|Thinset mortar is made from Portland cement and fine silica
sand which when mixed with water produces a concrete hard surface that is
not susceptible to moisture. Organic mastic adhesive on the other hand is
slightly spongy and can absorb moisture. Consequently thinset mortar should
be used on moderate to high traffic ceramic tile floor areas, and in wet
areas such as shower stalls. Organic mastic should be limited to walls,
countertops and lightly traveled ceramic tiled floors.
To ensure a solid bond between the
tile and tile base it is important to know how to mix thinset mortar properly.
If mixed properly, thinset mortar should have the consistency of peanut butter
or a thick pancake batter.
How to Mix Thinset Mortar Properly
To properly mix thinset mortar you
will need a dust mask, bucket, paddle mixer and paddle. The paddle mixer and
paddle can be substituted with a hand trowel or rugged mixing knife if you have
a small ceramic tiling project.
To begin the mixing process, pour
water or an acrylic additive into the bucket such that it is about one
quarter full. Then pour the dry thinset mixture into the bucket. Note, do
not pour too much of the thinset into the bucket to begin with.
With the thinset added to the water
(or acrylic additive), insert the paddle into the bucket and begin to mix the
thinset and water slowly. Work the paddle up and down, starting from the bottom
of the bucket. Continue this process until the thinset is thoroughly mixed. If
the mixture is too loose add more thinset to the solution and repeat the process
Alternatively use your hand trowel or
mixing knife to mix the water and thinset mixture together.
When the thinset mixture has the
consistency of peanut butter let it rest for 5 minutes.
After letting the thinset mixture
rest for a few minutes, mix/stir the solution again for another 5 minutes.
With the second
round of mixing complete, your thinset is ready for use.
note: It is important mix up only enough thinset mortar to support about
20 minutes of tile setting work. Thinset mortar will begin to harden, or set,
within 20 minutes and it is unwise to apply more water to thin it out. Thinning
out mortar that has already begun to set will create a weakened thinset mixture
and could potentially lead to loosened ceramic tiles down the road.
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For information on
ceramic tile and installing a shower pan membrane liner, see the
Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook
from HomeAdditionPlus.com. The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly
teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner
correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the
pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.
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