setting tile with mortar in basement


I am setting 12 X12 glazed ceramic tile on my basement's concrete floor. I have been using premixed mortar from a big box store, applied with a notched trowel the way you're supposed to. I have a few questions, all stemming from the fact that the mortar is not setting up as fast as I thought it would. The mortar on tiles I set a week ago is still soft!
1. The basement is damp, but not wet - is this normal? Will it harden eventually? Is there something I can/should do to speed it up? When I say damp, I mean the floor generally appears dry, with maybe a little visible dampness or seepage in the corners after a heavy rain. Mortar that is in a very thin layer - like where I wiped up along the edge where I stopped working, leaving a very thin layer - that dries out and sets fine.
2. Do I have to wait for the mortar to harden before grouting?
3. Would it be different if I used the dry stuff instead of the premix? I was thinking of switching to the dry mix anyway to save money.
thanks in advance, -- H
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Get it off the floor before it cures! -----
- gpsman
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gpsman wrote:

Right. Then clean it off of floor and tile and use thinset mortar. The pretty grey stuff that comes in a bag, you add water, it gets hard. And don't bother with thinset that has god-knows-what additives, get the cheap stuff.
--

dadiOH
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