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Advance Installation Techniques

Working around obstacles

More often than not, the surfaces you are working with will have obstacles that obstruct the flow of the tiles, and make tiling more difficult. In most situations, you can simply remove individual tiles from the mosaic mesh and install around the obstacle.

If that's not possible or would result in too big of a gap then you will have to resort to cutting the tile. For the best results, we recommend the use of a wet tile saw. You can purchase this at your local home improvement store; and if you are only going to use it once or twice, we suggest renting one instead of purchasing.

Cutting Tile

Careful planning will help you eliminate unnecessary cuts, but most tile jobs require cutting at least a few tiles while others require cutting a large number of tiles, no matter how carefully you plan. For a few straight cut on light to medium weight tile or mosaic tile, use a snap cutter. If your're working with heavy tile or a large number of cuts on any kind of tile, a wet saw greatly simplifies the job. when using a wet saw, wear safety glasses and hearing protection. Make sure the blade is in good condition and the water container is full. Never use the saw without water, even for a few second.

Other cutting tools including nippers, hand-held tile cutters, and rob saws. Nippers can be used on most type of tile, but a rob saw is most effective with wall tile or mosaic tile, which is generally fairly soft. Please be caution as the hand held tile cutters and tile nippers can create razor sharp edges. Handle freshly cut tile carefully, and immediately round over the edges with tile stones. Lastly, before beginning a project, practice making straight and curved cuts on scrap tiles.

How to use a snap cutter

  1. Mark a cutting line on the tile with pencil or sharpie. Then place the tile in the cutter so the cutting wheel is directly over the line. While pressing down firmly on the wheel handle, run the wheel across the tile to score the surface. For a clean cut, score the tile only once each time.
  2. Snap the tile along the scored line, as directed by the tool manufacturer, usually snapping the tile is accomplished by depressing a lever on the tile cutter.

How to use a wet saw

  1. As individual saws varies, you must first read and understand the manufacture's directions. You can also direct your questions to a nearby home improvement rental center. When operating the machine, be sure to wear safety glasses and hearing protection. Also make sure water is reaching the blade at all time.
  2. Place the tile on the sliding table and lock the fence to hold the tile in place. Then press down on the tile as you slide it past the blade.

How to cut mosaic tile

Score cut on mosaic tiles with a tile cutter in the row where the cut will occur. Cut away excess strips of mosaic from the sheet using a utility knife. Then use a handheld tile cutter to snap tile one at a time. Notes: use tile nippers to cut narrow portions of tile after scoring.

Drilling holes in glass tiles

To drill small holes into glass tiles, you can use a diamond drill bit that is specially designed to drill glass. For holes larger than 1/4", you will need to use a diamond hole saw instead. When drilling, use plenty of lubrication / coolant to keep the drill tip cool and the hole clean. Make sure you don't exert too much pressure and let your drill work at it's own pace. In effect, you are actually grinding the glass away to make a hole.

If you want more control over the speed and pressure, then use a drill press. Securely clamp the tile to support the back of the tile and to prevent movement during the drilling process. Wear gloves and eye protection in case the glass breaks. Drilling from both sides of the tile helps to prevent the glass from chipping as the drill bit exits the tile. Start with the back and drill halfway through and then turn the tile over to complete the hole.

Finishing the edges

Another common issue when installing mosaic tiles is determining how to finish the edges of your tiled surface. If you can find a matching bullnose, then that's a good way to finish off the edge. Otherwise the most popular solution is to use tile edge trims.

Choosing the right grout "color"

Choosing the finish of your grout color is a matter of preference and décor. If you choose a contrasting color it will act as a grid-like highlight for the tiles. If you use a matching or complimentary color the effect will be a more continuous.

Sealing the grout

While the use of a sealer is not required, we highly recommend it. Grout is very porous and is prone to staining if not sealed. Sealing helps to prevent stains and dirt from penetrating into the grout and makes it easier to clean. A sealer also helps to prevent mold and mildew growth. Sealer should be used after the grout is cured, approximately 48 - 72 hours after grouting.

Handling left over tiles

If you followed our tile calculations, you should have just enough to finish your installation. However, if you did a stellar job during installation, you may find yourself with some leftovers. If you have many tiles leftover, you can always return them back for a refund minus the restocking fee. However, due to the heavy weight of the tiles and restocking fees, it may not be cost effective to return them. Instead, we recommend storing your leftover tiles in a safe place in case a tile get damaged in the years to come.

Installing metallic tiles on the floor

We strongly discourage installing metallic tiles as flooring. These tiles are durable but will scratch and be permanently damaged.