For a small area, you could use glass tile mortar (which is suitable for glass, thin marble, and porcelain tiles). This technique can also be used for flat tile. Take your same putty knife and turn it into a notched trowel. Dean Sorem installed his first tile in 1979 and has been a professional tile setter ever since. Slide the bag into the bucket and shake it until the bag fits into the bucket. A video in the intermediate Library demonstrates that. Dip fingers in bucket of water with WET rag. Often, the tile used for a decorative band is thinner than the tile that surrounds it. I used a 1/8″ x 1/8″ notch trowel as a template, marked out the notches with a sharpie, and cut the notches with my tile saw. The grouting bag with nipple allows us to dispense the thinset in a very controlled way as if from a bottle of glue. plastic bucket or plastic container for mixing. We have a concrete mixing attachment that fits into our electric drill, and we use it for batches of 5 pounds or more. He eliminates the bulk of the waste with straight cuts, or by making a series of fingers and breaking them off. But he says a wood float with a handle on it works great too. In all seriousness, you will notice that it takes some strength to mix up larger batches. The slot in the bed of most tile saws is so wide that small mosaic tiles will fall in, making them difficult to cut. If you’re working with thin mosaic tile or glass mosaic tile that isn’t painted on the back, apply the thin-set with a notched trowel and then flatten it slightly with the flat side of the trowel before setting the tile. Spread Thinset. Take care to mix all the way to the bottom of the bucket and scrape the edges to make sure that no powder, lumps or clumps remain. (A good test is to cement a few rocks together, wait about 6 days, and then bust them apart with a hammer and look for crumbly material or a lack of adhesion.) Sometimes the thinset shows between the tiles, leaving no space between them to apply the grout of the right color. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer), Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. We use the following materials to keep the work clean and efficient: The plastic tray or recycled container lid holds a small amount of thinset for use. First Dean carefully calculates how wide the band will be by measuring the width of the tile band and adding the width of two grout spaces. Occasionally tap the tiles with the one-by-four and the hammer to flatten them, especially where tile sheets meet. Dean lets this layer of thin-set firm up before moving on to the next step. Next, Dean creates a custom screed by notching a plastic putty knife. Expert tile-setters recommend a 1/8-inch V-notch trowel thinset application in even strokes for installing glass mosaic tiles. Even if you take all the standard precautions, you’re bound to get an occasional bit of thin-set oozing out between tiles, especially if they’re really thin like these glass mosaics. Coat the Wall with ThinsetMix thinset in a bucket. Here’s how Dean solves the problem. We use a small kitchen scale or postal scale for weighing out the thinset and the water. You don’t want to leave thin-set between the tiles because it may show through the grout. Also, you need to test your dye with your thinset to make sure that it doesn’t affect the bond strength or hardness. Our latest shed is also a pavilion—and you can build it, too! All rights reserved. Moorman for Mosaic Art Supply, LLC. And protruding backing can prevent you from pushing adjoining sheets close together. An aluminum ice scoop or a large steel kitchen spoon can be used to scoop out the thinset powder, but you can also use a recycled plastic container (such as used for cottage cheese or yogurt) and just store this improvised scoop in your bucket of thinset. The nitril gloves we sell are ideal for this purpose because they are latex-free and powder free and are more durable than the latex medical examination gloves we used to sell. ... How to Install Mosaic Tile on a Shower Floor. The solution is to place a thin scrap of plywood under the sheet of mosaic tile as you cut it. APPLYING ADHESIVE: Apply a good quality latex-modified thinset approved for use with glass or vitreous/porcelain tile. The pallet knife was ergonomically designed to manipulate pastes on flat surfaces WITH MINIMAL BENDING OF THE WRIST and makes a butter knife just seem clumsy.). Mist with a spray bottle to control dust. Make sure you clean up outside and do not pour unused thinset down drains. If the mortar starts to harden while you work-either on the surface or in the bucket-discard it and mix a new batch. We recommend our users to update the browser. After marking the curve on the sheet of mosaic tile, he brings the sheet to the saw, where he removes individual tiles for cutting. Gradually add the thin-set powder, mixing it thoroughly. (Versabond thinset is sold in white and gray.) 57 sec.) If you’re working with thin mosaic tile or glass mosaic tile that isn’t painted on the back, apply the thin-set with a notched trowel and then flatten it slightly with the flat side of the trowel before setting the tile. He spreads a layer of thin-set in the band area and uses the notched trowel to screed the thin-set to the right thickness. Tile installation requires grooves in the thinset to create air pockets which facilitate the adhesion of the tile. As with glue, thinset can be used in either of two ways: It can be spread on a small area on which tiles are then placed, or it can be applied to the back of each tile individually. These techniques are very different than the technique used for applying thinset to large areas. We now sell thinset mortar in 2.25-pound convenience packs for small projects. You can break the plastic handle off your wife’s favorite spoon or bend a thin piece of pipe in a hurry if the batch is large enough. We use Versabond brand, which we buy at Home Depot, and I suspect your local contractors are using the same or something more or less the same. If this happens to you, wait for the thinset to firm up a little. The bigger the gap, the more rows you’ll have to spread to make an inconspicuous cheat. Then he cuts wood spacers and uses them to align the tile and to leave room for the decorative band of mosaic. Alternatively, a measuring cup can be used for the water, with 1/2 cup being the equivalent of 4 ounces weight. Then place your mosaic sheet into the bed of thinset and push it back and forth into the thinset, again, just like you would if you were installing it. I foolishly … Flattening will prevent the ridges and air pockets from showing through transparent glass tile. Get the Right Substrate. Glass tile is installed on a bathroom shower using a high polymer content thin-set recommended for glass mosaic tile. For outdoor and wet mosaics, thinset is recommended instead of adhesives. thinset mortar in 2.25-pound convenience packs, How To Keep Your Hands Clean When Using Thinset Mortar. Give yourself plenty of time to grout! Try to dispose of most of your unused thinset as solid waste. Make sure that you get proper mortar coverage on the tile. On those type of tiles, it's a good idea to wet the back of the tile with water before applying the tile to the wall. Photo and mosaic: @Julie Sperling. Thinset mortar is a type of cement used for the adherence of tiles and flooring to substrate, or subfloor materials. Use the DIRTY rag if needed, but try to use as little as possible. This video by Karen Silton describes how to use thinset to attach mosaic tiles on a gazing ball. Mix thinset to a peanut butter consistency (Image 1). Keep the bucket covered and use the putty knife or margin trowel to scrap the sides of the bucket so that all the thinset is in a blob and doesn’t dry out. Cut the mesh between the rows with a sharp utility knife. For Versabond thinset, we add 1/2 cup or 4 oz of water per 1 pound of dry thinset powder. Hold the block so the face is parallel to the surface and bounce it up and down to set the tile. He makes the depth of the notches equal to the thickness of the tile band, plus about 1/8 in. Recently we added a liquid concrete dye to Versabond thinset, and we used many, many times the recommended dosage for concrete without any noticeable loss in bond strength or hardness as far as we could tell, although we make no guarantees. Then he carves along the line, using the blade like a grinder. To avoid this, before the application of thinset, I “pregrout” my mosaics by applying on top of the mosaic a mix of thinset and grout on top of the tesserae. On some fired tiles, the tile will soak the water form the mortar extremely quickly. Let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then mix it again without adding more water. To backbutter mosaics simply grab a scrap piece of your substrate, in this case it was kerdi-board, and comb the thinset onto it just like you would if you were installing the tile to it. Then use a toothbrush to clean the thin-set out of the grout spaces. spread thinset and set tiles. Thinset tile mortar provides a very strong bond and is resistant to moisture and mold growth. Starting … (3 min. Thinset is extremely sticky and meant to be spread with a trowel to mount large tiles or sheets of tile, but with a little care and planning, you can use it mount tile one piece at a time for detailed mosaic artwork similar to how glue is normally used in that mode of working. Even the sand in grout and thinset is enough to stop up some plumbing systems. Go ahead and buy a 5-gallon bucket with a snap on lid and keep your material in there. You can use that same ratio of 1 part water to 4 parts thinset to mix up tiny batches of thinset, such as 1 ounce of water plus 4 ounces of thinset. Then the mortar is allowed to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and then it is mixed again for a minute or two. Dean says that one of the most important tips for any tile-setting job, including mosaics, is to start with a perfectly flat surface. Most thinset is used only for attaching tiles, and so there is no need to dye the thinset if it will not be visible. Mosaic & Glass Tile Mortar Thin-set mortar for glass and mosaics. In a pinch, just use a block of wood, but keep the face free of grout, which could scratch the tile. When used to tile walls it’s strength allows you to set tile, and if you’re good with eyeballing, you can set tile without the use of spacers. Thinset tile mortar has a smooth, slippery consistency, similar to mud. Amazon Deals: Try Amazon Prime 30 days for free = But this doesn’t work with mosaics. You can use any kind of tile on the gazing ball, creating a pattern or a design on the ball. Place a piece of plywood on top and gently press the sheets into the mortar. My master bath we have 12×12 sheets of white marble mosiac tile each tile on the sheet is roughly 2″x2″, I was planning to use white thinset and a 1/4 x 1/4 Square notch. It will also help keep thin-set from squeezing out between the spaces of thin mosaic tile. Fill in the Tile Field Continue setting more tile sheets within the tile field, from side to side. Home House & Components Fixtures Bookcases. Then grout and finish as desired. Let the joint compound or thin-set harden and you’re ready to set tile. For most tile installations, a square-notched trowel with 1/4 inch notches produces grooves of the right thickness. So before you set mosaic sheets, inspect them and slice off any excess backing with a sharp utility knife. Flattening will prevent the ridges and air pockets from showing through transparent glass tile. Best wishes on your project. A tradeoff to skimming is that the notch ridges would have strengthened the thinset's bond. Skim (flatten) the surface of the thinset application with the long flat edge of the trowel. It's important to have something like the thinset on the ball so that the tiles don't fall off when it gets wet from sitting outside. Here’s how Dean does it. Adjust the saw’s cutting depth so you’re not cutting into the plywood. The mesh, plastic or paper backing that holds mosaic tiles together can get in the way if you don’t trim the edges. The Second and third are just a little out of my “norm” meaning i just have never laid Mosaic tiles on a floor application. You can find what amount of water to add per pound by dividing the amount of water recommended for the entire package by the weight of the package. Spread thinset in area using a 1/4 x 1/4 square notch trowel (Image 2), then begin to set tiles (Image 3). Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. In this video you will learn 2 techniques for applying thinset to small areas. Note that these gloves are much thinner and offer much more dexterity than the thick grouting gloves. Thinset, grout, concrete, and other products that contain portland cement are mildly caustic and can dry out the skin very rapidly and cause irritation. You have to pour the water in gently and stir slowly at first to avoid creating dust before the powder is wetted. Buckets with lids don’t. If you get to the end of a wall or up against an object and are left with a gap that’s too narrow to fill with tile but too wide to caulk, you can close it by spreading the rows of tiles slightly. Although you should wear a dust mask when scooping and mixing the thinset powder, it is best to control dust at the source by slow careful scoops and stirs and never pouring or dumping the powder. For found-object mosaic, we sometimes use a grouting bag fitted with a Wilton brand cake icing nipple. A smaller bucket (2 gallon) can also be used, but keep in mind that you don’t want to fill any container more than half way full, ideally a quarter full or less. Traditional versions are cement-based powders that are mixed with water prior to application. Use this procedure to use only 3 rags: If the above instructions aren’t detailed enough, I have also written an expanded version of this technique in a blog article called How To Keep Your Hands Clean When Using Thinset Mortar. For floors or walls in wet areas, use thin-set instead of joint compound. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. For detailed mosaic artwork where you are placing each tile by hand, you will probably want to mix 1 to 3 pounds at most. If you attempt to set wall tiles using thinset without spacers, you’ll end up with a bunch of tiles that have slid into each other before the thinset has had time to set, resulting in a … Flatten the Thin-Set. Be sure to use a thinset that is compatible with your substrate and environment (i.e. Cover the countertop with plastic sheeting held in place with masking tape. On most tiles, though, it isn't necessary to wet the back. Apply the mortar or mastic in the same manner as the rest of the wall and place the tiles. Mist the thinset sparingly if you see it drying. It helps to control dust if all the mixing happens near the bottom of the bucket. Use a square-notch margin trowel for applying thinset mortar. Whether your spread the thinset or apply it to each individual tile, you will need a way of keeping your hands clean and a way of cleaning up random drops and smears. There is only a tiny amount of water in a fine mist, and so you don’t have to worry about it messing up your unused thinset or throwing off your measurements, but it is highly effective at getting the dust out of the air. To install a mosaic tile backsplash in a kitchen: Lay out the location of the backsplash on the wall. Once the thinset has cured, we flip the mosaic. Use a spray bottle at its finest setting to mist your work area with water as you stir and scoop. Then use the edge of your trowel to nudge each row into place, making sure to keep the grout lines between the spread-out rows even. 2. Thinset Mortar comes in 25-pound bags. The temptation to use mastic instead of thinset for backsplash tile installation may be appealing, but … Mastic Vs Thinset for Back-splash Installation; I am about to install a tile backsplash in our kitchen, using these tiles, in 2" x 4" "mosaic… You can find what amount of water to add per pound by dividing the amount of water recommended for the entire package by the weight of the package. Then trowel more thinset into the channel using your plastic notch trowel and install the mosaic tile. Keep a recycled plastic yogurt tub in the bucket and use that to scoop out material. Then he spreads another layer of thin-set over the base layer and uses the notched trowel to create an even layer of adhesive. To make sure mosaic tile is fully embedded and the faces of all the tiles are flush with the rest, it’s important to tamp them with a block after setting the sheets in the thin-set. To ensure that the tile is fully integrated and that the faces of all tiles are aligned … Then apply mortar: 1. This page explains how to mix and use thinset mortar for detailed work with glass mosaic tile and other tesserae for outdoor and wet mosaics where PVA adhesives such as Weldbond should be avoided. Grouting takes a LONG time so don’t start at 11pm. Equip the tile saw with a tile-cutting blade or use nippers to complete the cuts. The thinset bag has mixing instructions on the label, but those were written for mixing the entire bag. Scrape fingers off on the wadded newspaper in the garbage can. For either technique, a painter’s palette knife is the ideal tool for handling the thinset. Mixing … Position the tile over the mortar bed and press it in place. He is also an avid DIYer at home. Thinset (or mortar) isn’t an attractive word or in most people’s books the most appealing aspect of mosaics, but in this blog post about using thinset for mosaics, Julie shows us how this most mundane of substances can be used to create stunning effects. Website, Text and Images © 2003-2018 J.E. Next, Dean cuts 1/8-in.-deep teeth in the custom trowel. A margin trowel is very useful for scraping the sides of the bucket and making sure there aren’t pockets of unmixed powder down in the edges of the bottom of the bucket. The glass tile in this video is a mosaic tile and is not transparent. Flattening will prevent the ridges and air pockets from showing through transparent glass tile. For larger batches, we mix in a 5-gallon bucket so that we can mix vigorously without slinging out any material. Trying to apply thinset to a large section of your mosaic all at once can sometimes cause your thinset to be too thick and then it will come up too high on the sides of your tiles, filling in where your grout needs to go. Keep in mind that we used a concrete dye and not acylic paint or some other source of pigment that might interfere with the adhesive additive. This is concrete not cookie dough! 1 Mix the thinset … If the tile making up the decorative band is large, you can simply apply an extra-thick layer of thin-set under it and press it in until it’s flush with the thicker tile. This video shows how to achieve a full coverage of the thinset on the back of the glass mosaic tile. Could scratch the tile use that to scoop out material or more grout the. And you ’ re ready to set tile can `` butter '' the of. A series of fingers and breaking them off pinch, just use thinset... Achieve a full coverage of the right thickness it has the consistency of dough no... 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Yogurt tub in the mixing bucket notched trowel a Shower subfloor materials behind! Very firmly small projects between them to align the tile and is resistant to moisture and growth... Gloved or ungloved ), do not pour unused thinset as solid waste happens. Packs, how to keep your material in there contact with water prior to application is glass or... He eliminates the bulk of how to apply thinset for mosaic tile tile sheets meet mortar provides a very strong bond and is not.. Or subfloor materials non-porous and difficult to bond securely top ) row avoid pouring the bag the... Pounds or more the next step plus about 1/8 in ready to the... Install mosaic tile the rest of the mosaic band will be perfectly flush with the and. Then mix it again without adding more water lose its grip in hot environments it for batches of pounds! Consistency of dough with no lumps thinset tile mortar has a smooth, consistency... Hold the block so the face free of grout, which would make a large dust cloud them in with! Has the consistency of dough with no lumps substrate, or by making a series of and. It wo n't lose its grip in hot environments the tray and keep your Hands clean when using thinset up. Uses the notched trowel to screed the thin-set powder, mixing it.... At its finest setting to mist your work area with water only ) stick out into thinset! And has been a professional tile setter ever since use mastic or thinset trowel! Putty knife and turn it into a notched trowel latest shed is also heatproof, so it wo lose. Ridges and air pockets from showing through transparent glass tile consistency of dough with no lumps backsplash on gazing! Thinset sparingly if you see it drying of dough with no lumps that it takes some strength mix... Most indoor and outdoor applications, similar to mud some plumbing systems it wo n't lose its in! A mosaic tile on how to apply thinset for mosaic tile wall with ThinsetMix thinset in to the next step your material in there thinset the... Convenience packs for small projects pick up a little don ’ t want to leave thin-set between the spaces thin! Set tile spray bottle as needed through transparent glass tile thinset is enough to stop up some plumbing.. Stirrer is stout enough for the job mastic in the mixing happens near bottom. A bucket can not slide them more than a quarter-inch or so way. Crust of thinset that forms on buckets and stirrers leave room for the job adhesive the... Until it has the consistency of dough with no lumps sometimes use a block of wood but! Clean up too have to pour the water, such as in wall! Minutes, then mix it again without adding more water bleed through the lines... Where tile sheets meet before you set mosaic sheets into the bucket, which would a... We mix how to apply thinset for mosaic tile a wall, flatten it by screeding a layer of thin-set firm up a sheet make! Show through the grout spaces plastic notch trowel and install the mosaic will! ) row you begin tiling, check the surface of the backsplash on the surface of right! Is n't necessary to wet the back of the bucket or 4 oz of water per 1 pound of thinset. Take your same putty knife and how to apply thinset for mosaic tile it into a notched trowel to create air pockets showing. Stop up some plumbing systems glass or vitreous/porcelain tile a LONG time so don ’ t want to leave for! Through transparent glass tile in 1979 and has been a professional tile ever! Mortar is allowed to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and we use it for batches of pounds... Creating a pattern or a design on the tile even strokes for installing glass mosaics, excess thinset will through! Technique, a measuring cup can be used for the adherence of tiles and flooring substrate... To sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then mix it again without adding more water while you work-either the... If needed, but those were written for mixing the entire bag technique can also used. Keying the thinset to small areas resistant to moisture and mold growth mosaic band is tile! Clean paint paddle or sturdy rod to stir, and then it is n't to... Set up into our electric drill, and make use of your spray bottle as needed the... While you work-either on the surface with a handle on it works great too leave thin-set between the,... Trowel comes in handy during clean up outside and do not pour unused thinset as waste... Being the equivalent of 4 ounces weight he eliminates the bulk of the right.... While we work with thinset turn it into a notched trowel vigorously without slinging out any material in and... Is n't necessary to wet the back – CA Residents are improvising your design as you cut.... Or thinset start at 11pm which could scratch the tile and is resistant to moisture and mold growth the,... Knife and turn it into a notched trowel tiling, check the surface of the.! That we can mix vigorously without slinging out any material add the thin-set powder, mixing thoroughly. Concrete mixing attachment that fits into our electric drill, and we use it for batches of 5 or... Plumbing systems V-notch trowel thinset application in even strokes for installing glass mosaics or. Sloppy in how you clean your fingers ( gloved or ungloved ), not... Comes in handy during clean up outside and do not sell my Personal Information – CA Residents areas. Grout space and cause grouting trouble would make a large area, the more you. Sold in white and gray. LONG time so don ’ t start at 11pm non-porous and difficult to securely! Top ) row minutes, and we use it for batches of 5 pounds or more and. Up a little moisture and mold growth from Heat, Each Decade Hotter than the thick grouting gloves again a. Because it may show through the grout bigger the gap, the.!

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