All you need to know about tiling adhesive
As we have already spoken about, key to the final result of a tiled wall or floor is the quality of the laying surface which is why, before laying your tiles, ensure that the surface, whether vertical or horizontal, is smooth, level and completely free of dust.
Once you’re happy with this, and the tiles have been cut and pre-treated if necessary, it’s the moment of truth, or, if we want to be dramatic, the point of no return! We’re talking about glue, adhesive, thinset mortar, depending on local jargon.
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The type of adhesive you use will depend on the type of substrate involved and the nature of the tiles, as the right glue delivers greater adherence.
Another key factor in ensuring its bonding properties and decreasing the likelihood of cracks forming over time in the tiles, is compactness.
When applying the adhesive, you need to make sure there is a liberal amount and there are no “hollows” or “bubbles” between tile and adhesive. It should be applied uniformly so that you don’t end up with areas where it is thicker, especially if the tile is particularly thin or brittle.
By making sure you avoid such hollows, you are ensuring that the tile will better support any weight placed on it and also increase its hold in an outdoor environment or where it is frequently exposed to water.
Before you begin spreading the adhesive, it is a good idea to apply a very sparse, thin coat to the back of the tile, using a minimum of product, but just enough to create a layer that almost acts as a primer, providing additional grip.
We recommend that the adhesive is applied both to the tile and the substrate, using a notched trowel. Again, we want to emphasise that the objective is to create a uniform, compact adhesive “bed”.
Apply the adhesive using an action that spreads it from short side to short side (if working with rectangular pieces) of the back of the tile, working in one direction only. Follow that same direction when applying the adhesive to the substrate so that there is no criss-cross effect which could lead to the formation of air bubbles, as this could compromise its hold.
Then, using your hands or a rubber mallet, even out the tile so that again, any air bubbles are removed. Because Salvatori tiles are usually laid with the absolute minimum joint possible, it is particularly important that the tiles are perfectly level with each other, as you do not have thick lines of grout to help disguise any irregularity.
If you are working with a substrate in materials such as plasterboard, concrete or brick, we recommend using two-component, highly deformable, quick-setting, cement-based adhesives with extended opening time and no vertical slippage, whereas for a wooden substrate, we use a two-component polyurethane adhesive.
After working with them for many years, we are confident in recommending the Mapei range of products.