I am tiling my kitchen floor and unfortunately it is the major walkway in and out of the house. Is there anything that I can do to reduce the drying and waiting times for the thinset (both for taping and tile application) and grout?

I was wondering if I applied a little bit of heat via a hair dryer after I tape the backer board seams if that would help. I live in Michigan and the daytime temps are in the 20s right now so I know the temp and humidity will affect things negatively.

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    Use an addmix not heat a fan blowing across the area will also help but curing it with heat can lead to disaster. An add mix with calcium will speed the cure time. – Ed Beal Nov 8 '17 at 19:37
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    Don't use fans. Mortar needs water to cure, and by removing the water you're left with a weaker bond. It's not like a sidewalk where it gets rain later and continues to cure. – isherwood Nov 8 '17 at 19:46
  • @EdBeal , is this the stuff you are referring to? homedepot.com/p/… – Steve Salowitz Nov 8 '17 at 19:53
  • "Admix" is a general term for any additional product used in the mix. That one doesn't specifically mention cure time. – isherwood Nov 8 '17 at 19:58
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    When tiling "the major walkway in and out of the house" it is WELL worthwhile to re-route all traffic to whatever other routes in and out of the house exist, or park the family at a motel for a few days. If you do the job right and get a good cure, it will last. If you rush the job and walk on it too soon, it will fail, and need to be re-done, and ONE of the times you re-do it you'll finally give it enough time, and then it will last. Make it the first time, it's much less disruption in the long view. And please, remove "dry" from your thoughts when considering masonry work. Cure is the thing. – Ecnerwal Nov 8 '17 at 20:05

Some ideas:

  • Use a faster mortar (or an admix designed to speed cure time).
  • Finish the set in the evening to give it overnight to cure before foot traffic.
  • Lay down blankets and then plywood/OSB after the mortar has sufficiently set. It'll dramatically reduce the force on any particular tile and give you a good safety buffer.
  • Set one side of the area one day, and the other the next. (Grout it all together for color consistency.)
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