In this article, we will be looking at whether you can use grab adhesives, such as no more nails on tiles. This will cover whether it gives a decent fixing. As well as are any situations where it could work better than a standard tile adhesive.
Grab adhesives, such as no more nails, are very good for sticking a wide variety of materials. Due to this, you would definitely be able to stick tiles to most surfaces with this type of adhesive. However, it is rarely going to be the best option, as there are tile adhesives made for most situations.
Types of tile adhesives and their uses
The normal way to fix tiles is with a tile adhesive. This is a material specifically designed to fix tiles to a variety of different sub surfaces. You will find different varieties of tile adhesives for different applications.
Tile adhesive can be purchased ready mixed, or a powder that needs mixing prior to use.
They will also have various different polymers added, to give the adhesive different characteristics. These include:
- Acrylic – This gives the adhesive better moisture resistance. As a result, it helps to protect the sub surface, as well as adhesion in more humid damp areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- Epoxy – This creates a harder more durable adhesive and is often used in commercial applications, such as working kitchens, public bathrooms, swimming pools, and factories. It is also good in areas with high temperatures and areas where strong cleaning chemicals are often used.
- Latex – This adds more flexibility to the adhesive. Due to this, it is more suitable in areas where movement is expected. For example, plywood sub floors where you expect some contraction and expansion.
So as you can see, there is likely to be a tile adhesive for most situations.
When could you use no more nails to fix tiles (personal anecdote)
In the vast majority of cases, you will be able to find a tile adhesive that is suitable for the substrate you are fixing too. However, there are situations where you may decide to use something like no more nails.
A good example where I have used this technique, is a small, boxed area that filled a gap at the bottom of a bath. The rest of the bathroom was tiled with a standard tile adhesive. This has all been in perfect condition for the last 6 years.
The gap was filled with a small stud frame. This this was then covered with a piece of Plywood, along the top and down the side. It was then tiled to finish flush with the edge of the bath.
Unfortunately, a few months after fitting, the side tiles came away. They were re-fixed with a different tile adhesive, but unfortunately this also failed after around 6 months.
Due to these two failures, I opted for a grab adhesive as an alternative. These tiles have now been fixed for the next 5+ years with no problem.
I should point out; I am not a tiler. There are probably professional tilers with the knowledge and experience to make this work with normal tile adhesive.
However, it was originally fitted by a professional tiler, and it failed. Secondly, I had attempted again with a different tile adhesive, and whilst this lasted a little longer it still failed again. Plus, I really didn’t want to hire someone to come and fit two small pieces of tile.
The reason I chose to use no more nails, was after a conversation with a friend. His cousin worked for a kitchen showroom, and he claimed they always used grab adhesives to fit tiles in display kitchens.
The reason for this, was the background was usually a sheet material such as MDF, or plywood. Using a grab adhesive ensured that the tiles never came away from the surface.
Usually I would not fix tiles with a grab adhesive. However, in the example above, I had some no more nails to hand. This was left over from another job, and there were only two tiles that needed fitting. I had also attempted to repair them once before with a tile adhesive, following the first time they came away from the surface.
I think in the vast majority of cases, a tile adhesive will be your best option. However, in a small percentage of cases, for very small jobs (1 or 2 tiles) and minor repairs where tile adhesive is struggling, I don’t see any problem with using a grab adhesive.
With that said, I would definitely not use it for any larger jobs, and I would certainly not use it on floor tiles.
If you do have a bigger job, where you are unsure of the correct tile adhesive to use. Your best option is to talk with a professional tiler. They will be able to advise on the best adhesive for the job.