There are several types of approved adhesives that can be used with man-made tiles as well as natural stone tiles. While thin-set mortar and mastic adhesive are the preferred materials used in installations, you can also use certain types of caulk to replace single pieces of tile, such as when you are replacing a broken piece with a new one.
Silicone caulk can be used as an adhesive in some cases, and with tile it can work as a replacement for traditional adhesives for repairs. While silicone readily bonds to most types of materials, you should always check the type of tile you have and purchase an appropriate type of silicone caulk to adhere to that type of stone.
There are numerous brands and types available, but construction adhesive caulks are an all-purpose adhesive that can be used with tiles as well as wood, plastic and other materials. They can be used to install an entire wall if you choose, although they are not recommended as full installation adhesives but rather for repairs only when it comes to tile.
Latex and Acrylics
Caulk that is designed only for joint filling cannot be used as an adhesive. Latex and acrylic caulks are good examples of this. While they contain a small amount of adhesive properties to bond to the side of the tiles when they are squeezed into the joints to fill inside corners, they are not rated as actual adhesive products. As such, you cannot install tiles with these types of caulks.
Although you can use some types of caulk to install tile, it cannot be used in all instances. Natural stones such as marble and travertine readily soak up color additives, oils and other byproducts from adhesives and transfer them through the stone, which will stain the surface. Regular man-made tiles such as ceramic and porcelain are fine to use with caulk, as are slate and granite.