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dkpounds 06-28-2006 11:23 AM

Mosaic Tub Surround
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Every once in a while (more often as of late) I ask myself "WHY did I think I wanted to own my own home? And WHY OH WHY did I think I wanted to own one built in 1921, for crying out loud??!!@#!" I'm currently trying to finish a mosaic tub surround that I began 3 years ago, and am finding so much that I did wrong, it's unbelievable and so time consuming. (However, it is GORGEOUS!) I am currently faced with the dilemna of pre-mixed vs cementitious thinset and grout. Know anything about this?
(I accidentally posted this in the Intro Forum - oops~!)

Square Eye 06-28-2006 03:34 PM

This has been covered before. The thread got kind of nasty, but here's the link;

The overall idea seems to be that professionals see pre-mix as junk.

Opinions vary.

Daryl in Nanoose 06-29-2006 09:35 PM

As a Home Improvement contractor I can tell you this, I have used the premix thinset and grout and will have nothing to do with it however I do use the premix mastic for wall tiles. It really is a piece of cake to mix the thin set and grout. A little tip on grout you have to mix with water, If you need more than 1 box or bag make sure you mix them togeather so the color is consistant other wise when you run out and you mix from a new box the color won't match perfectly, and I would think it is the same with the premix

dkpounds 07-01-2006 02:51 PM

Thanks, guys!
By the time I read your posts, I had already put some more tile and marbles on the walls with the premixed stuff. The following day, I got out my Dremel and the grout remover bit to do away with my gross errors. Whew! What a mess! But it did the trick, and you know what? I was more difficult to remove the premixed adhesive/grout than the thinset. Significantly more difficult. So that made me feel better about the premixed stuff....??? SO - why was the premix seemingly harder than the cementitious? And - everyone keeps telling me it's a nightmare, but noone says anything about specific problems.I also grouted around the showerhead (see pic) and THAT took 4-5 hours by itself. I had to stall the project as my renter was having guests, but when I get back to it, all of those round little marbles are coming off the walls - the flatbacks worked great, as did the squiggles, but grouting around those round ones was more than my patience could take - plus I had to lay in lath to fill the gaps. I can never seem to create simple projects - I have way too many "wonderful!" (?) ideas, and can't seem to control myself! HELP, I'm stupid and I can't give it up!!! :)

Square Eye 07-01-2006 03:15 PM

You're not stupid. Artists have been accused of crazy for years.

I think the issues with the pre-mix are more to do with longevity.

Your project sounds complicated and the gallery pictures look nice.

Stick with it, your doing fine.

Bud Cline 07-01-2006 05:33 PM

OK I'll try this.

There are basically two types of tile adhesive. The first one is THINSET and is a portland cement based product with some additives. It comes unmodified and modified and each has its own particular uses. That's the first type.

Then the second type is organic adhesive or what is normally referred to as mastic.

Mastic is fine to use in dry areas. In wet areas such as a shower mastic is no longer a wise choice. I say "no longer" because the mastics of today are not the mastics of yesterday. When the V.O.C.'s where removed from products mastic tile adhesive and its ability to perform crashed significantly.

Now the manufacturers of this product will insist their product is suitable for showers. This is because they all want their products to be all things to all people. The truth is the mastics are known to reimulsify under wet conditions. Mastics depend on a typical tile installation to shed water and keep the mastic dry. This isn't always the case since no tile and grout installation is waterproof and water certainly will penetrate through the grout over time. This is also why drywall is never never never to be used for shower walls and this is why a moisture barrier is required over the studs and behind the wallboard.

Also pros prefer thinset because it can be used to fill and build if necessary and moisture or even water saturation will have no effect on it what-so-ever which is something you could never say about mastic. The "pre-mixed thinsets" today are nothing more than mastics with a little sand added to simulate real thinset. Some of the manufacturers have gone as far as to add gray coloring to make people think they are the same product, they are not the same in any way and coloring them gray is basically dishonest at best.

In Bob-ettes case her project is very interesting but I doubt any of the tile will stay on the wall after water is sprayed on the huge grout joints on a regular basis if premixed thinset was used.

The same thing goes for the pre-mixed grouts. They aren't working. We see many complaints weekly about these premixed thinset and grout products. The premixed grouts shrink and pit terribly when used in larger grout joints and they cause a surface skim on the tile that is hard if not impossible to clean off.

Seems that in this fast-food-world we live in these days everyone wants quick everyone wants easy and the manufacturers of the tile industry are quick to comply even though the products don't work. I promise you....the use of any premixed thinset or grout will not result in a Happy Meal. You could well be eating your project in a few months.:)

By the mosaics are again becoming very popular and even the use of glass marbles has appeal to some people. Mastic is never recommended for applying any glass tile products to any surfaces. All makers of glass tile offer recommendations for adhering their products to a substrate and none of them suggest the use of anything but modified thinset.:)

Daryl in Nanoose 07-01-2006 08:17 PM

Now thats what I call artistic and dkpounds you have my sincere admiration for a job well done.

dkpounds 07-01-2006 11:51 PM

SE: People are so funny about artists! I thoroughly enjoyed my past life in Corporate America where I was often shunned until folks learned I was an artist. I adore the "OOOOh!" replies...which really mean "So THAT explains it. Okay, I can accept you now." Hilarious! Your porch re-do is amazing...changed the entire feel of the house!

dkpounds 07-02-2006 12:08 AM

Thanks again, y'all!
Bud - your detailed explanation is so greatly appreciated! I am an avid researcher - hence, all the questions. I am putting lath in some places where the joints are huge...there are some "paintings" in there that would be compromised otherwise. I live in a stucco house built in 1921, and the stucco hasn't fallen off yet, so I assume the lath will work. Right? I am filling in the rest with tile and marbles. I understand how different the premix is from the real stuff, now. And trust me, I do NOT want any tiles falling off in a few months. My switching from cementitious to premix was purely a matter of trying to hurry the project along for my renter. (Can you believe this beautiful thing is in a RENT house?? It was my dad's little house behind mine and after his death, my son and his wife moved in. My ex DIL and I started this project.) I plan on doing the same thing in my master bath - I'll be putting the mosaic over existing tile. I've read there should be no problem if the tile and grout are in good shape, which they are. As far as the marbles go - I just bought them at arts and crafts stores - not a proper tile store - and they came with no instructions at all ... just told me they would enhance ANY of my projects. And they do. (IF they remain secured to the wall! :) ) I'll post finished pics. Gosh, it's just breathtaking - can't wait to sit in MY finished one, surrounded by life-giving bright colors! Thanks again for your helpful insight. DonnaKay

Daryl - THANK YOU from the bottom of my little redheaded heart! All compliments are a delightful. I'm glad you like it - you'll like it even more next month! DonnaKay

Daryl in Nanoose 07-02-2006 10:03 AM

I will keep my eyes open for some finished pics.

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