Subway tile question regarding a bathtub surround.
Do I need to apply thinset on the back of the tile? Subway tiles are small, can I just put thinset on the wall and apply the tiles?
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Back-Buttering shouldn't be needed. But, the best determination is to set a tile & then pry it off. You should have a nice even smush of Thin-set that covers the whole back of the tile. If you don't get full coverage, then you can try it again with a bigger notch trowel...on a fresh clean tile. If that doesn't do it, then you'll want to back-butter every tile.
You can press the tiles into the thinset on the wall and they will stick two much thinset and they will move around. Make sure with small tiles to use a finer notched trowel and with larger the bigger notches. Here is a fine notch trowel. With vertical tiles I sometimes use mastic because it sets faster than thinset especially with small tiles that are easily knocked out of position. mastic / tile adhesive.