Tile Installation Products

There is a lot more that goes into tile installation than meets the eye. You first need to choose your tile and select your grout. So, let’s dive into a little discussion about tile installation products, like mortar and mastic. These products are primarily used to bond tile or stone to your floor, wall, ceiling, and other surfaces.

Mortar Colors

Mortar is a sand and cement mix that is used to attach tile to cement floors, plywood floors, and other subfloors. Also, mortar comes in two colors; grey and white. Grey mortar is a dollar or two less for a 50lb bag. However, the grey mortar can bleed through a light colored marble or a light colored grout. Thus, leaving shadows and inconsistent coloring. For those reasons, it is best to use a white mortar and spend an extra dollar or two per bag. Incidentally, Atlas Marble & Tile sells only white mortar for this reason as well. One 50 lb. bag of mortar usually covers around 40 to 80 square feet, depending on how large the mortar bed is under the tile.

tile installation mortor

Mortar Types

There are latex modified mortars and non-latex modified mortars. Decades ago, Laticrete discovered that adding latex to a cement mortar makes it harder and stronger. There are scientific reasons for this. And, if anyone is interested in the details, please stop by Atlas, and I will go through it with you.

Latex modified mortar will bond to Plywood, while Non-latex Mortar will not bond to plywood. Thus, if you are tiling on top of the wood, you will use latex modified mortar. If you are tiling over cement or cement board, you may use non-modified mortar.

 Specialty Mortars

Atlas Gold Rapid Mortar

Some mortars are made for larger sized tiles (larger than 12 x 24). Atlas stocks Laticrete 4XLT, which is a large format tile mortar that has a thicker and stronger body. This ensures that the mortar bed does not sag or fall form the weight of the larger tile. Also, this mortar has a solid bond strength and is latex-modified.

Another specialty mortar is Laticrete Rapid Set Mortar. Rapid set dries rather quickly so that you can grout and walk on the tile within 4 hours. In some situations, the fast-working mortar is necessary. The downside of the rapid set mortar is that it is more expensive. Laticrete also makes a mortar specifically to install glass tile, called Laticrete Glass Adhesive. It was designed to bond well with glass, and it is latex modified.


Mastic is essentially glue. The limitations to mastic are as follows:

tile installation mastic

  • Mastic cannot be used for a tile 12 x 12 or larger because the expanded surface area does not allow air to get under the tile. Therefore, the mastic under the tiles will not thoroughly dry. The water in the mastic needs to evaporate for the mastic to dry and harden.
  • Also, mastic is a food source for mold. So, do not use mastic in a shower ever. The water from the shower, your dead skin cells, and the mastic create an excellent food source for mold.Therefore, in a shower, you need to use mortar. Mold cannot eat mortar.

So, what can you use mastic for? Mastic is suitable for dry areas, like backsplashes. Mastic is simple to use because you do not need to mix it with anything. And, it is good right out of the container. Also, mastic is sticky, therefore it is excellent for kitchen backsplash tile, which is small. The sticky factor makes it easier to stick small tiles to the wall and complete installation.

Atlas Marble & Tile Stocks various mortars such as mastics, waterproofing materials, grouts, Schluter Ditre membranes, Kerdi waterproofing, cement board, marble thresholds, colored caulk, and lots of tile and marble. Atlas is also a great design center and a great place to acquire the knowledge you need to complete a tile project and tile installation.



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