Your entryway may not be graced with sculptural fountains, but you can still give it a fabulous look and feel by covering a wall with mosaic tile.
Before You Start
Step 1: Draw a Tile Grid
Step 2: Install the Temporary Support Batten
Step 3: Remove the Straight Edges
Step 4: Mix the Adhesive
Step 5: Trowel On the Adhesive
Step 6: Install the Mosaic Sheets
Step 7: Place Remaining Tiles
Step 8: Plug Gaps Around Edges
Step 9: Grout and Clean Tiles
Step 10: Clean and Seal Wall
We chose a tile that consists of small natural stones held together with mesh backing—you'll find hundreds of options to choose from. Plan on spending a half-day rounding up supplies and planning, one day installing the tile and another half-day grouting and finishing up.
Use a level and straightedge to establish a grid on your wall equal in size to the tile sheets you'll be installing. Start at the top and work down so any cut sheets will be at the base of the wall where they'll be less noticeable.
Screw a long straight board just under the lowest grid line to create a guide and to support your first row of tiles. When tile has been installed to the ceiling, remove the bottom board and install the lowest row of tile.
To create a more "seamless" look, remove a few pebbles from the edges of each mat. Keep the spare pebbles and install them in a way that blends the separate sheets into a uniform surface once they're installed.
Use a paddle mixer and electric drill to mix the adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to get the right consistency. If the adhesive is too soupy, the tiles will slide; if it's is too stiff it will be harder to spread and embed the tiles.
Use a trowel to spread the adhesive. Use the flat side to press the adhesive onto the wall, then the notched side to create even coverage. Heed the manufacturer's "open" time and spread only as much adhesive as you can cover, so it won't skim over.
Carefully position each mosaic sheet. Use a scrap 2x4 to evenly press the tiles into the adhesive. Wipe off any adhesive that gets onto the tile face before it hardens.
Continue to place tiles on the wall, using the grid as a guide. Complete one horizontal row at a time. Clean up any excess adhesive immediately with a wet sponge.
Fill up any holes around the edges of your tile mats, using the loose pebbles from Step 3, to create a seamless wall of pebbles. Once you have reached the top of the wall, wait until the adhesive has dried, then remove the battens. Cut the last row of tile mats to size and repeat Steps 5 through 8.
With the adhesive now dry, mix the grout color of your choice outside. Use a foam grout float to apply the grout firmly to the tiles, ensuring that you work it into every nook and cranny of the wall. Clean off the excess grout with a damp cloth as you go.
Once the grout has set, use a damp cloth to remove the haze from the surface of the tiles, then allow it to dry. Use a large paintbrush to apply sealer to the wall.
© 2012 Reiman Media Group, LLC.