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Thinset Grrrr.....

Posted by loribee2 (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 20, 11 at 12:12

I've just special ordered the Mapei Ultraflex 2 from Lowes. I've been using Laticrete, because that's the brand they carry in my store. However, for the last two days, I've been re-attaching tiles that keep falling off my latest mushroom!

Questions for the experts:

Mapei Ultraflex 2 calls itself "mortar". But the term "mortar" and "thinset" in this case are the same, right? This is basically the adhesive I would mix to stick my tiles on the concrete base I've created?

And, what should I do if I start grouting this thing and additional tiles pop off? I've been running my fingers over the thing for two days, looking for loose tiles, but I don't trust that something won't pop off when I go to grout it. How do you handle that? Do you clear the grout away from that area and reglue it? With what? And if you do that, do you need to wait for the glue to dry to finish the grout in that section?

What a pain in the rumpus!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

My dear. When you use Ultraflex II, you won't have tiles falling off - PERIOD!!! Yes, Ultraflex II is a polymer modified MORTAR. It is a THINSET that already has the admixture (fortifier) added to it. I've recommended this wonderful ADHESIVE every since I joined this forum. I wouldn't dream of using anything else. Yes, I have used it for grout on exterior pieces, but it is NOT necessary. It was my way of ensuring that each tile is extra safe.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Just to add to what Slow said, Yes you can just re-attach the pcs, with mortar, then you have to wait till it dries to be able to grout. Slow and I are working on her wonderful(pics just don't do justice to it!!!!) wall and will post some pics!


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Thanks ladies! And I should be fair, the Laticrete I've been using is the pre-mixed in the tub. The floor guy at Lowes said even the Laticrete powder they do offer would be better for what I'm doing. Moral of the story: The pre-mixed is very convenient, but not good for mosaics.

I've got a 10-day wait for my Mapei to come in, so I guess I'll be spending the weekend making more concrete forms.

I appreciate the advice! And I can't wait to see some photos of what you all have been doing this week!


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

My lowes doesn't carry it so I thought I was out of luck. I didn't think of special ordering it. Meanwhile I have a bag of regular thinset in my trunk. Is there any reason wh this won't owrk?
Kathy


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

The guy I talked to at Lowes seemed to think my biggest problem was that I was using pre-mixed thinset. He felt that powdered thinset that must be mixed with water has better adhesion than the ready-to-go stuff. He'd rattled off several brands he thought would be fine. I went ahead and ordered the Mapei, mostly because having already dealt with popping tiles, I wasn't going to take another chance on something that didn't come highly recommended.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

I do not want to go against slow but I have used the other ts and have not ever had any problem with it.I do not have a bigbox store here.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Everyone has their favorites. I've also used regular powdered thinsets, but always added the admixture - latex liquid - to it for better adhesion. CONCRETE - of course yours w/work - just be sure and add the latex mixture. The ready-mix stuff is for interior tiles only IMO.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Good grief!!!! CALAM must've signed in and stayed logged in on my computer. Anyway - the above message is from SLOW. I've just returned from taking CALAM to the airport, and the house is sooooooo lonely. What a wonderful week we had.
SLOW!!!


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Hi I am new to mosaics and really found all of your posts very helpful. I went in search for the Mapei Ultra flex 2 and could not find it in my home town of Kenora Ontario. I did find it at a Rona store in Winnipeg manitoba. Unfortunately they were out of the grey but the guy said they had a the grey in the Mapei ultra flex 3. The bags says it is good for both indoor and outdoor uses so I am going to give it a try.
A question I have for all of you is how do you apply the thin set? by a V notch and if so what depth 1/8" of 1/4"? Also when you are placing a pattern on rock and you do not want the thin set outside the pattern who do you this? piece by piece? Thanks in advance. I have included a photo's of what I will be putting on a rock found by the river.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Because I am thinset challenged myself, I have no advice for you but just wanted to say that I love what you are doing!


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Arghhh! My entire post disappeared. Let's see. I said how beautiful the picture of the bird is. Then, about thinset, how I use it for outdoors on stone, I mix it up in small amounts and I butter the back of the tess, piece by piece. Then I use thinset as my grout, and I mask off the design with blue painter's tape. Below is a link to an article I wrote about mosaic garden stones.

Here is a link that might be useful: How-to-Mosaic-Garden-Stones


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Oh yes, that is a gorgeous piece you are working on!

I apply thinset using several different methods depending on what I'm doing. I don't v-notch very often because the Maipei Ultraflex dries extremely fast. I can never seem to get the tiles on fast enough if I've first spread the whole base with thinset. I do v-notch when doing the indirect method of mosaics, because I'm laying the entire piece down at once.

When dealing with larger pieces, I do what Silvamae does and butter each piece. For a very long time, that was the only way I applied thinset.

Lately, I have been mixing my thinset just a little thinner so I can put it in a plastic bag and pipe it like icing. I'm doing that mostly because I've started experimenting with ball chain in my mosaics, and that seems to be the best way to get a nice line of thinset to set the ball chain into.

As for grouting a stone or brick, I don't mask off the outer edges. I just wipe the grout off clean around the edges using a damp sponge. Masking is probably easier. I'm just too lazy to do it. :-)


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Wow! What a beautiful piece!


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

one of the other things to remember when adhering thinset to concrete is to pre-wet your surface, either with water or a concrete bonding liquid. concrete is porous and will suck the moisture from thinset very quick so just wipe a wet paint brush over it as you work


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The bird is gorgeous. I hope you post a pic of it when its on the stone.
Kathy


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Thanks for all your comments. As i was reading them all I was wondering if this idea might work...I seen on a you tube video a lady using contact paper to be able to pick up the piece she was working on all at once (many piece of glass) and then she laid it down in the bird bath she was working on, the thing that made this work for her is after she pull the contact paper off she continued to lay out more glass around the main subject. I was wondering if when I put the contact paper on and was able to flip it over if I could add the thin set to the glass now and then place it on the rock??. I would guess that after I pull the contact paper off I would now have to clean out the thin set between the glass....this might be a lot more work....hmmmm


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

What you're describing is the indirect method of mosaic. I've used two methods, both with mixed results.

On this garden pop I made, I used clear contact paper, sticky side up with the heart pattern underneath, taped to the bottom of a stepping stone mold. I then placed the tiles face down onto the contact paper and poured the mortar over it. Let it dry for a day or two before unmolding it. If cured properly for that period of time, the mortar is still soft enough to be able to clean the surface with a damp sponge and get a nice smooth finish. You can mix a little extra mortar and spread it over the top if you have gaps to fill in. Cure for another week or so before actually using the item.

IMG_7057

On the little owl below, I used brown paper made specifically for indirect mosaics. I ran it through my printer to print the pattern of the owl on the paper (in reverse). I then used a mix of 50/50 Elmers glue and water to adhere each tile face down on the paper, being careful to use the right amount of glue. Too little, the tiles won't stick well enough for the rest of the process. Too much, and you can't pull the paper off to save your life.

Let the tiles on the paper dry completely. I then used a v-noch trowel to spread the thinset over my concrete base and carefully pressed the owl onto it, paper side up. To get the paper off, you use a wet sponge to soak the paper and it will peel off. As for when, I've tried two ways, both letting the thinset dry for a good day before I try taking the paper off, and taking it off while the thinset is still moist. In the latter, you have to be very careful not to shift the tiles while you're trying to get the paper off. You also have to be careful not to use so much water soaking the paper that you dilute the thinset underneath. If you do take the paper off while the thinset is wet, you would be able to add tiles as you've mentioned. However, I would not try that with contact paper. Contact paper is way too sticky. You would never be able to pull it off the tiles while the thinset is wet.

IMG_7177

I'm not entirely crazy about the indrect method. I have spent a ton of time on pieces that get ruined because the tiles shifted when I turned them onto my piece. I had to throw one away because I forgot to reverse the pattern and it mattered (it was a word!). I've had tiles pull off the piece when I've tried to pull off the paper. Then I've had pieces that just looked really horrible, and I didn't notice because I had been working with the piece upside-down.

That said, I don't NOT use it. Honestly, every time I make one of these owls, it sells almost instantly. And making the stepping stones using the first method I described is really fun. It is a good method to use if you don't want to have to cover the entire piece with tiles, as the concrete fills in the gaps when you pour it. Of course, it only works when you're pouring concrete into a mold.

If you want to put a piece on something already made, like a rock, I suggest the brown paper method, not the contact paper method you're describing.

What I haven't tried, that SILVAMAE uses a lot is mosaic on fiberglass mesh. I am very interested in trying it as you can still mosaic on top of a pattern, but it doesn't have to be reversed, and you can lay your tiles down on the piece without having to worry about getting the mesh off the tiles. It just gets mosaiced into the piece. I just haven't found the time to give it a try yet.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

Thanks for your reply loribee2. The last thing you mentioned about the fiberglass mesh does sound really interesting and I think I will research this out a bit. I am off on holidays next week and I want to get this project completed so I can put it outside and look at it every time I pull into my driveway.


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RE: Thinset Grrrr.....

sorry it was sent twice

This post was edited by Annie29 on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 10:50


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