Do you back butter your tile?
Back buttering tile is a highly opinionated and widely-debated topic among tile installers. Although it's recommended for natural stone tile, it's not always necessary or required to get adequate mortar coverage on ceramic and porcelain tile. So, how important is it?
To begin this discussion, we first need to define several words. According to the NTCA Reference Manual:
- Back butter is defined as, “the spreading of a bond coat to the backs of ceramic tile just before the tile is placed.”
- Bond is defined as, “The adherence of one material to another.”
- Coverage is defined as, “A measure of the amount of material required to cover a given surface.”
According to the CTEF Certified Tile Installer Manual, Transfer is defined as, “The required adhesion of a bonding material to the tile.”