Tile installation and the importance of tile adhesives

Tile adhesive

Tile adhesive is ready-mixed and specially formulated from OPC, selected fine sand, and additives to improve its essential properties for laying tiles. High-performance tile adhesive can be used to lay tiles on existing tiles, on polished cement, on wooden substrates or other special substrates. While cement is quite strong when used to hold bricks together, it does not do a very good job when used to install tiles. After a few years, tiles often become loose and even come out in some cases. With the correct Tile Adhesive, this is never a problem. It can hold the tiles tightly in place for decades to come. This makes it especially reliable for installing wall tiles.

Analysed below is the importance of tile adhesives and its installation process.

Tile Installation Procedure

A successful tile installation guarantees years of trouble-free performance and increases your home’s value and beauty. To properly install tile  follow the steps below:

  • Surface Preparation

Tile may be installed over most structurally-sound substrates. Make sure all surfaces to be tiled are clean, smooth, dry and free of wax, soap scum and grease. Any damaged, loose or uneven areas must be repaired, patched, and leveled. Remove all moldings, trims, appliances, etc. which may interfere with the installation. Door jambs may be undercut for tiles to slip under.

  • Layout

When tiling walls, tubs, or shower areas, begin by finding the center point of the wall. Use a level to draw a plumb line in the center of the wall. Align a row of loose tiles across the bottom of the wall from the center line, leaving uniform joints between tiles.

  • Setting Tile

Variation of shade and texture is an inherent characteristic of ceramic tiles. For a blended effect, mix tiles from several cartons as you set. It is important to use the correct adhesive for a particular substrate (surface) in order to ensure a proper bond. Before setting your tiles, select the correct adhesive.

Once you have chosen the proper adhesive or mortar, read all instructions and precautions on the package before using. Mix thin set or mortar according to the directions on the package. Mix only enough to be used within 30 minutes. Pre-mixed wall tile adhesives can be applied directly from the can without mixing. Determine the appropriate type of trowel (V or square-notch) and the right size (depth of notches) for the type of tile you are setting. Refer to the setting material package for recommendations.

  • Grouting Joints

Before grouting joints, the tile should be well-set to prevent breaking the bond. Refer to the adhesive package for specific time. Generally, you should wait about 24 hours before grouting. Remove all the spacers used for setting. Determine the grout color of your choice. For best results, choose on the color-coordinates with the tile. Remove excess grout from the surface immediately with edge of float. Tilt float at a 90 degree angle and scrape it diagonally across the tiles. Continue the process of compacting, then scraping off excess, until you have grouted for approximately 30 minutes or when the mixture begins to stiffen.

One question that may arise is what is the difference between wall and floor tile adhesives. Wall tiles adhesives lack the capacity for load bearing. They are thinner and lighter than the floor tiles, and their glaze is different from that of the floor tiles. Due to this light build, the wall tile adhesives do not need to provide a great bonding strength. Floor tiles adhesives are heavier and thicker than the wall tiles. They are also more resilient to vertical pressure. It is therefore important that you go for a strong floor tile adhesive when buying your flooring supplies. Tile adhesives are either in powder form or in the form of ready-mixed pastes. Powdered adhesives require mixing with water. They turn into a slurry, which provides a strong bond. They are suitable for floor tiles. On the other hand, ready-mixed pastes are usable without any prior preparations. They serve best in securing wall tiles.

Importance of tile adhesives

Optimum setting time of tile adhesive allows tiles to be easily adjusted within a certain period. It makes tiles being laid in line and gives the aesthetic final look. Applying tile adhesive with notched trowel provides full spread on the back of tiles and will reduce many problems like broken tiles esp. on the corner, water seeping, and stain or efflorescent. Full contact of the adhesive on tiles’ back and substrate provides strong bonding strength and long-lasting tiling work.

A cement mixture for tile installation requires many different things that need to be in a perfect ratio. It is not very easy and also takes a lot of time. But Tile Adhesive, which is made especially for this purpose, comes completely prepared. Everything that needs to be mixed comes already mixed in the bag. This saves a lot of time and effort.

Laying tiles by using tile adhesive with notched trowel requires less amount of material. The adhesive layer is a lot thinner than the mixture of sand-cement, and this leads to a lighter load to the building structure. A good quality tile adhesive is a premixed cement-based powder that is easy to apply and requires no curing. This does away the curing need and saves time in tiling work.

The granules of cement are quite big, which makes it harder to spread evenly. Due to this often hollow space is left under a tile, which creates a weird sound when you step on it. But that sound is not the only problem. Due to the hollow space, the tile can easily break if heavy furniture or something else is put on it. Tile Adhesive, on the other hand, is very fine and can be laid down evenly with ease.

Tile adhesives are formulated according to specific applications such as to lay tiles, glass mosaics, large-size granito (up from 60 x 60 cm), to lay tiles on polished substrates, on dry wall system, on existing tiles without removing them, on external areas, parking areas, industrial areas, in swimming pools, and many more.

The importance of tile adhesives in a nutshell-

  • Fast and efficient
  • Easy to use, only mix with water
  • Better bonding strength
  • Applicable on existing tiles, many special substrates like polished cement, dry wall system, etc.
  • Thinner layer
  • Due to its low shrinkage property, it gives excellent adhesion.
  • It is very flexible for accommodating the thermal and also physical movements.
  • It requires almost no amount of curing and needs no mechanical or hacking of the surface.
  • The floors where tile adhesive is applied can be usable only after 24 hours.
  • No backing surface and soaking of any tile are required in any way.


On the market today, there are dozens of tile adhesive types which differ from each other depending on the application at hand. For each one of these, there will be a different recipe, different mix ratios, and a different quality of ingredients. Tile adhesives are crucial in securing your tiles to the surface. However, when shopping for flooring supplies, finding the right tiles for your floor will help you to complete your project successfully. Tile adhesives have significantly improved in the recent past. Whether you choose to use mastics, thin mortar, epoxy, or latex adhesives, a successful floor tiling process will secure your tiles for a long time. In the upcoming tile adhesive article we will write about the different types of tile adhesive available.