Tile, Stone & Grout | HomeTips
Select Page
url is http://dev.hometips.com/category/floors-stairs-walls-ceilings/tile-stone-grout

Installing Mosaic Tile

Manufactured mosaic tiles come in sheets, mounted to a web backing.

[/media-credit] Manufactured mosaic tiles are sold in sheets that have multiple tiles mounted to a web backing.

Mosaic tiles may be glazed ceramic, unglazed ceramic, marble, or granite. Though classic mosaic is made from individual pieces of tile fitted together in patterns like a jigsaw puzzle, modern mosaics come on paper- or plastic-backed sheets that are typically 1 foot square. Because there are so many grout lines, a mosaic floor is slip-resistant even if the tiles themselves are slick.

Custom mosaic walls give this powder room artistic charm.

[/media-credit] Custom mosaic walls give this contemporary powder room a look of handmade artistry.

Prepping for Mosaic Tile

Some of the prep work for installing mosaic tiles is the same as for regular ceramic tile (see How to Install a Ceramic or Stone Tile Floor) and some is easier. Though the tiles themselves are unlikely to crack, the grout will crack if the subsurface is not very firm, so if you plan to install them on a floor, jump on the floor to make sure you feel very little flex, or call in a pro if you are unsure. [GARD align=”left”]

Remove any obstructions like plumbing fixtures and base shoe or molding. Take down any high protrusions and fill in large low spots; small indentations can be filled in when you apply thinset or epoxy mortar.

Installing out mosaic tiles is easier than ceramic tiles since you don’t have to worry about ending up with a row of narrow tiles. However, you do want the tiles to be parallel with visible abutting walls. If walls are not parallel or at right angles to each other, the tiles along one or more wall will not be parallel. Plan so these non-parallel joints are not highly visible. Snap two or more perpendicular chalk lines against which you will set the tiles.

Cutting Mosaic Tiles

ceramic tile nippers

[/media-credit] Tile nippers are used for nibbling away an irregular cut along the edge of a tile. Photo: Goldblatt

In most cases, you need only remove some tiles from a sheet. Simply cut away the backing with a utility knife. If you need to cut an individual tile, use a nibbling tool. If the tiles are 1 1/2 inches or wider, you can use a snap cutter. For more about cutting tile, please see How to Cut Ceramic Tile.

Setting Mosaic Tile

It can be tricky getting all the tiles to stick without having mortar ooze up through the joints, creating a mess that is difficult to clean, so take your time to install them carefully.

Use a square-notch margin trowel for applying thinset mortar. Photo: Goldblatt

Use a square-notch margin trowel for applying thinset mortar. Photo: Goldblatt

Consult with your dealer to choose the right size notched trowel; usually, a square-notched 1/2-inch trowel is best. Use high-quality latex-reinforced mortar or even epoxy mortar. Mix a batch that is fairly wet yet firm enough so the tiles will not sink down into it. Spread the mortar with the flat side of the trowel and then comb with the notched side. This is discussed in depth in the article Applying Thinset Mortar for Tile.

Carefully set the mosaic sheets into the mortar; you cannot slide them more than a quarter-inch or so. Place a piece of plywood on top and gently press the sheets into the mortar. Every so often, pick up a sheet and make sure all the tiles are sticking to the mortar. If not, use wetter mortar, or press more firmly.

Remove any globs of squeezed-up mortar as you work as it will be difficult to remove them later without dislodging the tiles.[GARD align=”left”]

Grouting Mosaic Tile

Allow the mortar to dry completely and then apply grout using a laminated grout float. Holding the float nearly flat, press the grout into the joints. Tilt the float up and squeegee away the excess.

Use a large, damp sponge to gently wipe away the rest of the grout from the tiles, taking care not to dig into the grout in the joints. Continually rinse the sponge with clean water, and go over the surface several times. Where needed, apply a bit more grout. The next day, buff the surface with a dry cloth. For more about grouting, please see see How to Install a Ceramic or Stone Tile Floor.

 

Installing Cement Backerboard for Tile Flooring

Carefully planning the placement of cement backerboard is as important as meticulous installation.

The most successful tile floor applications begin with either fibrous cement backerboard or cement backboard that is mesh-reinforced, installed with special backerboard screws.

Start by snapping chalk lines to indicate where the joists are located. The idea is to lay the backerboard sheets so that no joints coincide with joints in the subfloor. Also arrange the sheets to avoid four corners meeting in the same place. Leave 1/8 inch between backerboard sheets and 1/4 inch between the sheets and the base of the wall.

Once you have mapped out your plan, you are ready to cut and install the backboard. tile-backerbord

1Sweep the floor until it is free of dirt and debris. Lay down a backerboard sheet, measure and mark it top to bottom for the cut, and then subtract 1/4 inch.

2With a straightedge against the mark, score the line with a cement-backerboard knife. Turn the sheet over, hold one side down, and pull the other side up. Place the sheet on its side and score the reverse side along the same line as the first. Snap the sheet back to separate the two pieces. Sand the edge with a tile stone if it is very rough.

3Mix thinset mortar and, after sweeping up, apply it to the floor with a 1/4-inch square-notched trowel.Place the sheet on the mortar according to your schematic. Where there are joists below, drive screws every 6 inches or as specified by the manufacturer. Drive screws along the edges every 4 inches (or as recommended by the manufacturer) but only where the edge clears a joist by at least 2 inches.

4When you have laid all the backerboard, tape the joints with fiberglass mesh tape. Spread a fine layer of thinset mortar over the tape with a trowel. Feather and smooth it to create the most level plane you can. Allow the thinset to dry and harden completely before tiling.

NEXT SEE:

Featured Resource: Find a Pre-Screened Local Tile Flooring Pro

Grouting & Finishing Wall Tiles

Wait for the adhesive to completely harden before grouting (this can take a day or two). If you can move a tile to the side using your hand, you need to wait longer. Use unsanded grout for joints less than 1⁄8 inch wide and sanded grout for wider joints. Unless the grout is fortified with powdered latex, mix it with liquid latex even if the directions say you can mix it with water only. [GARD align=”left”]

Prepare as much grout as you can use in 20 minutes or so. In a clean bucket, mix the liquid latex or water with the powder (a margin trowel works well as a mixing tool) until the grout is free of lumps and about as thick as toothpaste. Wait 10 minutes, and then stir again.

Tilt the grout float to apply grout.

 

1Tilt the float up, and use it like a squeegee to wipe away most of the grout from the face of the tiles. Be careful to scrape diagonally so that the edge of the float cannot dig into the grout lines between the tiles.

 

 

 

2Dampen a sponge, and wipe the tiles gently. Rinse the sponge every few minutes with clean water.

Wipe the tiles with a damp sponge.

If you see a gap in a grout line, push more grout into the gap using your finger, and wipe away the excess. Then wipe the surface two or three more times. Run the sponge gently along the vertical and horizontal grout lines to make them consistent.

 

 

Finishing Wall Tile Grout

 

 

3Finish the grout joints. If necessary, try running the rounded handle of a tool along each line. Allow the grout to dry, and then buff the surface of the tiles with a dry, lint-free cloth.

Copyright_Sunset

Find a Pre-Screened Local Tile Installation Pro

Grouting & Finishing Wall Tiles

Wait for the adhesive to completely harden before grouting (this can take a day or two). If you can move a tile to the side using your hand, you need to wait longer. Use unsanded grout for joints less than 1⁄8 inch wide and sanded grout for wider joints. Unless the grout is fortified with powdered latex, mix it with liquid latex even if the directions say you can mix it with water only. [GARD align=”left”]

Prepare as much grout as you can use in 20 minutes or so. In a clean bucket, mix the liquid latex or water with the powder (a margin trowel works well as a mixing tool) until the grout is free of lumps and about as thick as toothpaste. Wait 10 minutes, and then stir again.

Tilt the grout float to apply grout.

 

1Tilt the float up, and use it like a squeegee to wipe away most of the grout from the face of the tiles. Be careful to scrape diagonally so that the edge of the float cannot dig into the grout lines between the tiles.

 

 

 

2Dampen a sponge, and wipe the tiles gently. Rinse the sponge every few minutes with clean water.

Wipe the tiles with a damp sponge.

If you see a gap in a grout line, push more grout into the gap using your finger, and wipe away the excess. Then wipe the surface two or three more times. Run the sponge gently along the vertical and horizontal grout lines to make them consistent.

 

 

Finishing Wall Tile Grout

 

 

3Finish the grout joints. If necessary, try running the rounded handle of a tool along each line. Allow the grout to dry, and then buff the surface of the tiles with a dry, lint-free cloth.

Copyright_Sunset

Find a Pre-Screened Local Tile Installation Pro

Adding Trim Tiles

To finish off the unglazed edges of field tiles, add bullnose-tile pieces (also called caps), which have one finished edge.

At an outside corner, use a corner-tile piece or a down-angle tile, which comes with two finished edges.

Bullnose tiles are supposed to have the same dimensions as the field tiles, but don’t be surprised if you find they are slightly smaller.

Leave a bit more space between them to maintain straight grout lines (above). If you have square tiles, you can compensate for this variation in size by positioning the bullnose tiles so that their grout lines do not line up with those of the field tiles.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Tile Installation Pro

Laying Out Wall Tile

Once you have made sure the wall you want to tile is plumb and flat, it’s time to plan exactly where the tiles will go. The main goal when laying out wall tiles is to avoid a row of very narrow-cut tiles. Narrow tiles look awkward and emphasize any imperfections in adjoining walls.

A secondary goal is symmetry. Whenever it is possible, center the tiles on the wall so that the cut tiles at either side are the same size. An obstruction such as a window can make the layout much more complicated because you will also need to avoid having narrow tiles around its sides.

Installing a Batten

Decide how high above the floor the second horizontal row of tiles will be. If the floor beneath is fairly level and the bottom of the tiles will be covered with a base molding, position the second row above the floor by the height of one tile plus an inch or so. If there will be no base molding and the bottom row of tiles must meet the floor precisely, plan to cut all the tiles on the bottom row to about three-fourths of their full height.[GARD align=”left”]

Use a level to draw a horizontal working line for the second row, and draw a plumb vertical line in the exact center of the room. Attach a batten-a very straight board-with its top edge against the horizontal line. A long strip of plywood with one factory edge makes an ideal batten.

Position tiles in a dry run on top of the batten, starting at the centerline and running to one adjacent wall (below). If the tiles are not self-spacing, add spacers between them. If this layout leads to a particularly narrow-cut tile at the end, mark a corrected vertical line that will allow you to move the tiles the width of one-half tile in either direction.

Tiling Around Obstacles

Small obstacles such as electrical receptacles or switches are not usually considered in the layout; an occasional narrow-cut tile does not present a problem. But a large obstacle, such as a window, may be the focal point of the wall. Avoid surrounding such an obstacle with narrow-cut tiles, and note that it is always preferable to make the cut tiles on either side the same size.[GARD align=”left”]

Measure to check whether there will be a narrow vertical row of tiles along either edge of the obstacle. If so, you may have to choose between placing narrow tiles there or putting them at the wall edges. Also determine whether there will be a narrow horizontal row of tiles just below or just above the obstacle. If it’s clear that there will be, you may choose to raise or lower the batten.

If a room has more than one highly visible obstruction, you will probably have to make some compromises. If any of the obstructions is seriously out of plumb or level, try to place wide-cut tiles there.

Wall Tile Layout

Find a Pre-Screened Local Tile Installation Pro

 

Pin It on Pinterest