What Type of Thinset for Granite Tiles?

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Granite is a beautiful choice for tile jobs.
Granite is a beautiful choice for tile jobs. (Image: Polishing pink granite natural rock in wall image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

Tackling a tiling job may seem to be a daunting task, but once you are familiar with the procedure it is not so bad. You have to make sure to use the proper materials when you are tiling so you get the best finished product. Since granite is a heavy material for tiling jobs, you have to prepare the surface properly and use a certain kind of thinset mortar to secure the tiles in place.

Preparation

Smooth out any rough or uneven spots on your subfloor before you use granite tiles. Even though they are a strong material, the tiles will crack under the right amount of pressure. You will also want to put a crack isolation fabric, such as cement backer board or cement board substrate, below your tiles to help provide a strong foundation. Make sure your tiling surface is thoroughly cleaned and dried before applying the thinset.

Thinset

A cement-based thinset mortar is a good choice when preparing the subfloor for granite tiles. This kind of thinset is made of cement, additives and aggregates, and provides a good bonding between the tile and the subflooring surface. If you decide to get a quick-dry thinset, make sure the surface you are working on can be tiled within a 30-minute window, otherwise the thinset will dry too quickly to provide a good bond to your granite tiles. Choose a sanded thinset if you are working on floors. You can use sanded or unsanded for countertops, fixtures and walls.

Thinset colors

Usually there are only two colors to choose from when you are selecting thinset: white and gray. Since the granite tiles are going on top of this thinset and grout will be spread in between the tiles, the color you select for your thinset is determined by your grout color. Choose white for light mortar and gray thinset for dark mortar.

Application

Read the instructions thoroughly on your chosen thinset before you start. Mix the thinset according to these instructions, as each product is different. Usually the consistency will be of a thick pudding or custard. Use the flat side of a trowel to spread a thin coat of thinset. Apply a second thin coat with the notched side of the trowel. Lay a tile in place, give it a tap with a rubber mallet to set it, place your spacers at the edge of your tile, set the next tile and continue with your tiling project. Allow the thinset to set according to the product directions.

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