Alternative to thinset?
I’m at the tiling stage of a small (32″ sq) shower stall in The Bathroom From Hell. I am remembering why I dislike tile work so much now… I’m trowel challenged. I get all worried about the consistancy of the thinset and I wind up spending more time wiping up blobs of dropped mortar and cleaning up spots I’ve tracked around the floor than I do actually setting tile. So… is there an alternative, maybe a gun dispensed adhesive like PL5 or similar that will adhere tile well to cement board?
Bad news Paul.
Thinset is the easy way to do tile.
A mortar bed is the alternative.
ugh... Im too depressed for words... I have to finish this freaking nightmare, complete with compound cuts tomorrow and I was praying there was a way out of the horror ;)
Put the bat away man!
Relax, and have some fun. It's not like you're doing demo in a hot attic full of blown-in or pulling wire in a crawlspace. It's good clean work. Take the pressure off yourself. It's done when it's done......no worries. Lose the stress and it'll come out alot nicer.
Is this your own home?
nope...it's my first foray into contracting for hire, and it's turned into the job from Hell (Murphy's Law right?). It's converting a raw attic space into a nice finished bath. But, it is in fact in an attic that I did have to demo and reframe the floor before I started (must've been 100 in there today easy), and it's a very old house where nothing has been what it seemed... I've done all the trades myself, plumbed it all, wired it all, all the framing etc etc. As a matter of fact, it included 2 full days in a dirt crawlspace running 90 feet of pipe and 40 feet of drain. And because of all the issues I've run into it's way behind schedule so I'm getting my chops busted big time virtually every day... and by now I'm probably making minimum wage on it. But they were referred by a very very good friend that I pretty much owe my life to, so...
Aren't you glad you asked? Thanks for letting me blow off steam...
Edited 8/3/2004 7:11 pm ET by PaulB
If it helps......been there.
All right, let me try this.....if you're tiling, then you must be almost finished, right?
As far as the $ goes......chalk it up to tuition payments.
Good luck and keep plugging.
Edited 8/3/2004 7:33 pm ET by dieselpig
I'm no pro, but (with my wife helping) I've done two bathrooms floors with tile over thinset. The thinset never gave me much trouble, close as I can remember. (Never done a wall yet, though.)
I suspect that you're doing something wrong -- not mixing it right, not planning ahead for the fitting, etc. And it sounds like maybe you didn't take the time to cover the floor areas with plastic and/or cardboard.
Slow down a little, plan ahead a little more, and I think you'll be OK.
Also, I feel for you re the 32" shower. I sweat excessively and have problems with my legs due to polio, and a small space like that is really excruciating. Would rather do something twice as large.
Thanks for the encouragement guys... My big weakness is working in intense heat (I happily run around all winter in a tshirt) so between crushing heat for the three weeks this project has been going on, and the fact that the clients are routinely breaking my chops in a very... unpleasant way are combining to make me truly genuinely miserable in the worst way. It also is shaking my self confidence. I've done much bigger jobs than this alone, but never on a stranger's house, nor for money. Then add comments from the husband like "this is a (effing) nightmare, I wish I'd never gotten involved in this..." and I'm just fried. I guess the fact that we are two weeks behind schedule on a third bathroom (which is looking damned nice btw) at a bargain price, with a start date only days after their decision is a nightmare somehow...
Mind you, we ARE behind a very optimistic schedule. But in my defense I'm 85% done I'd say, in building a bathroom from nothing (no preexisting plumbing, or electric, or walls) in a 90 year old, very screwed up house in about 4 weeks total, solo. Anyway, I'm tired, disgusted and I'll be up at 4 to start all over again...so thanks and goodnight ;)
Sounds like you're doing great!! Minimum wage! I remember wondering if I'd ever get that high!!
Difficult customer. Not your fault. There will be more, but you will learn how to avoid them.
If you haven't been taking pics of the work, it is not too late. At least then you would have something to show future prospects.
Another day, another tool.
Difficult customer. Not your fault.
UH ... just might be.
Charging money to learn how to do something won't make for very many happy customers ...
JeffBuck Construction, llc Pittsburgh,PA
Artistry in Carpentry
For the record Jeff... There's nothing in this project I don't know how to do, it's simply a matter of underestimating how long it will take to do them in a house that's an absolute horror show. The brother of the HO (a retired plumber) stopped by when all the plumbing was roughed in and commented on how nice the work was, and how much I had gotten done... I'm smart enough to know what my limitations are, but when you get under the house to connect the new plumbing and realize the guy before you was a butcher and it's a nightmare... anyway, have a good day.
Then there is the add up when you realize that it takes 25% longer to do the work on the third floor than it would have on the first floor.
Welcome to the Taunton University of Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime. where ... Excellence is its own reward!
Ah yes...yet another lesson learned on this job ;)
One of my recent remodels ... told the HO it would take 3 months, 4 at the most ... almost took 9 months. Relations got a little testy toward the end, but whn the last coat of paint was dry, they were thrilled with the results.
I just finished a kitchen remodel ... told them 6-8 weeks ... took 9 ... I'm getting better!
Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell'em "Certainly, I can!" Then get busy and find out how to do it. T. Roosevelt
LOL... Well, I guess a lot of this goes with the territory but as it's my first time as a hired gun it's a little demoralizing to have my chops busted but I'm trying to look at it as a "learning experience"...
From what you've said, it sounds like your doing a great job. I guess the only thing wrong you did was being to optimistic in the time estimate ( last job I estimated I added added another 50% to my time estimate, 1.5x, and came out just about dead on.......damn lucky I did that) and not making it clear to the clients that things can get **cked up beyond belief real quick.
Clients are behaving inappropriately ( translation: they are being j.a.), maybe something else is bothering them. Let them know whats left to be done and tell them it will get done, not when, but that it will. Construction done right takes time. Dont let them make you a victim or feel like your beholding to them.
Any thought or possibility of subbing out the tile part?? Give yourself a break, you need a pat on the back.
>> ... I'm 85% done I'd say ...
The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time. The remaining 10% takes the other 90% of the time.
I was on a project once that was delivered 14 months late. During the last six months of that, every time they asked how much longer, we told them two weeks. The really pitiful part is that we weren't lying. During that whole six months, we honestly believed we were two weeks away from completion.
If it's not to late take 2 fans up there with you, one to suck out a window and one to cool you.
Feel for you; hardly anything worse than falling behind schedule and knowing that you're working for less and less by the hour, every additional day.
Whenever I get that feeling coming on and I'm faced with a time intensive, repetitive task, I try to switch into the Zen mode; shut out all the anxieties, my thinking about all that's left to do, my surroundings, the heat or the cold, and I concentrate exclusively on the mechanics of the task at hand.
Time may not actually pass more quickly, but at least my panic/dread factor doesn't plague me all day long. zbalk
If it helps...
I did a basement once that was 6 months in the making (enough customer changes to make a man crazy). Then... had to put a lien on the SOB to get paid (learned from that one and changed my billing habits)!
Best of luck to ya.
Are you setting tile into a combed (notch trowel bed) or is each tile its own private idaho? What size are the tiles? Sometimes it is easier (especially in a small confined space) to set each tile by itself because you are then only scratching on a skim to the substrate, buttering the back of each tile (over the bucket if there is a gloop and pressing into place. It is a slower method but very neat and gives one a lot of control of the product.
If the tiles are a bunch of tiny ones on fiberglass web, only comb out one section at a time. If you get mud coming through the joints as you level, don't be tempted to clean it right away. Let the dry enough to break off like bread and use a vac to pull up pieces as you scrape the joints with a coffee stirrer.
The only way I ever finished tile work quickly was by working outrageous hours, rushing only made it worse.
A third floor job? I'd use Ditra as my substrate.
Its very light and super easy to put down.
If mixing the thinset worries you, you can buy premixed buckets of it.
Even HD carries it.
I love tile work but hate doing electrical.
Spose one could be happy and become an accountant....right? NOT! lol
edit: Just reread your post and I see its a shower stall so my guess is that youre just doing the walls otherwise you'd reallyyyyy have complained about doing a mud job for the floor, right?
The secret of Zen in two words is, "Not always so"!
Edited 8/7/2004 6:26 pm ET by Andy Clifford(Andybuildz)
Everything that these guys say is like chunks of golden nuggets. Work hard, just get through it, LEARN from this, and most of all don't be so hard on yourself. Zen approach. We've all been there and know what it's like working for nothing. Time and cost estimation is the big factor in this business that makes or breaks a body and it takes some (me) forever to learn. Learn to subcontract. Remember that you make more $$ signing papers for subs than you do swinging a hammer yourself.
Thanks to everyone who replied. The tiling is done and grouted etc and IMHO looks damned nice. At one point the husband started busting my chops over a row of tiles that were microscopically off. I replied that: A) He has been telling me from Day One that he wanted it done nicely but "I'm not looking to build the Taj Mahal", and that I never represented myself as a master tile setter, if he had suggested he wanted a showplace I'd have called a friend who is. B) That these were bright white tiles with bright white grout and when finished an error that small would be invisible (and by his own admission since then it is). This same fellow by the way chewed me out for spending too much time trying to correct the existing floor framing, that was sloped almost 3 inches in ten feet.
I'm feeling less demoralized by the job now, since I figured out a few things. First, I made a big mistake in sort of ceding control of the job to the clients. In the business I've been in for 20 years that would never happen, but this is a whole new arena for me.
I think a large part of what happened is that by letting them have too much power as opposed to a strictly business relationship, I gave them the right to decide what was a reasonable amount of production in a given day. On days where they felt I had done a good job, they couldn't be nicer, but alternatively if they were disatisfied with the day's productivity, regardless of the reason (their plumbing for instance was just a horror show), they were absolutely obnoxious.
Anyhow, I'm almost done and a lot wiser for the experience. I'm in the midst of trying to close a project that I believe will be a lotttttttt more pleasant for a client who seems like he couldn't be mellower (a set of built in bookcases in a library).
Thanks again for all the encouragement and suggestions, someday I hope to be able to return the favors...
Edited 8/8/2004 10:16 am ET by PaulB