Published : 2015-04-12 18:18:37
Mosaics are tiles that measure 2 inches in size or less. They come in a wide variety of materials, shapes and colors and are usually sold by the sheet for easier installation. There are two types of mosaic sheets; mesh-mounted mosaics have a layer of fiberglass or paper mesh on their backs, while face-mounted mosaics have brown craft paper or contact paper covering their fronts. Both install very similarly with the extra step of having to remove the paper from the fronts of face-mounted mosaics.
Examine your mosaic sheets. If your mosaics are face-mounted, you may not be able to see what the mosaics look like, because the only visible parts will be the back. Examine the top of the sheets at the very edges, you should be able to see a thin line of the tiles around the perimeter of the sheet. This small amount of visible tile is important because it will help you determine how far apart to install the sheets from one another.
Lay out the mosaic tiles sheets either right on the area you want to install them, or in an area of equal size and shape if installing them on the walls. Practice setting the sheets together so the space between the sheets is identical to the spacing between the tiles. If the mosaics form a pattern, make sure you are comfortable with laying down the sheets in the correct order to complete the pattern.
Cut the mesh or paper holding the mosaics together to trim the sheets to fit the edges of the installation. If you need to cut individual tiles, use tile nippers designed for the type of mosaic you are installing. Cut the tiles one by one to fit.
Stack the sheets in order of how you want to install them. Some companies will number their sheets with arrows so you can more easily complete the pattern. If this is the case, be sure to stack the sheets in the correct order with the directions easily visible.
Spread a small amount of thinset mortar onto the surface you will install the mosaics on. Drag the notches of the trowel through the mortar until it is a uniform depth. Smooth out the grooves this leaves behind with the flat edge of the trowel. Grooves in the mortar can both come up between the mosaics and be seen through translucent materials, such as glass or onyx. Smoothing them out eliminates these problems.
Press the sheets of mosaic into the mortar, and smooth them from bottom to top with your hand. Set a flat piece of wood over the mosaics, and tap it with a rubber mallet to help drive the mosaics evenly into the mortar.
Straighten out any of the sheets by inserting the flat edge of the trowel between the mosaic rows and nudging them into place.
Let the mortar dry for an hour, then remove the paper-face material from face-mounted mosaics. Soak a sponge in water and apply to the paper covering the mosaics. The water will dissolve the glue holding the mosaics in place. After a few minutes, peel away the paper. If any tiles come loose, push them back into place with your fingertips. Straighten out any rows of tiles with the edge of the trowel if they have shifted. Let the mortar dry for 24 hours.
Grout the mosaics by spreading grout over the entire installation with a grout float. Hold the float at a 45-degree angle to the mosaics to direct the grout. Move the float over the same area from multiple directions to ensure the many grout joints surrounding the mosaics get sufficient coverage. Let the grout set up for 10 minutes.
Wash the excess grout off the mosaics with a grout sponge. Dampen the sponge, and work it in circles over the mosaics, rinsing it frequently until the mosaics are clean. Let the grout continue drying for 24 hours.