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Install Mosaic Tile Sheets: Tips to Make the Job Easier

Ceramic tile tends to come in sizes of 6 inch or 12 inch square, or even larger, ranging up to 18 inches square. But when you get into the world of small 1 inch square terrazzo tiles (or even smaller), installation can be quite difficult. In the ancient days of tile installation, during the Roman and Greek periods, tile installers would painstakingly lay each tile individually. Nowadays, who has the time for this?

But it is not just a matter of time; it is a matter of accurate installation. Installing hundreds of little tiles within one square foot is a recipe for crooked lines. Multiple iterations will make your kitchen or bathroom floor look terrible.

The solution is to use mosaic tile sheets. Usually 144 tiles, more or less, are affixed to a fiberglass mesh sheet, which holds all of the tiles in place. This mosaic sheet represents one square foot. To put it lightly, the mosaic tile sheet is your friend!

Even though you have improved upon the 2000 year old technique of installing individual terrazo tiles, that does not mean that mosaic sheets are an easy installation. Here are a few tips that will make the project of mosaic tile installation much easier:

· Remember that even though the tiles are affixed to a single sheet, the sheets are flexible and do not necessarily keep the tiles within perfectly square. After you embed the mosaic tile sheet in the thinset mortar, you need to make sure that the tiles within the sheet are properly lined up.

· If you need to cut a mosaic sheet, cut from the back with a utility knife.

· If you prefer to cut the mosaic sheet from the top with scissors, it is harder to get a clean cut. You will need to slightly bend the two courses of tiles between which you are cutting. This gives your scissors room to fit.

· As much as possible, make sure the mosaic tile sheets are cut between tiles. It is difficult to cut individual tiles.
· Use a small piece of plywood (about 8 inches square) and a rubber mallet to tap down the mosaic sheet into the thinset mortar. This flattens it out, giving it a nice smooth surface. Also, it ensures that the mosaic tile sheet is firmly embedded in the mortar.

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