Newly laid tiles are loose - help!


Postby diylearner » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:42 am

I'm just over halfway through tiling my bathroom walls (my first attempt at any kind of tiling) and am a bit concerned as some tiles appear a bit loose when pressed, particaularly around the edges and corners. A couple of others have fallen off when I have applied any kind of pressure, and on inspection I can see that the back of these tiles are completely clean - no adhesive on them at all!

I was a bit worried about continuing so I called in a tiler and he has told me that it looks as though I haven't bedded the tiles properly and that the best thing to do would be to take down all of the tiles, strip the adhesive off the walls and start again! He has quoted me for doing the work but I was hoping that someone might be able to tell me if this sounds correct.

Should I have applied adhesive to the tiles as wall as the walls? I don't really want to continue with the work myself if I'm doing it wrong but can't decide if I should abandom my attempts and get the experts in! Help!
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Postby rosebery » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:24 pm

"the best thing to do would be to take down all of the tiles, strip the adhesive off the walls and start again! He has quoted me for doing the work but I was hoping that someone might be able to tell me if this sounds correct."

He is correct. If you are going to ask him to do it the you could possibly save yourself some dosh by stripping the tiles off yourself - particularly if they haven't been up there than long and are not very well fixed they should come off easily. If you used tubbed addy then the chances are that that remains on the wall will not have gone completely off and you may be able to strip it off using a flat blade stripping knife. You can then clean the old addy off the tiles by soaking in very hot water and scraping.

What addy did you use by the way? The above works for tubbed.

HTH

Cheers
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Postby plumbbob » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:39 am

Another point is, if you are a novice, it is better to apply the adhesive to the tile back rather than the walls. It is easier to get the levels right, and you don't need to hurry because of the adhesive on the wall drying before you are ready to apply a tile (maybe what's happened).
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Postby rosebery » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:39 am

"Another point is, if you are a novice, it is better to apply the adhesive to the tile back rather than the walls. It is easier to get the levels right, and you don't need to hurry because of the adhesive on the wall drying before you are ready to apply a tile (maybe what's happened)."

Sorry Bob but I can't agree. Back buttering everey tile will almost inevitably result in uneven tiling because the addy will be uneven on a per tile basis and given that the wall won't be entirely even then the chances of getting the finished tiles even are very, very slim. Tubbed addy doesn't have a pot life like bagged stuff but it does have an open time (from on the wall to start to go off).

If its dry before the person tiling is ready to apply a tile he's taking far too long. The solution is to work on smaller areas say 1m2 at a time but putting it on the wall NOT the tiles.

Cheers
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Postby plumbbob » Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:03 pm

No, sorry Rosebery, I am not wrong. I do this every week for a living and have done so or a long time. I also sub contract and employ other tilers.

I think maybe you are confusing contract tiling and domestic tiling. There is a world of difference between the two. Fine, if you are laying 100 or 200 square metres on new level walls, you can apply the wall first. I have seen contract tilers working in pairs, one putting the tiles on, and his mate following on levelling them up.

You can't do that properly on a small room of 16 metres or so there are just too many cuts for one thing. In fact, that's the first clue I use to choose a tiler. If I know they spread the wall, I know they are part of the "slap em on brigade" a lesson I learnt a long time ago!

Another point, is walls in a small bathroom will be all over the place - even worse if old tiles have been removed, so tiles needs to be placed individually to ensure consistency.

You come and look at any of the walls we have tiled and tell me you can't get them level - very level. It's a point our customers pick up on time after time.

Sorry it's turned into a bit of a rant, but I only write about what I know is correct from experience.
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Postby rosebery » Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:25 am

"No, sorry Rosebery, I am not wrong."

I didn't say you were wrong I said I don't agree. Not the same thing IMHO.


"I do this every week for a living and have done so or a long time."

So do I


"I think maybe you are confusing contract tiling and domestic tiling. There is a world of difference between the two. Fine, if you are laying 100 or 200 square metres on new level walls, you can apply the wall first. I have seen contract tilers working in pairs, one putting the tiles on, and his mate following on levelling them up."

Agree but I'm not confusing anything.


"You can't do that properly on a small room of 16 metres or so there are just too many cuts for one thing."

Sorry to disagree once again but I think you can do that in a bathroom - its called planning - don't just cut one at a time - cut the majority of the wall and get it up.


"In fact, that's the first clue I use to choose a tiler. If I know they spread the wall, I know they are part of the "slap em on brigade" a lesson I learnt a long time ago!"

Thats typecasting IMHO.


"Another point, is walls in a small bathroom will be all over the place - even worse if old tiles have been removed, so tiles needs to be placed individually to ensure consistency."

Agree if wall that bad it all comes down and start again as far as I am concerned. If it isn't that bad I level out the rough bits with some rapidset first. Then use different notched trowel - perhaps even up to a 10mm on large format. You can't use tubbed stuff with a silly little 3mm spreader on these. What do you do about warped and crooked tiles where the back buttering results in addy on the egdes but none in the centre?


"You come and look at any of the walls we have tiled and tell me you can't get them level - very level. It's a point our customers pick up on time after time."

I'm sure you are right for you but this is a DIY forum with DIYers looking for advice. I think back buttering is not good practice for a DIYer unless he wants to take all day to do three tiles - oh perhaps thats what happened in this case! My customers say the same thing funnily enough. I spread the wall because I can feel it with my trowel so I know when the addy has to be a bit thicker here than there. Did 16m2 of marble that way last week without any probs - smooth as a babies bum and you know that marble tiles vary in thickness much more than ceramics.


"Sorry it's turned into a bit of a rant, but I only write about what I know is correct from experience."

No problem - I write about what I know works from experience.

Cheers
rosebery
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Postby nicktiler » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:26 pm

My first questions would be...

What kind of wall are you fixing tiles to ?
Plaster - new or old ?
Plasterboard ?
Painted plaster ?
Other?

What kind of tiles are they and how big ?

Have you primed walls and what with

What make and type of adhesive have you used?

What method have you used to apply adhesive ?

Then I might be able to help

Regards
Nick
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Postby www.tileexperience.co.uk » Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:06 pm

dare i put a reply? hm here goes.

we all started somewhere, and ultimately when fixing tiles you need to feel resistance as you place the tile on the surface. i wont go into whats best regarding adhesive on wall, adhesive on tile etc, but would only advise that any novice takes small steps, and doesnt rush it. if it means buttering the tile, and not feel tic toc pressure because you spread half a bucket on the wall, then so be it.

tiling isn't a scary thing, and i think you should persevere, but take your time, and make sure you feel the resistance under your fingers as each tile goes on. whatever you do, be happy with the result, and don't rely on grout to hide any imperfections, it won't. if need be take the tile off, rebed it and move on.
ps, get a decent adhesive!!! none of this fix and grout stuff, at least this way it won't be down to adhesive failure
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Postby TheDoctor4 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:51 pm

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