What Type Of Mortar To Use For Tile?

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Mortar is a key ingredient in tile installation, acting as both the adhesive and grout. With the different types of mortars, you may be wondering which one is best suited for your tiling project. We did our research and this is what we found out.

Thinset mortar is the most commonly used tile mortar for indoor and outdoor projects. This type of mortar is ideal for most tiling projects. Then there are also other types of mortar such as tile mastic and epoxy mortar.  

In this article, we'll discuss one by one the different types of mortar. You'll learn the pros and cons of each type so you can make the best decision for your project. 

old trowel and bucket with mortar at consturction site - What Type Of Mortar To Use For Tile

Things To Keep In Mind When Selecting A Mortar

Cement mortar mixed in a bucket, top view.

Mortar is a key ingredient in tile installation, acting as both the adhesive and grout. There are many different types of mortar available on the market, so it's important to choose the right one for your project.

Here are four things to keep in mind when selecting a mortar for your tile installation:

  1. The type of tile you're using: Some tiles, like natural stone or glass, require a specific type of mortar. Make sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations before selecting mortar.
  2. The surface you're tiling: Mortar can be used on both vertical and horizontal surfaces, but some types are better suited for one or the other.
  3. The climate: Hot, humid climates can impact the drying time of mortar, so be sure to select a type that dries quickly.

  4. The budget: Mortar prices can vary significantly, so be sure to compare products before making a purchase.

Be sure to keep these four factors in mind when selecting a mortar for your project.

Different Types of Mortar

Mortar is a necessary part of any tile installation. But what type of mortar should you use? Here's a list of the most commonly used mortar for tile projects:

Thinset Mortar

Trowel, thinset and hands

Thinset mortar is a type of cement-based adhesive that is used to install tile. It is available in both powder and liquid form, and it can be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Thinset mortar has a number of benefits, including the following:

  • It dries quickly, which reduces the wait time before tile can be installed.
  • It is strong and durable, making it ideal for high-traffic areas.
  • It is resistant to mold and mildew, making it a good choice for wet or humid climates.
  • It is relatively inexpensive, making it a budget-friendly option for tile installation

In general, thinset mortar is a good choice for most tile installation projects. However, there are some instances where another type of mortar may be a better option. For example, glass or natural stone tiles require a specific type of mortar, so be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations before selecting your adhesive.

Check out this Schluter ALL-SET modified thinset mortar on Amazon.

Tile Mastic

Tile placed over mastic in home renovation.

Mastic is a type of organic adhesive that is used to install tile. It is available in both powder and liquid form, and it can be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Mastic has a number of benefits, including the following:

  • It is easy to work with, making it a good choice for DIY projects.
  • It is typically less expensive than thinset mortar, making it a budget-friendly option for tile installation.
  • It dries quickly, which reduces the wait time before tile can be installed.

However, mastic has some drawbacks as well. For example, it is not as strong or durable as thinset mortar, so it is not a good choice for high-traffic areas. In addition, mastic is not as resistant to mold and mildew as thinset mortar, so it is not the best choice for wet or humid climates.

Mastic is a good choice for small tile installation projects in dry, low-traffic areas. However, for larger projects or installations in high-traffic or wet/humid areas, thinset mortar is a better option.

 

Check out this AcrylPro ceramic tile mastic on Amazon.

Epoxy Mortar

epoxy flooring applicator performs painting works with polyurethane epoxy mortar

Epoxy mortar is a type of adhesive made from epoxy resins. It is typically used for bonding ceramic tile, natural stone, and glass mosaics to walls and floors. Epoxy mortar has several advantages over other types of adhesives, including its high strength and durability. However, it can be more expensive than other options and is not suitable for use with porous surfaces.

How To Mix and Prepare Mortar for Tile Installation

old trowel and bucket with mortar at consturction site

When it comes to tile installation, one of the most important aspects is getting the mortar mix right. If the mix is too dry, it won't stick to the tile properly. On the other hand, if it's too wet, it will be difficult to work with and may not set correctly.

Before proceeding, here is a list of materials you need to prepare:

  • Gloves
  • Mixing bucket or bowl
  • Mortar of your choice
  • Bucket mortar mixer
  • Trowel
  • Damp sponge

This bucket mixer will help you prepare mortar with ease! Remember to mix small batches to avoid mortar drying out.

Check out this bucket mortar mixer on Amazon.

A trowel is essential for this DIY project. Working in small sections to spread the mortar evenly, the squared notch design aids a consistent application.

Check out this Edward Tools squared notch tile trowel on Amazon.

Applying mortar to tiles is not as difficult as it may seem. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Gather your supplies and materials. 
  2. When it comes to proportions, a good rule of thumb is to use two parts sand to one part cement. Once you have your ingredients, simply mix them together in the bucket until you have a consistent consistency.
  3. If the mix is too dry, add a little more water until it reaches the desired consistency. Mix the mortar and water until you have a smooth consistency. 
  4. Use the trowel to spread the mortar onto the tile. Be sure to work in small sections so that the mortar does not dry out before you have the chance to apply it. 
  5. Use a damp sponge to smooth out the surface of the tile and remove any excess mortar. with just a little patience and care, you will be able to successfully apply mortar to your tiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between thinset and tile mortar?

When it comes to tiling a surface, you have two main options: thinset and tile mortar. Both are mortar-based adhesives that are used to attach tiles to a variety of surfaces. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Thinset is made with Portland cement, sand, and water, and it is typically used for ceramic or porcelain tile. Tile mortar, on the other hand, is made with lime, sand, and water, and it is better suited for natural stone tile.

In terms of installation, thinset is generally thinner and easier to work with than tile mortar. However, tile mortar provides a stronger bond and is less likely to crack over time. When choosing between thinset and tile mortar, it is important to consider the type of tile you are using as well as the surface you are tiling.

What Other Types of Mortar Can Be Used for Different Projects?

hand with old trowel and bucket with mortar at consturction site

Masonry Cement Mortar

Masonry cement mortar is another type of mortar that is commonly used in construction. It is made from a mixture of masonry cement, sand, and water. Masonry cement mortar is easy to work with and is very strong. However, it can be susceptible to weathering and may not last as long as other types of mortar.

Portland Cement Mortar

Portland cement mortar is one of the most common types of mortar. It is made from a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and water. Portland cement mortar is strong and durable, but it can be difficult to work with.

Lime Mortar

Lime mortar is a type of mortar that is made from a mixture of lime, sand, and water. It is often used in construction because it is easy to work with and is very strong. However, lime mortar can be susceptible to weathering and may not last as long as other types of mortar.

In Conclusion

Mortar is an important part of any tile installation, and the type you choose will affect the overall look and feel of your finished project. If you're still unsure what kind of mortar to use in your project, you can consult with a professional. Make sure to consult with a professional before deciding on a mortar type, as they will be able to help you select the right one for your specific needs.

If you're still here, the following articles might be of help for your tiling project:

How To Cover Bathroom Wall Tiles

How To Transition Carpet To Tile [Even Without Transition Strips]

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