How to Choose the Right Adhesive When Laying Tile

If you are going to lay tile on your floors and/or walls but do not know which type of adhesive to purchase for the job, these tips will help to guide your selection.

One: Determine that the adhesive you are choosing is the proper type for the job you are doing. For example, if you are laying tiles outside, be certain to choose adhesive that is meant for exterior application. If you choose interior adhesive, it will be useless to you as the tiles you put into place come loose or fall out in a very short amount of time, or worse, do not stick in place at all. This is an easy but important first step.

Two: If you are putting tile down on a floor or an exterior surface, your best choice will most likely be to use thin-set mortar as your adhesive of choice. There are two types that you can choose from, traditional or epoxy. You can also get them in either a powder that requires you to mix it yourself or you can find it premixed for convenience. The powder form takes a bit longer to use but is well worth the effort because it creates a stronger adhesive than the premixed product provides.

If you choose an epoxy thin-set adhesive your work will progress along more quickly than if you use a traditional thin-set mortar because it will set and dry very quickly. It is fantastic for places where tile will come into contact with moisture or water on a regular basis because it is water proof. The bond epoxy adhesive creates is strong and permanent, so apply tiles with great care.

If you choose a traditional thin-set mortar as your adhesive you have more time to work than if you are using epoxy, simply because the tiles will not stick into place as soon as you put them down, so it allows you to move them around a bit for adjustment, if necessary. Mix your thin-set with liquid latex or purchase the type that has latex already in the mix and then add water as directed. Make sure latex is involved because it will help add strength and durability to your adhesive and keep it from readily cracking.

Exterior tiling can create dramatic flare and style. You can tile concrete stairs, walkways, patios, etc. Just make sure that the adhesive you are using is meant for outside use and that it is the proper type of adhesive for the particular type of tiles (also meant for exterior use) you will be using.

Three: If you are putting tile down on a wall organic mastic adhesive is a great way to go. It is a quick-setting adhesive which is great for vertical application. It also is strong, affordable, and easy to find in stores. Use of organic mastic adhesive should be on surfaces that are already in good condition. If the surface you are working with is not in good shape, be sure to make the repairs prior to applying tiles. You do not want to have a crumbling wall or substrate once tiles have been put into place so take the time and effort to ensure the underlying material is in good shape before you put tiles in with an adhesive. The trowel you will use for organic mastic is a point notch, not a flat square one.

Four: If you are tiling outside with bricks or blocks there is a special brick mortar that you can purchase. It is recommended that you use the adhesive meant specifically for brick tile because it is coarser than a traditional thin-set or epoxy adhesive and will better hold the bricks in place.

When you are putting your tiles in place, be sure to wipe off excess adhesive immediately, should it get on the surface of your tile during application. A wipe down now will be a lot easier than a wipe down after the adhesive has set.

These tips are meant to guide you as you purchase the adhesive for your tiling job, be it interior or exterior. I do, however, recommend speaking with a professional prior to choosing an adhesive to make sure you are purchasing the right type for the job in question, and to pick up any inside tips he or she may have for the work you are about to do.

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