Ceramic tile is a popular flooring application that is often installed by homeowners who are willing to tackle a do-it-yourself project. Choosing the right tile to complement the interior of your home is not the only consideration homeowners must make. You must also choose the correct type of thinset mortar to use to install your tiles. When choosing a thinset mortar mix, you will need to consider the type of surface on which you will install the tile, as well as your level of experience with ceramic tile installation.
Things You'll Need
- Safety glasses
- Respirator mask
- Margin trowel
- Five-gallon plastic bucket
- Thinset mortar mix
- 1/2-inch drill
- Mortar-mixing paddle attachment
Choose a thinset mortar mix. Any multipurpose and polymer modified thinsets will be appropriate for installing tiles on a cement substrate. For tile installation on wooden substrates or vinyl flooring, choose a high-grade latex modified thinset mortar. Choose a gray thinset mortar if you will apply dark colored grout to the tiles, and a white thinset mortar if you plan on applying light colored grout to the tiles.
Put on safety glasses and a respirator mask. Pour a small amount of water into a five-gallon bucket. Add some powdered mortar mix to the water. Adding the mix to the water will reduce the amount of dust that becomes airborne.
Mix the thinset mortar and the water together with a margin trowel until combined.
Attach a mortar-mixing paddle to a 1/2-inch drill and continue mixing the water and thinset mortar at a slow speed. Avoid mixing at a high speed, because this can cause air pockets to develop in the mortar that will weaken it.
Add more water and more mortar thinset mix, as needed, until the mixture reaches the consistency of peanut butter. To test the consistency, dip your margin trowel into the mix, lift it out and turn it sideways. If the mortar stays on the trowel, but it can be shaken off, then it is the right consistency.
Allow the mortar to sit in the bucket for 10 minutes to allow the additives to activate and any remaining powder to be penetrated by the moisture. Stir the mortar with the margin trowel, and begin applying it to ceramic tiles.
Tips & Warnings
- Mix only a small amount of mortar mix at a time, until you discover how long it takes for the mix to set.
- Avoid using thinset mortar mixes that are fast setting, unless you are an experienced tile installer.
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