Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to play with a new tiling product called Bondera TileMatSet. Simply put, Bondera is pressure sensitive sticky back on a roll that eliminates the need for mastic and thin set when tiling walls, countertops or splash-backs. It's billed as VOC free, mess free, and it allows immediate grouting after tile installation. Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too. I mean, it's sticky back tape for goodness sake! How's that going to hold heavy tile??
Okay, so let's take these too-good-to be trues one by one. First, Bondera has virtually no smell. I have super-sniffer and I had to get my schnoz right on top of it before I smelled anything even slightly 'funny'.*
My 5" sample of Bondera:
As for it being mess-free, that certainly seems to be 100% true. Anyone who's ever worked with mastic or thin set knows what a state your work area, tools and clothes can be in after a job. Of course, there's no mixing Bondera either, which means there's no worrying about consistency like there is with thin set.
Peeling off the liner:
Now the million dollar question: Is it really sticky enough to hold tile? The short answer is, yes. Now, my trial kit contained 1" mosaic tiles, which are as light as it gets, tile-wise. However, in my experience with tiling, I'm thinking the larger surface/glueing area of larger tiles would easily make up for the added weight.
And speaking of sticky enough...Bondera says you can remove tiles if you need to make adjustments. Although, they warn that the longer the tiles are in place the harder they are to move. That, again, seems to be 100% true, as I lifted my little mosaics just to see how easy it was. It wasn't. I had to get a putty knife to free the little buggers from the Bondera.
Where I peeled off the mosaic:
So now that we know, in fact, that Bondera TileMatSet is indeed NOT too good to be true, there are a few things it can't be used for and that's floors and ceilings. No word on why, but I'm guessing tiles hanging from above might prove to to be too much weight versus gravity. As for floors (also a guess here), the product has 'give' which may not solidify completely. If it doesn't, that means the grout in your floor would most likely crack after awhile.
All the tiles in place (some chipped in shipping):
Other things you need to know: Bondera's liners (the 'peel off' part) is recyclable; the product repels water and is mold resistant so it's great in 'wet' areas; it acts not only as an adhesive but as a moisture barrier too. Also, you don't need any special tools (notched trowels) to lay Bondera, and you can install it on just about any clean, flat and stable sub-straight--including Formica.
Ultimately, Bondera TileMatSet is a very intriguing product that all DIYer's should know about. It's seems like a great alternative to the traditional messy, smelly and time-consuming tiling adhesives.
For more information and FAQ's, head on over to Bondera's user-friendly website, and to get a look at Bondera in person, head to your local Lowes website to check for availability.
*After a few minutes, there was no discernible smell whatsoever.