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Unread 07-20-2020, 11:41 AM   #1
strangerousanya
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DIY octopus mural from glass penny tile

Hi! My name’s Anya, I’m a total newbie to tiling, and I want to put a giant octopus mural on the floor of our shower.

The shower floor is 4’ x 4’, plus two smaller accent murals in the backs of niches measuring 12” x 28” (inside the shower) and 7” x 4’ (above the vanity/sinks). I’m looking for advice on how to build out the design I’ve drawn. I’ll be using Loft glass penny rounds from Tilebar, which I’ll need to pop off the manufacturer’s mesh. I found a self-adhesive mesh at Mosaic Tile Mania that looks promising. (First time poster so I can't include links yet.)

My questions:

- Do I need to remove the old adhesive from the tiles before sticking them to the new mesh? (I’ve popped off a few of my samples, and they don’t have a ton of glue but you can see/feel a faint imprint of the old mesh.)

- What is the proper spacing for glass penny tiles at their closest points? The tiles on the original mesh are almost but not quite touching, about 1/32” apart.

- Any recommendations for achieving consistent spacing and alignment between penny tiles as I’m building my mural? I may print the whole design to scale on large format paper, and/or 3D print a plastic template, but I’m open to other suggestions!

- Can I build the mural as a near-single sheet of 37” x 48” (plus an 11” x 48” strip to finish out the bottom)? Or will that be too unwieldy to transport and install? I think I can build it in the room next door to the bathroom, so it won’t have far to go. I could cut it down to 4 sections of 2ft x 2ft, but I’m wary of the lines between the sheets being too visible.

- Any other general advice for these types of murals/installs?

I’ve been lurking for a while so I know someone will ask - we plan to build our own shower pan with deck mud and Kerdi membrane (I don’t know the specifics, but my husband has been doing a ton of studying to make sure the shower is properly waterproofed). We’re using a tileable linear drain that runs the full length of one shower wall (not a curbless shower). The shower walls will be tiled with 8” porcelain hex tiles. We will use the manufacturer’s recommended thinset and grout.

Thank you very much for any advice or suggestions!
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Unread 07-20-2020, 04:06 PM   #2
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Welcome, Anya.

I've added a link in your post to your tile, I think. If that's not the correct tile, please let us know and we can change the link.

The mesh mounting on very small tiles such as those can be a problem. If the glue is water soluble, it will dissolve when the tiles are set. If the glue is a prominent part of the back of the tile, those very small tiles may not really be bonded at all, 'specially on a shower floor application.

I'd recommend your first step be to order a sample and soak it in water and see if all the tiles come off the backing as I suspect will be the case. I couldn't find any information on the manufacturer's website indicating how those penny tiles were to be set, only some general setting information which did not appear to apply much at all.

Mesh mounted tiles can be a problem in shower floor applications. Poorly mesh mounted tiles ('specially those with excessive glue on the mounting) can be a bigger problem. I've also linked your post to what I think is the mounting mesh you located. I can't tell just what it might be from their photo, but it looks problematic to me for those very small tiles you have. Keep in mind that glass is difficult to bond to with thinset mortar to begin with and you'll want all the contact area you can get for those penny tiles.

If you plan to remove all the tiles from the mounting and re-mount them anyway, I'd first suggest you look for some un-mounted penny tiles to begin with. You may then be able to mount them more properly for your pattern or you might simply want to set them individually on the floor instead. You might also wanna consider face mounting the tiles in you pattern and setting them so you'll have full coverage of your mortar on the backs.

As for mounting that entire picture, I'd think it unlikely you could handle the thing once mounted even with a couple helpers, but I could certainly be wrong about that. I find a one-foot square of very small mosaics to be about all I want to deal with at a time. Your mileage may vary.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 07-20-2020, 04:18 PM   #3
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Hi CX! Thanks for the reply. Those are the correct tiles. I have some samples already, so for reference, here is a picture of the back, both on and off the mesh. (Note that the white backing is part of the tile, not the glue - I have other sizes from this same line that are not mesh mounted that also have the white backing.)

I will try soaking them to see if the glue comes off - if that is the case, am I good to go, if I soak them all and then put them on the new self-adhesive mesh? I figured a mesh that already had glue applied would be better than trying to glue them myself, because I wouldn't have to worry about using too much glue.

I have thought about mounting them directly on the floor, but the design contains over 4000 tiles, and having never done this before, I'm nervous about the amount of time it will take. (If I mount them on the mesh, it will take the same amount of time, but I can spread it out over many days and move stuff if I make errors, etc.)

I have looked for unmounted penny tiles but have not had much success - I am a bit particular about the color. Do you have any recommendations for sources for unmounted penny tiles?

Thanks again!
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Unread 07-20-2020, 04:40 PM   #4
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Sorry, I just reread your paragraph about the self-adhesive mesh (and yes you also linked the correct one there, thanks!) and I see that you think it might be problematic for the small tiles - is that due to the small size of the mesh? Are there any other alternatives for pre-mounting small tiles that are safe for a shower floor?
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Unread 07-20-2020, 08:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anya
Are there any other alternatives for pre-mounting small tiles that are safe for a shower floor?
Quote:
Originally Posted by CX, Post 2
You might also wanna consider face mounting the tiles in you pattern and setting them so you'll have full coverage of your mortar on the backs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anya
Do you have any recommendations for sources for unmounted penny tiles?
Sorry, not a clue. Stay tuned. Someone else may know just where to look.
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Unread 07-20-2020, 08:49 PM   #6
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Thanks again! Clearly I need to read more carefully. I've just started looking into face mounting and I think it may be the solution I need. I found this thread very helpful: https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin...ad.php?t=18797

I did try soaking a sample of my glass tile and the adhesive does not appear to be water soluble, unfortunately. However, it does come off fairly easily with sandpaper, so I will see if I can set up an electric sander to do that quickly. (I don't want to hand sand 4000+ tiles!)

I have a question out to the folks at Mosaic Tile Supplies about whether they can sell their penny tiles unmounted, not on mesh. They have lots of colors and may be able to cover what I need: https://mosaictilesupplies.com/wave-...enny-tile.aspx
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Unread 07-20-2020, 09:46 PM   #7
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I found another possible source for loose penny tiles - but at only 4mm thick, would they be suitable for a shower floor? Seems a little thin. https://mosaicartsupply.com/product-...hinny-pennies/
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Unread 07-21-2020, 11:08 PM   #8
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mortar for glass tiles on the floor on top of kerdi?

I've settled on the face mounting method using clear mosaic tile tape for my mural, and have some alternate samples of penny tiles on their way. But I have new questions now!

- can I use a 4mm thin glass penny round on a shower floor? (picture below, linked in previous post)

- if I stick with glass pennies (either the original or this new 4mm thin type), what type of mortar should I use over Kerdi? I've seen Schluter All-Set and Flexbond both mentioned in this forum for similar applications.

I will be tiling on top of Kerdi membrane on the shower floor, and Kerdi board in the niches. I understand that Kerdi requires an unmodified product, but modified is recommended for use with glass tiles. I'm not attached to the Kerdi warranty but obviously don't want the install to fail. We don't need to rush and can allow plenty of extra time for mortar to set before grouting as necessary. The glass tiles I'm looking at are either opaque or have an opaque back coating, so I don't think the color of the mortar is as important.

Thank you!
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Unread 07-22-2020, 08:40 AM   #9
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Anya, you might wanna talk with a couple of the tile setting product companies about your application. I know Laticrete once had a system whereby you could mix their cementitious grout with an additive (4237?) to use as both bonding mortar and grout. Seems that might be a good option for your application with those thin tiles. You might wanna give them a call. I would think the folks at MAPEI might have a similar method in their product line and their help like is particularly helpful. I'll see if I can get a rep from those companies to look in here, but you might wanna call them anyway.
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Unread 07-22-2020, 09:08 AM   #10
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Thanks, I will do that! So there's no concern about the thinness of the tiles themselves, in a floor application?
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Unread 07-22-2020, 09:52 AM   #11
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Hey there Anya,

I was poking about on the website for those mosaic glass pieces and not much is given in the way of installation info or suggested use. Our boilerplate response for the “can I use XX tile in XX space?” question is typically to contact the tile manufacturer.

As far as installing these pieces, we would suggest our Adesilex P10 mixed with our Keraply Additive in place of water. If you would prefer a faster-setting option, our Granirapid System would be another contender.

One thing that stuck out to me on that mosaic website was that they mentioned they leave the form release dust on the backside of the tiles. We strongly recommend performing a mock-up with whichever mortar you choose over a scrap piece of Kerdi with your glass pieces. Any sort of dust can potentially be a bond breaker, so testing the system before installing your art piece will save you any potential grief down the line.

When you get to the grouting phase, check out our Flexcolor 3D to give that mosaic even more visual appeal!

I hope this helps.
Happy tiling!
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Unread 07-22-2020, 10:05 AM   #12
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Thank you Holden, that was very helpful! And as a first time tiler, I am absolutely planning to do some practice tiling before I install my mural.
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Unread 07-23-2020, 09:39 AM   #13
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This installation requires that the same mortar mix used to set the glass mosaics is also used to grout the tile. This is commonly referred to as the One-Step Method. For the one-step installation of paper-face mounted glass mosaic tile, a separate adhesive and mix are required.

To install paper-face mounted glass mosaic tile, use Glass Tile Adhesive, 254 Platinum (White), or 257 TITANIUM™ (White).

To grout each sheet of paper-face mounted glass mosaic tile, use PERMACOLOR Select or PERMACOLOR Grout.

If the project requires that the setting material be the same color as the
grout, use PERMACOLOR Select Color Kits mixed with Glass Tile Adhesive, 254 Platinum or 257 TITANIUM™, by following the mixing instructions on each thin-set’s data sheet. TDS 145 has the information for installation of glass mosaics
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Unread 07-23-2020, 10:12 AM   #14
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Sharon - thanks very much for the reply. I am a little confused, though - you say that the installation requires the same mortar and grout, but then list two separate products for mortar and grout. If it helps, we'd planned to look for an off-white/creamy color grout but I hadn't gotten that far in my research yet. None of the glass tiles I'm looking at are transparent through to the back - one is transparent (frosted) on the sides with an opaque backing, and the other is opaque throughout.

On another note, both Mosaic Art Supply (MAS-loose glass thinny pennies) and Mosaic Tile Supplies (MTS-water-soluble mesh-mounted ceramic pennies) replied that their products ARE suitable for shower floor use. MTS suggested FlexBond for mortar and noted that it was latex-modified, but I thought I'd read that latex was the one modifier I was supposed to avoid with Kerdi membrane? because it requires air drying - is that not an issue with these small tiles?
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Unread 07-23-2020, 10:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon
For the one-step installation of paper-face mounted glass mosaic tile, a separate adhesive and mix are required.
I'm confused as well, Anya. Sounds like two steps for a one-step method. Not helpful for the application I'm envisioning and what their (Laticrete's) previous one-step method accomplished.

Using their grout colorant in the thinset mortar and using that as your grout as well sounds like an option, but she did not say they recommended that.

I'll see if we can get our pool tile expert to weigh in here. He does a lot of small glass mosaic installations and I'm sure some of them are the thin variety you plan to use.

I would not be concerned with any thinset mortar curing/drying properly under those small tiles.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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