Test Lab: Bondera TileMatSet

Test Lab: Bondera TileMatSet

created at: 04/06/2011

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??    

created at: 04/06/2011

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:

created at: 04/06/2011

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:

created at: 04/06/2011

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:

created at: 04/06/2011

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):

created at: 04/06/2011

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.


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Anonymous on Sep 11, 2015:

used Bondera on my Kitchen back splash and shower surround ( with seam tape). 4 Years later no regrets. Each job was tiled and grouted within the day the plastic was peeled off. I have used thin set and bondera is a time saving, and job finishing marvel.

DIYher on Jan 26, 2014:

I know this can't be used on floors since we walk on floors on a daily basis, but my question is, we currently have a ceramic tiled floor. We are taking out our lower cabinets to replace. The ceramic tile was installed up to the kickplates of the cabinets. We still have plenty of tile left over that we want to finish the rest of the floor under the cabinets before we place the new base floor cabinets in place.  In this circumstance, will the Bondera product be ok to use to place the tiles on the floor then grout as usual?

Ed on Aug 01, 2013:

I did my 10x10 kitchen's wall under the cabinets two years ago. It was easy to use and have had no issue at all with separation. I used the pre-meshed 1 inch glad tiles. Still look beautiful. Would certainly use again.

Anonymous on Jan 26, 2013:

Sandy.. the Bondera Website clearly states that grout must be applied within eight hours.  Apparently waiting until the next day was an issue. also, if you used mesh-backed mosaic tile there are additional considerations addressed. Since I haven't seen the packaging, I don't know if this is clear in the instructions provided with the product.

Anonymous on Jan 26, 2013:

Sandy.. the Bonderea website clearly says you must grout within eight hours: you can't wait overnight. Also, there are some special considerations if you are using mesh-backed mosaic tiles.

Sandy Kurtzman on Jan 22, 2013:

Clearly the writer was only testing a fraction of the amount of tile I installed, on a tiny sheet of Bondera on a horizontal surface, to perform their test and render an educated opinion, so yes, under those circumstances the product performed as the writer expected.
In my case, which is a more likely scenario for a typical homeowner applying a much larger quantity to vertical surfaces, my opinion is Bondera is an epic FAIL!

On this project, I finished late and needed to do some fine, finish cutting to my glass tiles the next day before I could finish and grout.

When I got up in the morning three full sheets that were tightly stuck to the Bondera the night before, had fallen off the wall and were laying on the counter. One sheet of the glass tile had fallen from above the sink and shattered.

All of this puzzles me because of how sticky Bondera is, and the difficulty I experienced when I needed to adjust placement of tiles on it, not to mention cleaning the ultra-sticky backing off my hands and tools, yet the tile still somehow quietly separated from the Bondera, leaving the Bondera still firmly attached to the wall.

In my opinion, it's not IF Bondera is going to fail. Judging from my experience, I don't want to worry about WHEN it's going to fail - again.
I'd like to save readers the time, money, and hassle I face and suggest they pass on purchasing Bondera and go to Home Depot to get the right product. Trust me, I have the project and photos to prove it.

DIY Maven on Apr 19, 2012:

@Anon--nothing beats thinset. ;)

Anonymous on Apr 19, 2012:

Well I'm redoing my kitchen and this seems to be the product for me, but I still have a doubt or two about it, and they are as it is a new product and it is an adhesive I'm wondering if over time if it will break down and loose it's adhesion and if there might be a problem with the grout over time as there has to be a certain amount of give also I wonder if there might be shrikage of the mat itself over a period of time. I'm wondering if any studies have been done or if they just came up with the idea and said .." Okay let's market it."

DIY Maven on Apr 06, 2011:

No problem EJ!

elseajane on Apr 06, 2011:

Well I know what I'm going to be using to do my old ugly counter tops. Thanks for the test! EJ

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