How Long Does It Take Tile Mortar To Dry?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Laying tile is a tedious task that yields rewarding results. Everything from the measurements and tile placement to the mortar and grout dry times affects how the project will turn out. So, how long does it take tile mortar to dry?

It takes 12 hours for tile mortar to dry, but you should wait 24 hours before you walk on it or apply too much pressure. Don’t apply grout until 48 hours after the tile mortar dries. You can walk on the tile 24 hours after the mortar and grout are dry, but it won’t fully cure until after 48-72 hours.

The last thing that you want to do is apply too much pressure on tiles that aren’t dry. Follow along as we explore how long it takes for tile mortar to dry and how you can speed up the process.

Can I Walk On Tile After 12 Hours?

The curing process will be interrupted if you walk on the tile after 12 hours. Mortar strengthens as it dries and cures. You risk weakening the bond between the mortar and the tile when you apply too much pressure.

Ideally, you should wait at least 24 hours before you walk on the tile. That’s how long it takes for the mortar and tile to dry enough to support foot traffic. Otherwise, you may need to remove the damaged mortar and apply more so that the bond is strong enough.

You shouldn’t walk on tile until both the mortar and grout have cured. It typically takes between 24 and 72 hours for tile grout to fully dry. However, you can walk on the tiles 24 hours after you apply the grout unless the label says otherwise.

Can You Tile And Grout The Same Day?

You should not tile and grout on the same day. Wait up to 48 hours before you grout, so that your mortar has enough time to dry. You can grout 24 hours after laying tile, but that can be too soon in many cases, so it’s worthwhile to wait longer.

The tile can easily come loose if the mortar hasn’t had enough time to dry. The adhesive won’t be strong enough to bind the tiles together until 24-48 hours have passed. Applying grout too early can also make it take much longer to dry.

How To Speed Up Tile Adhesive Drying Time

There are several easy ways to speed up tile adhesive drying time. However, you need to exercise caution because it’s ideal to let tile adhesive dry naturally for as long as the label recommends. Let’s take a look at the best ways to speed up tile adhesive drying time.


Excessive moisture can make it take much longer for tile mortar to dry. It may be necessary to use a dehumidifier in the room after you apply the mortar. This is especially true if you lay tile in a bathroom or if your home is frequently humid. Run the dehumidifier for at least 10-12 hours to make mortar and grout dry faster.

Run Your Furnace

You can make mortar and grout dry faster if you run your furnace. Increase the temperature to 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit or higher if your tile adhesive is drying slowly. This isn’t always necessary, but it may be if you apply the mortar during the winter or in a poorly insulated home.


The easiest way to make mortar dry faster is to put fans in the room. Fans can increase the airflow and even help stop the humidity level from getting too high. Consider using an oscillating fan if you want to cover as much ground as possible.

Why Won’t My Mortar Stick?

Mortar cannot stick if it is too wet or too dry. Excess water can make the mortar too thin and runny and it will struggle to adhere to the tile. Mortar will also fail to stick if it’s too dry because it will lose its adhesive characteristics.

You always need to carefully read the packaging for your mortar mix. This will tell you how much water you need to use for it to stick well. Add a small amount of water to your mix if the recommended amount isn’t enough for your mortar to stick. Unfortunately, you will need to mix a new batch or add more dry mortar if the mixture is too runny.

How Long Do You Have To Work With Tile Mortar?

You typically have 20 minutes to work with tile mortar. The mixture will dry out if you work with it for much longer than 20 minutes. Some experienced DIYers simply add some more water to the mixture when it dries out.

However, that doesn’t always work and you will likely need to mix another batch so that you don’t make it too runny. It is helpful to mix small batches of mortar at a time if you have to cover a large area. That way, you don’t have to worry about working too quickly before the mixture dries out.

Some brands of mortar and alternative tile adhesives offer a longer working time. For example, some mixes let you work for up to 60 minutes. It’s important to refer to the label and pay attention to the mortar’s consistency while working.

What Happens If Mortar Gets Wet Before It Cures?

Mortar is unlikely to stick if it gets wet before it cures. It ultimately depends on how wet the mortar gets and how far along the curing process is. The worst-case scenario is that you will need to remove the mortar and reapply a fresh layer.

You can remove the mortar with a trowel if it isn’t already too solid. However, you will need to use a chisel if the mortar is hard but won’t continue curing. Carefully chisel the mortar and reapply another layer of grout. Make sure that the floor and tiles are dry before you restart the process.

How Do You Know When Mortar Is Dry?

You can tell that mortar is dry if you listen to the sound it makes when you tap it. The mortar is dry if it sounds as solid as a door or countertop when you tap it. It needs more time if it produces a hollow sound when you tap it, and you’ll need to leave it alone.

Leave your tiles alone if you hear a light echo when you tap them. Either turn up the heat in your home or run a fan in that room. Mortar only cures to 60% of its potential within its first 24 hours.

The mortar will appear dry and strong by this time, but it takes another day or two before it is fully cured. Even still, tiles and mortar can withstand light foot traffic after 24 hours as long as you aren’t too aggressive. Don’t place furniture on tile that isn’t fully cured for 24-48 hours, even if it feels dry or else you may weaken it.

Summing It Up

You can expect tile mortar to take between 12 and 24 hours to dry. It is typically dry within 12 hours, but the mortar isn’t strong enough to walk on until after 24 hours. You cannot tile and grout on the same day and you should wait up to 48 hours after applying the mortar.

Try to reduce the humidity in your home with a dehumidifier so that the mortar dries quickly. Set your furnace to 70 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer to increase the drying time. Always refer to the label to see how long you can expect the mortar to dry because it can vary between brands. Avoid putting furniture on tiles until both the mortar and grout have had enough time to dry.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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