Mastic vs Thinset – Tilers Concensus

Mastic vs. Thinset –  A Tilers’ Consensus Can Be Wrong.

If you did a “Fifty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong”  type survey on the subject on Mastic vs. Thinset, with the stipulation that only 30 year tiling professionals need respond, I expect you might get a list that looks like this:

Mastic vs Thinset in Wall Tile Installation
Use Thinset for Bathroom Tile Installation.

Mastic vs. Thinset.

  1. Shower floors – Thinset.
  2. Shower walls – Thinset.
  3. Bathroom floors – Thinset.
  4. Bathroom walls – Thinset.
  5. Kitchen floors – Thinset.
  6. Kitchen walls – Mastic.
  7. Kitchen counter-tops – Thinset.
  8. Kitchen back-splashes – Mastic.
  9. Other floors – Thinset.
  10. Other walls – Mastic (where moisture is not present).

That should settle the issue, right?  Well, no not really.

As with any survey the consensus view may have a substantial number in agreement, but there are always dissenters.

That which is recognized as reality on a subject as simple as “‘mastic vs thinset” is often based on the acceptance of some authority’s declaration.  While the authority may be correct at one point in time, conditions can change with technological advances.  But old, established ideas are slow to be discarded with a change in reality.

For instance,  the craft of wall tile installation has developed over a period of hundreds of years.  Until the late 1950s tile was installed on mud walls, usually requiring a mud man and a tile setter. It was a labor intensive job that required a number of days to complete.  But, the process was considered the undisputed right way to tile.

When drywall was invented plaster walls became a thing of the past.  Not because the process had been improved, but because the job could be done much cheaper using mastic and drywall.  The old pros warned that the process being used was inferior to their quality work, but none would listen.  Drywall and mastic became  the “standard” for doing tile surrounds and tile showers.   Experts of the industry proclaimed the process was the way to go.  When the installation started to fail, their response was simply  “sorry about that.”

When there is big money to be had by using cheaper products, manufacturers are quick to jump on the bandwagon.  The Chinese drywall disaster of the late 1990s is another case of disregard for quality in search of that extra buck.

So, the point of this article is to be suspicious of “Expert” opinion.  A consensus  opinion is not necessarily right when it is first accepted and not likely to remain right well into the future.


Quality Work is My Hallmark.

My tiling service areas include Port St. Lucie (PSL), Fort Pierce, Stuart and Vero Beach, FL.

In St. Lucie County Boyer Tile LLC. services Port St. Lucie, St. Lucie West, Tradition, Torino, Tesoro, Lake Charles, Lake Forest, Magnolia Lakes, PGA Village, The Vineyards, St James Golf Club, The Cascades, and Fort Pierce, FL.

In Indian River County Boyer Tile LLC. services Vero Beach, Indian River Shores and Sebastian, FL.

Port St. Lucie Marble and Tile Contractor.

(772) 828-8909.

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