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Can I Use Grout As Mortar? Guide For Tile Installation

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Can I Use Grout As Mortar

When building a house, you need to make sure you get everything right, so you love the outcome of your project. 

One of the most important aspects of a house is the floor; you need to account for it and make it as classy and neat as possible with the tools available.

Sometimes you might want to install tiles, but you don’t have mortar; you have grout. They perform almost similar tasks, so can you use them interchangeably? Read on to find out about this and more to help with your tiling projects;

Can I Use Grout As Mortar? 

Yes, with a few adjustments, you can use grout as mortar. If you have sanded grout, you can use it as mortar if you add some acrylic glue to it to make it stickier, so it works like mortar. You need to make it finer into a paste to bond with the tiles and keep them from splitting open.

Differences Between Mortar And Grout

Anyone well versed with masonry will be familiar with mortar and grout, but some people might not know their uses. 

These are two different products with different properties and uses, and you need to know everything before going to work.

Mortar is a mixture of sand, cement, and water that masons mix into a thick paste which they will use to bind two construction surfaces to each other. 

Mortar is mostly for construction projects as the binding agent between bricks, stone, and concrete.

Grout is a highly sticky substance that workers use as a filler in construction projects to fill the spaces between joints like stone or ceramic tiles. Grout is not an adhesive, but it sticks well as a binder between surfaces.

The tiles will stay together because of the mortar underneath them; grout does not play a role. Grout will seal up the space between the tiles to keep dirt out of your floors.

Mortar and grout are cement-based products that you will often see in construction areas, and you need to know how to use them. 

Despite them being cement products, they can have adverse effects when used in each other’s place so let’s make sure that doesn’t happen;

Material

The most significant difference between mortar and grout is the components that form them. Mortar is a product of cement, lime, sand, and water, while grout is a mixture of water, cement, sand, acrylic, polymer, and epoxy. 

This makes mortar generally stiffer as it has a lower water level that grout while it is more like a fluid.

Water-cement ratio

The ratio of water to cement in mortar is less, making it thick and more solid to support heavy surfaces that it needs to bind like bricks without flowing to the sides. 

Grout needs to be smoother, like a fluid; thus, its cement to water ratio is more to allow it to flow into the crevices and dry up while sealing off all the gaps.

Their primary function

In construction, the primary function of mortar is to bind stones with brick or concrete in masonry. Construction workers put mortar between surfaces all around the building to keep them together, be it stones, bricks, or concrete blocks. 

The primary purpose of grout is to work as a filler material in cracks, and tiling works and cracks. It does not have the strength you get from mortar, so it would be a potential disaster to bind blocks or bricks on the whole building.

Workability

Mortar is stiff; therefore, it is relatively more workable since it sticks on a trowel. Grout, on the other hand, is difficult to handle with a trowel or other tools because of its loose nature. 

Mortar is non-porous, and it needs curing for it to harden, so it can be a good choice for situations where you need to protect a room from water. Grout is porous and can hold water even after hardening, and it does not need additional water to harden.

Viscosity and color

Mortar is low material; therefore, it does not offer a lot of viscosity, and it takes the color of cement. Grout, on the other hand, has a lot of components which makes it highly viscous. 

The color of grout also changes depending on what you want to use it for. When filling cracks in your wall, you can get grout in a color that matches your wall, so you conceal the crack more easily. 

Choosing The Right Mortar For Tile Setting

Creating a strong bond between your tiles and the wall or subfloor is a big step in creating a long-lasting home. 

Loose tiles can be problematic if you don’t fix them, and it might be costly to fix them. The best thing to do is get it right the first time and avoid all the trouble.

You need to choose the correct tile setting product depending on the type of tile you want to use in your house. 

After selecting the tile and preparing the floor, you need to select the correct mortar for your house.

The type and size of tile you want to use will help you determine which mortar is best for you. If you intend to use ceramic or porcelain tiles smaller than 15 inches on both sides, you can use Custom Flexbond crack prevention mortar.

This product will offer high strength for tiles that are typically hard to bond, like porcelain. It is also flexible, which helps prevent cracks that would otherwise compromise the structural integrity of your tiles.

You will need a medium bed mortar to install large, heavy tiles to support the tile’s weight. It will also adequately cover the back of the tile, so you get a lasting bond, and it will prevent leakages.

Tiles with one or more sides larger than 15 inches will need a different kind of mortar. Natural stones like marble, granite, and travertine will need custom natural stone and large tile mortar, and most modern tiles fall into this category.

Glass tiles are smooth and typically more challenging to bond, so you should use a specialized mortar for glass tiles.

It should have a bright white color to enhance the glass tiles. Always use white mortar with any tile or grout with light color.

Tips For Installing Large Format Tiles

Installing tiles using mortar is a crucial part of the construction, and you need all the help you can get to make sure everything is perfect. Here are some helpful tips you will need when dealing with large tiles;

1. Always inspect the surface to make sure it is flat enough 

A few weeks before the installation date, check all the surfaces to make sure they are ready to fit the tiles. 

It is best to do this many days before the installation, so you have time to repair the wall or floor if you need to.

Large tile formats need a flatness of an eighth of an inch in 10 feet with less than a sixteenth of an inch difference in 2 feet. 

Flattening the floor will make the work easier, more profitable, and you will get better results with fewer cracks.

2. Always use a medium bed mortar for large tiles.

You need to get a medium bed mortar when installing large tiles in your home. Manufacturers designed this mortar type to provide the ¾ of inch support needed to fill up regular spaces between the floor and the tile. 

This will ensure you have full coverage under the tiles without any hollow spots, and you don’t have to worry about getting cracks on your tiles. The mortar will also support the additional weight that comes with large tiles. 

3. Remember tile dimensions are not always consistent

One of the most significant issues with installing tiles is that most owners want very tight joints, which presents a challenge since tiles are not always uniform. 

You could get two tiles in the same batch, but they have different sizes, so installing them will be challenging.

.It would be best if you left a joint of at least a sixteenth of a joint and three times the tile’s variance. 

To ensure this is perfect, always do a markup with the owner before installing the tiles. This will allow you to see the exact outcome you should anticipate.

Conclusion

You can use grout as mortar if you make a few adjustments to it to make it thicker, so it supports the weight of heavy construction material like bricks and tiles. Grout is lighter, and using it as mortar could compromise the structural integrity, so you must avoid it.

When installing tiles, it is crucial to ensure that the surface is flat before adding mortar and the tiles. Unlevel surfaces will lead to the tiles cracking under pressure which will cost a lot in repairs and could lead to an accident; it will be easier to do it right and forget about it.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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