Guide on Choosing The Right Kind of Tile Adhesive

Guide on Choosing The Right Kind of Tile Adhesive
  • Opening Intro -

    Have you just picked out the perfect tiles? Well, congratulations but remember that you are not quite done, just yet.

    At the risk of sounding extremely boring, that was the fun part that you completed.


Now comes the much harder part of having to think about adhesives and also installation. After all, the new tiles that you so carefully picked out are only going to look to the best of their abilities only if they are fitted properly.

The reason we make use of tile adhesive is in order to make sure our tiles stick to the walls and floors. There are a whole bunch of different types of substrates and numerous types of tiles out there. Therefore, it is of prime importance that you choose the correct type of adhesive to make sure that your tiles stay in their place properly for quite some time.

It has always been advisable to get the help of a professional tiler. They are the ones who are the best suited to make the correct decision when it comes to choosing the right kind of tile adhesive.

However, if you are the sort of person who does not mind getting their hands dirty a bit and likes to do things themselves, this article will come in particularly handy to you.

Think of this article as a mini-guide on the subject. Before that, you should also learn how to install tiles.

What Are The Different Types of Tile Adhesives That Are Out There?

The first thing to note is that there are generally two types of adhesives that are completely different from each other. The two types are powdered adhesives and pastes that are ready mixed.

As you can probably tell from its name, pastes that are ready-made can be made use of straight out of its container. So you can safely say that they are very easy to make use of.

But, there are some restrictions with this type of adhesives with those restrictions being that, in general, these pastes can only really be made use of in order to install ceramic tiles onto walls.

Contrary to the above-mentioned pasted, the powdered adhesives are required to be mixed with water and into a slurry. This really does take a lot more effort and time as well.

However, the upside is that they offer a much stronger bond and they can, in general, be made use of in order to fit ceramic, porcelain, and also natural stone tiles to any substrate that you can think of.

ceramic subway tiletile install tools

      some wall tiling ideas to consider      

What Type of Substrate Are You Fitting The Tiles To?

Just as we have mentioned previously, there is a whole range of different types of substrates that can be used when installing tiles. Let us now take a look at the most common types of substrates.

  • Walls

    Small ceramic tiles are very often made use of in walls and also in splashbacks. In almost all cases, a paste that is ready-mixed will be able to do the job quite suitable.

    If the tiles you are working with are of the larger ceramic variety, that is it is larger than 30 x 30 cm, or you are trying to fit porcelain tiles to your walls, make sure that you use a powdered adhesive. This type of adhesives comes in a whole host of different colors, flexibility options, and also settings speeds.

    It is of prime importance to ensure that the wall you are fitting the tile onto can handle the weight of both the tiles and the adhesives as well. If you can, it is always a good idea to tile directly onto the plasterboard instead of tiled on fresh plaster.


  • Floors – Timber

    It will often be possible to lay the tiles directly on top of the floorboards but it is always advisable to install a layer of plywood that is marine-grade or to make use of a backing board made for tiles. What this does is that it gives you a much stronger and also much more stable surface on which you can install the tiles.

    Even if you happen to be using ceramic tiles, pastes that are ready mixed should never ever be used in order to lay tiles onto these floors. You will most certainly need to make use of an adhesive that comes in powder form.

    Some of the main things that you need to pay attention to when choosing the right kind of powdered adhesive include things such as, color, setting time, and also its flexibility.

  • Floors – Concrete, Screed

    Just like the timber floors that we talked about earlier, in this case, you will also need to use an adhesive that comes in powder form. Floors that have been newly laid will also need to be properly dry before you can start the process of tiling.

    In general, bases made out of concrete will need a minimum period of 6 weeks.

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A More In-Depth Look At Powdered Adhesives

It is very important to note that not all adhesives that are powdered are not the same nor equal. There also are a whole host of options that you can choose from. Let us take a look at the more regular and common options:

  • Color

    Most of the adhesives that are available in the market are generally grey or white. Normally, when you are using a grout that is of lighter color you would do well to use an adhesive that is white, and also vice versa.

  • Flexibility

    Even if it is just your home, tiles on the floor do experience a great deal of stress because of the foot traffic, the heating from the underfloor, and also the movements that happen in the subfloor.

    The bed of adhesive can do a great job of absorbing the stress that we just mentioned in order to lower the chances that the new flooring you just got will not crack.

    In general, the rule of thumb is that the more flexible the adhesive is, the more peace of mind you will have.

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