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Just wanna say "hi" and tell a bit about my last "big" tile job.

Discuss Just wanna say "hi" and tell a bit about my last "big" tile job. in the Canada Tile Advice area at TilersForums.com.

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dek1000

I just wanted to stop by and say "hello" from the other side of the pond, currently living in the Washington, DC, area. I'm a DIYer, and I just finished redoing COMPLETELY the master bathroom of my home. Wow, the things I learn the hard way and can only pray that I'll be able to use or share that hard-learned knowledge some other time. I did the walls with white subway tiles (3"x6") and the floor with 1 foot square sheets of white 2x2” tiles with 1x1” black tiles at the intersections. It's what we call here a 3/4 bath: toilet, sink, and shower (no tub). The shower is quite roomy, about 4 x 2.5 feet. I tiled above where the showerhead comes out of the wall. The shower floor and the main floor are all the same small tiles.

The original shower pan (lead metal sheet in the middle) failed, so it all had to come out, all several inches of cement. And the original tiles were set into concrete applied to metal lath, meaning a wall thickness of over an inch. LOTS of heavy waste to dispose of. I also tiled halfway up the wall with the toilet and sink. I created two alcoves in the shower, and I used the traditional method of creating the pan: presloped cement, 40 mil rubber membrane, and another inch of cement, all sloping to the (split) drain. Added black “rope” tile around the three walls. Put in a curb, too. And what really slowed me down was my hemming and hawing over what grout to use at the end. I wanted to do polyurethane, but it has a one week cure time and has slight shrinkage. But I really wanted to use epoxy grout as it does not stain, and it doesn’t let water pase the tile to that membrane. But I read forum after forum articles about it and tried to ignore the negative comments.

Well, I used it, and I love it. The only trick to it is the final removal of the excess grout off the tiles after removing the bulk of it with grout sponges and water that contains a few drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent per gallon. What was missing from so many forums is the very last trick: use a well-worn and washed towel (one that has given up most of their lint yet aren’t a tattered mess) and buff the tiles dry with this. And expect to get rid of the towels afterwards, as they will be ruined, turning into stiff pieces of cloth. No sticky mess left on the tiles, and they will dry without a haze.

I found a small amount of tackiness in my last batch of grout on the tiles, but I had not done as I just suggested. The good news is that the tackiness hardens and doesn’t stay tacky forever. It hardens like any epoxy would. The bad news is that if it is still visible on the face of the tile, you’ll need to buff it off with a car-type buffer, using care not to discolor the grout between the tiles. But with the epoxy component essentially clear, it only shows in reflected light. I’m real happy with the final result. I’ll never do such a large job with small tiles, however, as it is exhausting, difficult to stay on-line, and is used up a lot of grout. At $40+ per small bucket of grout, it’s a major investment, but this is hardly the time to get cheap. Standard grouts stain, and they eventually leaks, leaving you to pray that the membrane and split drain works. However, I was even more cautious: I used Red Guard over ALL of the surfaces about to be tiled. No way would water penetrate the tile job I just finished. Yeah, that’s expensive, too, but when you consider what it would have cost to have a pro do the job, and - worse - find out later that the pro didn’t do every step correctly, it was money well spent. I could go on and on about this job, but it’s done, and I’m happy.:hurray:

I didn't mean for this to be a tutorial on epoxy grouting, but if it's of interest and use to anyone, then that's all that matters.

Happy Holidays,
David
 
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