Applying The Thinset Mortar
Skim Coating The Substrate With Thinset Mortar
Prior to installing your tile, skim a thin coating of thinset mortar onto the substrate using the flat end of your thinset trowel. This will maximize the mechanical bond between the thinset mortar bed and the floor. The tile and mortar bed should be installed while this coating is wet.
Applying The Thinset Mortar Directly To Tile
Applying the thinset mortar to the tile instead of the floor will result in a flatter and cleaner tile floor. Foundations tend to draw moisture away from the mortar causing it to dry very quickly. Beginners will benefit from this technique as they will have more time to work at a slower pace. In addition, because this method of application offers 100% coverage, the risk of air pockets becoming trapped under the tile are significantly reduced and the grout will also have a deeper, more secure base. This technique is most effective for tiles larger than 8" x 8" in size and is highly recommended for most vitrified porcelain tile installations.
Mix the thinset mortar mix with water until it has the same consistency of peanut butter. Properly mixed, it should stick easy to the tile and hold it's shape with little or no sagging. Using your trowel, place a softball size portion of thinset on the center of tile. Holding the trowel at a slight angle, push down and away from the center of tile towards each corner. Repeat this process until all corners have been evenly skimmed with thinset.
It is important that the entire tile be evenly skimmed with thinset. This means the depth of thinset mortar on your tile should not exceed the depth of your trowel notch. Breakage of tile will occur if corners of tile are not properly skimmed with thinset mortar.
Thinset Mortar Applied Directly To Substrate
Mix your thinset thoroughly, removing lumps, to the consistency of peanut butter. Properly mixed, it should stick easy to the substrate and hold it's shape with little or no sagging.
Holding the trowel at a slight angle, push down and away to spread the thinset mortar. It is important that the thinset be evenly distributed with the ridges of the mortar bed all following the same direction.
After the tile has been installed, you will need to use a pencil or other similar device to remove the excess thinset mortar from within the grout joints. This will help to provide a deeper base for the grout to anchor itself in, resulting in a stronger joint.
Setting The Tile
Install your tile making sure it is properly aligned with your guide lines. Push down on tile firmly and evenly to properly seat the tile. A mallet may also be used to tap the tile into place.