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How to do the mosaic tile sheet installation

From: Date:4/6/2017

large tile installation (12" square or greater) looks simple once you get into the world of mosaic tile sheets. Surprisingly, these 1 inch or smaller square tiles can make installation quite difficult. In the past, tile installers in not easy to laid each grain individually. Today, these tiles come attached in fiberglass mesh-bound sheets to avoid warps, waves, and lips.

--Unified mosaic grains do not behave the way a single 12" x 12" tile might. They still can warp, wave, shift, and create lippage, making your new tile floor look like an ancient Roman floor, and not in a good way.

The following tricks will make installation go easier and your end product more attractive:

1. Avoid Cutting Tiles If Possible

Tile installation is as much about cutting as it is about laying.  However, make every effort to avoid cutting 1" mosaic tiles.  

If you come to an edge and anticipate cutting a long line of mosaic tiles, first see if the baseboard or trim will cover full sized tiles rather than proceeding to another row of cut tiles.

2. If You Must Cut Tiles

You have several options for tile-cutting, ranging from cheap to very expensive. As a DIYer, you will not be cutting much mosaic, in which can you can use a rail cutter and a tile nibbler.

The rail cutter (or snap tile cutter, as it is sometimes called) can cut an entire row of tiles by scoring them and then snapping them in half.

The nibbler looks like a pair of pliers and it allows you to cut one tile at a time.

3.  Cut the Mesh Between Tiles

The way to cut mosaic tile sheets is to leave individual tiles whole and to cut the fiberglass mess between the tiles.

4.  Best Way:  Cut From Back

If you need to cut a mosaic sheet, the best way to do this is to cut from the back with a utility knife.  The fiberglass mesh will easily yield to a sharp utility knife.

5.  Be Careful of Shifting Tiles

Even though the tiles are affixed to a single sheet, the sheets are flexible and do not keep the tiles within perfectly square.

After you embed the mosaic tile sheet in the thinset mortar, make sure that the tiles within the sheet are properly lined up.