We’ve been doing mosaic tile installation in Brampton, Toronto, and the rest of the GTA for decades, and in that time, we’ve witnessed how this design and material choice can elevate the look and feel of any room.
Mosaic is part of a rich artistic tradition, with the history of this colourful tile arrangement dating back 4,000 years to ancient Mesopotamia.
Today, mosaic is still an art form that adds rare dimension and personality wherever you put it. The possibilities for mosaic tile designs are only limited by your imagination, aesthetic sensibilities and of course, your budget. After all, the effort that goes into creating and installing mosaic makes it a more expensive design option, but one that is well worth it if you’re in search of a truly exceptional look.
In this article, we’re using our vast experience with mosaic tile installation to highlight its benefits, while also diving into key considerations for design and care. Keep reading!
What Are Mosaic Tiles?
Mosaic tiles use shape and/or colour to stand out from standard rectangular, square or monotone formats. Any tiles that are smaller than a few inches and come backed with a mesh sheet – such as penny rounds, hexagons, lanterns, chevrons, riverrock and other irregular shapes – are generally considered a mosaic. In addition, any tile that has a painted surface design, pattern or inlay is also considered mosaic.
Where to Use Mosaic Tile
Mosaic tiles can be used just about anywhere, but are most suitable for places where they provide a profound visual and/or functional advantage. A beautiful and intricate mosaic will add visual interest and character to a smaller space, like a kitchen backsplash or fireplace surround. Likewise, a bit of mosaic can be used as trim or inside a shower niche.
But mosaic is more than just visually stunning. Using them on bathroom or walk-in shower floors is a great way to increase traction and prevent slips, while also providing that elevated aesthetic.
Larger scale mosaics can create breathtaking, sprawling art pieces that add movement, texture and colour to feature walls in living rooms, home libraries and entranceways. You can even use a smaller, more detailed mosaic inlay design on a section of flooring to create an unforgettable accent.
Mosaic Tile Materials
Mosaic tiles are available in a range of materials, but the most popular and widely available are porcelain, ceramic, glass and natural stone. Glass is usually the most expensive tile material (~$15/sq ft), followed by natural stone (~$7/sq ft) and then porcelain and ceramic (~$5/sq ft). More recently, the popularity of hand-painted cement mosaic tiles has exploded. These artisan pieces are individually crafted and are priced as such, getting up to and beyond $25/sq ft.
Knowing where to use each tile type is an important part of deciding which is best for your project. In any space that will encounter moisture and high foot-traffic (e.g. bathrooms, mudrooms or busy entranceways) glazed flat-grip porcelain, ceramic, and sealed natural stone tile are good choices because they are not only beautiful to look at but incredibly tough.
While glass mosaic tile can withstand moisture, it is not as durable, and as such, is not generally recommended for floors. Glass on walls, however, is an enchanting choice since it pulls in light and reflects it throughout the room.
All of these tile types can be used on walls to create an extraordinary and uniquely personal look.
Mosaic Tile Design Considerations
A mosaic look can completely recast the feel of a room. You can go as intricate or simple as you’d like in terms of design, from an elaborate floral, to a stunning abstract, or a classic honeycomb pattern in a single colour.
The main consideration (and one that is often overlooked in the initial mosaic enthusiasm) is that the more intricate the design and the smaller the tile, the more grout will be required. More grout means more material cost and your tile will be more time-consuming to install and later clean. For this reason, detailed, complex designs are not well-suited to rooms that need frequent cleanings, such as a bathroom, mudroom or kitchen. In those spaces, consider simpler mosaics of uniform shapes – like herringbone or penny tile. Dens, home offices, formal living rooms or dining rooms, on the other hand, are low-traffic spaces perfect for showcasing more intricate or colourful mosaics.
How to Care for Mosaic Tile
As we’ve mentioned briefly, mosaic tile can require a little more cleaning than regular tile–particularly if your design is more complex. However, the extra effort is well worth it for the wow-factor.
One of the easiest ways to clean any type of mosaic tile is to use a solution of three parts baking soda and one part water until you have a paste. Apply the mixture to your tile and grout, leave for a few minutes and then rub clean with a soft brush or cloth. To really clean grout lines you can use a toothbrush.
Note: Some DIY cleaning solutions call for vinegar as well, and though limited exposure to the acidity in the vinegar will generally not harm the tile, it can eat away at the grout with repeated cleanings.
Have any questions or want mosaic tiles installed in Brampton–or any part of Toronto and the GTA? Contact us! Our consultations are free and we’re always happy to help.