Avoid These 3 DIY Tile Installation Products
There’s only so many places to shop for DIY tile installation products. Big box hardware stores are among the best options. But no matter where you go there’s going to be good products and not-so-good products.
The trap of the box stores is that they want to make their products as appealing as possible. Unfortunately this means pushing some of their worst installation products onto the DIY’er. They’re advertised as EASY and SIMPLE. And why do you buy them? Because they’re advertised as EASY and SIMPLE!
Below are 3 DIY tile installation products that I recommend you avoid. I provide alternatives to purchase instead. These alternatives are not easier or simpler but they are much better.
Tile Mastic and Premixed Thinset
It’s the perfect wall tile adhesive! But wait…unfortunately it’s not all roses. I know on the back of the bucket they make many promises- can be used on floors, in showers, big tiles, etc. But when it comes to examining the products listed limitations and the actual steps of what you want to do with it you’re going find that it’s a good product for most of your projects.
Sometime in the future I’ll do a more in depth post about the “finer” points of ceramic tile mastic- but for now, my recommendation is don’t use.
Use instead: Lightweight tile mortar
The lightweight tile thinsets are great for wall tile applications. Not only do they hold small tiles on walls but big tiles too.
For more information on thinset mortars see these posts below:
Tile Adhesive Mats
I understand the appeal of peel and stick tiling. No mixing mortar-no making big messes. But peel and stick sheets is simply cutting corners.
The tiles have to have flat backs- something most tiles don’t have. You have to grout them right away because apparently grout helps hold them to the wall.
One company hangs weights from the tiles to show how strong things are but then curiously has a requirement of no tiles over 5lbs? Another company encourages the use of these mats in wet environments. UGH! I’ve heard enough. Stay away!
Use instead: thinset mortar. In a wet area use a waterproof membrane.
Acrylic Latex Caulk
I’ve talked about this before but latex caulk is nearly worthless for use with tile. The product will crack, mold, and dry out over time. It’s something that will constantly have to be redone. The good news is that it’s easy to use!
Don’t use anything that says acrylic, latex, siliconized, paintable, or cleans up with water.
Use instead: 100% silicone caulk. Color matched 100% silicone caulks are available in an assortment of colors just like acrylic caulks. I’m even starting to see some of them at the box stores these days.
For tips on how to caulk with 100% silicone caulk watch the video in this post:
If you have any experience with the above products I’d be interested to hear your experiences- good or bad. Please share in the comments below.