Remodel of Bathrooms : Mud Set vs. Concrete Board

With the ever evolving materials in the construction industry & different methods used to get a Bathroom Remodel done. One question we at P.S.S. are always faced with is what method we prefer to use for the underlayment of the tile during the Remodel of a bathroom. Mud or Cement Board? We at P.S.S. like to use old world craftsmanship to build something that will last for years beyond our time.

“Mud-Set” or “Mud-Bed” are terms used for a 3/4” Portland cement and mason sand sub-surface for ceramic, porcelain & natural stone residential tile flooring. “Mud-Setting” the floor to accept tile is the ideal substrate: to provide a sound, flat and level floor, to provide a water-resistant base, and to add structural stability to new and old floors.

“Thinset” is an adhesive mortar made of cement, fine sand and a water retaining agent such as an alkyl derivative of cellulose. It is usually used to attach tile or stone residential tile flooring to surfaces such as cement or concrete. The application of the mortar adhesive is usually 3/8″ thick or less. Defining the procedure as a “Thinset.”

Even though ceramic tile floors installed directly over cement or cement backer board can last for the life of the house. For some special applications, mud set tile installation are still more appropriate.

Floor tile installation using a mud set is labor intensive and adds to the over-all installation cost. The assumption has always been that during renovations this process produces the most uniform, durable finished floor for high impact, high traffic areas. There is some validity in that assumption.

During a remodel, thinset installation is as good as the substrate it covers. If the substrate meets required tolerances, a quality installation can be had. A variety of high performance thinsets gives you strength, flexibility and chemical resistance to meet the requirements of most any environment.

The surface you cover is the key to success in thinset. A mud set mortar installation gives you room for error in the substrate. If the sub-surface has issues that a thinset installation can’t accommodate, then a mud set solution becomes the solution by default. Problem involving slab cracks, for instance, can often be solved with a mud set installation where a thin set installation can’t.


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