Versabond Vs. Flexbond: Which Thinset Is Best For Tiling?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

When you’re laying out a nice, new layer of porcelain tile, there are certain things you expect. For example, you expect your tiling to stay put. The problem is, using the wrong bonding agent can make it hard to keep your tiles in place. That’s why there’s an ongoing debate between using Versabond versus using Flexbond thinset mortars when you’re laying out tiling. So, what’s the difference between the two? Is one better than the other?

Both Versabond and Flexbond are brands of modified thinset mortars meant to “flex” with the expansion and contraction of surfaces. The modification that makes them work is the amount of latex. Flexbond tends to be more modified, which means that it’s more flexible. Versabond, on the other hand, is cheaper and is made for areas that are more environmentally stable.

Picking out the right mortar can make or break your project, at least when it comes to how it’ll look in 10 years. This is even true if you’re installing porcelain tiling as part of your shower wall. If you’re curious about what each bonding agent can do, keep reading. This article is for you.

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Understanding The Versabond Vs. Flexbond Debate

Most people assume that Versabond and Flexbond are two individual projects when they first start shopping for mortar. This isn’t true. They’re brands. And, since they’re brands, that means that there are multiple products under each umbrella. Now that you know that, it’s important to understand how to use this article.

When we discuss the bonding agents, we’re painting with a broad brush. Some products are going to act as exceptions to the rule, just like with any other brand. So, when buying your mortar, make sure to take things on an individual basis. After all, each one will have a different result, especially if you’re going to eventually go from a tile to drywall transition.

Versabond vs. Flexbond: The Major Differences

Now that we’ve discussed the major caveat, it’s time to talk about what makes Versabond and Flexbond different from one another. Generally speaking, these are the biggest differences you’ll notice when picking out your mortar:

  • Versabond is the cheaper option between the two. This makes it the most budget-friendly option. So, if you’re in need of a modified thinset mortar that’s good but on a shoestring budget, Versabond is your pick.
  • Flexbond tends to have more acrylic latex modifier in its formulas, which makes it more flexible. This increased flexibility makes it ideal for places that have high variations in humidity and temperatures.
  • Though Versabond can provide great bonding strengths, Flexbond is considered to be the better bonding material. Most of the time, you can get a good enough bond with Versabond. This is especially true if you’re just bonding the tile to plywood or cement. If you need to bond to something more unusual, like glass, Flexbond might be a better choice.
  • Versabond is a better option if you want to add more acrylic into the mortar on your own. Many DIYers prefer to change the quantity of acrylic latex additive by hand. With Flexbond, it’s easy to overdo it. With Versabond, you have more leeway when it comes to mixing your own.

Which Thinset Mortar Brand Is Better?

Truth be told, there’s no right or wrong way to look at either brand. Flexbond is a great pick for many tiling projects and is a reliable choice when it comes to getting great results. It’s a common pick for mosaics, steel tiling, and other unique tiling picks. However, you can still get amazing results using Versabond as well.

Versabond makes reliable yet affordable thinset mortar, which is why it’s a mainstay in the home improvement world. So, if you’re worried that you won’t get a good bond or that you’ll have to redo your mortar after using Versabond, don’t be. In most cases, Versabond is a great pick.

What Matters More Than Your Mortar’s Brand

We live in a society where branding goes a long, long way. But, we gotta take off our capitalist glasses and realize that branding isn’t all that matters. Though getting a recognized brand of mortar matters, there are more important things to consider. These include:

  • Getting a product that bonds with the materials you have. Flexbond has a number of offerings for special types of tile for this reason.
  • Getting a product that works with the conditions that you have. Flexbond tends to be better for outdoor areas, simply because it’s more flexible. But, if you choose to get a product from Versabond that is geared towards outdoor projects, you will get great results too.
  • Getting products that set in the timeframe you want them to set. Both Flexbond and Versabond have products that are known for being fast-setting. This can prove to be useful if you are looking to do a project within a day.
  • Using the mortar correctly. At the end of the day, the way you use the mortar will matter a lot more than getting a fancier brand o mortar.

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Our Final Take

Both Versabond and Flexbond are great thinset mortar brands that are modified to become more flexible. If you’re doing a basic project and just want to make your tiling bond to cement or plywood, then either brand will work well—even if you get the cheapest product they make. That’s the perk of using thinset that’s as well-known for reliability as Versabond or Flexbond.

The real issue comes when you need to use thinset for more unusual projects, such as bonding glass tiling to your floor or doing some specialty tiling outdoors. If you find yourself with a unique project, it’s often better to get a specialized modified mortar brand known for being used in that capacity.

Though there is no cut-and-dry way to choose thinset, looking for a product from either brand geared towards your needs is the smartest thing to do. Like with all other shopping options, the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re lost is to ask.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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