Granite is one of those natural stones that can transform any area where it is installed into a work of art, and while traditionally acceptable substrates are generally limited to concrete-based forms, there are a variety of products available for other installations, such as installing granite to metal surfaces.
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Traditional installations of both natural stones and man-made tiles generally require a concrete-based adhesive known as thinset. In some cases, mastic can be used as an adhesive, although these areas are generally non-traffic areas such as shower walls or kitchen backsplashes.
Thinset is modified with latex and polymers to create a flexible and durable concrete adhesive that can bond to a variety of surfaces. Mastic and thinset will not bond to metal. The only adhesive that will bond to metal surfaces are those adhesives that are epoxy-based.
Epoxies are in use around the world in a variety of applications. In terms of adhesive, they are generally used in such application methods as the building of aircrafts, surfboards and other applications where a high-strength adhesive is necessary.
Because epoxy is a chemically engineered adhesive, it can be developed in a variety of ways to suit a number of application needs. In the case of epoxy thinsets, this is the only way to adhere granite or man-made tiles to a metal surface.
There is a variety of epoxy-based thinsets on the market today for use in installations where a tile needs to be attached to a metal surface. As a general rule, they come in two types: a pre-mixed epoxy thinset in a sealed container and a two-part thinset where the resin and hardener come in separate containers that must be mixed before use.
Epoxy thinsets have an extremely short working life. Once a container is opened or the two-part mixture is mixed, you have only from 30 to 45 minutes before the epoxy becomes too hard to work with. In addition, there are rapid-set types that set up in eight to 10 minutes. Be aware of your installation area before working with epoxy thinset to avoid wasting product.
Any epoxy-based thinset can be purchased at your local flooring store or home improvement store along with the flooring materials.
Tim Anderson has been freelance writing since 2007. His has been published online through GTV Magazine, Home Anatomy, TravBuddy, MMO Hub, Killer Guides and the Delegate2 group. He spent more than 15 years as a third-generation tile and stone contractor before transitioning into freelance writing.