What Are the Best Shower Tile Adhesives?

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There is a lot of work that your tile adhesive has to do in your shower. The tile must not only be solidly fastened to the walls and floors, but it also must last for many years.

The shower tile adhesive should not cause any bowing, crumbling, and cracking even after years. So, what are the best shower tile adhesives?

Epoxy mortar and thin-set mortar are the two best tile adhesives suitable for showers. Both these adhesives give long-lasting results by preventing the cracking, crumbling, and bowing of the tiles. Professionals usually prefer epoxy mortar or powder thin-set, while beginners go for a premixed thin-set mortar.

But among the epoxy mortar and thin-set mortar, which one is a better option? In this article, I will give you in-depth information about both the thin-set mortar and epoxy mortar. You will also learn which one to choose via this article.

What Are the Best Adhesive for Shower Tiles?


SimpleSet Pre-Mixed Thin-Set Mortar 1 QT

Thin-set mortar is here on Amazon!

The best adhesive for tiles depends upon the location and the type of type you want to use. If you’re going to fix the tile in the shower’s wet environment, then thin-set mortar and epoxy mortar are the best adhesive materials that I would suggest.

You can easily apply both these materials in a single layer on the substrate to fix the tiles on the shower floor. Apart from a single layer, you can also use these materials as a multilayer.

Other than this, if you plan to use smaller tiles, I would recommend you place the square tiling away from the shower. For this task, you can even use a premixed mastic. However, this is an ideal option for only those with distant shower walls instead of a bathroom floor.

Thinset Tile Mortar Vs. Epoxy Tile Mortar – Which One Is Better?

Though both the thin-set mortar and epoxy mortar are better when attaching the shower tiles, you might question which one is better? Here, I have written an in-depth comparison between thin-set mortar and epoxy mortar, which will help you decide the better option for you.

Thin-set Tile Mortar

This type of adhesive has silica sand and Portland cement. It also includes a small quantity of water retention agents. You can use it for both outdoor and indoor use. It is like mud that gives a smooth consistency.

The thin-set tile mortar is available in two forms, including the powder form and the premixed form. You will need to mix water in powder form to activate the solution, while the premixed compound comes in a plastic tub.

So, it is up to you which form of thin-set tile mortar you want to use. In terms of price, the powdered form is affordable, but you might struggle to mix it. Because of the difficulty in mixing, most experts use this powder instead of a beginner.

However, if you are a beginner but still want to use the powder form, I suggest you take help from professional tilers to mix it easily. The premixed compound is a bit more expensive but easier to apply.

Even if you are a beginner, you can still use the premixed compound easily. For applying the thin-set mortar on the tiles, you will require a notched trowel.

Advantages of Thinset Tile Mortar

Following are the advantages of using the thin-set mortar.

  • The thinset mortar helps to quickly create a strong bond. It supports fixing the cement board substrate and tile effectively.
  • The resistivity of thinset mortar to moisture is relatively high. This high resistance makes it an ideal option for installing shower tiling.
  • This adhesive material does not mildew with moist which is another reason to install tiles in the shower. The reason that it does not mildew is because of the ingredients used in it. Most ingredients used in thinset mortar have non-organic nature.
  • The thinset tile mortar will not peel away in hot conditions because it is invulnerable to heat.
  • Some adhesive for shower tiles usually expands or contracts because of the change in condition, which is not the case with thinset mortar. This adhesive does not cause any contraction or expansion, even with the change in humidity and temperature.
  • With the help of thinset, you can easily fill small gaps in a substrate. Besides, you can also use it to get rid of small holes in the substrate. You can also fix minor leveling concerns using it.
  • It works slowly, which gives more time for DIYers to work. This slow working property will let the DIYer adjust tiles properly.

Disadvantages of Thinset Tile Mortar

Below are some disadvantages of thin-set mortar.

  • The thinset mortar takes a longer time to cure, due to which tiles have a risk of sagging. Sliding of the tiles may occur because of this. However, to prevent this concern, you will need to use tile spacers.
  • Cracking may also happen if you use thinset. If you do not want the thinset to crack, I recommend using modified thinset mortar. The modified thinset mortar comes with special additives which help overcome the problem. You can use polymers or acrylic as an additive.
  • The thinset mortar is not recommended for heavy or large tiles. Also, you should not use it if the tiles have uneven back surfaces. You should not use thinset for heavy tiles and uneven tiles because of the mortar’s thinness.
  • You should apply thinset mortar on the cement backer as it does not give effective results if you use it directly on drywall or wood substrate.

Epoxy Tile Mortar

With the epoxy tile mortar, you will receive three components: powdered filler, resin, and a hardening agent, which you will need to mix before using. Compared to the thin-set, the epoxy tile mortar hardens quickly, which will help you efficiently perform the grouting of the tile.

Because it gets set rapidly, install the tiles quickly for the best outcome. Also, unlike thin-set, you will not require any latex additives as it is impenetrable to water.

Further, whether you want to attach the ceramic or porcelain, go for epoxy mortar as it works well for both of them. Other than porcelain and ceramic, you can also use them for pebbles, glass, metal, and mosaic.

Some people even use it for the installation of wood blocks and rubber flooring. Though epoxy mortar is more expensive than thin-set mortar, most experts still use it as it gives effective and swift results.

Advantages of Epoxy Tile Mortar

  • One of the prime benefits of epoxy mortar is that it is highly waterproof. This waterproof property makes it overcome the cracking concern. Also, you will not require any additives while using the epoxy mortar.
  • The bond formed by epoxy mortar among the tiles and subtract is strong. It keeps the substrate and tile hold together for many years without cracking.
  • You will not have to deal with discoloration and other similar problems while using the epoxy mortar. It is resistant to discoloration, which makes the color last longer.
  • The epoxy mortar also offers resistance to various chemicals. The resistant chemical property of this adhesive makes it a reliable option even with chemicals.
  • Unlike a few other adhesives, the epoxy tile mortar contains non-organic ingredients. Because of these non-organic ingredients, this adhesive is mildew-proof.
  • The epoxy tile mortar will help you perform the task quickly as it hardens rapidly. So, if you want to install tiles swiftly, prefer the epoxy mortar.

Disadvantages of Epoxy Tile Mortar

Similar to other adhesives, the epoxy tile mortars also have a few disadvantages, which are given below.

  • You might be familiar that the epoxy mortar has a quick curing time. Because of this rapid curing time, you will need to place the tile quickly and accurately.
  • The epoxy mortar is not ideal for all types of temperatures. I recommend using this adhesive when the temperature is around 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Some people might not like the odor caused by epoxy mortar. While installing epoxy mortar, it causes a strong odor which you might dislike.
  • If you compare the price of epoxy mortar with the thinset mortar, you will learn that epoxy mortar is more expensive. Therefore, to use epoxy mortar, you will require a high budget.

Can You Use Premixed Thinset as Shower Tile Adhesive?

Yes, you can use the premixed thin-set as a shower tile adhesive. Even many manufacturers recommend using it. I would suggest you use it for smaller projects. The premixed is ideal for DIYers who want to fix laundry rooms, showers, and bathroom tiles.

The strength of the thin-set makes it a perfect adhesive for shower tile. Other than this, the premixed thin-set offers resistance to heat and moisture, which is why many experts recommend using it for shower tiles.

Another excellent thing about the premixed thin-set is that it can even level the substrate’s surface. The only reason many people do not use a thin-set is that it is expensive.

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