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Unread 02-02-2021, 12:11 PM   #1
WD
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How to lay glass mosaic tile bottom side up

I have enough Bisazza paper faced glass mosaic tile to do my shower floor. I’ve read here on johnbridge.com some of the issues on using glass mosaic tile on a shower floor (slippery due to minimal grout lines, sharp corners). I was thinking I could lay the tile bottom side up. I like the look of the bottom side, it looks like glass pebbles (see photo).

I have combed the web and found nothing pro or con on bottom side up tiles.

So…
Has anyone done or heard of this being done?
How would I reverse the tiles?
Can I just turn them over onto another sheet of paper, what kind of paper and glue should I use?

I will be using Mosaic & Glass Tile Mortar plus their latex additive. Followed by Mapei Keracolor U non-sanded grout, grey.

Thanks in advance.
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Unread 02-02-2021, 06:32 PM   #2
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You wouldn't want to stick them to paper. A webbing or net might work but I have no idea what type of net or glue to use. Maybe someone else can help.

Of course you could set them individually.
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Unread 02-02-2021, 08:30 PM   #3
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Welcome, Wes.

You can Google up lots of sources for material for mounting mosaic tiles. Here's a clear one for face mounting, but it requires that you allow the mortar to cure some before removal, not one with water soluble glue. That would allow you to remove the paper you've got now, though.

My biggest concern would be for grouting with your upside down mounting. Not sure most grouts would adhere well enough to the glass with virtually no mechanical lock at all, but I could certainly be wrong about that.

Setting them individually as Davy suggests would certainly not be out of the question for a horizontal space as small as a shower floor.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 02-03-2021, 11:16 AM   #4
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Set them individually! Oh my. My shower base is about 6ft x 3ft. that’s over 2,000 little mosaics…. Might be a good relaxing activity in these covid days

I have requested a quote for the “clear one for face mounting”. I also found a source for self-sticking mesh for mosaic tiles. shorturl.at/ptxzC
Would the mesh interfere with how well the tile sticks to the mortar?

Upside down, my grout lines would be close to ¼ inch.. Should I use a sanded grout? What about a grout additive to help it stick better to glass?
Thanks for previous replies
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Unread 02-04-2021, 02:14 AM   #5
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It would depend on the mesh. Mesh does get in the way of bonding small mosaics, sometimes.

An epoxy grout would have a lot of sticking power.

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Unread 02-04-2021, 08:34 AM   #6
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From purely an aesthetics point of view, Wes, consider the diminutive size of those tiles verses the rather large grout joint size. If you have enough of the tile to make a test board doing so will give you a clear visual of what the floor will look like.
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Unread 02-04-2021, 08:38 AM   #7
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I thought epoxy was a no no in the shower.

Opps what was I thinking?.. mesh would be a waste of time. I want to simply turn my paper- faced tiles over. If I did that onto a mesh then the mesh would be on the bottom of the tiles but I want the bottoms to be up.
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Unread 02-04-2021, 05:34 PM   #8
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I agree with Dan, make a sample board first and grout it just to make sure you like it.

Nothing wrong with epoxy grout in a shower. Seems like I remember using epoxy grout with glass tiles wasn't advised but may not matter with such small tiles.
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Unread 02-07-2021, 01:03 PM   #9
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I was worried I might run out of tile if I made sample boards. I poured left over sand from my shower pan over the tile to get an idea as to how they would look bottom side up. They actually look better than I thought. I have black, white and cream tile to play with. Mostly cream. See pix

I did the math. If I laid each 1x1in piece individually and it took 1 second per mosaic. I could lay 3,600 pieces in one hour. I only need to lay 2,664 for my ~3ft by 6ft shower floor. … I have a strong feeling it will take a lot longer than that.

Now I am worried about my mortar choice.
What is the working time for Mapei Mosaic & Glass Tile Mortar plus their latex additive?
Will it be strong enough to bond my smooth bottomed mosaics?

How would I set up a grid so everything stays straight?

Am I making a mistake in doing this? Should I just lay them right side up? Is glass mosaic tile a good choice for the shower floor? Should I just go out and get some ceramic?
Arg!
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Unread 02-07-2021, 04:52 PM   #10
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I guess you could set up a story pole. A straight board, maybe a 1x2 that you can set the tiles against. The board would have marks every inch (or whatever size you need) to line up the tiles the other direction. When you install a row, move the story pole back for the next row. This works best when the tiles are close to the same size.

You can rough up the backs if you don't think they will bond well. At this time, no need worrying about how long it takes.

I've never used the Mapei glass thinset but you definitely want to mix very small batches.
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Unread 02-07-2021, 10:39 PM   #11
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Am I making a mistake in doing this? Should I just lay them right side up? Is glass mosaic tile a good choice for the shower floor?
I think you should just install them like they are suppose to be installed. I also think Custom Megalite is a better mortar choice though. No need for the expensive admix.

Nothing wrong with glass mosaics on a shower floor. I have had it in my showers for the last 20 years or more.
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Unread 02-08-2021, 11:58 AM   #12
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Which Megalite would you recommend?
I am not finding much when I google “glass mosaic Megalite mortar”
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Unread 02-08-2021, 11:24 PM   #13
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Type "Custom Megalite". Here.
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Unread 02-09-2021, 01:03 AM   #14
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https://www.custombuildingproducts.c...galite-faq.pdf

It's easy to work with and cleanup.
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Unread 02-09-2021, 11:04 AM   #15
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Does my 1”square glass mosaic tile qualify as “large format”?
MegaLite® Ultimate Crack Prevention Large Format Tile Mortar.

I do like easy to work with and cleanup
but... I don’t see anything in their literature about small mosaic tiles.
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