Over the years, both natural and man-made adhesives such as tar, resins and cement have been used to bond ceramic tiles to various surfaces. Today, dry thinset mortars and pre-mixed, mastic adhesives are the materials of choice for all types of tile on any type of surface. For small jobs, pre-mixed adhesives are convenient and instantly ready to use. Water must be added to the pre-formulated dry mortars, mix it up and you’re good to go.
Thinset mortar is preferred by most professionals because it forms a stronger, more water resistant bond which is better for wet installations such as shower stalls, bathroom and kitchen floors. It is also best to apply near heat sources and heavy traffic areas. Pre-mixed mortars contain latex powders, to help the thinset become stronger, more flexible and easier to work with. Cellulose ethers are also added for water retention which improves the workability and prevents the mortar from drying out too quickly.