Tips] [Which Stone's Right
For Me] [Stone
Finishes] [Countertop Edge]
Installation Tips ...
Success with glass tile and stone
practical as well as aesthetic matters. Whether your project is small or
large, whether you design it or hire a professional, and whether you
install it yourself or rely on a tile setter, you should be aware of
certain facts before starting a project.
1) Making Selection
Selecting the right glass mosaic tile or stone mosaic tile for your job
requires asking yourself the following questions:
- Where and how do I plan to use the glass
- What is my budget?
- What is the architectural style of my house?
- What is my personal taste?
- What are my living habits?
Once you have narrowed your choices, buy a
few samples. When you are selecting tiles from a catalog (or a website)
and cannot feel the texture or experience the color and quality of the
glaze, ask for samples before committing yourself. Live with them for a
few days. Look at them next to other surfaces and materials they
will share the space with. Be sure to switch on the lights in the room the
tile will inhabit because the tile color will look different in your home than it did
under the showroom lights.
2) Time to Order ....
When you are ready to buy mosaic tiles, it is essential that you purchase the
right amount of field tile, and proper trim pieces at the same time. Tiles
are packed in cartons that may contain up to 20 square feet. Decorative
trim and border usually sell by linear foot, and sometimes sell by piece. However, you may prefer to leave calculations
to professionals, especially if you are creating an intricate pattern.
If you are working with an architect or
interior designer, he or she will specify exactly which pieces are needed.
For a complex job, the designer may even take elevation drawings to the
tile retailer and have them reviewed by store personnel before the order is
If you are doing the installation yourself,
bring exact measurements and a detailed drawing or a set of blueprints to
the showroom, so that a salesperson can help you specify the order. If you
are using a professional to install your design, let him or her handle the
order to avoid any finger-pointing midjob should a shortage of glass
tiles or missing trim pieces occur, resulting in a delay.
Most professionals advise that you buy
5-10% more tile than you actually need to cover breakage and cuts during
installation, and to replace the occasional tile broken at a later date. If
the design is complex, laid on the diagonal, or will involve an unusual
amount of cutting, order even more.
If the mosaic tile is a common design, it is
likely to be warehoused by us, and delivery should take approximately 7-15 days.
Custom orders and imported tile may take up to 8-12 weeks or more, to
3) Figuring the Cost
Prices for glass mosaic tile and stone mosaic tile cover a broad spectrum. You may expect to pay from
$4 on up to $148 a square foot for "Maestro Mosaics". (Some
other brand-name suppliers could charge as much as 5-10 times for a
similar product.) Our online prices are retail prices. For a large project
above 1000 Sq.Ft., we can provide wholesale prices, which could be as
much as 10-50% off, depending upon quantity and product type. Complex designs and custom color
increases the cost. Solid-color squares are usually more affordable than
textured, relief, or hand-painted designs, larger sizes, and unusual
shapes. Some handmade glass tiles are priced individually rather than by
The field tile cost is the result of
multiplying the cost per square foot by the number of square feet needed
(including extra coverage). and by adding the cost of trim pieces. The cost of installation is
additional. Get at least 3 estimates and
be sure that prices are based on the same methods of installation and
materials. Labor costs will vary depending upon the area in which you live,
and the complexity of the project, which in turn affects the time
Typically, large flat area will
cost less per square foot than smaller jobs that entail a lot of detail
and trim work. The more cuts required to fit tile around corners and into
odd-shaped places, the higher the labor costs. For instance, diagonal
patterns need more cutting and costs more than a straight square.
installers charge more for handmade glass tile, as its irregularities make
it more time consuming to lay.
Before hiring an installer, check out a few of his or her completed
projects as well as references. Ask former clients about the installer's
timeliness, cleanliness, courtesy, and price. Be sure to visit not only
recently completed jobs, but also jobs that have been in place for a couple
of years, when problems are likely to have cropped up. The jobs should
be similar in scope to yours and feature similar tiles. If you are using
handmade glass mosaic tile, and all you see are factory tile jobs, the installer may not
be comfortable with the challenges of handmade materials. When comparing bids,
be aware that a low price may mean that the installer plans to take
shortcuts such as filling a small space with grout instead of
taking the time to cut tile. Ask your installer's advice and make your
preferences clear, including how to treat grout. If you have any doubts
about the tile itself, voice them now. A supplier will not entertain
claims after installation.
Simple mosaic tile installations can often be handled by do-it-yourselfers, but
others require the experience and skill of a professional. After
spending good money for a quality product, you may not want to take a risk
by spoiling it with poor craftsmanship or an inadequate substrate.
1. Accessing the structure. The weight of
tiled floors and walls is substantial. Ensure that the structure can
support the weight of the tile and mortar, and that there are no structural
problems behind the wall.
2. Surface Preparation. The surface must be
clean, level, stable, and, if necessary, waterproofed. Remove loose
substances or nail them down securely and patch as necessary. An
improperly prepared substrate can lead to maintenance headaches,
particularly in kitchens and baths where previous problems may have caused
damage or lingering wetness behind the walls.
3. Mortars and adhesives. It is important
that appropriate mortar or adhesive is chosen for your job. The factors
include the method of installation, location, function, type of tile and
budget. Generally there are 2 categories:
- Thin-set adhesives are designed to be
strong in a relatively thin application. A thin-set installation costs
less, can be completed more quickly, and cures faster than the
thick-set method. It weights less than a third as much as thick-set
installations. Thin-set has become the standard form;
however, it cannot be used in every situation.
- Portland-cement mortar is generally used
with thick-set installations because it is relatively inexpensive. A
mixture of Portland cement and sand is usually used for floor;
lime is added for walls. The thick-set method was standard until the 1950s
when new products enable faster, less labor-intensive techniques. A thick-set installation is impervious to water and can
compensate for irregular or unleveled surfaces. It allows an installer to
create a gentle slope, facilitating proper drainage in a shower, or to
correcting bad wall. Be aware that the height of the floor will be raised somewhere between 3/4 inch and 2 inches, in
addition to the thickness of the tile.
4. Seal. Stone
tile should be sealed to be water and stain resistant, a necessity in
kitchens, baths, and other rooms where spills are likely. Generally, there
are 2 categories of sealer -- penetrating (water based) and surface
(solvent based). Some penetrating sealers do not change the color of the
stone, others darken the stone slightly, and still others give the stone a
distinct "wet look". Surface sealers, which are usually
formulated from acrylic or urethane, impart a higher gloss, highlighting
the natural character and color of the stone. In most cases, sealer is
applied after the tile is laid but before it is grouted. Your retailer
will recommend a specific sealer depending upon the following three factors:
porosity of the stone, where it is to be installed, and the look desired.
Generally a water base product is for a bathroom or hallway, where
moisture resistance is key; a solvent-based one is usually better where
grease is the culprit. All sealers have to be reapplied as they wear down every few years. Penetrating types merely need a new coat, but surface
sealers must be removed before reapplication. Check the manufacturer's
recommendation and always test it before actually applying it to your actual
floor or wall.
5. Grout. There is a wide range of options.
The issues in deciding what grout to use are joint width, stain
resistance, location, underlayment, and any special factors, such as
dampness or freezing conditions. Consult your grout supplier for a
recommendation. Make sure you test the grout with your tile before an
actual installation. Some tiles can be stained by grout. Once the tile has set and any sealer has dried, Grout can
be forced into the spaces between tiles with a rubber float or a squeegee,
working one small area at a time. Excess grout must be carefully removed
by wiping the float across at a 90 degree angle to the surface, and then
by wiping the tiles clean. Floor should not be walked on for at least 1 day, and
sometimes 3 or 4 days following installation. Use plywood board or kraft paper
if it is absolutely necessary to cross the area.
Tips] [Which Stone's Right
For Me] [Stone
Finishes] [Countertop Edge] [Stone
MAESTRO MOSAICS: Glass Mosaic. Glass Tile. Stone Mosaic. Stone Tile.
By Granite & Marble Resources Inc.
Chicago Showroom: 222 Merchandise Mart, #115, Chicago, Illinois 60654
Skokie Showroom: 8027 N.Lawndale, Skokie, Illinois 60076 PHONE: (847)674-7926
Skokie Warehouse/Dealers Service Center: 8047 N.Monticello, Skokie, Illinois
Naples-Fort Myers: International Design Center, 10800 Corkscrew, #294,
Estero, Florida (239)948-4463
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