Need to mix less than 50lb. bag of Mortar [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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12-14-2004, 08:09 PM
Hey Everyone,

I need to mix up less than the 50lb. bag of Versabond Grey that I have. It says to mix 50lb. with 6 Quarts of water.

Since I do not have a set of scales to measure out 5 - 10 lb. of this stuff does anyone know how many gallons or quarts or cups of mortar is in a 50lb. bag? Or maybe someone has a ratio of mix like 5 part mortar to 1 part water or something. I've never mixed mortar before so I don't have a "feel" for the right consistancy


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jay f
12-14-2004, 08:15 PM
When you mix, imagine warm peanut butter, and try to get that consistancy, starting with some water in the bucket, and adding powder as needed. :)

12-14-2004, 08:16 PM
I wouldn't sweat it Jeremy, just put a couple cups of water in a small bucket, dump in what thinset you think you need, and use a sponge to gradually squeeze in water till you mix it the way you want. :)

12-14-2004, 08:20 PM
Hi Jeremy :)

I can only suggest that you use a small mixing pail to start. Put about an inch of water in the bottom. Slowly add powder until it makes a small pile in the water. Stir it up. If it's too watery (like soup) add powder, if it's to stiff (like peanut butter) add water. You want it just stiff enough to hold a ridge with a notched trowel. Make sure you let it slake (after mixing, leave alone) for about 10 minutes, then remix.

Hope this helps.

12-14-2004, 08:49 PM
What is the reason for letting it slake??

12-14-2004, 09:39 PM
Thanks Guys,

I just tried mixing a small batch and it looks good. I measured everything as I was mixing and ended up with 9 1/2 Cups Mortar to 4 Cups Water.

So here goes the tile... wish me luck :)

12-14-2004, 09:47 PM
Hi Mark :)

In short form, it allows the chemicals to react and bind with one another. With grout you'll notice it get's stiff, but then loosens back up after remixing.

There are others here who can explain a lot better than I.

12-14-2004, 11:18 PM
OK, that sort of makes sense, I just didn't think thinset had any chemicals in it.
But I guess it does. Proves I didn't read the bag!!:bang:

I did notice that about the grout, I think I may have had mine too dry, it was a little hard to work with.
I klnow that thinset should be like warm peanut butter, what should grout be?

12-15-2004, 06:42 AM
Grout should be like a thick milkshake.

12-15-2004, 07:16 AM
:yummy: :D

12-15-2004, 09:21 AM
OK, I had mine to thick/dry. Worked like a dog to get good coverage, and still missed a spot or two. (which I fixed)
I have to do my sisters tub/shower next and that is going to help alot!

Warm peanut butter and a thick milk it! :D

John Corley
12-15-2004, 09:40 AM

letting grout and thinset have a slake period is important because of the cement in the products. If you jsut mix it once and then go to work, You'll notice that it gets very stiff in the bucket. Then you may find yourself wanting to add water. Another no no. Just let it sit for 10 and mix one more time and voila you have good "mud" that will last for hours.

John :)

12-15-2004, 09:56 AM

I'd say you're right on the money in terms of your mixing ratio. 6 quarts of water to 50 lbs Versabond does work out to a 4:9.5 volume ratio. This will give you a stiffer mix. For a thinner mix, as when setting Kerdi or Ditra, you may want to stay closer to a 4:9 ratio.

For a DIY-er who doesn't have bags of mortar lying around, knowing the volume ratio does help when you only have a limited amount of mortar left in the bag. You don't want to start with too much water and find you've run out of mortar before achieving the desired consistency.

'Course it'd be a lot easier if you had an accurate weighing machine ...


John Bridge
12-15-2004, 08:05 PM
Welcome aboard, Jeremy. :)

12-17-2004, 09:15 AM
I've been laying about 8-10 tiles every night this week after work. I don't get home till around 7:30 so I can't do too much. Well, I have found that my original 9.5:4 ratio was too wet. After reading more about what a good mix should be like, mixing up several more batches and sitting around with my finger stuck in the peanut butter jar :crazy: ... I have found a better ratio.


Before when I troweled my 1/4 inch lines after maybe a minute or two the lines would shlump a bit and be rounded on top. Each batch I made I would add an extra 1/2 Cup or Cup to the mix. Finally last night I hit the 11:4 mark. My mortar lines stood up proud and the back-buttering was a little easier because I wasn't rushing to beat the shlump.

I'll be grouting this weekend so I'm sure more questions will follow,

Thanks Again

12-28-2004, 06:28 PM
Thanks for the ratio posting. Plan on doing my first ever mortor mix tomorrow and was wondering how to not mix the entire bag.