Thinset

Thinset is a cement based adhesive you mix with water OR an liquid polymer additive for added flexibility and durability.  Note: Some thinsets already have an additive and should be mixed with water. Check the manufactures recommendations.  Thinset is totally waterproof and is the perfect choice for all projects that will be exposed to moisture. 

  • Read the bag!  There is a wealth of information included and products vary.

  • Thinset is a cement based adhesive. It does not dry. It is a chemical process that cures. The longer this process takes the stronger the thinset will be. The basic ingredients in thinset are Portland cement, sand, and water, once mixed together a chemical hardening process begins. It will even harden underwater.

  • ALWAYS where a dust mask or respirator while exposed to thinset is in it's powdered state. Once mixed with water it is safe to remove. Here why, once inhaled the thinset comes in contact with your respiratory system which is full of moisture. The moisture (water) is the last ingredient that the thinset needs to start getting hard and you don't want lungs full of hard cement!

  • DO NOT empty or clean your tools into the sink or drain.  Remember thinset will harden under water and in your pipes!  The only person who will be happy about that is the plumber!  I use a slop bucket to clean up.  Once the water is to "icky" I pour off the top liquid in a corner of my garden and allow the rest to dry out.  Then you can just bang out the contents of the bucket in the garbage.

  • DO NOT add water once the mixture has set more than 5 minutes. If your thinset is getting to hard to work with mix a new batch, adding more water will make it weak.

  • Now that I have you wondering why you would ever use it.  I have to tell you thinset is always my adhesive of choice for exterior applications and most interior installations unless I am working on a backing that requires a clear or flexible adhesive.  It works and it's permanent!

  • My best thinset tip - I mix my thinset in an old sour cream containers.  That way I don't have to clean it up I can just toss it.  Once mixed I place the thinset in a sandwich size Ziploc bag.  You can then nip off the corner and apply it to your surface like using  a cake decorating bag,  just spread with a palette knife.

  • Thinset is your best choice if your base is concrete, terra cotta, cement  backer boards, Wedi board and most permanent installations.

  • It is the only adhesive you can  use to really 'float' tiles.  This means you can build up the adhesive under a thinner piece of tile so that it is flush with the thick tile next to it.   

  • Available in white or gray.  Typically use white if your  planning light grout and gray with dark. Note that the color of the thinset can effect semi translucent tesserae.

  • To extend the cure time place a damp towel over your project to prevent it from drying out to quickly. As an added precaution you can cover with a garbage bag.

  • It is best to seal cement, brick, terra cotta and other porous surface before applying thinset.  These materials will wick (draw) the moisture out of the thinset to quickly and weaken it. You can use Weldbond, or commercial bonding primers.

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