Flooring and Carpeting/Adhesive


QUESTION: Hello,  I am going to put 12x12 granite tile on my fireplace hearth.  The Tile Shop says to use mortar with additive, their 50lb. bag and additive is $72.00.  Home Depot has a 50lb. bag with additive for about $30.00.  What exactly should I buy?   Thanks.

ANSWER: Thank you for your question Phil...

    I understand your confusion as there is, these days, simply too much out there to choose from. What I suspect is the retail store you have stopped at is trying to push you into purchasing a "Granite thinset" and while that is expected there are certainly alternatives. I have used the Custom modified thinset (always white thinset) for years for nearly all applications including Granite. Last time I checked Loews carried "Mapei" products which they produce a Latex modified thinset (remember white) that is my personal favorite for about the same price or perhaps a few dollars more. It's like getting to a destination your wanting to head to...you can get there in a Caddy or Chevrolet both will get you there it's just the Chevy will get you there cheaper. One additional consideration Phil...when you are installing Granite or any kind of Natural Stone be careful to completely skim coat the back of each and every piece of tile, no exception, as this will prevent there being a "moisture photo" transfered to the surface of the tile which can stay there for months if not permanently...follow me? If you have any problems as you are going to how to start let me know and I'll walk you through it.

Perry V.

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QUESTION: Thanks Perry,  I understand that if it is black granite the thin set is suppose to be the gray kind.  Is that correct?  Sorry I didn't specify which color granite I was using.  Thanks.

ANSWER: Hey Phil welcome back,

   When I first started my tile career I employed the grey thinset on all installs mainly because white thinset was more rare of a material and had not caught on yet. Once white showed up I quickly discovered that it was a "cleaner" adhesive to work with. Once Latex (modified) white came into being that was it for me. I used the Latex modified white thinset for everything that I bid on...even the darker stone installs. Black granite included in particular because it showed up so much easier in contrast when it comes time to clean up everything prior to grouting. You can see it so much better which helps to see the material that may slow you down once you start spreading the grout...follow me? Nothing has changed for me as I still employ it today when I install tile of any kind. That's it Phil come again anytime...


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QUESTION: Thanks Perry,  hopefully the last question.  Should I by the bag with the additive in it and just add water or the bag without the additive and add the additive to it?  Thanks.

Hey Phil...

     Just purchase the bag with the Latex already added, just be sure to follow the "wait time" before using the adhesive. It has to set mixed for 10-12 minutes before doing a final mix then start the setting process, and you must do that for every bucket of thinset you mix. Back before it was added for you we bought admix in 5 gallon buckets and mixed it ourselves, what we didn't understand then (we weren't chemists for crying out loud) is if a little worked wonders then a lot must be even better so some installers used way too much for a standard install and the cost factor shot out of sight for large installs and we backed off using it and the Latex people saw profits start to dwindle so they decided to do the proper mixing rate for us guys and it started to sell much better again. That's it, come again anytime Phil...I'll be around.


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Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

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