Will Mortar Stick To Wood

If you’re thinking about bonding tiles to wood or wondering whether or not you can stick wood tiles on your walls, then you’re probably also asking yourself “will mortar stick to wood?”.

The answer is yes, but the mortar has to be suitable for wood. Generally, sticking tile to wood with mortar is only possible when you mix a flexible thin-set with a latex additive. This is because wood swells and shrinks in response to frosts and humidity, which can lead to breaking the bonds between the thin-set and the regular tile.

will mortar stick to wood

In today’s article, we’re discussing the sticking procedure, the appropriate adhesive to use, as well as answering several more common questions on the topic.

Can You Use Thinset on Wood

Regardless of the type of plywood you’re working with, you should use thin-set mortar that’s formulated specifically for use on wood. Most thin-set options on the market are meant to be used only on fiberboard or concrete.

Can You Use Mortar on Plywood Directly

If you’re installing tiles on a mortar bed of 1.5-inch thickness, then you’re not laying your tiles on plywood directly. While you can set tiles directly on plywood, you shouldn’t do it.

Even if you decide to go for it anyway, you’d need two layers of plywood. This method is common only in dry areas and has many restrictions.

Can You Use Tile Mortar on Plywood

SimpleSet Pre-Mixed Thin-Set Mortar 1 QT

The first wet base layer to trowel on plywood to make the tile stick is a thin-set. But to form a strong bond between the surfaces, more latex content is required.

For this purpose, you should mix a latex additive with your high-quality unmodified thin-set.

Can You Install Tile to Wood Directly

To apply ceramic tile directly on wood, the surface of the wood has to have sound integrity to support the tile’s weight. If you’re not sure about the structure of the wood, stay on the safe side by installing a backer board on top of the previous surface then apply the tile over them both.

Does Mortar Adhere to Painted or Sealed Wood

Mortar is used to stick stone veneer or stone to itself or over another surface. When dry, mortar mix gets rock-hard and can even crumble with time.

When you apply mortar mix directly on sealer or paint, the formed bond is between the mortar and the sealer or paint, not the surface beneath.

Can You Use Mortar to Bond Brick to Wood

SimpleSet Pre-Mixed Thin-Set Mortar 1 QT

Yes, you can, and here’s how:

  1. Apply your thin-set mortar on the backer board.
  2. Lay floor bricks over the wood.

Using a thin-set mortar when setting up floor bricks on top of wooden subfloors is essential to accommodate for the flex of the floors as mortar features a latex additive to support extra flexibility.

Can Concrete Adhere to wood

Oil, whatever its type, can prevent concrete from adhering to the wood. Here’s what you should do:

  • Spray a heavy layer of oil over the surfaces that’ll come in contact with the wet concrete.
  • Let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes so that the oil penetrates the wood.
  • Just before you pour the concrete, apply another heavy layer of the spray oil.

What is the Difference Between Thinset and Mortar

Thinset refers to a type of adhesive cement used to install wall and floor tiles over concrete. Sometimes, the words “thin-set” and “mortar” are interchangeable because thin-set is modified mortar designed particularly for tile.

What Does Mortar Adhere to

Mortar sticks to concrete, brick, and similar tough, mineral-based materials. It joins different surfaces and cements them in place.

How to Install Tile on Wood – A Step-by-Step Guide

If you want to install tiles on wood, this section will provide you with a brief guide that walks you through every step of the way. Here’s how you can get the job done like a professional:

Step 1: Gather The Proper Tools for the Job

Before starting your project, you’ll need to gather all the necessary tools for the job. This is because thinset mix tends to dry up quickly. 

Not only that, but you’ll also save yourself the hassle of going back and forth looking for the tools and materials as well as any unexpected surprises, such as missing tools (we’ve all been there!)

Here’s a quick list of all the tools and materials you’ll need for the job:

  • A medium to large-sized bucked
  • Latex thinset mortar (a bag of thinset typically covers about 40 sq ft, so do the maths)
  • Some water 
  • A trowel to mix and apply

Step 2: Prepare the Thinset Mortar Mix

With all the necessary items ready, it’s time to prepare your thinset mix. To do that, follow the instructions that are provided on the thinset’s label to get accurate amounts of water to thinset parts.

Try to mix small patches to avoid wasting a lot of mortar even if you have a large surface to cover because it dries up very quickly.

As a rule of thumb, always start with less water than recommended and use the trowel to mix in small increments of water to avoid making the thinset too runny.

Step 3: Apply the Mix to the Wood

After preparing the mix, take a small amount on the trowel and apply them so that they’re as even as possible.

Leave the thinset to dry up so that it can support the tile, which should take anywhere between 15 to 25 minutes.

Step 4: Install The Tiles 

Before the thinset dries up completely, stick the tiles over the thin layer that you’ve applied earlier, and press it so that it pushes out the excess and becomes even with the rest of the tiles. Leave the thinset mix to dry completely, which may take up to a full day.


There you have it, a detailed answer to the question “will mortar stick to wood?”. Here’s the bottom line:

The answer is yes, as long as the mortar is suitable for wood. Generally, sticking tile to wood with mortar is only possible when you mix a flexible thin-set with a latex additive.

This is because wood swells and shrinks in response to frosts and humidity, which can lead to breaking the bonds between the thin-set and the regular tile. That being said, if you’re trying to bond wood tiles to concrete, thin-set mortar isn’t the best option

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