Lay mosaic tiles professionally

The laying of mosaic tiles basically follows the same basic rules as conventional tiling. However, mosaic tiles sometimes have very different properties than conventional tiles, which must be considered. The cutting of mosaic tiles differs considerably, as do many other details. The following is a detailed guide to the perfect laying of mosaic tiles.

Shapes and materials of mosaic tiles

Mosaic tiles initially differ in size. In most cases, the dimensions of square mosaic tiles are between 1 x 1 cm and 10 x 10 cm. The shape is by no means limited to rectangular and square. Just as often there are polygonal, oval or round mosaic tiles. In particular, depending on the material of the mosaic tiles, there are glass mosaic, ceramic mosaic, natural stone mosaic and much more.

The special properties of many mosaic tiles lead to a consistent approach

The latter can also be river pebbles. More and more in fashion are mosaic photos. In addition, glass mosaic tiles can range from opaque to transparent. All these properties in total not only achieve a special effect when the mosaic tiles are first glued and grouted. Even when choosing the right building materials, the later quality of the mosaic tile surface becomes apparent and continues with the choice of the optimal tool.

Step-by-step guide to laying mosaic tiles

  • priming
  • reverse primer
  • flexible tile adhesive (mostly natural stone adhesive), white
  • sealing tape
  • tile strips
  • possibly joint crosses
  • Mosaic tile silicone (mostly for natural stones)
  • water
  • Electric drill with stirrer
  • glass cutter
  • Wet glass or ceramic cutting machine
  • Quast
  • notched trowel
  • wood strip
  • spirit level
  • rubber hammer
  • Chalk line
  • solder
  • Fug board, hard rubber
  • Tile sponge or sponge board
  • possibly cement veil cleaner
  • Mosaic Tile Cleaner
  • Rubber gloves (for grouting)
  • Knee protection (for floor mosaic tiles)
  • silicone syringe
  • water bowl

1. Preparation

a) primer
The substrate for the mosaic tiles must be prepared accurately. Depending on which substrate you want to apply, for the primer you use a primer for highly absorbent building materials such as cement or plasterboard or for weak to non-absorbent substructures such as OSB panels.

b) barrier primer
Especially in wet rooms such as bathrooms you should also apply a barrier primer against incoming moisture.

c) Special features transparent mosaic tiles (glass mosaic or crystal mosaic)
Transparent mosaic tiles such as glass mosaic are explicitly chosen because of the translucent effect. However, this also goes hand in hand with further work on the underground. If, for example, you have gypsum plasterboard that you have previously filled, you will get light and dark areas. So the underground has to be plain and neutral. For most glass mosaic tiles, the white tile adhesive should be for natural stone tiles. The thin, but covering and evenly on the wall to be tiled.

d) sealing tape
At the edges, also apply the sealing tape following the manufacturer's instructions.

2. Arrangement of mosaic tiles

Virtually all mosaic tiles are linked as a bandage back over a fiberglass or paper net to a certain size. Rarely, there is also a net that is mounted on the top and after the tiles is removed. If you have colored tiles that have been put together in a wild (arbitrary) bandage, you start as in traditional tile decorating.

If you want to glue the mosaic tiles to a wall, you can proceed in different ways: completely gluing a wall, a defined height, a free height, or a tile mirror. Under "Laying wall tiles", we explain in detail under which conditions you start laying tiles with the top or the bottom row of tiles or in the middle (in the middle of a row of tiles). Likewise, in this article, we'll explain how to move around the side edges, when a whole tile does not fit and when you want to tile several walls.

3. Lay mosaic tiles

Now you can mix the tile adhesive according to the manufacturer's instructions. Mostly natural stone tile adhesive is a very fast curing adhesive. Therefore, you should never apply more tile adhesive than you can process in 20 minutes.

Now apply the tile adhesive with a tooth trowel (toothing according to the mosaic tile size between 3 and 6) and press the mosaic tile into the adhesive thin bed. To press the mats evenly, use the wooden staff and if necessary a spirit level. In addition, you must consider chalk line and solder (wall tiles).

You have previously selected the tile crosses in the same dimensions of the joints between the individual tiles. Now use them to keep the exact gap. Please also consider the expansion joint! Tile adhesive, which pushes it up between the joints, remove (possibly with a Fugenkratzer).

4. The cutting of mosaic tiles

a) Cut tile mats on the net
As far as possible, you should of course always try (for example, for water pipes, etc.) to cut out individual tiles on the tile network. You can also lay such mats over the corner (for wall fronts - not from a room wall over the corner to the adjacent wall!). More professional, however, is the use of particularly filigree tile edge protection strips. However, you may also have to cut the mosaic tiles.

b) Cut individual mosaic tiles
Many materials from which mosaic tiles are made are brittle materials - especially glass. Would you use a conventional tile cutter, there would be numerous, later unsightly flaking. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to use only suitable cutting tools and machines such as glass cutters, ceramic cutters or corresponding wet cutting machines. This is the only way to achieve really sharp edges.

5. Grouting mosaic tiles

You must wait up to 24 hours or more to grout. The mosaic tiles must be really solid in their adhesive bed or the glue hard. For grouting you now also use the white natural stone tile adhesive or flexible adhesive again. If you were to use a conventional cement tile adhesive, it could scratch the partially extremely soft surfaces of mosaic tiles when grouting. Especially with transparent tiles you can see that later - but also with other natural stone mosaic tiles. Alternatively, you can use an epoxy or other plastic-containing grout. However, this must necessarily correspond to the color of the adhesive, especially with transparent glass mosaic tiles.

6. Clean the mosaic tiles after bonding

Now you can start with the cleaning of the tiles as with conventional tiles with the sponge or sponge board. Then (about 1 to 7 days later) first remove the cement curtain. Now clean the mosaic tiles with a special cleaner (eg for glass mosaic, natural stone mosaic, etc.).

Tips & Tricks

Never use a grout that differs in color from the adhesive - especially in glass mosaic. Many do-it-yourselfers thought in the past that this could be a great effect just to remove the tiles afterwards and buy everything - including the expensive glass mosaic tiles. The mosaic tiles may have a conical shape. This leads to an unintentionally "mixing" distribution of different colors, which is very noticeable and unprofessional.

Do not use an angle cutter with a cutting blade for cutting tiles while trying to hold the plates by hand. There is the highest risk of injury!

There are breathtaking motifs today, including ceramic and glass mosaics. Before you decide too fast on a variant, you should really look at all the other mosaic tiles and variations in peace.

Mosaic tile networks have another advantage: Roundings (for example, the column cover of sinks) can be glued effortlessly from a certain diameter.

Video Board: How To Lay Mosaic Tiles - DIY At Bunnings