Back Buttering is the adhesive tile process used before placing the tile. It is an effective way to promote the transfer of the thin-set adhesive to the back of the tile.

Introduction 

While building a home, there are lots of things to do. From designing a building structure to giving it a beautiful look, one needs to consider many things. And tiles enhance the beauty of any building and offer a timeless look, but you may have questions about whether tiles are strong enough to last longer or what process can make tiles last for over 2-3 decades. 

Tiles can last for decades if they are high-quality and installed correctly. The installation process, such as measurement, coverage, back buttering, grouting, and right installing, can increase the life of tiles. Back buttering is an essential process of spreading bonding material on the back of the tile. Read this post till the end to get detailed information about the process of back buttering tile. 

What Does Back Buttering Mean? 

The process of back buttering refers to the spreading of a bonding material such as mortar or thin-set, which are the same, on the tile before installing them into the wall or floor. Installers mostly soak or wet the tile before laying or back buttering. They use a trowel to uniformly apply the bonding material to the tile to ensure correct adhesive coverage. 

It is essential and recommended by professionals to back butter, especially natural stone, porcelain, backsplash, and large format tile. From porcelain tile to stone tile, back butter offers the strongest support and makes it easier to acquire advanced thin-set coverage. 

Back buttering large format tile offers a solid bed by filling the voids and hollow areas present on the back of the tile. When the tile is hollow from the backside, it will not stay longer. However, back buttering also reduces the possibility of errors and movement of tile. Thus, every edge and corner of the tile must be entirely supported, and back buttering is vital in all areas.     

Back Buttering Vs Back Troweling

As we discussed above, the term back buttering means to spread a scratch coat of adhesive on the backside of the tile to stick to the separated thin-set on the substrate. However, this term is replaced with a new term, back-troweling tile. There are two types of back troweling- Flat back-troweling and notched back-troweling. 

In flat back-troweling, the installer uses a trowel’s flat side to spread thin-set efficiently to the backside of stone, porcelain, glass, and ceramic tile. In notched back troweling techniques, installers do this after completing the flat back-troweling. The installer applies dry-set mortar to the backside of the tile and evenly combs with the other side of the trowel in one direction before placing the tile on the wall of the floor.  

Is Back Buttering Tile Necessary? 

As already mentioned, back buttering tile is necessary for large format tile, stone tile, and porcelain tile. So here are some benefits of back buttering. 

Increase The Strength Of Bond 

Back butter porcelain tile or any other tile offers full coverage to ensure the tile is completely stuck to the substrate. It enhances the bond strength of the mortar or thin-set to the backside of the tile by buttering the thin-set or mortar into the tile surface. 

Eliminate Lippage

When one side of the tile is higher than the other, this situation is called lippage. It helps to eliminate lippage and offers an even surface appearance.

Fills Voids 

When the installer evenly spreads the mortar, it creates a flat place and fills voids. 

Easy To Install 

While installing a tile, many areas are hard to reach; thus, spreading and combing the thin-set on the tile makes installing easy and eliminates the need for trowels. 

Promote Transfer

Back butter wall tile or floor tile promotes the transfer of the adhesive to the back of the tile. 

What Are Some Essential Points Associated With Back Tile Buttering? 

Here are some vital points to remember about back butter and related materials:

  • Experts recommend back butter tiles such as, glass tile, natural stone, large format tile, backsplash tile, or any tile set on the floor or exterior surfaces. 
  • It is a fact that grout is stronger than mortar. Still, it is essential to know that laying tile should be done the day before grouting. You have to wait to dry the mortar for grouting after the tile’s back buttering and lying process. 
  • One should remember that the thickness of mortar under the tile should be 3/16-inch. Although, some tile installations may require a thicker mortar layer.
  • The installer wets or soaks the tile before installing because dry tiles have lots of air, and when they soak tile, they replace air with water.  
  • Back butter fills the voids and offers additional strength to the weaker areas. 

 

Conclusion 

As the tiles and natural stones look gorgeous and enhance the home’s look, correctly installing them is also very crucial. Back buttering is a time-consuming task yet worthwhile. You will love the result after back buttering wall tile or floor tile; it also enhances the bond, is effective to install, and most importantly, increases the life of tiles. So, you must do back buttering before laying tile to get longer benefits.