Overview of Polymer-Modified Mortars

Overview of Polymer-Modified Mortars

Different Mortar Types

With all the different mortars out there, it can be confusing to understand all your options. Types
of mortar for tile setting include dry-set (unmodified), polymer-modified, and epoxy grout and
mortar. The polymer-modified type of mortar evolved from dry-set mortars after technology
advanced to the point where polymers became powdered and included in each bag. This
allowed more challenging installations such as larger tiles, heavier tile, glass, and more to be
completed with confidence.

ANSI Standards for Polymer-Modified Mortars

Polymer-modified mortars have better performance and handling characteristics than dry set
mortars which are composed of sand, cement, and lime. There are three different American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for polymer-modified mortars:
1) A118.4 American National Standard Specifications for Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortar
2) A118.15 American National Standard Specifications for Improved Modified Dry-Set
Cement Mortar.
The A118.15 specification uses the same tests as ANSI A118.4 but has stricter requirements.
ANSI A118.15 mortars are the best performing mortars available today.
3) A118.11 American National Standard Specifications for EGP (Exterior Glue Plywood)
Latex-Portland Cement Mortar
This standard is also a polymer-modified ANSI standard but is specific to bonding to EGP
(Exterior Glue Plywood).
Most, if not all, ANSI A118.15 mortars meet/exceed ANSI A118.11 specifications. Additionally,
ANSI designates further if more requirements are met. There is a designation of “E” for
extended open time, “T” for sag resistance on vertical surfaces, “H” for large and heavy tile, and
“F” for fast set. These extra letters are listed after the ANSI specification.

High-Performance Mortars – When Necessary for Success

There are some examples where a high-performance mortar is crucial for a successful
installation including exteriors, facades, submerged, and gauged porcelain panels. The extra benefits of having an ANSI A118.15 mortar for these types of installations are key, including
extra bond strength, long open time, freeze-thaw stability, and water immersion. Because these
mortars are highly engineered, they typically come with a longer limited product warranty as
well, meaning the customer has more peace of mind when choosing to take the step up to the
high-performance mortars. Contact the mortar manufacturer for specific details.

TEC ® Introduces Two New High Performance Mortars

TotalFlex ® 110 and TotalFlex ® 150 are the newest mortars from TEC and are both part of this
high-performance category. They are both ultra-versatile, meaning that they can be used on
tiles as small as mosaics, as large as gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs, and everything in
between. TotalFlex 110 meets/exceeds ANSI A118.4HTE and A118.11 while TotalFlex 150
meets/exceeds ANSI A118.4HTE, A118.11, and A118.15HTE. Both TotalFlex mortars can be
used with exterior and submerged installations, and used to set uncoupling membranes. There
is no intentionally added silica in these mortars, they are extremely easy- to-trowel, and they
include the “H” (large and heavy tile) and “T” (sag-resistance) designations from the standard,
so there can be confidence that the tile will stay put once it is set in place.

Polymer-Modified Mortars Cover All the Bases

Polymer-modified mortars have increased bond strengths, extended open times, and much
more. They can cover all your bases when it comes to a successful tile installation, and last for
years to come. Be sure to read the mortar’s product data sheet for more information.

Posted by
TEC Staff