Here you can learn the step-by-step process of installing stainless steel, aluminum and copper mosaic tiles. You too can create a beautiful new surface from modern metal tiles by following these simple instructions. The installation photos here show you how to install the mosaic tiles on a wall with a backsplash. You can also install tiles on the floor using the same procedure. The only difference is that different adhesives are used for floors and walls.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a suggestion only and should be treated as such only. The publisher of this article is not liable for incorrect installations or damage caused by the procedure described here.
INSTALLATION TOOLS AND MATERIAL
All mosaic tile distributors and most home improvement stores carry the items listed below. Ask the sellers if you can't find anything.
5/32" trowel with V-notch for applying glue (or similar trowel)
Enough stainless steel, aluminum or copper mosaic tiles to cover the entire area
Enough adhesive (each for wall or floor) for the entire area. Adhesive for standard ceramic tiles is 100% compatible with our products.
Enough grout for the entire area. Use non-quartz grout for metal or non-metal tiles with 0-1/8" spacing and quartz only for 1/8 – ½" tiles. For metallic or mirror tiles, we recommend quartz-free mortar, otherwise the surfaces could be scratched when grouting.
Clean sponge or cloth
Two buckets, one for water and one for mixing the glue and mortar.
A motorized floor saw (if cuts need to be made around specific objects, simply remove the appropriate tile from the backing material).
Optional: a flat wooden board (2x4 to 6-12" works well) and a hammer.
INSTALLATION: A STEP-BY-STEP PROCESS
Prepare the adhesive/mortar according to the instructions on the packaging. Apply with the flat side of the trowel.
Apply grout with the V-notch side to ensure an even depth.
Place the Mosaic Backing Mats onto the prepared area with light pressure.
Place the remaining support mats at an appropriate distance from each other.
On request: Take your wooden board and a hammer and level out any differences in height by tapping lightly.
After about 10-15 minutes, remove the protective film from the metal tiles. If this is made of paper, you can moisten it and peel it off. Plastic films can simply be carefully peeled off.
Before the glue/mortar is fully set you can make fine adjustments to ensure all spacing is even.
After 24 hours you can use a brush to carefully remove any residue of glue or paper from the tiles. Then wipe the surface with a damp sponge.
Prepare your jointing mortar. Apply this with a rubber joint and press the mass evenly into all gaps. Do not use mortar containing quartz on metal tiles.
After 15 minutes to an hour (depending on package directions), take a cloth or damp sponge and wipe away excess grout from tile surface. Work carefully so you don't accidentally remove the grout from the gaps.
After the grout has set (approx. 12-24 hours) use a clean cloth or sponge to remove the grout haze from the tiles. Use an industrial solvent containing alcohol to remove any adhesive residue from the metal tiles.
Information on cleaning
0-24 hours after installation - no cleaning.
24 hours to 10 days - use clean, warm water and a neutral pH detergent suitable for tiles.
After 10 days – a mixture of sulphurous cleansing crystals and warm water applied with a nylon brush. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and rinse with clear water.
PLEASE NOTE: As the stainless steel tiles are metal (conductive), only qualified electricians should work around the tiled area.
CUT METAL MOSAIC TILES
Since the tiles are very small, you can often simply cut through the carrier material and remove individual tiles where there are objects. But if unsightly gaps remain, you have to cut the individual tiles.
It may sound difficult, but cutting metal tile is relatively easy. The majority of metal tiles are actually ceramic tiles covered with a 1-2mm thick metal plate. If the entire tile were metal, cutting would be very difficult, if not impossible. The typical structure of a metal tile is shown below.
The easiest method is with a power saw, also known as a wet saw. Since the tiles are so thin, you can usually use an inexpensive saw, which is available at most hardware stores. Such saws can also be rented, which may be the cheaper alternative given the short service life. However, we must point out that handling these saws involves a certain risk as the tiles are very small and it requires practice and skill to handle them properly.
Another alternative is to use a ceramic tile hand saw, which is also available at most hardware stores. It's important to realize that there is one tool that is unlikely to work for metal-ceramic and that is a tile breaker/scratching tool. This is unsuitable for metal.
If you do not feel comfortable cutting the tiles yourself, you can have them cut by a qualified tradesman.
FPREPARE THE EDGE OF METAL / GLASS MOSAIC INSTALLATION
A frequent question is about the finishing edges. There are several ways to optically finish the edges. Backsplashes are usually in the shape of an L and are ideal for tiling finishes. These are available from hardware stores and can be attached using the same adhesive that you used for the tiles. These border strips are often perforated on one side so that they can be attached to the wall with the adhesive. The edge is left open and the tiles are attached up to here. The gap is then grouted along with the tiles to give a clean finishing edge.
How to remove the protective film from metal tiles:
There are 3 methods:
- Hot water
- Household steam (used to remove wrinkles from curtains)
- hair dryer (not too hot to melt the plastic)
In any case, use a clean cloth to gently remove the foil from the metal.