Try this age-old tiling technique. It is easy to do, can be a really fun family project, the results looks beautiful and leaves no noxious odor. The additives in commercial, ready-made tile settings can outgas for years. Additives found in these premixed settings include quick drying materials, petroleum, epoxy and fungicides.
With this old-fashioned technique, tiles can be attached to bathtub frames, stovetops, and around sinks, by setting them into a mudbed, followed by a grout to fill in the gaps between the tiles.
Mudset (also called thickset or mudbed) is spread out over underboards and tile board, then smoothed out. The tiles are then set into the mudset, followed by the grout.
Natural iron oxide pigments are available and these can be added to match tile color.
Making a Mudset (50 pounds covers about 75 square feet)
3 parts sand
1 part Portland cement
Natural earth pigment (optional)
Combine the sand and Portland cement in a tub. Slowly add water, stirring as you go, until the texture is like thick sludge. Add the pigment bit by bit, until the desired color is reached. Lay the mudset.
Making a Grout
The ratio of Portland cement to sand ranges between 1:1 and 1:3. depending on how much space there is between tiles. More sand is used for wider gaps.
Natural earth pigment
Combine the Portland cement and sand in a tub. Slowly add water, stirring as you go, until the texture is like thick sludge. Add the pigment bit by bit, until the desired color has been reached.
Damp-cure grout to avoid chemical dryers. I like to damp-cure tile by wetting my fingers and rubbing them up and down the grooves. Do this whenever you think of it over the ten days following laying the tile. For large areas, use a spray bottle.