I tried using Simple Mat [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Becky Hartzell
03-27-2010, 12:00 PM
I tried using the Simple Mat for putting up a tile backsplash. I used 1" glass tiles with the net backing. The instructions said you could work at it a little at a time. I didn't grout my project right away because I wanted to make sure the tiles would stick. They did not. Now, I'm trying to remove this mess, and am not having much luck. I've tried Goo Gone and a wire brush without much success. Any suggestions?

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03-27-2010, 01:12 PM
Welcome, Becky. :)

Over what substrate did you apply the Simple Mat?

I've found that the stuff (the backing) can be removed from glass by soaking in water. You might get a spray bottle and try keeping yours wet for a day or so if your substrate can tolerate that.

Those one-inch tiles are the smallest recommended, as I recall, and should stick if firmly pressed into the glue. The first sample boards we saw before the product was released had glass tiles that size and there was no question of them coming loose.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-13-2010, 04:37 PM
I'm a DIYer and was sceptical about SimpleMat, but decided to use at a sales/assistent encouragement. Total DISASTER!!! SimpleMat went up nicely but when I attempted to attach my 1x2 & 1x1 glass & slate tiles they initally stuck securely (and I pressed each tile on very hard) I was only working a 17" x 44" backsplash wall area. The next day we moisened the paper backing and a large # of tiles just fell off the wall I couldn't get them to stick again. Then over the next 6 hours a few tiles fell off the wall each hour. I am totally furrious at all the time I spent preping the wall to get it just right. I am ripping all the SimpleMat off and am considering putting up 1/4" backer board so I don't have to spend another 5-10 hours preping the walls again. SimpleMat is a wonderful concept that may work on larger tiles, but I'd never consider using it on small tiles. I going back for a refund!!

04-13-2010, 05:08 PM
Not sure what your problem might have been, James, but I've seen tiles that size stuck to that mat and they weren't going anywhere. That's the minimum size the manufacturer recommends, but I didn't see any trouble with it on test boards we fooled with.

That stuff (Simple Mat) has a lotta limitations, but not bein' sticky ain't one I've identified.

The stock might be gettin' older by now, and that could be a consideration. Don't know if there's a manufacturer date on the boxes or not. Maybe I'll get out some of my original stock and see if it's still sticky like when it was new.

My opinion; worth price charged.

04-13-2010, 05:34 PM
Nothing beats a good thinset and a proven way.

I highly doubt the sticky gets stale. Getting it dusty could be its nemesis.

04-13-2010, 06:04 PM
Have you all seen this new stuff, available at Lowes. Just spray it on and set your tile...


I hear they are going to have a display at Coverings.

04-13-2010, 06:08 PM
And that pertains to using Simple Mat just how? :scratch:

04-13-2010, 06:22 PM
:tongue: It doesn't really. Except maybe you could spray it on top of the SimpleMat to make those tiles stick to it. :D (just kidding about that folks)

Actually, the marketing of these products is geared to the DIYer. Maybe the spray adhesive works, it might even work better than the SimpleMat

try to
04-27-2010, 06:38 PM
I also used the 1" square tiles. In November they went up fine. It was so EASY. Now its April and half of them have came off. Slowly in a chain reaction at first. I went to Home Depot and was told too bad so sad. Now not only do I have to redo splash board, but I don't know how to get the grout off of the tile so will have to buy new tile. I also was talked into the mat by Home Depot employee. GRRRRR All I can say is I'm glad it worked for some of you and am very sorry for the rest.

04-27-2010, 08:02 PM
All I can say is I'm glad it worked for some of you and am very sorry for the rest.

I don't think its been around long enough for anyone to say it "works". I think the best anyone can do is say its "working so far...".

Crestone Tile
04-27-2010, 11:18 PM

What type of tiles (porcelain, glass, stone, etc.)?

04-28-2010, 05:17 AM
OMG i can not believe what they are selling these days.

Dave Taylor
04-28-2010, 05:56 AM
TYW created some test boards a while back using "SimpleMat" and various sizes and types of tile.

In addition, at least one TYW pro used SimpleMat in an actual tiling (backsplash) situation.

So far as I know..... the completed test boards and backsplash still indicate that "SimpleMat" remains a viable DIY tiling option during specific tiling situations.

DIY User Terry (tcinsatx) is planning to use "SimpleMat" in the near future and promises to supply pictures and some narrative results to this forum.

Mike from Pa
05-17-2010, 01:27 PM
I just saw this product today while poking around Custom's website on phone hold trying to get help with their C-Cure Epoxy...and had to come on here and see what this stuff was all about. Just noticing that the two negative posts are from people who have only one post apiece..and the post/register date are the same....just sayin'. Does seem a little "As Seen on TV" to me though.
Will follow further threads.

05-17-2010, 05:44 PM
Site gets as busy as ours it makes a pretty big target, Mike. Lotta trollin' goes on and it's difficult to tell if the posters are legitimate sometimes.

I think you're likely correct about both the ones you see on this thread. :shades:

06-16-2010, 05:02 AM
This forum comes up pretty high on google when you go searching for Simplemat. That's how I came across this place and saw other people who had negative results.

I had the same issue: Tiles stuck securely for about 2 weeks before entire sections of open mesh started falling off. I'm very frustrated. I'm going to have to rip all of it down and start over... though now I see that it's going to take me an afternoon with Goo-Gone to get it off.

Hopefully Home Depot will take it back

Houston Remodeler
06-16-2010, 06:26 AM
Welcome Jack,

Next time, stop here first :neesie:

Brian in San Diego
06-16-2010, 06:28 AM
Welcome, Jack. I wonder if the failure could have been caused by "operator" error. Many products that fail, fail because some part of the installation process wasn't done correctly or a crucial step was missed. I haven't read the SimpleMat instructions lately but I feel one of the crucial steps is the condition of the substrate it's being stuck to. I don't know the cleaning instructions for the substrate but I think that the wall needs to be thoroughly cleaned and probably should be rinsed with a hot water and TSP solution.

Mind you, I'm not saying that you did anything wrong. Don't remember what CPB says about cleaning of the substrate and it's too early in the AM for me to do any research.

Hope you hang around and get the guidance you need to install the tile using more traditional methods.


06-17-2010, 12:23 PM
Thanks and will do. I've learned my lesson.

I appreciate your honesty. Being in an IT background I too am intimately familiar with the concept of user error, which is why I closely follow manufacturer instructions. That said, the substrate is ok; in fact that is probably the only thing that the Simplemat has stuck to very well.

Rather, the side with the tile adhesive lost its grip shortly after installation, at which point entire mesh sections of tile started falling off the Simplemat. The Simplemat itself remains firmly adhered to the wall, which I skimcoated, cleaned, primed and cleaned again before beginning this project. When installing tile I actually followed the instructional video on youtube, using a grout float to firmly press each open mesh section in place.

Funny thing is, the mat did such a bad job adhering that I can gently pull on a mesh section and see the tile adhesive stretch and cleanly snap off the tile and onto the mat like an elastic band. So I should be able to pull down most of the tiles and re-use them.

So yeah... this time around, I'd like to use a pre-mixed adhesive agent because this is one of those projects that I'll be doing a little bit at a time. (Hence the original appeal of Simplemat.) I've had success in the past with SimpleSet Premixed thinset but I would love to hear recommendations from you guys.

Thanks, this is a great forum!

Houston Remodeler
06-17-2010, 05:54 PM

If you are going for a premixed thinset, I prefer Omnigrip. Its excellent. Do be aware that mastics shrink when they dry, so there is no "building up" a thinner tile unless you are really lucky. Prep you wall nice and flat and you should be fine. :neesie:

Dave Taylor
06-17-2010, 06:11 PM
the mat did such a bad job adhering that I can gently pull on a mesh section and see the tile adhesive stretch and cleanly snap off the tile and onto the mat like an elastic band. So I should be able to pull down most of the tiles and re-use them.

A picture of this stretching SimpleMat adhesive would be great Jack.
It sounds like you don't yet have all your mosaic pulled from the backsplash yet.

Will you post some pictures for us to see?


06-17-2010, 07:51 PM
Hi Dave,
I'd have loved to have shown you guys the 'rubber band effect' but as soon as I came home I just started pulling all the tile down. I'll admit that a few areas had bonded really well, but for the most part everything peeled off

I did pick up Omnigrip on the way home after chatting with some contractor tiling guys. (I work for a mall mgmt company.) Looks like great minds think alike, Paul! ;)

Anyways, attached is about 30 minutes of putting the tile back up. On the far wall is the Simplemat I haven't ripped off yet. Muuuuch better!

Houston Remodeler
06-17-2010, 08:08 PM

Is that glass tile? If yes, your omni grip will work but you'll need to let it set for a week to let the mastic fully cure before grouting. Mastics aren't recommended behind glass tiles, but since you're there already and these tiles are so tiny, you can probably get away with waiting an extra long time to grout.

06-17-2010, 08:11 PM
I did pick up Omnigrip on the way home after chatting with some contractor tiling guyswouldn't be my adhesive of choice,
but then again you selected SimpleMat first so that is an improvement.

06-18-2010, 08:52 AM
I don't think the Simplemat instructions say anything about using it with glass tile.

06-18-2010, 09:25 AM
Yeah. I was curious when I read "mosaics" on the box, so I had called Custom Building from Home Depot to ask if that encompasses glass, because this pattern is ceramic and some glass.

"Sure, all mosaics" the rep says. Guess I should've known better than to accept an off-the-cuff answer, but it's possible that it's true, because as I was pulling down tile yesterday, the mesh sections that *did* stick had a very solid grasp of the glass.

Anyways, the Omnigrip is working magnificently; thanks to all for the help and great information!

06-18-2010, 11:09 AM
Jack, one of the very first test boards we ever saw for SimpleMat, a board made up by CBP back when the stuff was still Top Secret, included a section of mesh-backed glass 1"x1" tiles. For sure CBP intended no restriction to the use of the product with glass mosaics.

And the glass mosaics were very firmly attached to the plywood test panel. And likely still are.

The glass is not the problem with your installation. Gotta look elsewhere for that. And in my own testing, the backing of the SimpleMat will stick quite firmly to glass, so long as it remains dry. Will stick really, really well, actually.

My opinion; worth price charged.

06-18-2010, 12:10 PM
Did a backsplash with the SimpleMat,owners request.Installed 2x2 glass on mesh and it stuck with no issues.Everything needs to be dry and dust free for it to work.Went back to the same job to last week for their MB shower and the tile from the splash is still solid,after 6 months.

06-18-2010, 01:06 PM
I've got a few mesh-backed ceramic mosaics glued to the edge of a work bench in my shop, Michael. Test from the pre-release date (whenever that was). Some of it stuck to dimension wood, some to plywood edge grain. Un-conditioned space, dirty environment.

As of yesterday they were still firmly stuck, would still wiggle (never grouted) but return to their place when turnt loose, and show no sign of releasing from the mat nor the mat from the wood.

I stuck those to test the viability of the product in use for the edges of countertops, one of the advertised applications.

It ain't never gonna be my favorite, but I've never seen any of the problems we're hearing about the product not sticking as advertised. Just have no idea what might be going wrong there. Ain't seen it. :scratch:

My opinion; worth price charged.

tile mom
06-27-2010, 07:03 AM
I see it advertised at the top of my screen...Anyone use that stuff and what did ya think?

never mind- I see there is a thread... SHould never post before having at least 2 cups of coffee...

Houston Remodeler
06-27-2010, 07:29 AM
You're making our jobs easier.

If there's anything else we can't do for you, just let us know. :neesie:

10-10-2010, 09:09 AM
Just noticed last week that my test pieces of 2x2 porcelain tile stuck to the edge of a workbench in my shop (post 29) had fallen off. The scrim of the mat is still stuck to the wood bench edge, but the little glue strips holding the tiles failed. Some of the glue is on the tiles, some still on the backing.

This is indoors but unconditioned space. The tiles (only 3) had never been grouted, just firmly attached to the vertical surface with the SimpleMat.

They were installed on 8-28-2009. Can't say exactly when they failed, but likely within the last month or so. Stayed on there a little more than a year.

End of very scientific test result report. :)

10-10-2010, 09:37 PM
by CX: 2x2 porcelain tile stuck to the edge of a workbench in my shop (post 29) had fallen off.

Boy, thats not a very good recommendation. Wonder if grout would have held it all together? Hammy

douglas c. bakkum
12-04-2011, 10:22 AM
My wife and I worked so hard to put up a glass tile (1" x 1" tiles) back splash. I searched for an easy way and when "This Old House" did a back splash using a similar product, I went on the internet and found that it was sold at Home Depot. I went to Home Depot and "simplemat" is what they sold me. Instructions said that it can be used on glass 1x1 inch tiles. We put the mat on the wall and then pressed the tile on. Our tile was held together by a plastic film on the front side. This film was very difficult to peel off and had to hold the tile in place as we pealed it off, but we pressed the tiles firmly back on. The directions say grout within 24 hours, so I mixed up the grout and started grouting. Immediately the tiles started falling off the wall, I stopped thinking the grout may have been too moist! Also, as we removed the film some rows of tiles came off, when two sheets of simplemat met, the distance between the glue strips is too far so when a row of tile lines up with that space, there is no glue to hold that row of tile. I cut small strips with glue to fill in these rows. I'm going to try a thicker mixture of grout on what's left. This was supposed to be a simple project, I was so angry, I wanted to cover the whole thing with a sheet of stainless steel.

12-04-2011, 12:22 PM
Welcome, Doug. :)

We recommend thinset mortar.

Or, for a kitchen backsplash, organic adhesive (mastic) if you like.

My opinion; worth price charged.

12-04-2011, 12:39 PM
Kelly, Im not sure but I think a lot of the failures are from sticking the Simple Mat to tape and bed mud and texture that's covering the sheetrock. Sticking to a dusty surface like bed mud is much different than sticking to clean sheetrock or even plywood. In the real world, backsplashes are sheetrocked and bedded. The samples we seen were on plywood, best I remember.

12-04-2011, 08:24 PM
Surprised to read about all these failures. I have done a number of diy tile jobs over the years, but thought what the heck I would try simple mat for our new kitchen backsplash. It is sheet mosaic tile that is smaller in height than the minimum recommended ( mine were only 1/2" high x 1.5" wide) so I was a bit nervous. Tile is a mix of glass and stone tiles. Substrate for simple mat was regular drywall painted with eggshell finish. Made sure wall was dust free and tile sheets dust free also. I applied mat to wall followed by sheets of tile pressed firmly to the mat. No issues with tiles sticking, in fact it seemed to hold extremely well. I used premixed HD grout the next day. A year and a half later and all is still good with no issues at all. I suppose it could off tomorrow but so far it was a successful experience.


03-02-2012, 08:18 PM
Getting ready to use Simple Mat tomorrow morning, now thinking maybe I should go buy regular tile adhesive. Worried, it'll all come down and my husband will be saying "I told you so".

03-02-2012, 08:42 PM
Welcome, Tina. Did he? :)

03-05-2012, 09:37 PM
So... I used Simplemat and love it o far. No problems at all (well not from Simplemat). I think that if you fallow directions to the "T", you should have no problems. I only hate to see how walls look if ever removed though. The problem I did have was, I grouted and didn't wipe down soon enough. Some of my tiles were glass with one stone tile thru out. The grout ahered to stone and it was horrible to remove. Some still have small amounts on it. Also, do you have any recommendations on how to seal the tile/grout?

03-06-2012, 05:11 AM
Tina, there are dozens of tile and grout sealers on the market, most will do a good job sealing the grout to reduce the dirt build-up. Stone tiles are a little harder to select a sealer for because you may want to enhance the color (wet look) or not. The best approach is to select a locally available product or two, buy a small bottle, then create a test board with scraps of your own tile and grout. Apply the sealer as directed, then set the test board in the same light as your project to see which you like best.

02-14-2013, 05:12 PM
Sorry to bring up a really old thread but I am soon going to be doing my kitchen backsplash and am currently researching how reliable SimpleMat is because it does seem like a great invention.

After reading this whole thread and the negative reviews Im getting pretty weary about giving this a try, but one thing did keep popping up in my head and I was wondering if anyone had tried possibly back buttering these tiles with an additional adhesive to make sure there are no issues? Obviously not mortar but maybe something else that could be put on the back of tiles, such as a similar adhesive that is supplied with the mat to just kind of supplement what is already there.

02-14-2013, 05:21 PM
Greg, just use mastic and skip the simple mat.


02-14-2013, 11:22 PM
Greg. It's been 2.5 years since I did my backsplash with simplemat and I have had no issues with it at all. Adding a different adhesive to it does not seem like a good idea. As I recall the simplemat adhesive was really strong (and.. I used a smaller than recommended tile). Just make sure your drywall and tiles are not dusty or dirty.


02-15-2013, 05:27 AM
I think like most new products many of them do work. I think many old timers are quick to dismiss them at times. Its human nature when your craft feels threatened sometimes. But like all products I think products need to be understood and directions followed. New products work and fail just like any other product when mistakes are made. Skip the add water step in making thinset and no matter how great the thinset is it will fail ;)

04-24-2013, 05:37 PM
Did a bathroom back-splash today with glass/stone/metal 1" tiles using Simple Mat and Simple Grout. The other reviews I read on the internet generally indicated that those people that had problems didn't follow the directions to the T. Some of the experiences I've read on here sound troubling though. As of right now our back-splash feels solid and looks awesome. I will keep you posted :-)

11-19-2014, 11:34 AM
Sorry to bring this up again. So my simple mat didn't work, and yes I followed instructions to the T. Do I have to rip down the mat or can I just put omnigrip/mastic over top of it?

11-19-2014, 11:39 AM
Welcome, Amanda. :)

What is your application?

01-17-2016, 07:38 AM
I have used this product for at least 15 projects i have worked on. Never had an issue. the key is to make sure the surface you are attaching it to is clean and I mean clean and flat, also remember that you need to grout within 24 hours as that sets the tile even more secure. Hope this helps

01-17-2016, 09:47 AM
Welcome, tinky22. Please change that permanent signature line to a first name for us to use. :)

I'm actually surprised that product is still on the market.

10-02-2016, 07:26 PM
Yesterday, we went to Home Depot to purchase supplies to tile our kitchen walls. On the advice of the sales associate, we put back the trowels and thin set and purchased the Simple Mat product. The product proved promising over the 10 hours it took to complete the project. However, before we even applied the grout (the company recommends waiting 24 hours), we walked into the kitchen. To find that a couple of pieces (12 x 12 mats of 1x1 tile) had fallen off of the wall and several other areas were buckling. I am completely devastated as we worked very hard and diligently on this project. Now we have to redo the entire thing. My husband will be returning to Home Depot for a refund on the product and we will now go with my original intention of using mortar. This product sticks very well to the wall.......not so much to the mesh backing on the tile. A total disaster!!!!

10-02-2016, 07:49 PM
Welcome, Marsena. :)

I believe if you'll read the installation instructions again you'll find that the manufacturer recommends grouting within 24 hours rather than waiting 24 hours. They need the grout to hold the installation together, they found.

As I said in the post just above yours, I'm really surprised that stuff is still on the market.