Stone and tiles are excellent facing materials. But in order for them to serve for a long time, they must be properly laid. In this sense, the cladding process can be compared to the tip of the iceberg, where under the slabs an invisible underwater part is hidden: a properly prepared base, leveling mixtures, waterproofing and the actual adhesive solutions.
A competent choice of styling products and strict adherence to technology is the key to success. Without pretending to be a detailed review, we would like to highlight only the main points that need to be followed when choosing leveling compounds, primers, waterproofing, adhesives, grouting agents.
Based on the operating conditions, the whole variety of adhesives on sale today are usually divided into two groups: adhesives for indoor spaces with gentle and constant operating conditions and adhesives for outdoor work, the operation of which is complicated by unfavorable climatic, seismic or environmental factors..
In addition to this general division, there is also a group of special adhesives that meet certain requirements depending on where they are used. For example, in food and chemical plants, where contact with aggressive media is possible; in pools and tanks where the glue is in contact with water and is under constant multi-ton pressure; when laying warm floors, where the temperature regime is constantly changing; in places with an intense flow of people; in damp rooms, etc. In each of these cases, you need to use a special glue designed for specific operating conditions..
A separate group includes adhesives intended for cladding facades or interior decoration with heavy large-format slabs (stone and ceramic). Such adhesives must have increased strength, with water resistance, heat and frost resistance. The use of these adhesives makes it possible to dispense with mechanical fastening of the boards to the base (hooks). Currently, there are already compositions on the market that ensure reliable fastening of the cladding with the spot method of applying glue (no more than 10% of the surface).
It should be borne in mind that white cement-based adhesives are used for laying glass mosaics and light-colored stone. And to prevent warping of moisture-sensitive types of marble (including thin-layer, 6-10 mm thick) and natural stone slabs, epoxy adhesives are used. There is no water in them.
Before purchasing glue, you need to carefully study the instructions for use, which should indicate the purpose of this composition.
Currently, most of the adhesives produced are a polymer-mineral composite, which includes a cement-sand mixture and various polymer additives.
The higher the level of requirements for the lining, the larger and more complex the formulation of the polymers that make up the adhesive. It is clear that with an increase in the proportion of polymers, the most important properties of the glue also change. One type of polymer additives only increases the ability of the solution to retain moisture (if there are no substances in the glue that retain water, it will go into the base, and the cement, not having time to set, will begin to “crumble”). Another type improves the adhesion (adhesiveness) of the material. The third type of supplement is responsible for elasticity. The latter property allows the glue to work as a kind of “backing” -a shock absorber between the tile and the base: when stress or deformation occurs in the base or tile, it does not transfer them, but “extinguishes”.
The use of polymer additives in dry or liquid form transforms modern adhesives into waterproof, elastic, durable and extremely strong formulations, which are applied in a thin layer. The layer thickness depends primarily on the size of the tiles and can be from 2 to 15 mm. When glue is applied in a thin layer, it dries evenly, which means it performs its task better. Of course, thin-layer adhesive technology places high demands on the surface to be coated. First of all, it must be perfectly flat. Because otherwise, the consumption of glue will increase several times. In addition, due to the difference in layer thickness, the glue will dry unevenly and, as a result, will not glue the cladding. Therefore, the tiler’s work begins long before laying the tiles – with leveling the walls..
If the base strongly absorbs water, it must be primed. The primer creates a film that regulates the absorption of water from the adhesive solution and binds the surface layer if it is not completely strong. This is especially true for gypsum-containing materials – gypsum, drywall, gypsum fiber boards.
After leveling or priming the walls, the waterproofing stage begins, which is very important for wet rooms. In addition to its main task, waterproofing performs another, no less serious function – it prevents the spread of cracks from the base to the facing coating.
Usually, waterproofing is carried out in two stages. First, a tape is glued at the joints of walls or walls and the floor, which “keeps” the deformation of the seam in case the walls “walk”. Then a waterproofing layer is applied (a special mixture of polymer materials). And only after that the master starts facing.
As a rule, the glue solution is prepared within 5-10 minutes. The expiration date of the solution, which is also called the “pot life”, is the time during which the glue does not begin to solidify in the container. It must be borne in mind that the hardened glue cannot be diluted with water (that is, it cannot be reused). Therefore, it is very important to know the life time of the glue and to use it during this period. Usually 4-6 hours. But there are also adhesives for quick installation, the “life time” of which is 1-1.5 hours.