How to Set Mosaic Wall Tiles Evenly

Written by larry simmons
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Mosaic walls can bring a level of art to tile placement that may be difficult to match with any other tiled arrangements. You can create anything from abstract patterns to detailed pictures with mosaic wall tiles, the only limits to what you can create are enforced by the tiles you have to hand. Creating an even mosaic wall may limit you further though. For this, you will need to choose tiles, or pieces of tiles all of the same height, and apply them to the wall keeping in mind the goal of a final surface that's not only attractive to see, but even and level.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chalk
  • Asphalt mastic
  • Trowel
  • Red resin paper
  • Broken tiles
  • Fibreglass mesh
  • Wellbond adhesive
  • Thin set mortar
  • Plywood board three feet square
  • Rubber-headed mallet
  • Grout float
  • Grout
  • Sponge
  • Tile sealant

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  1. 1

    Mark an outline of the wall where you'll be placing your mosaic wall tiles using chalk.

  2. 2

    Spread an asphalt mastic layer evenly onto the wall using the flat of a trowel. Place the notched edge of the trowel onto the mastic and run it across the adhesive, raising a series of ridges. Place sheets of red resin paper onto the mastic as a moisture barrier between the wall and the tiles. Allow the mastic to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  3. 3

    Arrange the design of your mosaic tiles on a flat surface. Once arranged, turn the tiles over onto a surface next to the tile arrangement so that they are face down but maintain the chosen arrangement.

  4. 4

    Place a layer of fibreglass mesh onto the flat surface the same size as the area to be tiled. Glue the tiles directly to the mesh using Wellbond adhesive placed lightly on the tiles, working from the outside of the mosaic design inward, to ensure that the tiles do not go outside the design limits. Leave a 1/8 inch space or less between the tiles for grout, moving the tiles slightly as needed to fit. Allow the tiles to set to the mesh for 48 hours.

  5. 5

    Mix a batch of thinset compound in a bucket and spread the thinset onto the rosin. Place the fibreglass mesh containing the tiles into place following the chalk as a guide. If the mesh is too large to place as a whole, use a utility knife to cut the mesh into manageable pieces for placement.

  6. 6

    Lay a plywood board about two square feet in size over the tiles and press the tiles firmly into the thinset. Tap the board using the rubber headed mallet to make certain the tiles are evenly set into the mortar. Allow the thinset to cure 48 hours.

  7. 7

    Grout the tiled surface by spreading the grout into the spaces between the tiles using a grout float. Allow the grout 30 minutes to begin setting and then wipe away the excess grout using a damp sponge. Give the grout a second 30 minutes to harden and then remove the cloudy residue left by the grout on the tiles using a lint-free cloth. Leave the grout to harden for a further 24 hours.

  8. 8

    Seal the grout and tiles with a layer of sealant and allow the sealant to dry for 24 hours before touching the wall.

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