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simonb 07-03-2008 08:39 AM

Mixing thinset
Im ready to install my tile subfloor tonight but im second guessing myself on how to mix my thinset. I have about 75sq/f to do.

I only have 3/8 cordless and cord drills, i know its not strong enough in most cases, but I was going to split my 50lbs bag into 2 pales and mix then seperatly.

I also purchased a mixing paddle at HD that im not sure if it will work for what i need. Should this be sufficient?

How thick should the mortar be before i let it sit for 10 minutes? I also found someone selling a mastercraft hammer drill 1/2 locally for $20, would it be worth to purchase it? Does the drill have to be able to turn the hammer action off for the mixing or is that what you want?

angus242 07-03-2008 09:33 AM

First of all, drills. Most mixing paddles I've seen have a 1/2" shaft so I'm not sure it would even fit into a 3/8" drill chuck. I'd vote for getting the hammer drill locally. $20 is well worth it. Most hammer drills have a switch to "hammer" or just drill. I did a quick search for Mastercraft and I found this:
There's a black switch/button on top of the silver casing. That's most likely the hammer/drill switch. A hammer drill with that paddle will be fine. Go slowly. You don't want to go full speed with the drill which can start adding air into the mix. You don't want that.

Thinset. Each manufacturer will have a set of detailed instructions on the bag. That should tell you the ratio of water to powder. I suggest mixing in smaller batches until you get the hang of it. I always hear the "peanut butter" analogy. You want to keep the thinset thick enough so when troweled, the ridges will hold their shape. But don't have it so thick that it's actually sticky. You should be able to spread the thinset smoothly, without it wanting to clump. Remember, it's easier to mix more than it is to have it start curing on you in the bucket. That's not fun. Also remember to clean off your paddle and trowels. I like to have an extra bucket of water for cleaning. When you're done mixing the thinset, run the paddle in the cleaning bucket. In between batches of thinset, I clean my trowels off too. Then again, I have about $100 worth of them!

and FYI, you won't need 2 50lb bags to do 75 sq ft! :no:


Bud Cline 07-03-2008 09:36 AM

You will be mixing too much thinset at one time if you do that. Don't mix a half bag at one time, mix less. Follow the instructions on the bag for mixing consistency. Lite weight drill motors won't survive the task for very long. Use a low speed (350-650 rpm). Usually 1/2' drills are available with the lower rpm requirement.

Only seventy-five square feet isn't a big deal, you could mix the required thinset by hand without a problem. Mix smaller batches.:)

simonb 07-03-2008 11:09 AM

Thanks for quick reply!

First off i only have 1 50lbs bag for the tile subfloor, im sure i will have enough with that. As for the mixing, the reason i wanted to mix half a bag at once is because the superseal (similar to ditra) is cut into 3 peices for my washroom, so i didnt want to run short and have to stop and mix another batch. But i guess i can go 1/3 or even 1/4 bag at a time, im sure it wont cure on me in 20 minutes while i mix more up if needed. For the mixin ill try to purchase that hammer drill today, if i cant im sure mixing a 1/4 bag at a time by hand wont be a big deal.

As for installing my tiles saturday, would doing the same with the mixing 1/4 bag at a time be a good idea? Obviously i would only spread the thinset as i go and in the area that i will tile. Is there a problem with stoping and mixing more thinset a few times during a job?

Termite 07-03-2008 11:54 AM

Thinset goes a loooooong way. You're way too excited about mixing a lot at a time. I'd suggest mixing a 1/2 gallon at a time, at the most. Once you get your trowel skills going a little faster, mix a little more. You'll be surprised how far it gets you. You don't want a huge batch that is stiffening up by the time you get to the bottom of the bucket.

You do not need a hammer drill to mix anything. A hammer drill is for drilling into concrete. It will work though. A regular drill would work just fine.

simonb 07-03-2008 01:03 PM

On a side note, i watched a few videos of people installing ceramic tile. I noticed that some people are actually kneeling on fresh installed tiles to install the other tiles in the next row. I was always under the impression you shouldnt do this, you should try to start tiling at teh far end of the room and work your way to the doorway so not to disturb any tiles that have just been set.

angus242 07-03-2008 01:33 PM

Stay off freshly laid tiles. I don't know what videos you were watching but there are very few circumstances where walking on the tile would be ok.

Work in small sections. Don't worry about pausing between mixing batches of thinset. You're much better off taking your time and not rushing.


I use a $25 hammer drill I bought for doing nothing other than mixing thinset. It's good to have around. Like I said, you should be able to switch it to drill only and it will work perfectly for mixing. I choose to mix with the drill because if I were to mix by hand, I'd be wearing as much thinset as I was troweling!

Good luck

simonb 07-03-2008 01:43 PM

Once again thank you angus!

Was just looking at some Youtube videos, i usually research something to death when i dont know it before i start. Common sence kicked in when i seen a few videos of people installing tile from the tiles they've just installed, i knew it wasnt the smartest thing.

Im going to start with smaller batchs then 1/4 bag i think, ill use the ratio on the bag and just use a margarine container as my cup. Once i get going, ill know how much "1 batch" covers and how long it takes for me and adjust from there.

I hope i get that hammer drill tonight, if not my wrists are going to curse at me tomorrow, but the wife will be happy so I guess i cant complain.

Thanks again and ill keep you guys posted on my progress

Bud Cline 07-03-2008 03:01 PM

If you don't waste any thinset a single fifty pound bag should do 75 square feet, BUT, the Superseal must also be installed with thinset. I'm not sure you'll have enough with only one bag of thinset.

The thinset used to install the Superseal will be mixed much thinner than what you mix for the tile and it will go much farther as you will also be using a smaller trowel than what is used for the tile.

Mixing the thinset is the least of your worries.

simonb 07-03-2008 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by Bud Cline (Post 135748)
If you don't waste any thinset a single fifty pound bag should do 75 square feet, BUT, the Superseal must also be installed with thinset. I'm not sure you'll have enough with only one bag of thinset.

The thinset used to install the Superseal will be mixed much thinner than what you mix for the tile and it will go much farther as you will also be using a smaller trowel than what is used for the tile.

Mixing the thinset is the least of your worries.

I bought 2 bags of unmodified for the tiles, kerabond. Might not even need the second bag but i rather have it and return it if not needed.

Do i have to mix the thinset for the superseal thinner? I was going to follow the directions on the bag itself.

angus242 07-03-2008 03:42 PM

Hmmm, guess I missed the superseal part. You need to follow their recommendations.

"THINSET'S - On concrete substrates you can use unmodifed thinset or with or without a liquild latex additive. For all other applications,use
unmodified thinset with the recommended amount of liquid latex additive.

Installing Thinset - Using a 1/4" notched trowel, cover the base in a coat of thinset that has a liquidy consistency and can just hold the notched
. Unroll the precut pieces onto the thinset with the white cloth side down. Ensure it is solidly embedded it into the thinset with a float or
trowel. Working from the center out to remove air pockets and to ensure 100% adhesion. Lift a corner of the membrane to ensure full adhesion.
Make sure that you only install as much as you can handle based on drying times and temperature. Do not exceed the working time of the thinset.

If you're going over a wood substrate, you need to get Keralastic for mixing with the Kerabond. Be prepared for sticker shock :eek:

simonb 07-03-2008 03:43 PM


Im using versabond, modified thinset, for under the superseal. For the tiles on top i will be using the kerabond.

simonb 07-03-2008 03:45 PM

Im not sure about the ratio, maybe someone can help me with the math.

The bag of versabond says to mix 5.68L (6quarts) of clean water with 22.68kg (50lb) of the powder. Any idea of the ratio?

angus242 07-03-2008 03:52 PM

What is the superseal going over?

simonb 07-03-2008 03:54 PM


Originally Posted by angus242 (Post 135770)
What is the superseal going over?

2 layers of plywood staggered, second layer nice side up

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