How to mix tile adhesive

This article is about how to mix ceramic tile adhesive. When you want to tile your kitchen or bathroom you have to prepare first adhesive for gluing the tiles on the floor or on the walls. Generally speaking, mixing ceramic tile adhesive is not a hard task, providing you use the right materials and tools. Consequently, you can mix the adhesive by hand (you can use a margin trowel) or mechanically (you should use a drill machinery with torque control and a mixing palette). In addition, when deciding to install tile in your house, one of the critical decision is to choose the right adhesive, to match the surface type and the tiles.

On one hand, there are mastic adhesives, which are already mixed by the manufacturers. Although mastic adhesives are the oldest ones on the market, they require experience in order to tile in a professional manner. In addition, mastic adhesives are not resistant to water, which makes them a poor option for bathrooms or kitchens. If you don’t have a drill machinery with a mixing paddle, buying a mastic adhesive could be the best solution for your needs.

Nowadays, the most used adhesives are thinset mortars. These adhesives are based on a mixture of cement, sand and additives. They are resistant to moisture and heat and secure properly the floor tiles and the wall tiles into position. If the flooring is made of wood, then you have to choose a special type of thinset, which contains latex adhesives. The best way to mix thinset is to use a drill mixer, if you want to get a professional result. We don’t recommend you to mix the tile adhesive by hand, as the compound will have lumps in the composition. Check out the rest of the tile projects, to learn how to install ceramic tile as a professional.


Made from this plan



In order to mix tile adhesive, you need the following:


  • Water
  • Thinset mortar / premixed mastic



  • Safety gloves, glasses
  • Drill machinery with mixing palette
  • Bucket



  • Read carefully the product label



  • 15-20 minutes



How to mix tile adhesive

Drill and adhesive mixing paddle

In order to mix tile adhesive mechanically you need a good drill machinery with torque control and a mixing paddle attachment. On the other hand, for small projects you can mix tile adhesive by using a margin trowel, but you should remember it will take a longer time.

That is why, for surfaces larger than 30 sq feet / 10 m2 it is better to buy or rent a drill machinery. It will get the job done quicker and much better. Especially if you install wall tile on old surfaces, the quality of the thinset adhesive is essential.

Pouring water in a bucket to prepare tile adhesive

Next, after you have the right tools for mixing tile adhesive, you also need a rubber bucket. If the construction bucket is not new, you have to clean it thoroughly before pouring in the water and cement-based adhesive.

Smart tip: If you have no previous experience in working with adhesive and ceramic tiles, you should mix a small quantity of tile adhesive. Consequently pour about 1/4 gallon – 1 liter of water in the bucket, as to prepare a quantity of adhesive for 3 sq feet / 1 m2.


Pouring tile adhesive over water

Then, you have to pour adhesive in the bucket until it gets over the top of the water. There is no magic formula to tell you how much tile adhesive to pour in the bucket, you will get it right after you gain some experience. Nevertheless, you have to let the adhesive soak some water for a couple of minutes, before you can start mixing it.

Smart tip: Wear a respiratory mask while you work with the tile adhesive and make sure the room is ventilated, as the powder is toxic.


Mixing tile adhesive

After you have let the adhesive soak water for a couple of minutes, you should start mixing it, by using the paddle attachment. If you use a drill machinery with torque control, it is better to start by using average speeds.

Smart tip: As to protect the floor from getting dirty with adhesive, you should place the bucket over a large old cloth or newspapers. Ideally, you should mix the tile adhesive outdoor, but you can also do the task in a well-ventilated room.


Mixing tile adhesive

If you have to mix the tile adhesive by yourself, we recommend you to use your feet to lock the bucket into position while using the drill machinery. As you can see in the image, you have to hold the bucket in place, by using your feet, otherwise the bucket would move continuously and you wouldn’t be able to mix the thin-set.

Preparing the tile adhesive with paddle

In order to obtain a proper tile adhesive, you should mix it for a couple of minutes, otherwise it won’t glue the ceramic tiles. Therefore, make sure you mix the tile adhesive thoroughly, by using circular moves, until you get an uniformly compound.

Smart tip: In order to test if the tile adhesive has the right consistency, you could load material on a margin trowel. If the compound slips off the trowel, you have add more powder. Oppositely, if you shake the margin trowel and the adhesive doesn’t move, you have to add more water.


Mixing ceramic tile adhesive

After you have mixed thoroughly the thinset adhesive, you have to leave it for 5 minutes, as to allow the water to penetrate the powder and activate the adhesives. Although, at first glance, it might seem unimportant to you, this aspect is essential for obtaining a good adhesive. Another aspect that you should be aware of is that the thinset will dry out quickly, so you have to be prepared to spread it on the wall/floor and install the ceramic tiles. After you have mixed the tile adhesive, in most of the cases, you can use it within 3 hours.

Smart tip: If the grout will have a light color, you have to use white adhesive. On the contrary, if you will apply a dark grout, you should use the regular gray thinset.


Loading adhesive on trowel

If you want to test the consistency of the tile adhesive, you should load material on a trowel. If the thinset sticks to the trowel and doesn’t fall off, while being able to spread it on the floor, it means it has the right consistency.

Smart Tip: If the adhesive slips off the trowel, you have to add more powder and mix it thoroughly. If you notice lumps or dried particles in the composition, mix it again or add a little more water, until you get a proper consistency.



Thank you for reading our article on how to mix tile adhesive and we recommend you to check out the rest of our projects. Please share our projects with your friends, by using the social media widgets.

Related Posts

Add Comment