Tiling essentials

Tiling and where to Begin!

What are the differences?
The main difference is their purpose. Tile adhesive sticks the tiles to your prepared surface, e.g walls or floors (substrates) Grouting is applied between the tiles like a mortar to protect them and give a more uniform look.


There are two types of adhesives, ready mixed pastes and powdered adhesives. Ready-mixed as suggested can be bought and used straight from the tub, but there are limitations. It is best used only for fixing smaller ceramic tiles to walls. Powdered adhesives need to be mixed with clean water into an almost slurry-like mixture. This offers a far stronger bond and can be used to fix ceramic and stone tiles to any substrate.
The substrate obviously makes a difference to what kind of adhesive to use. If you are tiling a large area of wall for example, it may be better to fix plasterboard first, rather than tiling straight onto plaster. Never use a ready-mixed adhesive to tile a floor, powdered adhesive must be used and don’t forget to check the drying time! Newly concreted floors need at least 6 weeks to dry properly before tiling.


Grouting is a cement based bonding material used to fill the joints between the tiles. The joints between are very porous and need to be filled to prevent discolouration and staining. This will make the finished surface easier to clean and hygienic. If you are using sanded grout, then normally the wider the joint the courser the sand content, to prevent the grout from cracking and causing shrinkage.

Cementitious grout is by far the most popular and can be used anywhere a tile is to be installed. Cementitious grouts have as their main component Portland cement, plus filler particles of different sizes, a water-retentive additive, and colour pigments making it versatile (no pun intended!)


Plaster and other absorbent surfaces can suck the moisture out of your tile adhesive, reducing the bond strength. Applying a primer before tiling can prevent this happening. If you are tiling areas that will be continually inundated with water or subject to extreme variation in temperature even a pool for example, then it is advisable to mix the primer with elastromeric latex that will improve the adhesion so it is able to withstand strong expansion without the tiles detaching.

Final Question

What is the advantage of buying R A & Sons tile adhesives as opposed to any other?
Rabond Flex Plus (Class C2TE) and Rabond Flex (Class C2T) are both high performance cement adhesives. Rabond Flex Plus differs in that it contains more resin, making it more flexible and suitable for coping with temperature ranges. It is also particularly recommended for large tile sizes.

To see our full range of Tile adhesives, please click here

Please feel free to contact RA & Sons for further information and help


Whilst every effort has been taken to confirm the accuracy of the information presented in this article, R.A. & Sons Ltd and R.A. & Sons Manufacturing Ltd cannot be held responsible for errors and / or omissions or for any direct or indirect consequences resulting from the use and application of its products.

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