10 steps for installing mosaic tiles - Pro Construction Guide

10 steps for installing mosaic tiles

Homeowners like colorful mosaic tiles on the floor and as an accent in their showers. Installing mosaic tiles requires patience and time, so it’s important to remember this for any time-sensitive projects.

What you need for installing mosaic tiles:

  • Mosaic tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile nipping tool/grinder/wet-cutting tile saw
  • 3/16-inch V-notched trowel
  • Rubber grout float
  • Caulking gun
  • Grout
  • Silicone sealer
  • Grout sealer
  • Tile finishing trim

1. Using the notched trowel, spread the tile adhesive in a thin layer across the area to be tiled. Use the notches in the trowel to make grooves in the adhesive that are all in the same direction. Dampen the adhesive if it starts to harden.

2. Lay the mosaic tile sheet onto the adhesive, ensuring that it doesn’t rest directly on countertops or other surfaces. Gently press the sheet with the grout float to guarantee that it sticks to the adhesive well. If the adhesive seeps between the mosaic tiles, remove the sheet, respread the adhesive and start again.

3. Separate sheets with tile spacers to ensure even spacing; the spacers should be the same size as the space between the tiles on the mosaic sheet. Use a level to check that the tiles are flat and even.

4. Once the mosaic tile sheets are installed, wipe off excess adhesive with a damp sponge. If some adhesive finds its way between the individual tiles, particularly in a shower base, it can be scraped out with a thin tool (e.g. nail or screw). If there is a significant amount of adhesive between the tiles, remove the sheets, clean off the adhesive from the sheets and start the process again.

Wait at least 24-48 hours before grouting to ensure that the adhesive has set. If any individual tiles have fallen off, apply a small amount of adhesive and press it into place. Allow it to dry before grouting.

5. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For installing mosaic tiles, the consistency should be even and should resemble toothpaste or peanut butter.

6. Remove tile spacers and lightly dampen the mosaic with clean water.

7. Holding the grout float at a 45-degree angle, press the grout into the spaces between the tiles, section by section. Do not press grout between the tiles and the surfaces as this space will be filled by the silicone sealer later.

8. Remove excess grout and clean the tiles diagonally with a damp sponge.Make sure the sponge isn’t too wet, otherwise, it will dilute the grout.

9. Allow the grout to dry completely at least 24 hours, then apply the grout sealer over the grout. Ensure that the sealer has dried, the mosaic tiles have set, and the space between the tiles and the surfaces is completely dry (wait about 10 days if possible).

10. Caulk the spaces with the silicone sealer and allow to dry.

~Rebekah Groves

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