What is Thinset? How to Pick the Right Adhesive For Your Tiling Job

If you’ve never had to lay bricks, tiles, or countertops before, you’re probably clueless as to what type of materials you need.

Regardless of what you’re laying, you will need to have a quality adhesive in order to keep it locked in place. In general, there are four different types of adhesives.

These include thinset mortar, tile mastic, epoxy mortar, and brick mortar.

For the purpose of laying tiles, the two primary adhesives used include thinset mortar and tile mastic. In cases which involve floor tiles, thinset mortar is most typically used.

But what is thinset? Let’s delve into the substance a little deeper.

What is Thinset?

Thinset is a relatively thin mortar which contains substances such as fine sand, cement, and compounds which promote water retention. Also commonly called dryset mortar or drybond mortar, it is designed to resist moisture.

This adhesive is characterized by its relatively low price, and its ability to be laid for long periods of time without drying. In general, there are two different types of thinset: non-mixed and pre-mixed.

Non-mixed

Non-mixed thinset is essentially cement and fine sand without any latex added in.

On its own, without any latex, this type of thinset is vulnerable to cracking and drying out. For this reason it’s recommended that you mix it with a latex additive before use.

Unfortunately, the mixing process is far from simple, requiring a bevy of different equipment. So, while non-mixed thinset is cheaper, it’s also more difficult to work with.

Unless you need a great deal of thinset, it’s recommended that you stay away from non-mixed kinds.

Pre-mixed

Pre-mixed thinset already contains latex, meaning that you don’t have to add any later on.

Available in large containers, it’s more expensive than non-mixed thinset, but also easier to prepare. This makes it a great option for DIY tilers who don’t have the necessary equipment for mixing in latex.

Unless you need a great deal of thinset, you should just spend the extra money and go with the pre-mixed version.

Thinset vs. Mastic

What is thinset when compared to mastic? Though they’re both tile adhesives, thinset and mastic are best used for different purposes. While thinset is typically best used for floor tiles, mastic is typically best used for wall tiles.

Mastic is a natural, glue-like substance which is extracted from mastic trees. Unlike with thinset, it does not handle moisture well, turning back into a liquid whenever it’s exposed to it.

Both types of adhesive are useful, but for different purposes.

Thinset is ideally used for shower floors and walls, bathroom floors and walls, kitchen floors and counter tops, and all other floors which might, at some point, be exposed to moisture.

Mastic is ideally used for backsplashes and walls which are not exposed to a great deal of moisture.

Sure Up Your Tiles with a Quality Adhesive

Looking for an adhesive to keep your floors sturdy and solid?

If so, we here at Buildmore Materials can help. Our tile adhesives are resistant to water, heat, freezing, and other forms of inclement weather.

Sure up your tiles. Let us serve you today!

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