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Setting Tile: Revised and Updated (Fine Homebuilding) Rev Upd Su Edition

62 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1561580804
ISBN-10: 1561580805
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Editorial Reviews Review

Michael Byrne's Setting Tile is packed with more than enough information for those thinking of taking on a tile job in their home. It is so detailed and thorough that it serves as a Tile 101 introduction for those interested in entering the trade full-time or simply improving their skills and knowledge. Byrne opens this revised and updated version of his previous effort with a brief description of how tile was made 6,000 years ago. Granted, the history lesson may not help someone who's planning to tile a kitchen counter, but Byrne's passion and interest for the subject pay off for the reader in other ways. He advises his readers, for example, that even after they've found the right tile for the bathroom floor or kitchen counter--the one that is just the right color and that the manufacturer recommends--to take those tiles and put them through a few of their own tests. Rub it with your favorite frying pan to see how easily it's marked up and, in turn, cleaned off. Scuff it with junior's hiking boots to see how it endures a day in the life. "I tell my customers in the end that, no matter what grade of tile they select, they can be the best judge of a tile's suitability." Byrne devotes chapters to materials, tools and safety, troubleshooting and repairs, and surface preparation. And in his chapter stressing the importance of doing a proper layout long before setting that first tile, Byrne also gives the reader a few clever ways to check levels, straightedges, and carpenter's squares for accuracy. This is a highly detailed book loaded with technical information that relies equally on photos and illustrations. It's also more about materials and tile samples than completed jobs. Don't buy this book if you're looking for glossy color photos of pristine tile jobs; buy it if you want to learn how to correctly install such jobs. --John Russell

About the Author

Michael Byrne is lecturer in Scottish Gaelic, Department of Celtic, University of Glasgow.

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Product Details

  • Series: Fine Homebuilding
  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Rev Upd Su edition (May 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561580805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561580804
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 206 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've read several reviews of this book that are much less than glowing since purchasing this book. I agree with every one of them. I would not consider this book a good reference for inexperienced tile setters. After having tackled my own bathroom job and now having the benefit of experience with tile, my opinioin is this book fell short in revealing crucial detail at every turn. examples: The book fails to describe in any detail how tile is set over the transition between backerboard and the tub lip. CRITICAL! The book fails to descibe in any detail the variety of adhesives that may be used. What's the difference between thin set and mastic adhesive? Why would you choose one over the other? - Hint: it's more than just bond strength. How about all the hinden problems you will encounter with a retrofit job? LACKING! What about the transition from cement backer to drywall! Not even addressed. When installing cement board, rough side up or down? If it doesn't matter SAY SO! My opinion: This book is LACKING! LACKING! LACKING!
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Scooter on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Byrne has written dozens of articles in fine Homebuilding and Journal of Light Construction on Tile Setting. The Book is excellent, and walks you through the whole process from tile history, tile design, the various construction aspects of it (e.g., what you have to have underneath the tile to make a good tile job, the various setting beds (old fashioned mortar to newer cement boards), setting the tile, grouting the tile, and finally sealing the tile when necessary.
For any person wanting to learn tile setting the correct professional way, this book is essential. I bought it twice, one about 8 years ago, and a second updated version this year because of some new products and resulting new techniques.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By B. Thompson on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Like most Taunton Press publications, Setting Tile skews abit toward the art side of its trade, and it glosses over quite a few things that an absolute novice, or even a fairly skilled worker in another trade, needs in order to get a good result. As other have pointed out, he doesn't go into using mastics or epoxy-based mortars. But those seem like decisions based on his experience with the materials. He simply uses thinset. Enough said.

One ommission that did seem a little odd was the lack of information about working with wet-wall installations. He only uses backer board, which for a worker/writer who is so thorough and skilled seems strange.

Especially given the fact that he does such a great job of explaining, step by step, how to build a shower pan, which is a fussy, finicky, yet back-breaking job if there ever was one.

One other fault (and this may be a fault of Taunton books in general): he doesn't help me anticipate errors. For example: Mr. Byrne recommeds that you fur out the backer board above a shower pan lining so that the board can hang over the lining without getting bumped out. And he recommends butter the back of the board with thinset where it mates with the lining (since you can't drive screws through the board as it would pierce the lining).

Now a non-idiot (not me!) would know that the mortar would tend to push the backer board out, especially in the corners where the lining is folded to three times its typical thickness. Such a non-idiot would fur out a little extra and use a little less mortar.

But not me: I butter the hell out of the back of the backer board and by the time the mortar set the board's bottom was out of pumb a good 3/16 of inch. Not a huge deal, until you try to make the tials look nice and perfect.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Sedro on December 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
In my neighborhood, as in many areas during this boom economy, it is nearly impossible to find contractors willing to do small residential jobs such as tiling a bathtub stall. For us reluctant weekend warriors, this book has been a godsend.
Most tile books provide a number of layout ideas and then either gloss over the details of installation or (more often) give suggestions on how to hire a reputable and skilled contractor. Byrne instead gives detailed but undaunting descriptions of how to design, plan, build, and finish most projects. The organization is useful, the photos are perfect, and helpful hints and warnings abound.
Only a couple things could improve this book. Although the book contained all the info I needed for my job, a quick outline summary for entire projects, with one-line descriptors of each task, would avoid having to continually leaf through the complete text. Also, an estimate of time required for each task would allow for better planning.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. What I liked most about it was that the author explain in great detail HOW to tile. There are some books that merely show pretty pictures. He goes over the different types of setting, techniques, surface preparation, tools, you name it. I just completed my first tile job ... it turned out great!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Byrnes obviously knows his trade of tile laying. I purchased the book when I decided to attempt a total bathroom overhaul by myself for the first time. I found his book of more interest than others I looked at since he covered the construction of the shower 'pan' whereas other books did not get into this area. I read the book several times studied the pictures and practiced the techniques in my mind several times before doing any of the reconstruction. I did find the book to be most helpful in answering most questions however there were some areas where I felt he left things unanswered at least for the novice. I have finally completed the project after 3 months of working on it after hours and weekends. I have to say thank you to Mr. Byrne but I would like to see some of the loose ends tied up for the next novice 'Do-it-yourselfer' starts his/her bathroom renovation.
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