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Install & Replace

Shower wall tile questions

I will be replacing an old shower surround (plastic glue-up) with tiles (DIY).  Is 18x18 tile too large to use for a vertical surface 78" high? And what type of mastic would you recommend for the installation? I'm nervous that the tile will not bond strongly enough to stay up during drying.
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Posted 2019-02-06T17:01:42+0000  by MarcT56 MarcT56
 
In terms of prep, remember the larger the tile, the flatter the surface needs to be otherwise you end up with that is called "lippage."  That is when one tile sits higher than the one next to it.  You can use either a concrete backer board with 6 mil plastic behind it or drywall and a waterproof membrane over it.

As for thin-set (not mastic) you want to use one that is "non-sag" and specially formulated for large format tiles.  Home Depot carries Custom Building Products products and they offer a number of suitable mortars.  You can read about them here.

Regardless of what any manufacturer may say, I would still "back-butter" every tile to ensure 100% coverage.  Back buttering is applying a thin coat of thin-set to the back of the tile in addition to applying thin-set to the substrate using a notched trowel.
Posted 2019-02-07T12:51:13+0000  by Adam444
 
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