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Mosaic Tile Mesh

Mosaics are sometimes laid up on a thin and flexible fiberglass mesh for rapid installation. Tiles are glued to the mesh using a white PVA adhesive such as the Weldbond brand adhesive we sell. Once the mosaic is assembled on the mesh, the mosaic artwork can be pressed into thinset mortar or adhesive and mounted to the surface to be covered.

When Not To Use Mesh

If your mosaic will be in a pool or shower floor, you may want to avoid mesh because it involves glue to attach the tile to the mesh. For these "wet" mosaics, you lay them up face down on mounting paper using a temporary glue such as Elmer's School Glue in what is called the "reverse method" because you glue the tiles upside down on paper. These finished sheets are pressed into thinset mortar, which is allowed to harden overnight, and the next day the paper is misted and removed. Note that this is different from how fiberglass mesh is used, which goes underneath the tile and is permanent. Most people prefer mesh to paper because the "reverse method" of using paper means that you have to lay out your mosaic upside down.

When You Can Use Mesh

Note that mesh and glue CAN be used on kitchen and bathroom backsplashes and other vertical surfaces where water does not pool. You CAN use mesh for dry indoor floors, walls, etc. You CAN use mesh for mosaic tables and plaques, but why would you? Sometimes it makes sense to draw your pattern on the surface to be mosaiced and simply start gluing tile to it.


mosaic butterfly on mesh
Mosaic Butterfly by Caroline Lahman laid up on fiberglass mesh and ready for install. In this instance, the artist glued the background tile around the butterfly on the same mesh. However, she could have trimmed away the surrounding mesh and used the mosaic butterfly as an insert into a space in existing tiling.



mosaic butterfly complete
Mosaic Butterfly by Caroline Lahman after mounting to the surface and grouted.



mosaic tile mesh
Mosaic Tile Mesh is sold in uncut lengths like fabric from a roll of fabric. Our fiberglass mesh is 38 inches wide, so each linear feet gives you 3 square feet of mesh.


Tips for laying up mosaic tile mesh:

  • Tape a piece of clear plastic or kitchen wrap over the top of your pattern so that you don't accidentally glue the mosaic tile mesh to the pattern or work table.
  • It may be easier to work in small sections, such as 1 ft x 1 ft, than to lay up the entire mosaic on one piece of mesh
  • Some people lay the mosaic up on one large sheet of mesh, and then cut this sheet up with a box cutter to make it easier to mount to the wall.
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