President, Thrive Design Group
Arlington Heights, Ill.
Mapei changed the industry when it released Ultraflex for large-format tile. Let me explain.
About a decade ago, clients started asking for large-format tile, and manufacturers, particularly Italian ones, started shipping 12 by 24 inch (and larger) tiles to the U.S. They didn’t come with instructions because, well, why would they? It was just tile, and U.S. contractors treated it as such. The problem was, U.S. contractors didn’t realize you need a different mortar for these heavier tiles. What happened was you ended up with a bunch of bad tile jobs. K&B guys would use their standard thinset to place the tile and, because of the weight, the mortar would blow out and they’d end up with lips between the tiles and a kind of cupping at the center, where the mortar had been pushed too thin.
Mapei’s rollout of Ultraflex was a game changer for us. It’s a specialty mortar for large-format tile that we now use almost every day. It’s made with a high content of dry polymer that enables it to handle the extra weight of large tiles. And the cool thing is, you can set a bed up to ¾-inch thick, which gives you enough mortar to later use a strap system to level the floor to absolutely perfect.