Literature from Noble Company and others in the tile industry contains references to mortar bed and thin-bed methods. Following are descriptions of those methods with a focus on shower waterproofing applications.
Mortar bed methods have been used for centuries and have proven to be dependable. They are also referred to as thick bed, full mortar bed or mud bed methods. Method involves the following:
Thin-bed methods utilize a thin-set mortar (cement) to adhere tile to a substrate (like concrete, mortar bed, plywood, etc.). Some thin- sets are fortified with latex (polymeric or acrylic) to increase the adhesive properties and flexibility.
A mortar bed is not required, so the installations are thinner, lighter and require less time. Thin-set mortars are typically about 3/16”, which makes it preferred when height is an issue (e.g. barrier free showers).
When tile is bonded to the subfloor with a thin-set, movement in the subfloor can telegraph through the tile and cause it to crack. However, installing a membrane like NobleSeal® below the tile can provide waterproofing and protect tile from cracking.
lene (CPE) with fiber laminated to both sides. CPE is durable and impermeable (which makes it waterproof). Fiber provides bondable surfaces, so NobleSeal can be bonded to vertical or horizontal surfaces, and tile can be bonded to the membrane. NobleSeal isolates the surface from the subfloor to protect tile from cracking.
Following is a thin-bed installation procedure including NobleSeal for waterproofing and/or crack isolation.
Chloraloy, NobleFlex and NobleSeal are Registered Trademarks of Noble Company, Grand Haven, MI.