All about the mosaic backsplash and more

A mosaic apron is a non-trivial and at the same time time-tested alternative to aprons made of large-format ceramic tiles, porcelain stoneware, stone or glass. And although mosaic tiles are made from the same materials (and not only), the properties and appearance of such an apron have their own characteristics. Let’s find out how to plan the design of the future panel, prepare for going to the store, calculate the consumption of materials, choose glue and grout, and also how to lay the mosaic with our own hands..

Step 1. Choose the size and format

So, you are thinking about decorating the working area with mosaic tiles. To do this, you first need to measure the apron and calculate the material consumption based on the size of the tile..

  • Modern mosaics, as a rule, are sold not in loose form, but in the form of blanks, that is, matrices in the size: 24 × 24 cm, 28 × 28 cm, 30 × 30 cm, 31.5 × 31.5 cm, 32 × 32 cm, etc. Usually for a total area of ​​1 sq. m. m you need to buy 9 matrices.
  • A mosaic is made up of small pieces called chips. The size of the chips varies from 1×1 cm to 5 × 5 cm, and sometimes up to 10 × 10 cm.For facing a kitchen apron, a mosaic with tiles in the format 2 × 2 cm-5 × 5 cm is most often used. Below in the photo slider you can see chip formats 1 × 1, 2 × 2, 5.5 cm.
  • Small-format mosaic apron Small-format mosaic apron
  • Mosaic apron 2x2Mosaic apron 2×2
  • Mosaic apron 5x5 Mosaic apron 5×5
  • The most common form of tiles is square. It is convenient for laying mosaics, calculating material consumption and fits into any interior.
  • Square mosaic
  • Square mosaic
  • Square mosaic
  • Square mosaic
  • Square mosaic
  • Square mosaic
  • Rectangular chips are also popular. But circles, triangles, rhombuses, hexagons and other shapes are less common. In the next selection of photos you can see mosaic aprons with chips of different sizes and shapes.
  • Mosaic from rectangles
  • Mosaic of hexagons and round tiles

Some more useful information

Mosaic pieces can be fixed in three ways:

  1. Connected to each other by polymer bridges;
  2. Bonded to a polyurethane mesh (mesh is located on the back of the matrix);
  3. Fixed on a paper base (paper is glued to the front of the composition, and is removed only before grouting).

The worst option is the first, since the lintels break off easily during the mosaic laying process. The most convenient and reliable option is a mosaic on a mesh that does not tear, so it is easier to glue it. In addition, the mesh in this case performs the function of reinforcement.

Step 2. Choosing a beautiful design and good material

Now you can start planning the design of the apron, which can be conditionally divided into groups:

  1. Monocolor – when the mosaic on the grid is laid out in modules of the same color and shape. In the photo below, examples of an apron for a kitchen from a mosaic of the same color in the interior.
  • Monochrome mosaic apron
  • Monochrome mosaic apron

Kitchen apron made of blue mosaic

Purple Mosaic Kitchen Apron

  1. Mix – when a mosaic tile for a kitchen consists of different shades of the same color, all modules are of the same format. The more colors and shades are typed in the mix, the higher the price of the apron will be..
  • Mosaic Mix in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mosaic Mix in the interior of the kitchen
  1. Stretch (“gradient”) – differs in that the grid of the “stretch” is not square, but rectangular (1: 5), and the mosaic is laid out according to the principle of a gradient – from saturated color to weakly saturated, for example, from blue to light blue. But this type of matrix is ​​more often used for decorating bathroom walls..
  2. Panel – when the factory mosaic on the grid is arranged in the form of a pattern or drawing.

Mosaic panel on a kitchen apron

The design of a mosaic kitchen apron and its performance also depend on the materials from which the composition is composed..

Ceramic mosaic

Ceramic mosaic is composed of molded ceramic tiles, therefore, it does not differ from large-format ceramics in terms of properties – it is the same wear-, heat- and moisture-resistant, variable in design and durable. But ceramic mosaic looks sleeker and more colorful, creates the impression of handmade, fits better into interiors in oriental styles. Cons: it costs almost twice as much as a regular tile and requires more grout consumption. Ceramic loses to glass mosaic in design and color variations, but wins in chips texture – ceramic composition can be matte, glossy, rough, with the effect of antiquity, imitating pebbles and stones. The thickness of the ceramic mosaic is twice as thick as glass panels – 8-10 mm.

The following photos show the traditional white mosaic in the interior of the kitchen.

  • White mosaic in the interior of the kitchen
  • White mosaic in the interior of the kitchen

And here is a mosaic kitchen apron, complemented by a border and decor.

  • Ceramic mosaic in the interior of the kitchen
  • Ceramic mosaic in the interior of the kitchen
  • Ceramic mosaic in the interior of the kitchen
  • Ceramic mosaic in the interior of the kitchen

Glass mosaic

Glass mosaic is more popular than all other types of mosaic tiles for the kitchen, as it looks beautiful and costs less, while being very easy to maintain and durable. Thanks to the high-temperature firing and the small size of the tiles (at least 2 × 2 cm), glass mosaic is much stronger than ordinary glass, despite the same composition.

Glass mosaic in the interior of the kitchen

Glass Mosaic Apron

Conventionally, glass mosaic can be divided into:

  • Homogeneous glass. Small glass blocks can be glossy and like colored candy or matte, like glass cut by the sea. Also, glitter, foil, minerals, etc. can be added to glass cubes..

Glass mosaic

  • Smalt. Smalt is a baked mixture of pressed colored glass with metal oxides. Smalt differs from glass in its very high strength (due to which it can be laid even on the floor), as well as in its rich color, the effect of internal glow and man-madeness, since each slab of smalt glass differs slightly from each other in shade. Smalt can be very different depending on additives and coatings. For example, she can imitate mother of pearl.

Smalt of different types

  • Smalt mosaic in the interior of the kitchen
  • Smalt mosaic in the interior of the kitchen
  • Glass with the addition of minerals. To obtain mosaic tiles that look like precious stones, glass melt is mixed with the minerals aventurine or iridium. The mosaic turns out to be expensive, but very beautiful – with a shimmering or iridescent surface.

Smalt mosaic

Aventrurine mosaic

How to choose a glass mosaic grout?

Glass mosaic is especially demanding in the selection of glue and grout, since improperly selected compositions can spoil the appearance of an apron with transparent, translucent and matte tiles..

  • The best glass mosaic grout is a light gray epoxy resin and the best glue is white..
  • Since glass, unlike ceramics, has no pores, its adhesion to the surface is less strong, therefore, for laying glass mosaics, special adhesives and groutings are used with increased adhesion rates from 20 to 28 kg per cm sq..

Stone mosaic

A variety of stones and minerals are used for its manufacture: from marble to onyx. The stone is very durable and practically eternal, each natural stone is unique and unique, but it is still a porous material, therefore, in order to preserve its beauty longer, it should be treated with a special protective composition that fills the pores and facilitates the care of the apron.

  • It is better to refuse to buy an apron made of soft and porous rocks, as they absorb coloring food contaminants like red wine or beetroot juice;
  • The thickness of the stone mosaic is 8-10mm;
  • Stone mosaic belongs to the category of elite and expensive materials – facing 1 sq. m will cost from 7000 rubles.

Stone mosaic

Chips can be polished, rough, have an embossed or carved pattern, and stone tiles can also be combined on the same base with glass, smalt or ceramics. By the way, their base is always mesh..

Stone mosaic - marble, onyx, with decor

The photo below shows a mosaic apron with stone and glass chips.

Porcelain stoneware mosaic tiles

  • Mosaic of stone and glass in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mosaic of stone and glass in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mosaic of stone and glass in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mosaic of stone and glass in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mosaic of stone and glass in the interior of the kitchen

Porcelain stoneware is a great alternative to ceramics and stone, as it is as durable as stone, but less porous and more affordable. Ceramic granite is superior in strength, but loses to it in design variability – it has a less glossy surface and, as a rule, a neutral color palette – from beige to dark brown. In addition, porcelain stoneware mosaics are cut rather than poured into molds like ceramic tiles..

Porcelain stoneware mosaic in the interior of the kitchen

Porcelain stoneware mosaic

Mother-of-pearl mosaic

Mother-of-pearl is one of the most beautiful finishing materials with unique properties: by reflecting and dimming the directional light, it makes it diffused and soft, at the same time shimmering with iridescent shades. If the mother-of-pearl mosaic is made of natural mother-of-pearl, then it will cost a lot, but you can choose a glass or smalt mosaic with a mother-of-pearl coating.

  • Mother of pearl apron and walls in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mother of pearl apron and walls in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mother of pearl apron and walls in the interior of the kitchen
  • Mother of pearl apron and walls in the interior of the kitchen

Metal mosaic

Metal mosaic tiles are made from ceramic, rubber or plastic, which are coated with a layer of stainless steel, brass or bronze, resulting in chips of steel or gold shades. A metal mosaic apron will be practical and reliable, and yet – the metal decorative coating is subject to abrasion.

Metal mosaic

Mirror mosaic

The mirror mosaic is made up of pieces of mirrors and has a thickness of 5 mm. It is quite durable, but requires a little more frequent maintenance. Mirror chips can be tinted and are most commonly available in rectangular or square shapes. The photo below shows the interiors of kitchens with a mirror mosaic on the apron..

Mirror mosaic in the kitchen apron

Mirror mosaic apron in the interior of the kitchen

Some more useful information

  • The most popular options are glass mosaics and, of course, ceramic ones. In these categories you can find both excellent budget (600-2000 rubles / 1 sq. M.) And exclusive expensive panels. A kitchen apron, quite affordable at the price, will also turn out from a metal mosaic (500 rubles / 1 sq. M). All other types of tiles are significantly more expensive.
  • As a rule, the brighter and richer the color scheme of the mosaic tile, the higher its price. The most inexpensive designs are monocolors and mixes of white, light beige, brown and gray tones without decorative additives, because their production is less complicated and costly. If the color palette of the mosaic is bright, multi-colored, decorated, with flickering effects, etc., then the price will be much higher.

Beige and brown mosaic apron

  • If the full facing of the apron with mosaics does not fit into the budget, then you can use it as a decoration for ceramic tiles. The photo below shows examples of such a combination in the interior of the kitchen..

Ceramic Tile and Mosaic Apron

Ceramic Tile and Mosaic Apron

  • Ceramic Tile and Mosaic Apron
  • Ceramic Tile and Mosaic Apron

Step 3. Choosing a grout and glue

  • Mosaic grout is based on cement or epoxy resin. The first option is easier to apply and distribute, it is more suitable for laying mosaics with your own hands, and it costs less. But it does not withstand frequent washing, absorbs household dirt and darkens over time, spoiling its appearance. Mosaic grout based on epoxy resin is considered the best in terms of adhesion quality and performance characteristics – it does not absorb moisture or dirt, is not afraid of frequent cleaning of seams using household chemicals and does not change its color. If you want to make the seams white, then a mixture based on epoxy resin will be especially relevant..

White grout

But the “epoxy” has its drawbacks: high cost and capriciousness in mashing the seams, as the mixture dries quickly. It is very difficult to cope with this task with your own hands, so it is better to entrust the laying of the mosaic to a good professional.

  • Adhesive for facing a kitchen apron with mosaic tiles should be waterproof and preferably anti-fungal;
  • The most versatile grout color is light gray and white. You can also choose a mixture to match the kitchen apron, or contrast.
  • Kitchen apron in white mosaic with dark seams
  • Kitchen apron in black mosaic with white seams
  • Glass mosaic adhesive must be white..

Step 4. Laying the mosaic on the apron with your own hands – step-by-step instructions

So, the mosaic tile for the kitchen has been selected, glue, grout and auxiliary materials have been prepared, it remains only to lay out the mosaic on the apron.

  • Laying the mosaic with your own hands is not very difficult if you are using a cement-based grout not made of epoxy resin. Otherwise, and if you are using an expensive mosaic, it is better not to risk it and invite a master.

Step 1. Prepare the base of the apron

The wall under the future apron must be leveled, clean and completely dry – you can start laying the mosaic only 10 days after the completion of the preparatory work. For final leveling, it is better to use a white putty..

Stage 2. Application of the markings

To make the seams the same size, and the apron neat, the mosaic on a mesh or paper backing is laid out on the floor with the same spacing equal to the size of the seams between the chips. Then the resulting layout is sequentially and carefully transferred to the wall, marking the dimensions of the sheets and seams. The more accurate the markings are, the faster and easier the mosaic installation will be..

Step 3. Dilution of glue

Now you need to dilute the glue according to the instructions to a creamy state using a drill with a mixer attachment. It is better not to prepare the entire volume of the composition at once, so that it does not have time to dry out, because dried glue cannot be diluted with water.

Stage 4. Laying out the mosaic on the apron

In order to glue the mosaic to the wall, glue is first applied with a smooth spatula, then leveled with a notched trowel with square teeth 3 × 3 cm. At this stage, the tiles can be leveled, if necessary, trimmed (photo 1-3).

  • When laying and fixing the mosaic, try not to press hard on it – the glue should not be squeezed out of the seams. If this happens, then you need to choose a spatula with smaller teeth. It can also mean that the surface of the wall is uneven..

Facing the apron with mosaic tiles with your own hands

Stage 5. Grinding the seams

Once the glue is dry (about 3 hours), the paper or film on the mosaic must be removed.

  • If the mosaic is paper-based, then it must be removed by pre-wetting with a sponge with warm water. The film is removed diagonally, the glue from the base is washed off with a sponge (photo 4, 5).

Now you can start rubbing the seams. For this, the trowel mixture, slightly pressing, is applied with a rubber spatula and distributed along the mosaic vertically and horizontally, simultaneously removing the excess diagonally. After 30-60 minutes (when the grout began to harden, but has not yet dried), the rest of the mixture begins to wipe with a damp sponge, without washing it out of the seams (photo 6). If the grout is not easily washed off, then you can additionally wipe the mosaic with an alkaline solution, and then wash it off in a timely manner. Well, that’s all, it remains only to polish the apron with felt or a bike (photo 7).

For more information on the process of laying a mosaic with your own hands, see the next video..