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A rubber trowel used to press mosaic tiles into pre applied tile adhesive

Overview

Mosaic tiles are a more decorative style of tiling that will improve the look of any room. Mosaic tiles come in a range of colours, designs and textures. Armed with the right knowledge, it's a job you can do yourself. We'll show you how to work out how the amount of tiles you need, how to mix and apply the adhesive and how to lay them to get a professional look.

Steps

1Measure up the space

Measure the length of the ledge where your mosaic tiles will be and mark the centre point as a reference, so that you can lay up your tiles symmetrically. 

A tape measure being used to measure a wall for applying tiles

2Work out how many tiles you will need

From the centre point of the ledge, lay down a sheet of tiles and move it along the ledge to work out how many sheets of tiles you'll need. 

A sheet of mosaic tiles being used to mark a wall for tiling with a pencil

3Check the level of the ledge

Take your spirit level and use it to check whether the ledge is level. This will help you make adjustments when you start installing the mosaics
A spirit level being used to ensure that a row of mosaic tiles are level before applying tile adhesive

4Cut the tiles

Lay a sheet of tiles on the ledge to mark how wide they need to be. With your safety gloves on, cut all of the sheets of tiles to the right width with a utility knife.  

The string mesh backing of a sheet of mosaic tiles being cut for size to use on a wall with a Stanley knife

5Mix up the adhesive

Make your adhesive by adding the powder to some water in a bucket. Use the mixing paddle to stir and keep adding powder until you get a toothpaste-like consistency.
Tile adhesive being mixed in a bucket using a power mixing paddle

6Apply the adhesive to the ledge

Apply the adhesive to the ledge with a notch trowel. Run it across the ledge and smooth it back with the grooved edge of the trowel, leaving ridges in the adhesive.
Tile adhesive being applied to a shelf with a notched trowel by a Bunnings team member

7Lay Down Tiles

Place the mosaic tiles down on top of the adhesive from the centre point. Place spacers between the sheets of tiles to keep them even Then use the rubber grout trowel to press the tiles down and check that it's all level before the adhesive dries.
A rubber trowel used to press mosaic tiles into pre applied tile adhesive

8Line up the tiles on the wall

Line up the sheets of mosaic on the wall so that they match the sheets on the ledge, which will ensure that you get a symmetrical look.

Tile adhesive being applied to a wall with a notched trowel by a Bunnings team member

9Cut around small obstructions

While measuring, take into account any obstructions, like a water outlet, and mark where it lines up on your tile(s). To cut the tile, pull it away from the sheet. Put on your gloves and cut the tile with your tile nippers. 

Mosaic tiles being held against a vertical feature wall by a Bunnings team member

10Measure up the wall

Using the spirit level, draw a line down from the centre of the ledge.  This will be your reference point to work out how many tiles you need and keep them symmetrical.

Tile nippers being used to cut a tile to size

11Apply adhesive to the wall

Apply adhesive to the wall with your notch trowel. Run it across the wall and smooth it back with the grooved edge of the trowel, leaving ridges in the adhesive.
A spirit level being used to mark a wall for the application of tiles

12Lay tiles down on the wall

Working from the centre, place your sheets of tiles onto the adhesive, and place any cut tiles back in their place. 

Tile adhesive being applied to a wall with a notched trowel by a Bunnings team member

13Cut around large obstructions

If you come across a large obstruction in the wall, like a mixer tap outlet, you'll need to cut space in your tiles to accommodate it.  Line your tile sheet up next the outlet and mark it's position and size on your tile sheet.

Using the spirit level, transfer your marks into the correct position on the tile sheet and mark them up with your pencil. Then use the angle grinder to cut a hole in the tiles. Make sure that you wear your safety gear.

An angle grinder being used to cut holes in a sheet of mosaic tiles for tap fittings or power outlets

14Finish laying the tiles

Lay any cut tiles into place over their obstructions, and continue tiling the rest of the wall. Use the rubber grout trowel to press the tiles down and also check that it's level before the adhesive dries.

Once you've finished and the tiles are dry, the next thing you need to do is add some grout to complete the look. To find out how, watch our How to Grout Wall Tiles video.  
Mosaic tiles being applied to a vertical feature wall with a trowel and pre-applied tile adhesive

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.