Tiling shower wall -- advice needed

Hello. I had a roof leak that softened by plaster and lathe shower wall and bulged the wall. I removed all the tiles from the affected area, removed the P&L and installed Durock. I'm now ready to re-tile. I just wanted to get some advice on how to best do this. I have read countless posts indicating that you can forget the premixed adhesives for shower walls, so I will be using a dry modified thinset. My main concern (other than mixing the thinset to the proper consistency) is making sure the tiles don't slide down the wall. Maybe this won't be an issue since they are only 4 x 4 or so but i'm not sure. since I'm replacing tiles I really can't start at the bottom and work my way up, it really has to be from the top down, beginning where the existing tiles are still on the wall.
Can anyone recommend a thinset with good adhesion and/or give me some tips to keep the tiles in place? I've already read that I should keep my trowel lines horizontal, which makes sense. Should I be taping the tiles to the tiles above as I work my way down?
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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You should be fine with 4x4 tiles. I recently did a bathroom with 6x6 tiles and had no sliding problems on the cement board or the drywall using tile mortar from the Borg.
If you are concerned start at the bottom and work your way up using those plastic tile spacers. If your tile has those little self- spacing nubs you shouldn't need anything.
FWIW I did a shower 4 years ago using mastic and the tiles are still solid. They were 4x4 and well-grouted after giving the mastic a few days to dry. From what I have heard the problem with the pre-mixed stuff is it never fully cures on larger tiles because the air can't get to the center of the tile. Who knows, it could all be urban legend...
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Thanks for the reply. Your 6x6 experience makes me feel a bit better. Tiling just makes me nervous, once you put some thinset on the wall it's game on, no turning back. Fear of commitment, I guess. :)
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Arbee wrote:

Nahhh...you can always scrape off the thinset. And if you've already stuck on tiles they'll pop off easily enough for some time.
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dadiOH
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Arbee wrote:

You should also make sure your corners are square and plumb. Try not to get to a point where you have smaller than 1/3 of a tile in those corners. Line up your tiles first and move them left or right so you get as much tile on either side where they meet in the corners. When tiling is done instead of using grout in the corners use a colored grout caulk. Probably, non sanded in your case. Corners can move with the settling of the house and grout can crack. Caulk will give and flex. There's many books on this subject and you should get one. Like using a ledger board screwed temporaryly to the hardy board to use as a starting point. I always use them to start my second row. Install it just short of a full tile. Reason. Bathtubs are now always level and you may have to cut tile for that first row. GET A BOOK. I could write a book just trying to explain many other tips on tiling I have given you like 5 already.
Rich
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Arbee wrote:

1. Any old thinset should be fine.
2. Mix it so it will form peaks that don't slump and it will hold up those little tiles just fine.
3. I can't think of any reason why you should comb out the mortar horizontally. Even if I could I wouldn't bother :)
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Use a small V-notched trowel like 3/16" X 3/16".
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Thanks all for your replies. This won't be so bad after all!
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Tiling is fun...long as you don't have too much of it to do. ;)
Feel free to use tape to hold those wandering tiles in place. Use plastic spacers, scraps of cardboard, toothpicks or whatever, then when the tile is lined up right tape it in place.
If you want to learn more about tiling, the best resources I've found are the John Bridge tile forums online, and the Taunton Press' tile books by Michael Byrne. Pick up a copy on eBay for ten bucks.
R
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