Tile Adhesive VS Cement-Sand Mortar | Advantages & Disadvantages

Tile Adhesive Vs Cement - Tile adhesive is better for fixing tiles than cement

When it comes to laying tiles, many people wonder why they need to use tile adhesive. Is it really necessary, or can they get away with using sand-cement? Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of tile adhesive vs cement is crucial in making the right decision for your tiling project.

Tile adhesive has become increasingly popular in the construction industry due to its numerous advantages. However, there are still those who prefer the traditional method of using sand-cement. It's important to consider both options before starting your tiling project to ensure the best results.

In this blog, we will explore the reasons why tile adhesive is necessary for fixing tiles and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of tile adhesive compared to sand-cement mix. By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each method, you can make an informed decision and achieve a successful tiling project.

Drawbacks of Sand-Cement Mix in Tile Installation

First, let's talk about sand-cement. Sand and tile cement is a mixture of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and sand. OPC is commonly used for rendering and masonry, while sand typically consists of river sand. However, river sand can be challenging to regulate in terms of grain size, cleanliness, and overall quality.

OPCs are usually packaged in small bags and require the purchase of large quantities of sand, which can take up a significant amount of storage space. Also OPC and sand need to be moved to a different area for mixing, and the process can be messy and dusty. On top of that, Tiles must be soaked in water for a minimum of one day before being laid with sand-cement, which can be a time-consuming process.

The traditional method to lay tiles with sand-cement mix involves applying a lump of the mixture to the back of each tile individually to adjust the floor level for proper bonding, which can be a time-consuming and inefficient process. Moreover, the structure will experience increased loads and there will be wastage of materials due to the faster drying of the mixture during application.

A mixture of sand-cement without an additive to retain water dries quickly and can make it challenging to adjust the tiles once they are laid. These issues can result in aesthetic problems with the tile layout and reduce bonding strength, ultimately leading to wall tiles becoming detached in the future. When fixing tiles the traditional way by applying a sand-cement mixture in a lump at the tiles' back, voids can be created underneath the tiles and water may seep through. This situation results in a white stain issue. Additionally, the tile becomes fragile in the area where there is no adhesive underneath.

The sand-cement mixture has poor bonding strength due to the presence of dirt in the sand and uncertain proportions of the mixture. Plus, there are limitations to using this mixture for laying certain types of tiles under specific conditions. These conditions include tiles with low absorbency, granite with a size of 60 x 60 cm or larger, glass mosaics, existing tiles, substrates that have experienced movement, and areas with high pressure and impact.

Advantages of Tile Adhesive Vs Cement Mortar for Tile Installation

Now, coming to tile adhesives, let's understand why most of the people have now opted for using tile adhesives for tile installation. These are ready-mixed and specially formulated from OPC, selected fine sand, and additives to improve its essential properties for laying tiles.

Tile adhesives come in various types and are simple to use. These adhesives can be applied immediately after mixing with water. Unlike cement mortar, tile adhesives eliminate the need for soaking wall tiles, vitrified tiles, or ceramic tiles—just unbox and lay. The main function of tile adhesive is to securely bond the tiles to different surfaces, ensuring they stay in place for a long time. It provides excellent adhesion strength, which is crucial for areas that are exposed to moisture or experience heavy foot traffic.

Tile adhesives are designed to make spreading easier and some even have water-resistant qualities, making them an ideal choice for wet areas. They are packaged in bags, which helps to minimize dust and maintain a clean working space during transportation.

High-performance tile adhesives have the versatility to be used for laying wall tiles on various surfaces, including existing tiles, polished cement or substrate, wooden substrates with primer, ceramic or natural stone tiles, and other special substrates.

The notched trowel is typically utilized for the application of tile adhesive to an area of approximately 1 square meter. Following this, the tiles are placed onto the adhesive and adjusted accordingly.

The recommended setting time of tile adhesives allows for easy tile adjustments within a specific timeframe. Tiles are laid in a straight line to achieve an aesthetic final look. Applying tile adhesive with a notched trowel ensures proper coverage on the back of tiles and helps prevent issues such as broken tiles, water seepage, and stains or efflorescence. The full contact between the adhesive on the tiles' back and the substrate ensures a strong bonding strength and durable tiling work.

Tile Adhesive VS Cement Sand Mortar

Tile Adhesives

Sand-Cement Mix

Fast and efficient, easy to use, only mix with water.

Time consuming.

No prior soaking of tiles is required.

Variety Of Tiles must be soaked.

Better bonding strength.

Moisture can accumulate beneath the floor tile and wall tiles, causing hollow spaces and debonding.

Can be grouted within 24 hours without waiting for the moisture to evaporate.

Grouting cannot be done within 24 hours.

The application can be done on existing tiles and many special substrates like polished cement, dry wall system, etc.

Not applicable to lay low absorbent tiles like 60 x 60 cm granite or any larger tile sizes.

Not applicable to lay tiles on existing tiles, and on polished cement.

Not applicable to lay glass mosaics.

Tile adhesive typically has a smooth slurry that helps create a thinner layer when applying it for natural stone, ceramic tiles, and other wall tiles installation.

Cement-Sand slurry are usually thicker in consistency, making it difficult to spread an even layer onto the surface.

Check out our latest video on Tile Adhesive vs Cement to gain a better understanding!

About Us

Using tile adhesive has many benefits compared to traditional sand-cement methods and here is why our Weber's tile adhesives are known for their precision engineering and innovation, setting new standards for reliability and versatility in tiling solutions. These adhesives are carefully formulated to tackle different challenges in tile installation, providing customized solutions for variety of surfaces and conditions. With strong bonding, flexibility, and enhanced water resistance, Weber adhesives ensure long-lasting and secure installations on different materials. Our commitment to innovation and quality assurance establishes Weber as a leader in delivering reliable and high-performance tile adhesives for professionals and DIY enthusiasts, enabling flawless and durable tile applications in various settings. You can also check them out down below!

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