When beginning a new tiling project, don't overlook the details. Small mosaic tiles can add a punch of color to a room, or provide the main focal piece in the design. Choosing the best type of mosaic tiles requires an understanding of what's available, and then picking out the best type for the room.
Accents Done Right
Mosaic tiles are primarily used as accent pieces. You will commonly find them used as a border or edging material or you may prefer to create an entire mosaic design to cover a wall or floor, or a mosaic tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom.
By their very nature, mosaic tiles are small. They usually measure between ½ and 1 inch square, although small rectangular 1-by-2-inch tiles are also available. This means that you will get more tiles per square foot, but you will also need to to plan for extra grouting and installation time.
Mosaic tiles come in a large range of materials. These include:
Aluminum and metal
The type of material you choose depends on several factors. Ask yourself these five questions before you begin looking at tiles:
Are you installing them on a wall or floor?
Will they be exposed to moisture or high humidity?
Is staining a concern?
What other tile types are you using in the project?
Do they work with the overall design plan for the space?
For example, ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles are a better option for the floor, due to increased durability. If you are placing them in a bathroom or kitchen, where moisture and stains are a concern, skip porous stone for a more impermeable material.
Mosaic tiles used as an accent in a larger tiled surface should have the same cleaning requirements as the surrounding material. For example, stone tiles are more likely to suffer damage from harsh cleaners, so if you mix them in with ceramic tiles you will need to depend on mild, nonabrasive and non-acidic cleaners to wash the entire surface.
If you still need inspiration to narrow down your mosaic tile choices, consider the room and how you use it.
Kitchen: In the kitchen, mosaic tile is typically used in the backsplash. Ceramic, glass and porcelain are the best choices, because they easily wipe clean. They also won't absorb stains and odors. If you want stone, it's best to choose darker colors and mix them in with other mosaic materials so they won't show wear or stains.
Bathroom: Glass is a popular mosaic choice in the bathroom, because it reflects the light and can make the space look larger. Porcelain, ceramic and shell are other excellent choices. A mosaic tile backsplash can add a pop of color to a room that is often tiled in neutral tones.
Floors: Floor mosaics are usually limited to border accents or small spaces, such as entryways, halls, or bathrooms. Durable tiles are necessary so they can withstand traffic and frequent cleaning. Ceramic and stone hold up well, but you can use glass if it's in an accent border where foot traffic isn't a concern.
Ceiling: Ceiling applications are becoming more popular. Metal tile, especially those with stamped designs, can give your ceiling a exquisite and unique appearance. Generally, larger tiles are used on the ceiling, but you can add in smaller mosaic tiles to create a decorative border.
Mosaic glass tiles take your project from boring to bold, with very little additional cost. When selecting the tile, examine the different materials and colors available so you can find the type that will work best in the room and with the design.