Tiling question, is it necessary to back butter?

I'm ready to lay down 16x16 tiles for a fairly large area. Is it necessary to put down thinset on the substrate and also back butter the tile or is it enough to do just the substrate then lay the tile? I've asked several people and get conflicting answers. Thanks.
Geo
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On 25-Jul-2005, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

For a given tile do one or the other, but not both. Generally you'll want to thinset the substrate but in a few cases it's easier to butter the tile. Usually with smaller pieces that it's hard to get a notched margin trowel into the area on the floor. You may not have any pieces like that at all.
If you do mix the two methods be sure to beat in the tiles carefully to ensure they are level.
I've read back buttering is easier on amateurs but I didn't find that to be the case. It's enough of a pain maneuvering 16 sq in. tiles into place w/o the added weight of the thinset on them (I actually had 18 in sq. tiles). I think you'll also find that positioning the tiles once they are on the bed is easier than it looks. They just twist right into place.
good luck ml
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On thing about back buttering is that you dont easily end up with empty pockets of air under the tile. I sort of do a little of both myself.
I lay the thinset on the floor, and then on each tile placed I put a small amount of thinset in the center. This sort of makes the problem of air being trapped under the tile go away.
On thing is make sure that you subfloor is strong. Using a good thinset is the next best investment.
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I usually do both also.
I like a back butter the cement so the back looks as smooth as the front. The biggest problem with this techqiue is the grout lines sometimes will fill with cement. I perfer to have a handfull of q-tips handy or clean them out with the edge of a spacer.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

No need for both unless the tile's not relativley flat, however it's a good idea to wipe the back of the tile off with a damp sponge. Use a 1/4" X 1/4" notched trowel.
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