What Kind of Thinset for Showers?

Tile showers are like many construction projects -- an overwhelming component of the quality, durability and longevity of the do-it-yourself project is determined by the appropriate installation products used.

Natural Stone

Quality thinset adds years of use to your shower.Quality thinset adds years of use to your shower.
From multi-colored natural stone like slate to tiny handmade glass mosaics, the correct approach to a shower tile installation starts with selection of the correct type of thinset.

Natural stones, such as travertine (a type of limestone) and slate, and denser stone, like granite, are more porous and less impervious than porcelain and glass-based tile. Because of this, a basic, readily available polymer-modified thinset bonds well to natural stone and the substrate (setting surface) inside a shower. Natural stone installation in a shower does not require use of the more expensive "flex" or specialized material-specific thinsets.

Ceramic Tile

Although not specifically required, traditional ceramic tile does not require the usage of polymer-modified thinset. Thinset such as Custom Building Products' Customblend works well with ceramic tile. For extra bond, acrylic mortar admix can be added to the standard thin-set mortar.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile -- due to it's dense, impervious body -- requires the use of specialized or "modified" thinset. Polymers such as latex are added to the thinset as it is manufactured, giving the product the ability to bond to porcelain tile. A high-performance fortified thin-set mortar is recommended when installing porcelain tile.

Glass Mosaics

Like porcelain tile, glass mosaics require the use of modified thinset. Look for thinset that is specifically manufactured for porcelain and glass tile installation. For added security, building product companies now produce glass-mosaic-specific thinsets. The Laticrete company makes a glass tile adhesive thinset.

About the Author

Residing in San Diego, Calif., Tim Daniel is a professional writer specializing in politics. His work has appeared at both the Daily Caller and Pajamas Media. With more than 20 years of experience in the field of construction, Daniel also specializes in writing about tile, stone and construction management. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in communications.