What are the benefits of construction chemistry

Perspective: What are the most important tile adhesives?

Fluid bed adhesive

Dispersion adhesives can be processed ready-to-use out of the bucket. Photos: PCI

Finally, the so-called fluid bed adhesives also belong to the cement-bound tile mortars. They are mostly used for large floor areas. The material is not painted on each individual tile, instead the adhesive is spread over a large area on the floor in order to then press the tiles into this fluidized bed. This reliably prevents cavities below the coverings and guarantees that the back of the tile is fully wetted. This is important, for example, to ensure adequate adhesion of large-format panels or to avoid frost damage outdoors.

One can argue about whether the fluid bed adhesive is a separate type of adhesive at all, or whether it is rather a special form of processing. The cement mortars, which are sold by many manufacturers under the label "fluid bed adhesive", can be varied in their consistency, depending on how much water is added. Normal cement adhesives, on the other hand, are much more paste-like and therefore not fluid bed capable.

Dispersion adhesive

With the dispersion adhesives, we are not only leaving the field of cement-bound products, but also the mortar sector in general. Instead, we come to plastic-based adhesives, because dispersions are plastics that are finely distributed in water. When hardened, they are more flexible and also stick more strongly than cement mortar. That is why they are mainly used on smooth wall surfaces such as plasterboard and rigid foam boards.

All in all, dispersion adhesives are rarely used, at least by tilers in Germany. In this country people swear more by the cement-based flexible adhesives, which are also flexible and have also been continuously developed technically over the past decades. Dispersion adhesives have the advantage that they no longer have to be mixed on the construction site; the processor removes them from the bucket ready for use. But they also have disadvantages: The plastic adhesives do not harden through cement binding, but through drying, and that takes significantly longer than with cement mortar. Because of the long curing times, dispersion adhesives are in principle unsuitable for floor tiling. Even more: Since they are not frost-resistant, they can only be used indoors.

Reaction resin adhesive

We want to conclude our brief overview with the reaction resin adhesives. These synthetic resin adhesives based on polyurethane resin or epoxy resin consist of two components: the synthetic resin and a hardener. The processor still has to mix the two on the construction site. The processed material hardens through a chemical reaction.

Reaction resin adhesives can be described as special products for laying tiles. They are rarely found in private living areas, rather in commercial areas such as large kitchens, laboratories or in the food industry. Especially with difficult tile substrates such as plastic, glass, metal or wood and chipboard. The products not only adhere extremely well, they are also very flexible and resistant to chemicals.


About the author Roland Grimm has been a freelance journalist based in Essen since February 2013 and regularly writes specialist articles for Building material knowledge. Before that, he was a specialist editor at the industry magazine for around six years Building materials market and also editor-in-chief and, from 2010, editor-in-chief of the trade journal building materials practice. Contact: freelance [email protected]

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