question for this project.... The grout that I bought is sanded and needs to be sealed. I bought a small container of silicon sealer to do this job. On those wonderful home improvement shows I see, they set their tile and later that day or the next day they seal it, and that evening they're using it. But the instructions on my sealer say that the grout has to set for two weeks (!!!) before it can be sealed and then another 24-48 hours before it can be safely walked on. My question is, who is right? I don't want to put the toilet back down until the grout is sealed, but I don't fancy waiting two weeks to do it. (We do have two other toilets in the house so this isn't too horrible.) What's the path I should be taking here?
 
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Old 03-23-08, 08:28 PM
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Wow! You sound like such a pro! Thanks so much for the description, I'm sure it will be helpful to others.

You could go ahead and replace the toilet and seal when your two weeks is up.

I am a little concerned about the damp plywood and the fact that your previous tile had failed.That the old tile was so easy to remove is undeniable proof it had failed.

You need to know what caused that water damage so it doesn't cause your new tile to lift.
 
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Old 03-24-08, 07:10 AM
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I'm 99% sure I know what caused the damp plywood. The shower stall in that bathroom isn't exactly square so the sliding glass doors don't align with the frame, so when the shower doors are closed there's about a 1/4" to 1/2" gap at the bottom of the shower door right above where the plywood was water damaged.

I was in a minor panic when I started this project. The thought kept running through my head, "You just bought this house and now you're destroying it!" When the tile started to come up that easily I know I made the right decision in replacing it so that helped boost my confidence quite a bit. I knew that, even if I couldn't complete the job, the old tile definitely had to be replaced anyway.

So anyway, I'm pretty sure that the condition of the old tile, in conjunction with the misaligned shower door frame and lack of any underlayment behind the old floor tile, is what caused the damp plywood. Now that the tile has been replaced "properly" my next step is to fix the misaligned frame, if I can.
 
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Old 03-24-08, 12:58 PM
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Congrats!!!

I love it when a plan comes together, especially for a first timer (we all had our first times too). Regardless of what any thinset instructions say - I've never had exceptional luck putting tile down directly on plywood.... a good CBU underlayment is key to putting down tile and having it stay put for a long time. Hopefully, your work will last much longer than you own the home. As for the wet wood - well, it "is" a bathroom - and things get wet, no matter how well put together they are. Maintenance is the key to keeping your new floor in good condition - wipe up spills - use bath mats, but don't let them stay soaked on the floor - align that door if possible - and seal the grout yearly to help keep moisture at bay.

As far as the toilet is concerned... I'd go ahead and reinstall it if you need it (though it sounds as if you don't). If done properly, the area under a toilet is not a "wet environment"... so sealing the grout is not a big issue..... Additionally, new toilet bolts often come with the new wax ring (check the box contents) - so don't bother cleaning off the old ones and reusing them.... start fresh
 
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Old 03-24-08, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by sgodun View Post
I laid out the underlaying and trimmed it to size, cutting a hole for the toilet flange. I mixed the Thinset, spread it across the entire floor according to the directions on the bag, laid the underlaying on top and pressed down. Piece of cake.
What did you use for underlayment? You dont mention any screws or nails to secure it so Im guessing ditra or something like that. Yes.

From Connie
I am a little concerned about the damp plywood and the fact that your previous tile had failed.That the old tile was so easy to remove is undeniable proof it had failed.
Sounds like from what sgodun describes in his demo work possibly the tile may have been installed with mastic if it came up as easy as it did and the floor cleaned up that easy with a scraper. Could be the reason for the failure.
 
 

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