How to Install Your Wall Or Floor Mosaic

You have gone through the process of creating your mosaic. You are very happy with the outcome but now comes the part of the process that will display it to the world! It is actually the most rewarding part of the whole process.

Preparing your base

After spending ten to thirty hours to create your mosaic, depending on its size, you want to make sure that it will withstand traffic and the possible elements to which it will be exposed.

You will need to have the right base, the foundation that will keep your mosaic intact. The base is the same as if you would install any ceramic, which is a total of at least one inch of plywood. Most floors are built using 5/8 inch plywood. To this base you will need to add an extra 3/8 or 1/2 inch plywood. This extra layer of plywood must be glued and then secured with screws every 6 inches.

For wall mosaics you can glue directly onto the wall if it is built using at least 2 by 4 studs minimum of 16 inches apart center to center.

Gluing your mosaic

Selecting the right adhesive is also a very important step. If you created mosaic wall art then you would use a wall adhesive which is much easier to work with then a mortar adhesive. This product comes premixed and bonds quickly, so your mosaic will not slide down the wall once installed.

For a mosaic tile floor I do not take any chances and use an acrylic latex admixture instead of water to my dry-set mortar. This will give it extra bond strength, especially when using impervious or vitreous ceramic tiles and most difficult to bond to tiles such as glass tiles, porcelain or polished-back granite or mosaic marble tile.

Grouting your mosaic

Grouting your mosaic is the next step. Selecting the perfect color is also very important. A dark color will bring out the pieces much more whereas a lighter color gives a more even look.

Make sure you allow enough time for your mortar to dry before applying your grout. Usually 24 to 48 hours is the recommended time. During this time do not disturb or walk over the tiles.

Once your mosaic has set you might have mosaic pieces that came unglued, do not worry, this generally happens to one or two pieces in each mosaic. You can either glue it back or leave it there and the grout will act as a second adhesive and hold the piece firmly in place. What I usually do is after 24 hrs I touch every piece in my mosaic to see if I have loose ones, then I glue them and the next day I apply the grout.

Sealing your mosaic

The last step is sealing your tiles. Seven to fourteen days after applying your grout you should seal it with the appropriate grout and tile sealer. However if you use natural tile such as marble or limestone you must give a first coat of sealer before applying your grout, this will prevent the grout from sticking to your tile while grouting.

There are many different types of sealers, depending on the materials used in your mosaics. It is a very important step that many people do not bother with, but the sealer will not only protect put it will help bring out the color of your mosaic.

Now that you have finished your mosaic you can admire it for years to come!