06:44AM | 09/14/06
Member Since: 09/13/06
3 lifetime posts
I am an art teacher in need of advice with bonding ceramic tile to wood. I have a project with my 5th graders that needs to be hung outdoors under an overhang. There are blocks of wood attached to a background piece of wood. The ceramic (fired) tiles are to be attached to the blocks of wood, giving the appearance of being suspended in space. My question is...what is the best material to use to bond the tiles to the wood?

Thanks for any help!


07:22AM | 09/15/06
Member Since: 03/08/06
192 lifetime posts
instructions for flooring but will probably work for you. Thinset is only $5/ 50lbs if it is not Modified Thinset. Then it is $12 or so.

Applying The Thinset Mortar Directly To Tile

Applying the thinset mortar to the tile instead of the floor will result in a flatter and cleaner tile floor. Foundations tend to draw moisture away from the mortar causing it to dry very quickly. Beginners will benefit from this technique as they will have more time to work at a slower pace. In addition, because this method of application offers 100% coverage, the risk of air pockets becoming trapped under the tile are significantly reduced and the grout will also have a deeper, more secure base. This technique is most effective for tiles larger than 8" x 8" in size and is highly recommended for most vitrified porcelain tile installations.

Mix the thinset mortar mix with water until it has the same consistency of peanut butter. Properly mixed, it should stick easy to the tile and hold it's shape with little or no sagging. Using your trowel, place a softball size portion of thinset on the center of tile. Holding the trowel at a slight angle, push down and away from the center of tile towards each corner. Repeat this process until all corners have been evenly skimmed with thinset.

Thinset Mortar Selection

Selecting the proper thinset mortar for your ceramic tile installation will add strength and years of life to your new flooring. Here are some tips to help you in your purchase:

Avoid using organic mastics adhesives to install ceramic tile to floors.

Use a gray thinset mortar if you plan to use a dark colored grout.

Use a white thinset mortar if you plan to use a light colored grout.

Almost any thinset mortar (Multi Purpose and polymer modified thinsets) will be adequate for installing most fired clay ceramic tiles on a cement substrate.

Fully vitrified porcelain tiles should be installed using a latex modified thinset or basic (non-modified) thinset mixed with an acrylic latex additive.

For installing ceramic tile over vinyl flooring or wooden substates you will need a high quality latex modified thinset mortar. These may be labeled as Full Flex, Super Flex, or Multi Flex thinset mortars.

Mix only a small amount of thinset mortar at a time until you become familiar with the setting time of the mortar you are using.

Allow a minimum of 16 hours for your ceramic tile to set before walking on it. We recommend 24 hours.

Choose a sanded thinset mortar for floors or countertops, use an unsanded or sanded thinset mortar for walls, countertops, and fixtures.

(1) 50 pound bag of sanded thinset mortar will install roughly 75 to 100 square feet of ceramic flooring. Most manufacturers will have the product specifications printed on the bag.

If you have a 1/2" drill you might want to consider purchasing a paddle to mix your thinset mortar. Thinset mortars should be mixed at low speeds (less than 300 RPMs).

Acrylic latex admixture can be used to increase the mechanical bond of your thinset. Simply combine with water and thinset and mix thoroughly. Some thinset mortars do not require this additive. Check the manufacturers specifications before using.

We recommend a minimum of a 1/4" (3/8" recommended for most jobs) thick thinset mortar bed installed using a square notch trowel.

Manufacturers have varying methods for mixing and installing their product. These instructions should be always be carefully followed.


04:52PM | 09/16/06
Member Since: 09/15/06
2 lifetime posts
Are the tiles going to have to be removed later??? If not,you might try and see if liquid cement, or something similar would work... Most likelyif you go into any major hardware store, walk down the adhesive aisle, it is pretty simple to find an appropriate product. I install tile floors, so my knowledge isn't exactly what you need... hope this helps you some...

Jeremy P. Huebel


01:01PM | 09/24/06
Member Since: 09/13/06
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the help. I'll try it out this week!


11:00AM | 09/26/06
Member Since: 09/25/06
2 lifetime posts

I used to be the Art Director for the San Diego Zoo, so I designed and constructed numerous outdoor exhibits - one in particular, was the Donor Recognition Project, which were fired tiles of each donor's name, on wood.

I suggested we used P&L Construction Adhesive, and they are still there, 15 years later.

Just go to Home Depot and get a caulking gun (large) some P&L (comes in a brown tube like caulk)and make some spirals in the center - lay your tiles where you want them, and push down lightly until they are where you want them. Let dry 48 hours - you can even grout around them if you want, but make sure you seal the grout.

Good luck and Good teaching!


11:11AM | 09/26/06
Member Since: 09/13/06
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the info! This seems to be tried and true. Now that I bought the "Thinset", I'll go back and get the adhesive!
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