Calculating Mosaics

Mosaics come in a variety of different sizes, commonly square and rectangle, but also in a variety of other custom shapes. Mosaics can add colour and texture to any room in your house. Mosaic tiles are fixed to a backing mesh, in order to form a panel. Mosaics can be extremely useful in fitting in awkward shapes, such as on a curved wall, or an uneven surface. These tiles can come in both glazed and unglazed, with glass, ceramic, porcelain and natural stone being the common materials used to create them. Typical uses include being used as a feature panel, or a focal point in a kitchen. It can also be used as a tile border in other rooms, such as a bathroom.

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Cutting Mosaic Tiles

It is important to note when calculating the amount of mosaic needed, that cutting the mosaics will cause additional grout lines. This may reduce the amount of mosaic needed, whilst increasing the amount of grout needed. If you need any help working out how to cut your tiles, please refer to our tile cutting guide here.

To cut the mosaic sheets, use a wooden covered worktop. Use a Stanley knife to make slices through the mesh, at an angle, until there are no mesh edges poking out at the end of your piece.

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Adhesive

Once you’ve selected a suitable adhesive, for the material of the tile you are laying, as well as the wall it is being attached to, it can begin to be mixed. We recommend using a power drill and a bucket to mix the Adhesive, or a suitable mechanical mixer. Each adhesive should have its own instructions on the back of the mixture, which should direct you in this, to allow for the correct mix to be made. A specialised trowel should also be used, called a Notched Trowel.

The reason for using this is that the smaller grooves prevent the adhesive from going through the mosaic mesh. It is also wise to take into consideration the construction of the tile that you are working with. For example, a glass tile may be transparent, meaning that a coloured adhesive may damage the appearance.

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Applying Tiles to walls

Once the adhesive is applied, you can begin applying your tiles onto the wall. Place them on the area that you have applied the adhesive to, and push down firmly to allow for the tile to set into position. The adhesive should still be wet, and any dry patches should have adhesive reapplied to that area. A grout float can be used to apply pressure to the tile to ensure that it is stuck firmly. When placing the second tile, it is important to ensure that a gap is left to allow for grout. This should be between 2 and 3 mm.

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Grouting

Before grout can be applied, it is essential to wait for the adhesive to set, up to 24 hours depending on the adhesive used. Using rapid set with good conditions, it is possible to apply grout after only 4 or 5 hours. If unsure, it is always best to wait the full 24 hours.

There are multiple grouts available, all in different colours, so you should ensure that you have the right grout for the right job.

  • You should choose a colour that matches your tile if you wish to have a continuous appearance. If you are a beginner at tiling, a similar grout colour can help reduce how noticeable imperfections are.
  • Alternatively, choosing a contrasting colour, if you want individual tiles to stand out. You can also take into consideration the location of the wall. White grout on a hallway may quickly become more difficult to keep, versus darker grouts.
  • Mix your grout in a bucket, until it is at the right consistency. Most grout will have a different open time, and it is important to only mix as much grout as you will be able to apply in this time. Mixing too much may result in the grout hardening before it can be applied.
  • It is best to begin the process in a corner that is furthest away from the door. This will provide an escape route once the process is completed.
  • A grout float can then be used, at a 45 degree angle, to press grout into joints. It is important not to use the grout tool parallel to the lines, as it can cause the grout to be gouged out.
  • A sealer can then be used, such as the Multi Surface Sealer available from Surface First. This will then protect the grout. This can take up to an hour to properly dry.
  • Grout can then be maintained over time by using a proper cleaning product. We recommend using the Surface First Grout Guard. This will protect your Grout, maintaining its look over time. If reapplying the Grout Guard, we recommend using Surface First Grout Cleaner, before reapplying the Grout Guard, to ensure the best results.