Installation Guide

(Glass, Stone, Marble, Metal, Porcelain and Ceramic)

This installation guide should be used as a reference ONLY. If you have any questions, please ask your contractor or seek advice from a professional for more information.    

Glass Mosaic Tiles

Due to the transparent nature of glass, the color choice of the bonding material will impact the ultimate look of the tile. We use tempered glass for our glass mosaics, which means that they are stronger than normal glass and are less likely to shatter. The color in the back of glass is burned onto the glass and will not fade over time. Cracking is possible if the glass is exposed to extremely high temperatures (300 F degrees +) and then extremely low temperatures (-100 F degrees or lower). Please note that polished and matte finished glass are not recommend for the floor. We recommend the use of white bonding mortar. Please adhere to all bonding material manufacturers’ recommended cure times for all setting materials. When installing in the shower or areas that will be exposed to moisture or water, please make sure the proper water barrier is used.

Stone/Marble Mosaic Tiles

Stone and marble are formed naturally in the world and there are color and shade variations in these materials. We recommend using similar shades of bonding materials. We pre-treat our stone and marble before they become mosaics so that they are stronger and less likely to break. Please note, non-textured and/or polished stone or marble is not recommended for the floor. Please adhere to all bonding material manufacturers’ recommended cure times for all setting materials. When installing in the shower or areas that will be exposed to moisture or water, please make sure the proper water barrier is used.

Metal Tiles

We use top graded alloy for our aluminum and stainless steel tiles. Due to the color of the materials, we recommend using neutral colors or white bonding materials. Metal tiles are treated for certain moisture exposure. However, we do not recommend installing aluminum or stainless steel tiles in high water exposure or moisture areas such as inside a shower, in a bathtub, in a pool or inside a sauna room. Please note, non-textured and/or polished aluminum and stainless steel tiles are not recommended for the floor. Please adhere to all bonding material manufacturers’ recommended cure times for all setting materials.


Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

Our porcelain and ceramic tiles are burned at extremely high temperature to ensure their strength and colors. Our porcelain and ceramic tiles come in different colors and shades. We recommend using similar shades or neutral colors of bonding materials. Please note, non-textured and/or polished porcelain or ceramic tiles are not recommended for the floor. Please adhere to all bonding material manufacturers’ recommended cure times for all setting materials. When installing in the shower or areas that will be exposed to moisture or water, please make sure the proper water barrier is used.

Important Information

Installing WS Tiles glass mosaics requires thin-set mortar. If you use a thin-set liquid latex admixture please follow the mixture manufacturers’ directions explicitly. Do not dilute the admixture with water.

When installing in a shower, do not use a modified thin-set as glass is an impervious material and it can take up to 60 days for modified thin-set to cure because it is between two impervious surfaces (glass and wall). We recommend using a waterproof membrane (such as Kerdi membrane), as these are designed to be used with un-modified thinset (please refer to the membrane manufacturers' direction to determine cure time).

NON-ACCEPTABLE SETTING MATERIALS

  1. Organic adhesive (mastic), due to yellowing and low bond strengths.
  2. Epoxy, due to lack of flexibility, as well as degradation in UV sunlight.
  3. Any adhesives that are not for glass, marble or metal materials.  

Pool, spa, and all submerged applications require a 30-60 day cure time after grouting before the installation can be submerged or exposed to heavy water use. Please use only pool and spa approved adhesives.

Tools and Installation

Tools for installing glass mosaics are very simple. Most of them can be purchased online or at your local hardware store. Before you begin, make sure you have all the following items:

  • "V" notched trowel (adhesive spreader)
  • Level. A plumb line (a string with a weight tied to the end)
  • Pencil. A chalk line can also be useful.
  • Measuring Tape (preferably steel) or yardstick
  • Pointed trowel, putty knife or old knife
  • Container or bucket for mixing grout
  • Rubber surfaced trowel, squeegee or firm sponge
  • Popsicle sticks, pencil erasers, or tooth brush handles.
  • Polishing cloth (old towels or cloths).
  • Rubber gloves if you wish to use them.

Step 1: Prepare the wall surface

Properly treat the surface onto which the mosaics will be applied. Please ensure that all surfaces are flat, structurally sound, dry, clean and any imperfections are removed and patched up.

  1. Plaster - Make sure your new plaster wall is completely dry before setting, while scratching an old plaster surface to provide enough “grip” to hold the mosaics.
  2. Various kinds of Wallboards - Walls of this type must be firm, with no warping or "give". "Dry wall" should be waterproofed if it is not already.
  3. Plywood - Ensure that plywood is clean and without imperfection
  4. Smooth Concrete - Ensure that concrete is clean and without imperfection
  5. Tiled or others - Removing existing tile needs professional treatment. Talk to your local glass mosaic dealer or other professional tile installers.

Any painted walls must be well scratched to have a better adhesive effect. These walls are ready to receive tile when the surface is CLEAN, grease and soap free, WATERPROOF, DRY and FLAT, with no loose particles of paint, plaster, dust, etc. This may require washing, sanding, scraping or filling.

The performance of a properly installed thin-set tile application is dependent upon the durability and dimensional stability of the substrate to which it is bonded. The following recommendations are from the Tile Council of America (TCA) Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation 2002 (www.tileusa.com) and are general in nature. Please reference the specification that applies to your project.

FLOORS

  1. Exterior: Concrete slab cured 28 days minimum follow TCA F102-02 (recommended for freeze thaw areas).
  2. Interior: Concrete TCA F111, F112, F113-02. Additional preparation may be necessary depending upon its condition. Cement mortar beds should be cured a minimum of 7 days.
  3. Interior wood sub-floors: Cement mortar TCA F145-02, cement backer board TCA F144-02.

WALLS

  1. Exterior and interior masonry or concrete TCA W201-02
  2. Interior masonry or concrete TCA W211-02
  3. Interior wood studs or furring TCA W231-02
  4. Interior metal studs TCA W241-02 (must meet ASTM C955 or ASTM C645)
  5. Cementitious board units over wood or metal stud (CBU) TCA W244-02
  6. Wood or metal studs over gypsum board in dry areas only using OGT recommended setting systems (pg. 6) TCA W243-02.

SPECIALTY

  1. Ceilings, soffits (cement mortar beds cured 7 days or cement backer board) TCA C311-02
  2. Bathtub walls (wood or metal studs, cement mortar beds cured 7 days) TCA B411-02
  3. Bathtub walls (wood or metal studs, cement backer board) TCA B412-02
  4. Shower receptors, walls (wood or metal studs, cement mortar beds cured 7 days) TCA B414-02
  5. Shower receptors, walls (wood or metal studs, cement backer board) TCA B415-02
  6. Tile tubs, fountains and curbs (waterproof membranes behind substrates) TCA B417-02
  7. Countertops (cement mortar beds cured 7 days) TCA C511-02
  8. Countertops (cement backer board) TCA C513-02
  9. Swimming pools (cement mortar beds cured 7 days) TCA P 601-02.
  10. Steam room (membrane behind substrate), cement mortar bed TCA SR613-02 or cementitious backer unit SR614-02

NON-ACCEPTABLE SUBSTRATES

  1. Single-float mortar bed walls not employing cured scratch coats.
  2. In Wire reinforced mortar beds do not use poultry netting (chicken wire) or metal lath less than 2.5 lbs. per square yard.
  3. Wood products, such as plywood, luan, MDF, MDX, press board, and composites.

Step 2: Setting materials application

  1. Using the flat side of a (3/16” x 1/4” V-notch) trowel to initiate the bond coat, firmly apply the setting material into the substrate.
  2. With additional setting material, using a (3/16” x 1/4” V-Notch) trowel, comb horizontal, full notches in one direction to establish the proper depth of the setting bed.
  3. Using the flat side of the trowel, flatten the notches to achieve a smooth, consistent setting bed approximately 1/8” thick.

Step 3: Sheet Application

  1. Apply WS Tiles glass mosaics into the setting bed (backside with mesh if applicable), using light even pressure to establish contact and eliminate any voids. For Plastic or Paper Faced tiles (such as our WST-ID series), lay the tile with the open side into the setting bed and the Plastic/Paper side facing out.
  2. To achieve a uniform, flat surface tap lightly using a wooden beating block and a hammer.
  3. Apply each subsequent sheet so that grout joints line up and a consistent field is maintained.
  4. To unify tile surface from one sheet to the next use a wooden beating block and hammer, again tapping lightly from one sheet to the next. Prior to setting each sheet, check the setting bed for skinning (slight drying of the thin set surface.) If skinning occurs, remove setting bed and reapply.
  5. Cure a minimum of 48 hours prior to cleaning. Using a nylon brush and water, scrub residual paper and glue from the tile, followed by wiping clean with a damp sponge. Allow to dry prior to grouting. If the tile is Plastic or Paper Faced, remove the facing once curing is complete. For Paper-Faced tiles, you may need to wet the paper with a sponge.

Step 4: Grouting

  1. Use only standard grade grout mixed to manufacturer’s instructions. Apply grout with a rubber float, forcing grout into joints until full.
  2. Grout joints shall be full and uniformly finished. Due to the impervious quality of glass, the grout will take longer to set than with more porous materials. For initial cleaning use clean, dry cheesecloth. This method wicks additional moisture from the grout and avoids washing out the grout joints.
  3. Allow grout to set up and smooth the finish with a damp sponge.
  4. For final polishing of excess grout haze, use a clean, soft cloth.

Maintenance Information

New Installations

  • Please do not attempt to clean new installations for a minimum of 24 hours after completing the grouting process.
  • After 24 hours remove loose dirt by vacuuming or sweeping.
  • Follow directions and prepare a cleaning solution using warm water and a neutral ph cleaner specifically designed for cleaning Glass Mosaic Tile. These types of cleaners are available from tile suppliers.
  • Thoroughly clean the Glass Mosaic Tile, including the grout joints, using a nylon scrub brush or nylon scrub pad following the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water and allow to dry. A second rinsing may be needed to completely remove the cleaning solution.

Installations after grout has cured ten days and existing installations

  • Use the following method for installations with cement based grout or setting material haze that require a stronger cleaning solution. Wait 10 days after the grout has been installed then use a Sulfidic Acid cleaner such as C-Clean or Custom Clean. Follow the manufacturer’s directions using a nylon scrub brush or nylon scrub pad.

TIPS:

  • Try applying the solution and allowing it to soak in for 3-5 minutes followed by re-applying and scrubbing.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water and allow to dry. A second rinsing may be needed to completely remove the cleaning solution.
  • Stone and tile strippers. The stripper will work to clean latex smears not removed by using acid based cleaners. Allow a minimum of 10 days cure time and always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water and allow to dry. A second rinsing may be needed to completely remove the cleaning solution.

Installations Video