Page 13 - Spring2021TFC
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rack, straight joint frame, tile grid, etc. Tile setting frames have   Because of the quantity of welds on the frame, even though it
        been instrumental in jobs both large and small, whether you are an   is made from cold rolled steel, once it has been knocked out of
        experienced setter or just starting out.            its original form, it will VERY easily return to the bent position,
          I spoke with several tile setters about their experiences with   even after it has been “fixed.” Re-welding the weakened areas also
        tile setting frames, and each one stressed that using a tile rack is a   won’t keep the rack from buckling (even with gentle handling). If
        preference based on the installer as well                               the manufacturer has shipped you the
        as the project. They all also agreed that                               rack in a box with a plywood frame,
        any job that has 6” x 6” tile or smaller                                hold onto that box for storage and easy
        was almost always the deciding factor in                                transport from job to job.
        using a tile rack, in any pattern specified   There were a few             In addition to handling,
        (although the most common pattern is                                    maintenance of the tile rack is essential.
        the straight joint).                 issues stressed                    Washing the rack with a damp rag or
           To order the correct size rack for your                              sponge before use (even if you cleaned
        flooring project, measure the bottom   when it comes to                 it after the last job it was used on)
        of the back side of several tiles (DON’T                                makes sure that no grout has dried
        rely on “standard” dimensions, even   tile racks, and one               onto the frame, which would possibly
        if you are using a typical type of tile).                               prevent the tiles from fitting into each
        Especially if you want a tight grout joint,   of the big ones           pocket. Several of the installers said that
        knowing the exact dimensions of your                                    spraying WD 40 prior to use and after
        tile will help avoid starting your floor   is the handling              completion of the floor ensures that
        install with tiles too small to fit into the                            you won’t encounter any rough bars on
        grid pockets, or conversely having to   of the rack – BE                the inside pockets. Because grout starts
        explain why your grout joints are ¾”                                    drying so quickly now, you don’t want
        wide.                                     GENTLE!                       to leave any excess once you’ve lifted the
          Whether the project is a restaurant                                   rack to start a new run.
        bathroom, or a huge airport terminal,                                     There are racks available for various
        installation goes faster and more                                       patterns like a Running Bond or Basket
        accurately using the tile frame. The floor prep is still a necessity -   shape and can be manufactured for 12” x 12”, 8” x 8”, 6” x 6”, 4” x
        you still should snap those lines, but the tile rack makes the grout   4”, and 4” x 8” brick shape tile. Racks can be used in both interior
        joints the picture of uniformity.                   and exterior projects. All the setters I spoke with, when asked about
           There were a few issues stressed when it comes to tile racks, and   the benefit of a tile rack for a complicated floor pattern, or even
        one of the big ones is the handling of the rack – BE GENTLE! Make   multiple patterns in one floor layout, discouraged trying to make a
        sure it is secured during transportation to the job, and stored safely   rack work in that situation. Relying on experience is sometimes far
        until needed, because jostling or bumping the grid might push it   better than anything that can be measured or purchased, and that
        out of alignment. If this happens, and there are a few bad memories   particular tool only sharpens with use. 
        shared, the rack just cannot perform.


                                                                             The Flooring Contractor Magazine       Spring 2021    13
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