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How to Mix Thinset in Small Batches: 4-Step Guide + Tips

Are you a lifetime DIYer wanting to do a small work with thinset? Well, mixing small batches of thinset could save money and your time. When thinset mixes are reduced to a manageable size, they could be easily handled by everyone.

How to mix thinset in small batches?

First, you’ve to figure out the amount of thinset you need. Then pour water in the bucket according to the calculation. You can find the water and thinset ratio in the label. Measure and add thinset in the water. Mix it and then wait for ten minutes. After that, mix it again for two minutes. 

Still worrying about the whole process? Relax! I have prepared a step-by-step procedure just for you. So, let’s get into the topic!

A Little Brief of Thinset?

Thinset is a cement-based adhesive mortar that also contains an alkyl cellulose derivative and fine sand. Latex and polymers are used in several thin-sets to improve adhesion properties.

It’s not pourable in the same way as grout is, and it contains less water than cement. Thinset is frequently used for mosaic projects that require a thin coating of mortar. But, sometimes thinset won’t stick to wood

When Preparing Thinset, Does the Weather Have an Impact?

When you mix thinset, the weather is a very significant factor. Thinset should not be worn outdoors if the temperature is less than 40 degrees F. You should also pay attention if the temp is higher than 90 degrees F. 

Thinset should not be mixed in the sun since it will cause the product to harden too soon.   Make a new batch if the mixture gets hard instantly.

Thinset is ideal for tiles that will be covered in a thin layer of mortar. Usually it is no less than 3/16 inch thick. Sometimes you’d have to select the thinset according to the porcelain tiles.

Step-by-Step Process of Mixing Thinset in Small Batches

Making small amounts of thinset is easy, convenient, and beneficial to any DIY enthusiast. When mixing the thin set, it’s critical to get the proportions right. Because that is what will keep your tile in place and provide it with the durability it requires.

First, I’ll start with the tools you’ll need and then move on to the mixing instructions. So let’s check them out.

Necessary Tools 

  • 5-Gallon buckets 
  • Measuring containers or digital scale
  • Mixing Paddle
  • Cordless Power Drill 
  • Dust Respirator or a mask
  • Gloves
  • Safety Glasses

You could use the digital scale to measure the thinset powder mixture and the ratio of water. Another option is using the measuring containers. There are a few types of measuring containers you could use.

I have listed out the best and the most durable measuring containers for your project:

Product 1
Product 2

These containers will be easier to clean. And you won’t have to buy these frequently as they are long lasting. Now, let’s get to the main segment!

Step 1: Fix The Proportion of Water

Water should always be added in the bucket before the thinset. Each manufacturer of thinset is unique, so read the label carefully. Normally it is written on the label how much water you’d need. 

If it is a 50 pound thinset mixture, then you won’t have to use the whole bag. Otherwise, you may end up with lots of unused mixture for a small project. If you have a 50 pound bag, you’ll need 5 to 6 quarts of water.  Therefore, if you intend to use ten pounds of thinset, use only one gallon of water. 

Step 2: Add the Thinset Powder 

After adding water in the bucket, pour the thin-set powder. Continue mixing with a mixing paddle or a power drill until the appropriate consistency is achieved.

You could use digital scale or measuring containers to get the correct amount of powder. But this is optional. You could continue pouring until you get the right consistency. Keep on mixing for a specified time. This will be mentioned in the thinset packaging. 

Step 3: Slake and Test the Thinset

Immediately after mixing, you can relax for ten minutes.Don’t touch the mixture or add water during this time.  Water and thinset will combine during this timeframe, resulting in the right texture and thickness of the finished product. 

Step 4: Mix It Again 

It’s time for you to remix the thinset. Allow 2 to 3 minutes to combine this, but not more than 5. When the thinset is mixed too long, it will not cure.

Now that your thinset mix is prepared! it is ready to be applied to tile or whatever else you require. But you should know a few things. 

Additional Tips To Follow

You know the mixing instructions now. So, you’ll be able to use thinset to tile the floor drain and its surroundings. But you should follow these few tips to make the thinset mixture more durable. 

Let’s move on to these tips and tricks! 

  • Use cold water to mix the thinset. This will make the thinset more consistent. Never use hot water as it will make the thinset dry up easily. 
  • Don’t use a trowel to mix the thinset. Rather use a mixing paddle or a long spatula. Use gloves so that it won’t get on your hand.
  • If you feel the thinset is too thin, then mix another batch. Don’t use the watery mixture. 
  • Water should always be added to the bucket first, followed by the thinset mixing powder.
  • Don’t flush the excess thinset mixture down the train. It will clog your pipes and could even settle and harden there. 
  • If you have extra thinset. Let it set and harden completely in a bucket. Then using a sledge hammer, break up the thinset.  After that, dispose of them in a plastic bag. 

Remember, if you have wooden floors and using thinset you need to be careful. If the moisture content is upto 16 to 20 percent then the wood will be damaged. 


Question: Is it necessary to wait for the thinset to dry before stepping on the mosaic?

Answer: It’s best to wait for 2 days before stepping on or exerting pressure on the tile. Manufacturers usually say that it should take 16 to 50 hours for things to dry out. Longer is preferable here.

Question: What should I do if there is too much water in the thinset?

Answer: If the thinset is too wet, then add a little bit of lime and cement. Do this until you think the water consistency is right. If you see the streaks have disappeared then it is okay. Mix it well so that it doesn’t remain lumpy. 

Question: Should I mix thinset using a cordless drill? 

Answer: For a small batch, you can use cordless drill. But, if you have to mix a lot we’d recommend using a mixing paddle. You can mix half a bucket using the cordless drill. Otherwise the drywall mud will stick to the drill.


Now you know how to mix thinset in small batches. So, I think you won’t have further problems in this regard. 

Check to see if you have an even ground where you’re placing the thinset. If the surface is not level, it can be difficult to place tiles uniformly. You’d have to redo the thinset layer. So be aware!

That’s all for today. Now, go forth and conquer!