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Quattro 03-16-2010 11:13 AM

New to tiling...doing a glass mosaic tile backsplash
Howdy all.

We really like the look of 1-inch (nominal) glass mosaic tiles. We have purchased several "sheets" (12 x 12 inch nominal) and will be putting them on the kitchen walls. I have purchased white thinset (premixed), and plan to use an unsanded white grout to finish. I have a few questions:

1. The current wall material is drywall, with a 1/8" concrete coating with a top-coat sand texture and paint. The wall surface is extremely durable, and in perfect condition. Is there any prep, other than de-greasing the painted surface, to get proper adhesion of the thinset?

2. We'll be doing tile 9" up from the counter (which is a backsplash-free oak butcherblock), and then all the way up to the ceiling behind the range hood. Any tips to keep all the lines looking parallel and perpendicular? I don't suppose chalk lines would work once the thinset is up.

That's about it. I'm pretty sure we can do this, but I thought I'd ask for any pointers from this DIY group beforehand.

Thanks! :)

handyguys 03-16-2010 01:30 PM

I think you are good to go. Some will balk at the choice of 'thinset' but for a backsplash I think it will be fine.

As for keeping the line. In my opinion straight is preferable to level. if your counter top and your cabinets are parallel to each other your golden and you just follow the line of the counter-top.

if not then determine where you want to fudge things. I would say follow the line of the counter-top and let the cabinet to tile top vary.

good luck and post some pics. If anyone disagrees i'm all ears

Nestor_Kelebay 03-16-2010 03:33 PM

Whenever I've installed mosaic tiles, I always had a problem with the tiles not laying in straight rows.

I'd have a carpenter's square handy so that you can set it into each grout line on the sheet to get all the tiles in each sheet straightened up after setting the sheet. In my case, I found that setting mosaic tiles was a bit of a pain because the tiles wouldn't stay in straight lines with a uniform grout line width between them. So, I had to set each sheet of mosaic tiles, and then spend a few minutes straightening up the tiles in that sheet by setting a carpenter's square into the grout lines on that sheet.

Check before hand to ensure that the carpenter's quare will fit between your tiles and under the cabinets.

Quattro 03-16-2010 06:37 PM

Thanks for the tips! Fortunately, we'll only be going 1/2 way up to the bottom of the cabinets. I think there is a 1/4" height difference over the course of 8 feet. Not too bad.

I have a plastic rafter square that I think will work well to "align" the thanks for that tip Nestor. These tiles are mesh-backed, and at least when I hold it in my hand I don't see a way they could move relative to each other, unless the mesh buckled.

I also plan to use a tapping board across several sheets to help keep them the same depth in the thinset.

Nestor_Kelebay 03-19-2010 08:47 AM


These tiles are mesh-backed, and at least when I hold it in my hand I don't see a way they could move relative to each other, unless the mesh buckled.
Yeah, me too. I found that setting mosaic tile was more difficult that it first seemed.

You also might want to get some sandpaper and some wide masking tape.

I always set wall tiles without any additive in the thin set. I just used Mapei Kerabond Grey without the Keralastic additive. I found that the thin set would remain soft enough to remove easily with sandpaper for quite a while after setting the tiles.

So, if you get any thin set on the edges of the tiles, or any comes oozing out between the tiles, you can remove it easily by just folding a piece of sandpaper in half and running it up and down the grout line to remove the thin set and clean the edges of the tiles.

Mastic provides good "grab" when you set tiles so the tile don't move. However, tiles set with thin set are more prone to sliding down the wall. Since you can't support the mosaic tiles from below, I'd mark a line where you want the top edge of the tile to be and mask off the area you want to spread thin set over. Spread your thin set over 3 or 4 lineal feet of that counter and pull the masking tape off. Set your mosaic tiles along your pencil line and hold the top row of tiles up with masking tape so they "hang down" to the top of the counter. Otherwise there's a risk the tiles will slide down the wall.

Quattro 03-24-2010 08:03 AM

If I do that, I'd have to wait until each course has cured before doing another course on top, right? I'm thinking of the area behind the range hood, which will go from counter top to ceiling.

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