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Mosaic Tiles Buying Guide

It is the History of Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles – We’ve all encountered them, whether on the floor of a church or a beautiful mural your grandmother’s bathroom. These tiny ceramic squares of beauty be around for an time, yet many aren’t aware of their history. If you’re among them, then keep reading as we’re about to go a little deeper into the mosaic’s back story…

Like you’d expect, the story of mosaic tiles is interspersed with the history of its larger brothers, porcelain and ceramic tile, first appearing around 4000 years ago during the Mesopotamian period. The first mosaics were quickly made from ivory, shell, and stone and were employed by artists to make images and representations of kings and gods.

In 200 BC however it was 200 BC, it was 200 BC and the Roman Empire was in full flow and brought an array of innovative production methods and aesthetic ideas. Craftsmen quickly realized that there was a lot of money to be made from the tiny “tesserae” (or uniform) ready-made pieces that artists utilized to make mosaics. So that’s the way they went about it! The tiny blighters appeared everywhere as Roman artists made use of small squares of stone (marble particularly) to make sprawling floor mosaics that depicted the lavishness of splendour, glamour, debauchery and the squalor in Roman life.

As the history of the world progressed into the Byzantine period, so did the placement of mosaics, shifting from floors to ceilings and walls. The Byzantine period saw glass being increasingly used, with the creation of elaborate glass tesserae, also known as’smalti which were often covered with gold or silver leaf to give the opulence. Most Byzantine mosaics were religious in nature and, as such, were typically located in cathedrals. If you happen to be located in Ravenna in Italy it is possible to visit Ravenna’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites there and view some beautiful examples.

The following wave of development in mosaics came in the era of Islamic empires (such as the Ottoman Empire) that was a major influence and spanned across to the Middle east to North Africa in its glitz. Islamic mosaics usually featured a religious theme that was woven throughout them. They also used many different shapes of tiles and geometric shapes were the most popular to design patterns and designs.

Then we move to the late 1800s, and it was the time when Art Nouveau movement was really growing in popularity with artists like Anton Gaudi and Josep Maria Julol shaking things up and promoting more expressive organic mosaic art, something that the famous and famous sought to replicate in their residences. The use of mosaics set the stage for how they are seen and utilized in modern settings, right until today.

Why Do We Use Mosaics

Affordable, simple to set up, and the ability to design your own custom designs . These are just three reasons why renovators and DIYers all over the world are in love with mosaics. While domestic installations aren’t likely to adopt an artistic method, i.e. the creation of large-scale murals, mosaics can be used to allow an individuality whether it’s through borders or accents, or even through a personal message inserted into walls. But, visit any luxury bar, hotel or even a public space and you’ll find mosaics utilized in a variety of creative ways, both outside and inside.

Installing Mosaics

At first glance, mosaics may appear to be a painful experience to put in however, they’re actually not. The most common misconception is that you must meticulously apply grout to each mosaic however this isn’t the reality in any way. Mosaics are tile-like panels that are joined by meshes of fabric that are attached to floors and walls exactly the same way you would use ceramic or porcelain tiles (more on adhesives in the future).

They can be cut with cutters to any shape that will be able to fit into the space they will be installed. Once they’re in place they are used to fill in the spaces between the pieces and removed with a damp sponge, the same way you would do with larger tiles! The steps to installing mosaics on floors and walls are provided later in this article.

Mosaic Colours and Types

Our selection of mosaics will turn other tile stores’ selections into an eagle’s hat, and you’d be here for hours when we just told you about the most well-loved tiles (hey there are a lot of customers love a lot of the tiles we offer). But, we wouldn’t be being honest by not letting you know about some top-quality tiles that make a stunning addition to bathrooms or kitchens, as well as on walls and floors, regardless of the style you prefer to use.

Mosaic Sizes

Mosaic sheets measure by and large 300 x 300 inches in size and are available in a square format of tile-lie. The size and number of chips (the tiny pieces of tile that comprise the mosaic) will vary widely. For instance glass mosaics like Alaska Glass Mosaics generally feature uniform square chips that measure around the size of 23mm or 48mm square while something like Nice Stoneglass Mix Mosaics sport similar to modular chips that come with a variety of sizes, all contained in one tile.

How to Choose Mosaics of High-Quality

The fact that our wide variety of mosaics is affordable doesn’t mean that they’re of poor quality. Prices differ significantly from high-street where some stores sell these types of tiles for nearly twice the cost of the tiles sold by online stores. The best way to determine what tile is worth the cost is by purchasing samples of tiles to evaluate their quality. After you have received your samples the surface should not be smudges, markings or scratches on the surface. Likewise, If you’ve bought solid colour mosaics, the colours must be clear and sharp and not faded.

Utilizing Grout using Mosaics

You’ll know this by the information you’ve read, there are many mosaic designs to pick from. Did you realize that there are plenty of choices when it comes to grouting too. The selection of colors isn’t as wide as the variety of mosaics that are available however there are enough options to let you create your own unique design.

How to Install Mosaics

Wall Preparation

The process of preparing your walls for an enormous amount of mosaics is similar to preparing walls for normal tiles. Most mosaics are mounted on mesh backings and generally are 300×300 in size. As you would with normal tiles, you’ll have to make sure that the tile’s surface is level and primed (if it’s rendering, plywood or plasterboard, or the screeds of sand or cement that you’re tiling on). The application of Mapei Primer G using a brush or roller and allowing it to dry for at least 2 hours prior to beginning tile to ensure better adhesion will aid you in the long run in this case!

Floor Preparation

Mosaics are available in a variety of materials like glass, stone, travertine, and marble. Whatever tiles you choose to make them of, you’ll need to make sure that the flooring that you’re placing them on is even. The Mapei Ultraplan Screed is an absolute godsend for those who have floors that are uneven It can be applied with pump or hand, and then finished using the use of a spiked roller or trowel. When your floor is smoothed (leave it to air dry for up to 24 hours) you’re ready to begin laying tiles. The same guidelines you’ve received tiles that are laid on the floor, such as plasterboard, or render walls is applicable here as well and you should ensure that you’re primed to prime!

Setting Out

Find the middle of the floor or wall and draw a vertical and horizontal line with a spirit level. Lay your mosaic tiles dry beginning at the middle and moving out to the edge of the floor or wall. If you want the tiles on either side to be cut approximately the same size, you can do this by altering the horizontal reference lines.


It is important to know that mosaics can be difficult to apply directly onto wall surfaces coated with adhesive due to the mesh backing being not rigid. It is likely that you’ll encounter the ’tile’ (made from a variety of mosaic chips) can move around when it is handled. To prevent this from happening problem, we suggest using Mosaic Backer Sheets grid-like, inflexible structures made of plastic, and with has a self-adhesive layer on the back. These meshes are then joined to the self-adhesive surface making a rigid “full tile’ that is much simpler to push into the adhesive for floors and walls. Backer sheets eliminate the requirement to press onto each mosaic chip individually and makes sure that the pressure that you apply to the tile as you push it through the glue is equally distributed and results in an even, smooth surface.


Making mosaics is a little simpler than cutting ceramic or porcelain tiles since you can just cut mesh back down to the size you require using the scissors of a stanley knife. If you have to slice through the actual chips however (such for resizing them to fill in gaps or corners) it is recommended to use an angled and snap tile cutter, as you would with ‘full’ ceramic tiles.


We’d recommend using Mapei’s Keracolour grout for installing mosaics since this kind of grout is much more fine and can fit into smaller spaces much more easily. However, if you prefer using such as Kerapoxy Design then that’s no issue, but it’s easier to install using a finer grout is quicker and easier.


It’s unlikely to tile a whole floor or wall with mosaics, but in the case that a mosaic sheet is the final tile prior to the wall’s edge, counter-top or shower tray make certain to apply an identical silicone seal to stop cracks from moving. As mentioned earlier mosaics are available in a variety of materials and finishes, the majority aren’t required to have any post-installation treatment. However, there are exceptions to this rule for natural stone mosaics like marble or the travertine. They must be sealed with Fila Stone Plus Colour Enhancing Sealer to ensure they look amazing for many years to come.

How to Care for Mosaics

After installation, mosaics are extremely easy to maintain. Mosaics that have gloss or satin finish, just need wiping down using a damp cloth and warm water , and then dried or buffed using an incredibly soft microfibre or soft cloth to ensure they look the best. For mosaics that have matt or riven finishes, follow the same procedure, but without the buffing.