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Unread 05-24-2017, 12:23 PM   #1
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will thinset mortar adhere dry silicone

Am wondering if thin set mortar will adhere to dry silicone? Am doing an outdoor cement wall in discontinued tiles I have scrounged which were glued to cardboard. Have removed all the white glue and paper, but some still have dried silicone on them. Do I need to remove it? Thanks.
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Unread 05-24-2017, 01:47 PM   #2
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First, some background on how cement and thinset actually bonds to things:
- except in say a membrane with fleece, when cement cures, it literally grows microscopically sized crystalline spikes. These spikes interlock, and grow into imperfections in the surfaces that needs to be joined. They don't technically stick like a glue, but more like the action of say Velcro, hook and loop fasteners. When the surface is flexible, and potentially not bonded really well to the tile, that flex can cause the spikes to crush or fracture during any small movement, and that assumes that the silicone stays bonded (it IS an adhesive) to the surface. When you use a modified thinset, while some of the bond can come from that being an adhesive, the modifier acts more like a protection sleeve on the fragile cement, allowing a slight amount of flex while also increasing the bond strength (well, usually...there are differences in quality...a really cheap modified may not end up stronger than a premium unmodified).

So, it would be best to remove all of the silicone on the back of the tiles. This may require grinding it off, as any attempt to dissolve it, would tend to drive more bits into the pores and imperfections of the surface, and create even more of a bond breaker.

My opinion...I've never run any tests, and I wouldn't be surprised if the manufacturers haven't either. Interested to see what others may have to say on the subject.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.

Last edited by jadnashua; 05-24-2017 at 02:02 PM. Reason: fixed spelling!
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Unread 05-24-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
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Linda, I'm assuming you're talking about silicone caulk? Nothing sticks well to silicone, it doesn't even really bond well to itself.

That being said, best practice would be too remove all from tiles. Abrading is the only good way to insure this. Diamond cup wheel or perhaps a sanding disc in a grinder.

And to be clear, silicon and silicone are not the same thing. Silicon is an element (as in Silicon Valley) and silicone is a manufactured product. Eh, Jim

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Last edited by Carbidetooth; 05-24-2017 at 01:54 PM.
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Unread 05-24-2017, 06:31 PM   #4
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Thanks....from your comments I am assuming if most of the tile is silicone free it will adhere with the thin set to concrte???
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