Choosing A Thinset Mortar

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Thinset Mortar Selection

Selecting the proper thinset mortar for your ceramic tile installation will add strength and years of life to your new flooring. Here are some tips to help you in your purchase:

  • Avoid using organic mastics adhesives to install ceramic tile to floors.
  • Use a gray thinset mortar if you plan to use a dark colored grout.
  • Use a white thinset mortar if you plan to use a light colored grout.
  • Use a wet toothbrush to scrub your grout joints clean as you are installing your floor.
  • Avoid purchasing Fast Setting thinset mortars unless you are an experienced tile installer.
  • Almost any thinset mortar (Multi Purpose and polymer modified thinsets) will be adequate for installing most fired clay ceramic tiles on a cement substrate.
  • Fully vitrified porcelain tiles should be installed using a latex modified thinset or basic (non-modified) thinset mixed with an acrylic latex additive.
  • For installing ceramic tile over vinyl flooring or wooden substates you will need a high quality latex modified thinset mortar. These may be labeled as Full Flex, Super Flex, or Multi Flex thinset mortars.
  • Mix only a small amount of thinset mortar at a time until you become familiar with the setting time of the mortar you are using.
  • Allow a minimum of 16 hours for your ceramic tile to set before walking on it. We recommend 24 hours.
  • Choose a sanded thinset mortar for floors or countertops, use an unsanded or sanded thinset mortar for walls, countertops, and fixtures.
  • (1) 50 pound bag of sanded thinset mortar will install roughly 75 to 100 square feet of ceramic flooring. Most manufacturers will have the product specifications printed on the bag.
  • If you have a 1/2" drill you might want to consider purchasing a paddle to mix your thinset mortar. Thinset mortars should be mixed at low speeds (less than 300 RPMs).
  • Acrylic latex admixture can be used to increase the mechanical bond of your thinset. Simply combine with water and thinset and mix thoroughly. Some thinset mortars do not require this additive. Check the manufacturers specifications before using.
  • We recommend a minimum of a 1/4" (3/8" recommended for most jobs) thick thinset mortar bed installed using a square notch trowel.
  • Manufacturers have varying methods for mixing and installing their product. These instructions should be always be carefully followed.

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