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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So what's the difference between mortor and thinset? I would like to set some thin shale on a vertical surface outdoors. I'm thinking that I should set them with thinset and then grout with mortor. Sound like a plan or no?
Could I grout my lines in with thinset? If not, why not? My plan is to set these on hardibacker and then Redgard. Any flaws?
 

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So what's the difference between mortor and thinset? I would like to set some thin shale on a vertical surface outdoors. I'm thinking that I should set them with thinset and then grout with mortor. Sound like a plan or no?
Could I grout my lines in with thinset? If not, why not? My plan is to set these on hardibacker and then Redgard. Any flaws?
Don't quit your day job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't plan on quitting my day job, I've set miles of tile on various kitchen and bath remodels, and don't pretend to know everything such as yourself. I've never worked with mortor and rock or brick. The job descibed is for me personally. If you know the difference, I'd like to hear it, if not keep the comments to yourself.
 

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Mortar vs Thinset

What is the difference between mortar and thin set? Good question. Depends on who you are talking to and in what part of the country.
Technically thin set is a type of mortar.
So all thin set is mortar, but not all mortar is thin set.

Thin set uses finer sand as the aggregate. Designed to use in relatively thin layers (thin mortar beds) hence the name thin set.
Brick mortar is a coarser type of mortar. It has larger particles of sand and even small pebbles. Best for mortaring stone or brick walls and walkways and thick mortar beds.

Of the mortars called "thin sets" there are the cement based dry powders (true thin set) , premixed thin set tile mortar (actually a mastic with sand ) and epoxy thin set.

Thin Set manufacturers have various methods for mixing and installing their thin set mortars and those instructions should be followed.

So which to use? Thin set for setting stone in thin mortar beds (3/16" or less) and traditional mortar for thicker beds.

You can adhere the shale stone to your wall with an exterior thin set IF the wall and stone texture and variation is such that you can keep a thin mortar bed. In regards to the joints, if you joints are wider than 3/16" then thin set may crack if used in the joints.
Again, follow the manufacturers instructions.

http://www.stoneply.com/

http://www.strombergarchitectural.com/
 

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Thinset is mortar designed for a thin bed. Maybe 3/16's. It doesn't have any body to it and loses strength as it is built up. It will also tend to shrink. Any thicker and you need a sanded mortar. Spec-mix works well. Mix it with the thinset. Use less for a thinner bed, more for a fatter one.
Hardibacker would probably be fine depending on the weight of the slate.
You can use thinset for thin joints. If you use it for your lines it will plug your nose.
Spec Mix will work for larger joints.
If you're not planning on plastering over the whole mess I would suggest buying sanded grout.
 
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