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Unread 02-07-2020, 07:50 PM   #1
RobertWK
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Glass/Ceramic mosaic (feedback point)

Preemptive notice: I'm not a professional, but I'm technically-minded and so I'm more or less looking for feedback.

Background: I designed a very elaborate backsplash (probably biting off more than I can chew), and I'm doing my best to implement it. I've cut all my tiles, but the glass tiles are not necessarily all the same size (they vary sometimes in width, height, and length).

There are some areas in this mosaic that are imperfect, and I'm wondering how much of this will be less noticeable with grout. I'll be using white unsanded ground to finish.

Apologies for the picture quality.

I've included a link for a higher resolution version that can accept comments: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oTn...ew?usp=sharing
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Last edited by RobertWK; 02-07-2020 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Included link for higher resolution version
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Unread 02-08-2020, 01:46 AM   #2
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Also not a pro, but have tiled a glass backsplash. I think the imperfect look is stemming more from the geometry than the glass tiles. Your horizontal center line level of the framed central area is uneven with the level of the diagonal intersections on your running diamond pattern along the side. The frame also looks as if its width was determined by the tiles outside the frame, instead of the frame being what set the geometry, and then cutting the outside tiles to match. The glass detail is tricky to make out with the paper sheets still covering them. Fortunately it doesn't look to involve much cutting of the glass tiles, which I think is difficult to achieve a smooth edge on when you have a cut glass tile in the field. Unfortunately though, if the white grout is whiter than your field tiles, than I'm afraid the misaligned grout lines will be further highlighted by the grout.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 04:22 AM   #3
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Any time your tiles vary in size, it means the grout joints will also vary and usually sanded grout is used.

What did you use to bond the glass tiles?
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Unread 02-08-2020, 07:20 AM   #4
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I think you are good to go with the varying grout joints. It doesn't look too bad to me. White field tile with white grout is a good combo. When you grout you will see the outcome with the brown tile as you and start the cleanup. I would be using sanded grout though.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 10:53 AM   #5
RobertWK
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Quote:
Any time your tiles vary in size, it means the grout joints will also vary and usually sanded grout is used.

What did you use to bond the glass tiles?
Davy, I used MAPEI mosaic and glass tile thinset which is listed to work with ceramic and glass tile sizes larger than what I'm using. Seems to work fine, mostly, except when I accidentally get the spacers stuck and removing them pulls the glass tile off.

Quote:
... I think the imperfect look is stemming more from the geometry than the glass tiles. Your horizontal center line level of the framed central area is uneven with the level of the diagonal intersections on your running diamond pattern along the side. The frame also looks as if its width was determined by the tiles outside the frame, instead of the frame being what set the geometry, and then cutting the outside tiles to match. ...
Demonic, the running patterns outside of the frame to the outer extents of the backsplash will be symmetric in appearance. The framed mosaic doesn't "interrupt" any of the patterns. It encompasses an area between two cabinets and above the sink, which is on purpose. I apologize that the picture I posted doesn't represent the idea of the overall design.

jerrymlr1, Davy: What is the primary advantage/disadvantage to using sanded grout vs unsanded? Is it just aesthetic?
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Unread 02-08-2020, 11:31 AM   #6
jadnashua
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A sanded grout is stronger, and is generally required if the grout joint is greater than 1/8". The sand used in some can be abrasive, so that is a consideration when dealing with a glazed or glass tile, as it could scratch them, depending on how aggressive you are in installation and cleanup. Some grout that is sanded, has the colored grains 'soft', or rounded, so don't generally present a scratching issue.

Which grout are you planning?

A sanded grout can be a bit rougher in texture, but again, that depends on the brand and type. The ultimate look depends probably as much about the brand as it does in the skill of the installer as to how much of the cement gets washed out leaving the sand edges exposed rather than being entirely embedded.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 11:33 AM   #7
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What is the primary advantage/disadvantage to using sanded grout vs unsanded?
It's much easier to get full and uniform joints with sanded unless the grout joints are uniform and smaller.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 11:36 AM   #8
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Jim brings up a good point about sanded grout scratching the glass. You might want to do a mock up. You could do a sample board with the same tile as you have on the wall. That way you can see what your joints will look like as well.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 11:55 AM   #9
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My grout lines are 1/8", and I'm planning to use unsanded white grout specifically because of the glass tiles. I doubt my competency to use sanded and not wreck it.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 12:12 PM   #10
Davy
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As far as I know, I've never scratched glass tiles in 40+ years and it's something I watch for every time. Spread the sanded grout with a rubber float without forcing it with all your strength and you'll do fine. Think about it, there's a reason or two why all the installers here are saying to use sanded. You don't want to wreck it but you're going against what everyone is telling you.

If you were shooting for 1/8 joints and the tiles vary in size, that usually means that some of your joints are probably 1/16 and some places maybe 3/16. Like the others said, unsanded grout is harder to keep the joints full and it also may crack as it sets, especially in the wider areas. Another thing, the unsanded grouts will shade out much more than sanded grouts will.

Like Jerry said, at least make a sample board and let the grout completely dry out.

What brand of unsanded do you plan to use?
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Unread 02-08-2020, 01:31 PM   #11
RobertWK
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I plan to use MAPEI unsanded, but there's a lot of work to be done before I am even close to the grouting point and I can always go get a different type. I'll definitely consider it. I guess I just have cold feet about it.
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Unread 02-08-2020, 01:47 PM   #12
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In my limited experience I think sanded is more forgiving to apply and clean than non-sanded.
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Unread 02-24-2020, 05:37 PM   #13
RobertWK
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I had to tear down part of the tile I'd already put down around the left cabinet after seeing the grout line expand from 1/8" near the mosaic to over 1/4" up near the top of the cabinet on one side.

Unfortunately in removing the tile, it took some of the paint off of the wall. Do I have to repaint before I put the tile back up?
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Unread 02-24-2020, 05:50 PM   #14
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What's behind the paint, raw sheetrock?
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Unread 02-24-2020, 06:27 PM   #15
RobertWK
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Yup, raw sheetrock. It's pretty tough stuff though it seems. The house was built in the 80s.
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