How to apply mosaic tile successfully

How to apply mosaic tile successfully

This guide goes into the intricate steps needs to install mosaic tile. Applying mosaic tile presents certain difficulties, although once a homeowner becomes familiar with the steps needed for successful installation, these can be overcome. Mosaic tiles gives a wonderful modern look and come available in all different colors. These can also be purchased in varying shades on one color theme, making mosaic the ideal medium for giving the kitchen or bathroom a new look. Coming in square sheets, the mosaic tiling is relatively easy to pose and a ceramic finish is easier to grout than a glass finish, which tends to hold particles of the grouting product used. The ceramic tile is also easier to clean in a kitchen environment.


Step 1

Measuring your wall.

Since mosaic tile comes on a backing and is a set size, measure the width and depth of the overall sheet of tiles. Then measure the wall where the tile is to be applied. Try to avoid any cutting of the individual tiles. You will need to take account of electrical sockets and any other area which needs to be cut from the tile. Make clear marking on the wall of each sheet to be applied using a spirit level to get exact measurements straight. It is worthwhile taking your time with this process before attempting to apply the tile, since this can make or break the look of the tiling job. It is also vital to try the first row at different heights, as grouting can eliminate those discrepancies which make the tiling look unsightly.

Step 2

Applying any edge strips.

For a professional finish, if corners form part of the tiling required, as in the illustration above, fit the plastic corner strips before starting the tiling. These tuck neatly under the finished tile and give a professional edge to those edges which would otherwise be raw. This can also be used at the top of tiling to give a more permanent finish to the mosaic.

Step 3

Add the adhesive.

The adhesive should be applied with a special adhesive applicator which is a comb like tool. Apply paste to the first row, leaving the marking at the top of the row showing on the wall. If you work in this manner, you can ensure that you keep to the marking out which was performed before commencing. This is vital since if this is not adhered to, you may find that you will be presented with extra cuts at the top of the tiling.

Step 4

Place spacers at the bottom of the area you will tile.

Until the tile adhesive works, tile sheets may slip. It is important to support them until they have adhered. Get your spacers ready for the task at hand.

Step 5

Place the first sheets.

Place the tiles one sheet at a time, pressing firmly so that the tiles adhere. Make sure that there is no sagging of the backing causing the tiles to become uneven. Sometimes, you do need to insert spacers in vulnerable areas. Placing the second sheet of tiles, ensure that the space for grouting is exactly the same as that used on the pre-spaced sheets.

Step 6

Taking out tiles for light switches and obstacles.

When you reach areas which need the tiles taken out, do not put the adhesive on the wall. Line up the sheet of tiles and work out which tiles need to be taken out. Cut the frame which holds these onto the sheet neatly with a Stanley knife.

Step 7

Tiling over electricity outlets and obstacles.

Paste the area around the obstacle up to the marks on the wall which define the sheet size. If there are small gaps around switches, these will be filled with the grouting.

Step 8

Cutting tiling at edges.

Mosaic tiling is difficult to cut due to its thick nature. Try with a few scraps to determine whether the tiling cuts better with snips or with a tile cutter. If using ceramic, score the top of the tile against a metal ruler to get exact size required. Then try to snip the tile with snippers. If this proves unsuccessful, try the tile cutter.

Step 9

Preparing for grouting.

Remove any excess adhesive from the surface of the tiles while it is still damp. Dried adhesive is very hard to remove. Allow the adhesive to dry, and when it has dried, remove the spacers used to hold the tiling neatly in place.

Step 10


Grouting the tiling is tedious though very necessary. Cover the whole area with grout, and allow this to set for twenty minutes or according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Wash down thoroughly with a sponge, neatening the lines between tiles as you go. Mosaic tiling has rather a lot of joints, and smoothness of the grout is essential for overall look of the finished tiling.

Step 11


Smears will appear as the grout dries. When the grout is completely dry, wipe the tipes with a damp cloth and then buff them up with a soft lint free cloth.

You will Need
• Sufficient tiling for the job at hand.
• Edging strips as required.
• Tile adhesive.
• Tile adhesive applicator.
• Tile spacers.
• Tile cutter.
• Stanley Knife.
• Spirit level.
• Pencil.
• Ruler.
• Grouting.
• Clean cloths and sponge.

Tips & Warnings
• Cutting mosaic tile is not simple and requires a good quality cutter or sharp snips.
• Use water resistant adhesive in kitchen and bathroom areas.


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