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  • Understanding Thin-set Mortars and Latex Additives

    The intent of this section is to clear up misconceptions which many professionals have in the use and mixing methods of various thin-set mortars and latex additives. A common practice among installers is to experiment with mortars and admixtures to create materials that "feel good" in troweling and handling properties. However, many of these mixtures may be technically incorrect from the standpoint of chemistry and may lead to failures in the long run. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure consistent performance. Do not be misled by the idea that, having done a job in a certain manner once, twice, or even ten times proves the method is foolproof. It takes statistical evidence to do that, and that means a great number of installations must be proven before a method or material can be approved. Trust the manufacturer's experience. The average manufacturer of adhesives and mortars will supply sufficient materials to install more square feet of tile in one or two days than the average installer will use in a lifetime.

    To supply contractors with the smooth, unsanded mortar they desire for wall installations, Super-Tek manufactures Unsanded Wall Mix. This is not a substitute for, or equivalent to, Pre-Mix. Rather, it is a direct replacement for standard sanded Thin-set. If you desire a smooth, unsanded thin-set mortar for walls, this is the product to use. Do not use it on floors. Again, floor mortars must contain sand to provide compressive strength.

    Understanding Latex Additives
    What is latex, and are there different types? Latex is an emulsion of plastic polymers dispersed in water. It is used as an additive with portland cement mortars to enhance bond strength, water, and chemical resistance. There are basically four types of latex: Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA), Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR), and Acrylic. PVA is not recommended since it offers very little water resistance. SBR has a tendency toward yellowing and should not be used in grouts, especially out-of-doors where degradation from sunlight is prevalent. Acrylic affords the user maximum water resistance and freedom from yellowing due to aging and weathering. All liquid latexes supplied by Super-Tek are formulated from the finest polymers available.

    Acrylic Grout Additive
    Use full strength with sanded and unsanded portland cement grouts. Available in three size: 25-ounce, 1/2-gallon, and 1-gallon plastic bottles. These sizes are provided to simplify mixing ratios. Each container is sized to mix with a specific amount of grout. No other measuring or special blending is required.

    Mix full strength with any thin-set mortar to create a latex thin-set mortar. If latex grout is needed, Super-Tiler may be diluted with water 1:1 and added either to Versa-Tile Floor Grout or Dry-Set Wall Grout. Repair concrete or prepare an underlayment mortar by mixing full strength with clean, fine sand and portland cement in a 3:1 ratio (sand:cement). Use as a bonding agent by painting directly onto masonry, plaster, concrete and wood surfaces. Bond strength of new mortars to old substrates will be enhanced by up to threefold (300%). Add to thick mortar beds to increase their strength and reduce their thickness. When mortar beds exceed 1" in thickness, dilute Super-Tiler with water 1:1. As an alternative, for greater quality control and ease of mixing, we offer a one-package latex thin-set mortar called One Step. To activate One Step simply add water and stir.

    One Step
    This new product is an easy to use, latex thin-set mortar that simplifies mixing and eliminates possible errors. The product comes in dry powder form, in either grey or white, and is activated by the simple addition of water. It is non-hazardous, non-flammable, and water-washable. This unique thin-set mortar can be used on almost any substrate, indoors or outdoors, on walls and floors. It requires no primer or surface conditioner and performs equally well on porous and non-porous surfaces, with vitreous and non-vitreous ceramic tiles. One Step is the first premium grade thin-set mortar for wall or floor installation of ceramic tile formulated to bond to plywood. It can replace 3-component epoxy systems at half the cost.

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