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HomeContentThe power of Silane Modified Adhesives for extreme tile installations

The power of Silane Modified Adhesives for extreme tile installations

Silane modified adhesives (SMAs) are disrupting tile installation, providing significant  advantages for some of the most extreme applications. Originating from silane modified polymer first invented in Japan in the late ’70s to help buildings withstand earthquakes, this remarkable technology has only recently been formulated to improve tile installation. One-component SMAs offer labor-saving convenience, exceptional bond strength for diverse substrates and conditions, moisture-cure, safety, sustainability and flexibility once cured. These benefits make SMAs incredibly versatile for extreme tile challenges such as gauged porcelain tile panels (GPTP), pools/spas or showers, mosaic installations, and glass tile.

SMAs are incredibly versatile for extreme tile challenges like the exterior of this home in Washington state.
Applied SMAs weigh 80% less than mortar and are great for large tiles and gauged porcelain panels.

SMAs simplify the installation of GPTP on walls, delivering game-changing labor efficiencies. With SMAs, GPTP installation time is cut in half and crew requirements reduced by two-thirds compared to using traditional mortar! These savings result from SMAs being ready-to-use, eliminating the need for water and mixing time. SMA application is only required on one side, usually the panel, removing the need to trowel product on the wall. Applied SMAs weighs 80% less than mortar, which greatly lowers labor demands for staging, handling and placing GPTP. Offering exceptional grab for panel placement, these adhesives also allow 30 or 45 minutes for repositioning, depending on the product chosen. Up to 60 minutes of adhesive open time helps maximize efficient installations. When stored properly, SMAs can be reused for months and contribute to sustainability by being solvent-free, isocyanate-free and containing no VOCs. As SMA formulations vary, always follow the manufacturer instructions.

TEC® TotalFlex XMS modified silane 60 minutes open time.

Currently only one SMA, TEC® TotalFlex XMS Tile Adhesive, can be used to install GPTP or other tile types on both interior and exterior walls. The TEC XMS tile adhesive exceeds ISO 14448 for exterior wall tiles and is covered by a system warranty for outdoor use. TEC’s proprietary formulation delivers bond performance that withstands extreme temperatures and water exposure making it suitable for GPTP facades up to three stories, tile building facades up to 4 lbs/sq ft, tiles submerged in pools/spas, mosaic installations, glass tiles, and shower walls.

SMAs used on exterior commercial building in Owensboro, KY.

TEC TotalFlex XMS adhesive offers SMA labor efficiencies for pools/spas and shower walls. There’s no mixing, and the product’s exceptional bond makes it adhere to many diverse substrates without priming, including stainless steel. Of course, proper surface preparation remains the most critical step to ensuring pool/spa/shower tile installation success. One of the first steps is applying a product such as TEC® HydraFlex™ Waterproofing Crack Isolation Membrane, a ready-to-use, flexible, mold and mildew resistant waterproofing and crack isolation membrane. It forms a smooth, monolithic, watertight surface ready for tile installation with the SMA in just 1 to 3 hours and is the only product that can bridge control joints. Once the pool/spa/shower tile is installed with the SMA, the tiles will be ready for grouting in just 12 hours. TEC® Power Grout® has a unique formulation that provides exceptional stain- and crack-resistance in the high-traffic and/or wet environments of pools/spas/showers. It never needs sealing and sets in just four hours.

TEC® Power Grout® has a unique formulation that provides exceptional stain- and crack-resistance in the high-traffic and/or wet environments of pools/spas/showers.

SMAs are proving to be game-changing for some of the most challenging tile installations, by providing significant labor and time savings, and exceptional bond performance. While modified silane has long been a trusted technology in other sealant/adhesive categories, it is a relative newcomer for tile installation. Given the numerous advantages of SMAs to install challenging tile applications, the usage and product options are expected to grow for this versatile technology.

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