Well, when I asked you to help me choose some topics for the blog, it seems that backsplashes were a popular item. Whether you’re doing a total renovation in your kitchen or just going for a fresh face-lift, backsplashes are an important element. Yes, countertops are lovely (and expensive) but just like other vertical elements of a room (draperies, artwork) backsplashes are often the first thing you notice!
There are a variety of backsplashes including tile, wood, stainless, tin, stone and glass. But did you realize all these materials could be incorporated into Mosaic Tile? I have gathered so many fantastic sources for mosaic tile lately that I am certain there will be something to please everyone and I will be sure to give you all those precious links. But first, let’s review some of the most important things to consider.
Mosaic Tile Basics!
Selection & Design
- Total overhaul? If you really have your heart set on a certain mosaic tile, then choose that before the countertop material. Mosaics can be very busy which may lead you to a more subtle countertop. Once you have invested a couple of thousand dollars (at least) on countertop material, you don’t want to force a mosaic that will make it look too busy.
- Just renovating? If you already have a countertop with a lot of action (granite or a solid surface), you can still go with a mosaic, just consider keeping the colors in the same family instead of adding a lot of contrast.
- Metal, glossy, bright and contrasting colors are going to give you a brighter, busier, more modern feel. Stone, monochromatic schemes, eco-friendly and matte finishes are going to give you a more classic or earthy feel.
- Smaller mosaics (with more grout lines) are going to appear busier on the wall.
- If you want to brighten up the space, choose gloss tiles in light colors.
- Consider adding under-counter lighting to highlight your new design element.
- Decide if your electrical outlets could be in a better location. Make sure you have one every four feet (your electrician will know the code in your area). If you are renovating, the inspectors will check. Even if you don’t ask them to!
- Don’t purchase anything without getting a sample. The online vendors are usually very fair with the sample costs. Also, make sure they are giving a sample from the same dye lot that you are purchasing from.
- Let the tile installer help you calculate the amount of tile. It’s not the same same as measuring for flooring and you need to incorporate certain aspects of the design.
- After you measure how many square feet you need, add at least 10% to that for breakage (these tiles can be tricky to cut) and for filling in the edges. If you pick a running pattern that ends in a jagged edge, you will have to find pieces to fill in to the corner.
- If you are on the fence about purchasing another square foot or another box, do it. You never know when you are going to need that extra tile. People make mistakes (break things), pipes burst, life happens. When it does, you want to make sure you have extra tile from the same dye lot or run.
- Mosaic glass tile can crack when exposed to heat or cold or if your house shifts. While it’s not likely it will happen, it’s good to err on the side of caution. By installing tile with a crack suppression membrane, it absorbs some of these shifts and protects against the cracks. Ask the tile company or your installer about this.
- Make sure your tile installer has factored in the cost of using new, high-quality blades on his saw for your job. These blades can be costly but they are essential to get a clean edge and will greatly reduce the risk of cracking.
- Please select non-staining grout, especially if you like to cook anything with anything that stains…wine, tomatoes, oil…etc.
- Check out my friend Annie’s blog post about choosing a grout color. She has some great examples showing you how grout color can either disappear or become part of the design.
- Mosaics that have rounded pebbles add substantially to the labor because the grout has to be pushed into the spaces by hand.
So feel free to jump into the mosaic-loving crowd and don’t worry about people who say it will go out of style. Everything goes in and out of style eventually but in the meantime you will have a lovely backsplash that makes you smile and expresses your creative nature!
Some of My Favorite Mosaic Tile Sources:
Eden Mosaic Tile - Metal, Glass, Steel, Aluminum and Copper Mosaic Tile My Favorite? Eden Mosaic Tile Silver And Chocolate Brick Mixed Aluminum Mosaic Tile
Home Depot – A large variety of affordable styles that can get you comfortable with sizes and shapes. But, compare their selection to online stores that don’t have the large overhead. My Favorite? Solistone Indonesian Mosaic Jakarta Moon
Heath Ceramics - All tile made in Sausalito, California featuring some really subtle retro patterns. In-stock and custom options. My Favorite? The New Patterns Created for Dwell Magazine
Design For Less -Lots of cool glass tile and easy sample ordering. They also have recycled leather tiles for something different! My Favorite? Bengal Glass Tile
ModWalls – Great selection of glass tile in many colors and finishes. You can customize your own blend and see it online, grout color and all! Plus they have a huge gallery of photos where you can see many styles installed. My Favorite? Lush 1/2×2 Blend Big Sur
Susan Jablon Mosaics – A HUGE selection of glass tile. You could spend hours surfing this site. She has a great section all about grout too! My Favorite? Emily Jablon Designs Retro Mint