I recently attended a Bostik-sponsored event at Daltile in Salt Lake City, which is located in my neck of the woods. The seminar covered thin gauged porcelain panels using Bostik's Bosti-Set adhesive for interior applications. After a short PowerPoint presentation, the attendees went out to the warehouse and were able to have hands-on experience cutting and setting the panels on a wall application. The two instructors traveling the country for the Bostik training are Mick Volponi and Ernest Perry. Having two instructors who are still out in the field installing, and with so much knowledge, was invaluable as they shared their techniques on proper installation methods both by the book and through their experience with thin tile.

Fortunately, we were able to work with panels without having to worry about breakage—and yes, we did have breakage during the cutting process. Getting proper education on cutting can save you thousands of dollars, as one panel can easily cost more than that. We all had a chance to work with cutting tools and tables from ETM and Montolit, which are specific to thin gauged tile. You’re not going to be using traditional cutting tools for these types of installations so it does require an investment. If you’re looking at getting into these types of installations, it’s a whole different mindset, but worth it.

So, one big difference with the Bostik product versus a thin-set mortar application is that you only apply Bosti-Set to the back of the panel, while thin-set requires that you apply it to the back of the panel as well as the bonding surface. Bostik has videos on YouTube showing the faster setting time using their product versus thin-set. It was the little things that make a big difference that I really appreciated with the hands-on training. Just the application of the adhesive on the back of the panel and using the trowel a certain way to maintain coverage on the edges without making a big mess are the things that save time and money for the contractor, and those are things that come through experience. Also, tips on cutting, which tools perform a little better in certain types of cuts and how much pressure you put on the tools are all things that you get from instructors Mick and Ernest. Once we set the panels on the wall we used the MLT Lippage system to maintain flatness along the seam which is a necessity with panels.

Thanks to Daltile and James Allred from Bostik. Also, Mick and Ernest, thank you for hosting a great event. And for those of you contractors out there — look for training like this that’s available in your own backyards.

For a video of me trying my hand at gauged porcelain tile cutting during the Bostik event, click here.