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Cement mortar VS tile adhesive, which one to choose for tile paving ?

- Jun 15, 2018 -

Cement mortar is a traditional binder for paving tiles. Its function is to stick tiles through the siphoning phenomenon caused by the cement hydration reaction. With the advancement of the paving process, cement mortar is no longer the only choice for adhesive tiles. The emergence of pre-mixed materials, tile adhesives and other products have brought more choices for tile paving.

As a tile adhesive, is the traditional cement mortar no longer practical? With more expensive adhesives is it possible to put an end to hollowing, falling off and other issues?

Cement mortar:

Advantages and disadvantages analysis:

Low cost and widespread application
The technical requirements for workers are higher, whether the ratio is reasonable, and whether the mixing is uniform will affect the adhesion force;
Relatively low efficiency, tiles need to be soaked in water and clean brick bottom powder;
Mixing cement sand on site can easily cause dust problems.


Traditional tile flooring uses cement and sand mixed on-site as a binder. This method uses the siphon phenomenon produced by the hydration reaction of cement to stick tiles, and the key point to determine the cohesion is the ratio of cement sand. In general, the ratio of cement and sand is preferably between 1:2 or 1:2.5.
The choice of sand is also important. If the sand quality is too bad, it will easily lead to a deterioration of the strength of the cement mortar, which will cause the tiles to empty. The sand with better quality is yellowish in color, grabs a handful of sand, and the sand spreads out after opening the hand. The color of the sand is too dark, and it becomes lumps after grasping, indicating that there is too much soil in the sand and it is better not to use it. Too fine and too dry sand can also affect the adhesion.
In addition, when using cement mortar, it is necessary to clean the tile bottom powder on the back of the tile, and soak the tile with water, and treat the basement of the wall before laying. Therefore, the process is a test for workers' skills.

Tile adhesive

Advantages and disadvantages analysis:

Higher prices;
The process is simplified, and steps such as wet walls and bricks can be omitted, but the walls need to be leveled;
Consistent formula, stable adhesion;
More suitable for low water absorption and large size tiles.


The appearance time of tile adhesive is not short, but due to high cost, the material cost is almost three times that of cement mortar, so it was used in high-end decoration in the past.
The tile adhesive formula is stable and uniform in proportion, so the shrinkage during the bonding process is relatively uniform, and empty drums and falling off are rarely seen after laying. In addition, the use of tile adhesives does not require wet wall, brick and other steps, the process is more concise and convenient. But one thing is that tile adhesives are mostly used for thin paste methods. Therefore, the requirements for wall surface roughness are high, and the leveling level is at least 2 mm-3 mm.
As the water absorption rate of ceramic tiles becomes lower and the specifications become larger and larger, tile adhesives have gradually become an important choice for paving ceramic tiles.

Ready-mixed mortar

Advantages and disadvantages analysis:

Fair price;
The ratio is stable, reducing the effect of paving due to personal reasons of workers;
Construction site is more hygienic.


At present, there is also a pre-mixed adhesive material on the market—mixed mortar (premixed mortar). After purchase, add water and stir at the construction site to use.
Compared to on-site mixed cement sand, the use of ready-mixed mortar can reduce the sand dust problem at the construction site, and is more safe and sanitary. In addition, the ratio is stable to prevent workers from influencing the effect due to lack of experience or cutting corners. The price is slightly higher than the cement mortar, but lower than the tile adhesive, it is a comparative choice.

Tile laying is a systematic project.
Environmental factors, construction techniques have an impact

Tile adhesives and ready-mixed cement mortars are becoming more and more popular. However, with these adhesive materials, it is impossible to eliminate problems such as hollowing and falling of tiles. In fact, tile sticking is a systematic project. Selecting adhesive materials is just one step.
Although cement mortar is the most traditional paving material, as long as the workers pass the technology and the wall surface is handled properly, the traditional method can guarantee the quality. However, it should be noted that as the water absorption rate of ceramic tiles becomes lower and the specifications gradually become larger, there are also many light partition walls in home improvement. In these cases, the cement mortar cannot meet the paving requirements and it is necessary to choose the paving effect. More secure adhesives.
However, this does not mean that the use of more advanced tile adhesives can completely eliminate emptying, falling off, etc. Tile adhesives and mortars are made of rubber powder to achieve better bonding effect, and the content of rubber powder will determine the product quality. Whether paving bricks are left seams, whether or not to find equal operations and thermal expansion and contraction, changes in the wall and other aspects will also affect the final results.

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