installing a chunky chair rail

codnuggetsJuly 11, 2008

I'm about to install this chair rail:

There are the two areas of install. Try and look past the thinset I need to clean out from the joints, I'm a sloppy tiler:

1. Are the small surfaces that contact the wall at top and bottom enough to adequately adhere the pieces to the wall, or is there something I need to do to fill the cavity somehow?

2. I was thinking of attaching a small backerboard ridge where the cavity would rest for added support and additional surface contact. Does this have any merit?

3. I'm assuming I will need to support the pieces while the thin set cures. Do I need to, and how is the best way to accomplish this?

4. Any difference in the two areas I'm working with?

Thanks for the help.

Joe

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bill_vincent

Try and look past the thinset I need to clean out from the joints, I'm a sloppy tiler

LIKE HELL!! I'm looking at the cuts "bending" around the corner in the diagonal herringbone! Excellent job!!

1. Are the small surfaces that contact the wall at top and bottom enough to adequately adhere the pieces to the wall, or is there something I need to do to fill the cavity somehow?

The last job I did with Chair rail (about 2 weeks ago) I almost took pics just for this reason!! Mix your thinset stiff, and fill the chair rail, or you're going to have problems. Also, unless you're using one of the non-sag thinsets, you might want to put a piece of tape on each piece to make sure they don't fall before the thinset sets up, being that they'll be top heavy.

2. I was thinking of attaching a small backerboard ridge where the cavity would rest for added support and additional surface contact. Does this have any merit?

Hatsa no need! Do like I tolla you anna you be justa fine! :-)

3. I'm assuming I will need to support the pieces while the thin set cures. Do I need to, and how is the best way to accomplish this?

Already answered. (DAMN I'm good! :-) )

4. Any difference in the two areas I'm working with?

You mean going from the kerdi onto the painted sheetrock? Absolutely!! One's white, and the other's orange.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:20PM
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codnuggets

Thanks, Bill, for answering my questions, and for the praise. What's not pictured are all the huge globs of thinset I've spent hours scraping out of the joints. The niches were especially messy with all the quarter round and small pieces and whatnot. I suspect my thinset was a little too runny. The worst part was the 1 1/4" hex on the shower floor. The tiles are really thin and I think the notches on the trowel were too big. I just finished scraping out all the thinset, probably 15 hours on just under a 4' x 4' area. It was a good lesson to learn before I lay the same tile in the rest of the bathroom.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 12:43AM
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bill_vincent

YOU didn't use non-sag thinset!!

For shame!! :-)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 11:02AM
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codnuggets

Whosa-whatsa?!? I didn't know such a thing existed. Ain't it nice to learn of these things AFTER the fact? It would probably be worth my while to locate some to finish off the rest of the quarter round and pencil trim I have left, and I'm guessing it would help with the chair rail too, eh? I see from a previous post from shaughnn that I'm not going to find any such animal at Homer's or Lowe's, will a local tile shop have what I need?

Joe

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 11:30PM
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bill_vincent

They might. If they don't have it, they can GET it. Ask for either Laticrete 255 or Mapei Ultralite. Both are excellent products. You want to mix either one of these super stiff-- to the point where you can put the trowel thru it, but it takes some effort. For the pencil trim, it's not such a big deal, but for the chair rail, you want to take a flexible putty knife and "burn" the thinset into the subsurface (use the putting knife to basically skim the cement board with the thinset0, and then you should be able to take a v-notch trowel, use the flat size to fill the chair rail, and then notch trowel it, to stick it to the wall.

Piece of cake!! :-)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 5:36PM
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codnuggets

Mmmmm, cake! Thanks, Bill. I'll see what I can round up and I'll report back on my progress... whenever I can get to it. First I gotta get the floor done so the carpet guys will have a nice edge to seam up against.

By the way, got any opinions about SLC? I have some floor heating mats to lay down and I want to do it prior to tiling. I posted to the flooring forum but traffic is light over there.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 11:54AM
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bill_vincent

I've yet to find one that was really trash. Probably the one most accessible to you would be Custom's Levelquik, which can usually be found at Home Depot.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 2:55PM
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codnuggets

My research has shown that I may need to be concerned about SLC flowing into every tiny little crevice. Do I need to caulk the bottom plate all the way around the room, or is that overkill paranoia? Any other gotchas I need to worry about?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 3:24PM
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bill_vincent

It wouldn't hurt to caulk, but unless you have good size gaps, I wouldn't worry too much about it. One thing I WOULD watch out for is if you have supply and/ or waste pipes going thru the floor, as well as the toilet flange, you might want to tape them off,

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 6:54PM
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codnuggets

I semi-successfully covered my radiant floor heating mats with self level compound. I used spray foam insulation to seal gaps around the toilet flange and a few places around the perimiter I thought might be troublesome, and it worked quite well. I had 2 problems with the installation. First, I underestimated the amount of SLC I would need so the pour came up a little short of covering the RFH mats. This turned out not to be a problem because of the second problem - 'self leveling' stops only a few quick minutes after you dump out the bucket of material. I had 2 buckets worth (that's 2 50 lb bags) on each pour, and by the time I got the second bucket down and was spreading the material, it was already starting to thicken. In the second pour (2 more buckets) I tried to work faster, but I still couldn't beat the clock.

Result: I have some high and low spots, and I'll end up with a wavy floor if I don't correct them. Is grinding the easiest way to deal with high spots? The SLC material is soft enough that I can scrape it with a blunt tool, but that would take forever. I'm assuming that a grinder would be fine as long as I don't grind down to the RFH wires. True?

Does the fun ever end?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 12:40AM
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bill_vincent

I'd be SUPER leary about grinding on a floor that I know contains heating elements. What you might do is go to one of the box stores, to the masonry dept., and pick up a hand rubbing stone. Unless these high spots super high, it shouldn't take that much to bring them down.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 7:39AM
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mahatmacat1

Floor heating mats? Hope you're not using Thermosoft...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 11:50AM
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codnuggets

Back after a long break away including an unscheduled stay in DC and an extra day in Little Rock (thank you United Airlines!). My luggage had more fun than I did - 7 cities and 4 days to reach me just before I was heading back home!

Bill, I heeded your advice and only used the grinder, with extreme caution, on a couple really high spots. The rest came down with the rubbing stone. The low spots - I ended up pouring 2 more small batches of SLC. Man, I really hate that stuff. Anyway, it's done now, and reasonably level to my satisfaction. Thanks for the help. On to tiling and chair rail as soon as the carpet guys get out of the way.

Fly, you had to ask. I had already purchased my second batch of Thermosoft before my issue with the first batch in the kitchen. I guess I could have returned them and got something else, but I decided to just cross my fingers. So far so good. Oh, and by the way, thanks again for the reference to SW Washington Glass. They came in with the low bid and I really like the guy who came out for the measure. Everyone has been great so far, and as soon as the carpet guys leave and I get the chair rail up and grouting done, they'll be back to install.

Joe

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 2:00PM
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codnuggets

Bill, thanks again for the Laticrete 255 suggestion. I put most of the chair rail in today, and aside from my first small batch being a little too wet, it worked perfectly. I just let it sit for a while and it thickened up nicely. I still made a HUGE mess filling the cavities and making sure I had enough extra to notch some ridges. No pictures until I clean up the mess...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 1:20AM
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bill_vincent

Good deal! I'll be here. :-)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 7:37AM
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codnuggets

Cleanup is finally done. I can guarantee that my next tiling job with be done with a lot more care to minimize squeeze out, dropped blobs, mixer cast-off, etc. Especially with the lightweight thinset, that stuff dries extremely hard. A ton of brushing, scraping, and wiping, plus a sacrificial chunk of an index figer, and I'm ready to grout.



This little section was a lot of fun. The shower glass sits in between these 2 chair rail returns. I had intended to run the chair rail straight through and have the glass company scribe it to fit, but there was some apparent miscommunication concerning an 'estimate' measure versus a 'templating' measure before the chair rail was up. It was either build this puzzle or pay for a new piece of glass. Turned out just fine.

The next challenge is to finish grouting before the baby arrives (due next Friday!)

Joe

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 7:58PM
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bill_vincent

Joe, that's excellent work, especially that little detail in the last pic.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 8:44PM
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codnuggets

Thanks, Bill. While I've got your attention, can you comment on grout v caulk in a few areas? I know I need caulk anywhere tile meets another material and at tile-to-tile joints where plane changes. What about all the different joints involved with the chair rail and quarter round? I don't want this project crumbling any time soon.

Thanks again.
Joe

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 9:46PM
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bill_vincent

No, you should be okay at those points with grout.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:25PM
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codnuggets

Good deal. One more question. The HD's in my area only carry caulk in a few of Custom's grout colors, and of course not the sanded Alabaster I need. I checked the data sheet on Custom's web site, and it appears it may not even exist. Can you confirm or deny, and possibly point me to a source if it exists or an alternate product and source if it doesn't?

Thanks #437.
Joe

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 10:40PM
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bill_vincent

If they don't make it, Mapei also has an alabaster grout that's very close to the Custom product, so if you can find a showroom who can order Mapei products close to you, you can use that, instead.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 9:33AM
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weedyacres

Wow, my jaw dropped. That looks fantastically precise! I was looking at photo number two and wondered "did he really miter cut that part where the shower door is going to go?" Then 2 photos later I got my answer.

Nice work! Can't wait to see it grouted.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:14PM
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arleneb

Joe, what a super beautiful job! I aagree with weedy . . . be sure to post finished pics! It looks wonderful!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:23PM
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codnuggets

I just finished grouting today, and my fingers are too sore to push the button on the camera. I'll take some pictures tomorrow after a little more cleanup. By the way, I discovered a fantastic little tool for buffing out the haze and crisping up edges... a drywall sanding sponge! I grabbed it after my cheesecloth became saturate with grout and it worked even better.

Hey Bill, is there a period of time I need to wait before I caulk?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 10:53PM
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bill_vincent

I just finished grouting today, and my fingers are too sore to push the button on the camera.

I bet you didn't wear gloves and you've got little red spots on the tips of your fingers w call "cherries"? :-)

You can caulk now, Joe, no problem, being you submitted that question last night.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 9:20AM
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codnuggets

No pics yet, I had to attend a function this afternoon so I didn't get much done except for a much needed total cleanup. I started caulking but ran out of motivation. Sanded caulk is a pain to work with.

No cherris, Bill, just some sore fingers from working the grout in the non-flat joints. For the record, I wore one high quality grout glove on my left hand to work the grout, no glove on the right. I started out with two but it was uncomfortable pushing the float with a gloved hand. Plus my right hand was sweating profusely and dripping all over the place making my grout extra moist. I figured that was not good, and it was gross too.

I will finish up caulking in the morning and post pics, probably on a new thread so we can skip all this other junk.

Oh, and thanks for the compliments so far.

Joe

    Bookmark   August 17, 2008 at 12:26AM
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cathie2029

I know this is an old thread, but can anyone tell how those detailed odd/round cuts around the chair rail were made? Obviously not using nippers as they are perfectly round and smooth. I bought a small round diamond cutting wheel but it's not great? Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:40PM
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