While not strictly a plumbing topic per se, we get enough questions about what kind of ceramic tile adhesive is best, we thought we’d share an article on the topic…
The ceramic tile adhesive used for shower or bathtub flooring or mural coverings totally depends on the combination of factors such as surface specificity, professional expertise and the complexity of the pattern you want to design. Let’s start with thin-set mortars first and see how they can be used for tiling. They are sold in powder form and need to be mixed with water or a special acrylic additive: follow the instructions on the package to make sure there is no mistake involved. Thin set ceramic tile adhesive is great for flooring since it provides a very strong yet flexible adhesion of the tiles. Such materials are also recommended when it comes to installing tiles on wet surface or in places where the heat exposure is pretty high.
The type of ceramic tile adhesive that you can successfully use for wall tiling is the premixed variety; the advantage with this kind of adhesive is that it sticks to the tiles right away, even before the drying process is complete. The premixed ceramic tile adhesive works well in damp areas too such as the shower or bathroom walls. Nevertheless, if when installed, they do provide excellent resistance to moisture and heat, be careful not to expose the adhesive to moisture before the setting of the tiles as such.
Do not start spreading the ceramic tile adhesive unless the wall or floor surface is perfectly clean of dust or debris. Certain premixed adhesives may not be compatible with very moist areas, the only way to avoid purchasing such a substance is to carefully read the label of the product in advance. Spread the ceramic tile adhesive in the center of the wall or floor and make sure it covers the surface evenly. The use of layout tiles is crucial as they are the ones to help you align the others properly.
Under certain circumstances, you may not be able to spread ceramic tile adhesive evenly because of obstacles on the working area: the solution here is to back butter each tile individually. You will need to be careful with the contact area, meaning that the tile should adhere properly to the underlaying structure. In case you are tiling the area around the shower or the bathtub, you’ll have to leave space enough for soap dishes or shelves. Such items can only be installed after the ceramic tile adhesive is dry; you can use either the same type of adhesive or some silicone product.
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