Tiling Floors, Walls & Countertops

woman spreading grout

You'll find that setting the tile is less tedious and more rewarding than preparing a surface for tiling. This is when you begin to see the results of your planning. If you have several projects planned, start with the least complicated. That way you can build your skills and gain experience.

Projects in Floors, Walls & Countertops
 

Mixing mortar and thinset
Before you begin to mix adhesives, read the manufacturer's directions carefully. Always mix mortar and grout in a clean container. Any residue in the bucket may cause the material to cure prematurely. Clean buckets and utensils after each mixing to save time and avoid problems.

Carefully heed the "working" time -- how long it takes the material to set up. Once the setting up has started, tile will not adhere. Grout that has exceeded its working time will not work properly into the joints and will pop out when dry. If either material has begun to set up before you are finished working with it, scrape it off the surface, remix, and reapply.

It takes some practice to discover how much material will cover an area before it sets up. Installation of large tiles will go more quickly than small tiles. Start with a small batch and work up to larger areas.

Heat and humidity affects mortar and grout. You may need to mix a wetter consistency in hot or dry conditions. However, do not add water to mortar that has begun to set up in the heat; doing so weakens its strength. Discard the mixture and start over.

Working with mastics
Mastic ingredients may settle in the can, leaving an oily-looking liquid on top. Stir it until the consistency is smooth.

If you open a can of mastic and it has begun to harden, throw it out and purchase fresh stock.


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