How to Prepare Tile Adhesive

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Properly prepared adhesive is one of the most basic and yet important parts of a tiling job. An improper mixture of adhesive and water results in tiles that do not adhere to walls, counters, floors or other surfaces.

Tile adhesive is also called mortar and comes in either a powder that you mix yourself or in pre-mixed tubs. If you are preparing your own tile mixture, you must make sure it is thoroughly mixed and that it is the proper consistency.

Pour 2 inches of water into the bottom of a 5-gallon bucket.

Put on a dust mask or a respirator and open a bag of tile adhesive powder. Pour in approximately two to three times the amount of powder as there is water.

Insert a paint stirrer or a hand trowel into the bucket and begin stirring the mixture gently until all of the powder is absorbed and the entire mixture appears wet.

Insert a paddle attachment onto a drill and insert the paddle into the bucket. Set the drill to the lowest speed and press the trigger on the drill to begin mixing the tile adhesive more thoroughly. Continue until there are no lumps in the mixture.

Turn off the drill and scoop some adhesive up onto the paddle to examine the consistency. The adhesive should look like peanut butter when properly mixed. If the solution it too watery, add more powder. If it is too thick, add more water. Remix the solution with the paddle.

Allow the adhesive to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes and then mix it a final time with the paddle.