When to Patch with Thin Set when installing Mosaic Tile?
Preparing your substrate - your walls, your floors, pretty much wherever you are going to install your tile - can be very time consuming and even nerve wracking. Some would argue that preparing your substrate is the most crucial part of the installation process. A defect or irregularity in your substrate could easily lead to issues soon than later down the road.
One problem - Many solutions
One of the main focuses of preparing your substrate is ensuring the surface is flat, even, and without any imperfections that could cause a failure such as bonding issues or even cracking of your tile after installation.
But what's the best way to go about this? Do we tear down the wall and build a new one? Do we just grind down the floor until it’s all even and flat? Do we use some kind of filler to patch the areas in question? The latter option - patching - usually is the most cost effective and least intrusive or destructive option.
The real issue comes down to the types of materials chosen when patching our problem areas.
To thinset, or not - That’s the question
We should avoid using thinset mortar as a patch at all cost. We always recommend following manufacturer specifications for any product you use and the fact is that the majority of manufacturers explicitly state not to use thinset mortars for patching. Thinset is meant to bond the material to your substrate - not to be used as a filler to help level your surface.
It’s also possible that the mortar can shrink at different rates when used as a filler due to it being used in a larger than recommended thickness after your tile is installed. As a result, after some time, days even, your surface will start to appear irregular around the areas with varying thickness. So lets be sure to avoid that and use proper materials or processes when and where they are needed.
If your project does require some level or form of patching - be sure to visit your local hardware store or get in touch with a contractor to see what options are available to you.
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