Tiling tips?
October 6, 2007 1:16 PM   Subscribe

I am thinking of doing a tile mosaic on the floor of a bathroom, something like one of these, " by Cilla Ramnek, and I need some tips.

By "like" I mean that my mosaic will be colorful and involve very tiny tiles. It will be unlike hers in that it surely won't be as beautiful, and will only be something like 3'x4'. Anyway, I have tiled in the past with large, plain ceramic tiles in straight lines, but I have not made a mosaic before. I wonder if anyone can tell me what kind of tile I should buy. Is glass tile okay for a floor? What kind of grout, sealant, etc. should I use. Can you recommend a place that sells the appropriate tile at a reasonable price and will also allow me to order my own choice of colors rather than some kind of tile grab bag? Any other advice?
posted by foxinthesnow to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Go to a store that only sells tile.

If you can find a pre-designed mosaic pattern from a tile distributor, they'll pre-arranged on some kind of backing. The backing will keep them all together, and it's more or less the same process as installing larger tiles. It'll just be a giant square, with the mosaics all pre-spaced.

Some small tiles have a rear backing that you lay into your thin-set, others have a plastic facing that you remove after the tile is set.

If you can't find a pre-made pattern, small tiles will still come on a backer, and come in standard sizing. With a utility knife, you can cut larger squares into smaller patterns, while retaining the pre-set grout spacing.

Glass tile is appropriate, however, it's a pain to install: When you apply thin-set with a notched trowel, the horizontal pattern that it creates is visible through the clear glass. As a result, you have to "back-butter" each tile to eliminate this pattern.

Since your grout joints will be small with a mosaic, any unsanded ground will suffice. Using a "splash" of acrylic grout additive gives the grout additional strength. Mix to the consistency of toothpaste, and apply like you did with your other project.

Lastly, be sure your sub-straight is nice and level. With the smaller tiles, any rolls or humps will be magnified.
posted by donguanella at 1:49 PM on October 6, 2007

Listen to donguanella and try to get it as pre-made as you can. God help you if you try to lay each tile by hand -- trust me on this one.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:02 PM on October 6, 2007

Response by poster: Has anyone ever used a product like this to assist?
posted by foxinthesnow at 6:32 PM on October 6, 2007

No, but that's really clever!
posted by donguanella at 2:12 PM on October 18, 2007

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