How to Mix Thin-Set Tile Mortar with a Special Latex Additive

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Adding a special latex additive to thin-set tile mortar makes the mortar up to 3 times harder and increases its flexibility. This is especially important when setting tiles in bathrooms or other places that will be subjected to extremes of temperature and moisture. A latex additive should be added to thin-set mortar whenever the mortar will be used to bond tiles or other materials to plywood or wallboard.

Things You'll Need

  • Thin-set mortar
  • Latex additive
  • Plastic mixing container
  • Variable-speed electric drill with mixing tool
  • Dust mask
  • Eye protection
  • Trowel
  • Pour 25 pounds of powdered thin-set mortar into a large plastic container. (Be sure to wear a dust mask and eye protection.)

  • Slowly add 1 gal of liquid latex additive. Mix at low-speed (no higher than 300 r.p.m.), using a mixing tool attached to a variable-speed electric drill. Continue until the mixture is the consistency of cake batter. (This should take approximately 5 minutes). No water should be added.

  • Allow the mortar to set for 10 minutes, and then mix for 2 minutes more. If the mixture is stiffer than cake batter, add a small amount of additional latex. If the mixture is too thin, add a small amount of additional mortar. When adding ingredients, use small amounts and work slowly.

  • Once your mixture is the consistency of cake batter and thoroughly mixed, it is ready to be used. The mortar should remain usable for approximately 4 hours, although you may need to add a small amount of latex after the first hour.

Tips & Warnings

  • Expect coverage of approximately 70 to 90 square feet with a 1/4 inch trowel and coverage of approximately 55 to 65 feet with a 1/4 X 3/8 trowel.
  • Clean the receiving surface thoroughly before applying mortar.
  • Do not apply mortar if the surface to be tiled is colder than 40 degrees F.
  • Wear a dust mask when working with the powdered mortar.
  • Wear eye protection when mixing.
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