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How to Install a Mosaic Tile Backsplash: Tips to Follow

Mosaic is one of the most popular materials used for tiling the rooms with high humidity. It would be a perfect solution for a bathroom, kitchen or pool. Mosaic tiles look gorgeous whether they come in one or several colors so you are bound to get an outstanding design.

Tiling a backsplash with mosaic tiles used to be complicated but today manufacturers offer mosaic tiles in sheets. That makes the process of laying them much easier.

Here are some tips on how to install a mosaic tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom.

1) Choose the right adhesive

It should be noted that the adhesive for mosaic tiles should be carefully selected. In general, there would be no difference in how the adhesive sticks to the tiles, even if you apply the usual ones used for all the other types of tiles. But the point is that the adhesive for mosaic tiles should be white.

This is a very important factor to consider when installing a mosaic tile backsplash. Glass mosaic tiles are transparent or at least partially transparent. The usual adhesive used for the other tiles will look like grey beneath transparent tiles. On the contrary, white adhesive will create a white background which is exactly what you need.

Ask your retailer to supply you with a white adhesive and check the packaging for appropriate markup.

mosaic tile backsplash

2) How to install mosaic tile as a decorative statement

Because mosaic tiles are quite expensive, you might not be ready to tile the entire backsplash with them. Rather, you can add it as a decorative statement – and that is perfectly ok! It will add a visual interest and you will be able to save your budget.

An important factor to consider in this case is the thickness of the main tile you are using for a backsplash. If it is thicker than your mosaic tile, you have to make sure both types of tiles will result in an even surface. This is what you can do:

  • carefully mark up the wall for the backsplash to define the location of mosaic tiles;
  • lay the backsplash with your main tiles while not touching the area intended for mosaic tiles;
  • apply an additional layer of the adhesive;
  • lay mosaic tiles and adjust the amount of the adhesive as you go.

If you do not follow this simple tip on how to install mosaic tile as a decorative statement, but simply paste it between the main tiles, the result will be an ugly transition that is instantly noticeable.

3) Prepare the surface

This is one of the most challenging tasks for many home renovators when installing a mosaic tile backsplash. Oftentimes, a poorly prepared surface is the main reason the project fails to deliver outstanding results.

Wondering how to install a mosaic tile backsplash correctly and prepare the surface the right way? Follow these steps:

  1. in order to get a beautifully tiled backsplash, the wall must be perfectly even. Mosaic tiles are flexible and they follow the shape of the wall. So before anything else, try to even the wall as much as you can;
  2. thoroughly clean the wall. Any amount of dust and dirt will prevent the adhesive from sticking to the wall and the tiles can fall off. Also, remember to cover the countertop with a plastic sheet to save time on cleaning;
  3. apply the adhesive and even it with a notched trowel. Start with a small area and work your way slowly. Covering too large area at once will cause the adhesive dry up faster than you can lay the tiles;
  4. if you are using mosaic tiles that come in sheets (most of them do), just press them against the wall and even them with a finishing trowel;
  5. let the adhesive sit overnight, then clean it off if it is protruding in some places;
  6. apply grout with a wide trowel. Once it has started to set (typically in thirty minutes), use a damp sponge to clean the tiles.

If you want to create a complex custom pattern, mark up the wall in advance. Ideally, you should have a piece of paper with the design that you can follow.

mosaic tile backsplash 2

4) How to install a mosaic tile backsplash: choose the right type of mosaic tile

Glass mosaic tile

Glass tile is one of the most common mosaic types you can find. It has a fairly low cost compared with the other mosaic types and enjoys a nice, shining look. The strength of glass is reliable.

Smalti glass tile

Smalti glass mosaic differs from the glass mosaic in that it is made of the other expensive components. They make it look very unusual. Its durability is much higher so it can be safely used in places that are subject to high pressure.

Smalti glass tile is the most expensive mosaic tile of all so not that many people can afford it.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic tile is the most popular option on the market. Depending on the model, it can remind of the stone and come in glazed or unglazed versions. Ceramic tile is a perfect option for simpler projects because it is much easier to work with.

Cutting this type of mosaic tile is really easy. The drawback being, however, that ceramic tiles are not very durable and might crack if too much pressure is applied. Also, they will not stand up to the high or low temperatures so it is better to use them as decorative statements.

Stone tile

This is an interesting and unusual mosaic type that is sure to enhance your exterior design. It is produced from a variety of natural stones and will be a great solution for your courtyard.

Creative tile

Today, the market abounds with great alternatives to glass tiles. You can find mosaic tiles made of china, marble or even wine bottles. Oftentimes, the cost of these unusual materials is high but if unique design is what you are after, you will surely find no shortage of supply.

There you go – 4 handy tips on how to install a mosaic tile backsplash.

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