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Saturday, June 22, 2024

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Mosaic mockups make happy clients


Attached are pictures of the mosaic our customer wants us to install. The back has a lot of glue on the mesh and the stones have a lot of holes that will capture and hold grout. It’s a very dark grout. 

We have sealed a single sheet of this and are going to mount it and grout it as a sample before we put it on the floor. We want the customer to see what we will have as a finished product before it is really finished. They are set on stones in the shower pans.

Are we doing all we can to get them the result they are looking for, or is there anything else we can do? Our fear is many of the holes in the stones will show the grout because of the dark grout on light colored stones.


You are utilizing the mockup to its highest degree. Stones with holes and dark grout will yield the speckle effect and possibly client unhappiness. Show them how it will appear BEFORE it is installed. When the mockup is complete, take a photo of it and have them sign it, providing their full approval.

Watch out for the over-glued mosaics. I recently did a demo on flattening the mortar before the installation of a 1-1/2″x3″ mosaic that was sheet mounted with a significant amount of glue on the back. Interestingly, when I pulled the sheet out of the mortar, the tiles that did not have mesh and glue on the back had full transfer and 100% coverage. Unfortunately, the mortar did not transfer to the mesh and glue area (bond breaker) and would have been completely unbounded. Test the tile for mortar transfer before setting it for the mockup.

Additionally, you may want to cut the sheet in half before you do your mockup to illustrate the possible sheet mating issues and, if significant, rethink your bid. Hand setting is an art, but it needs to be compensated appropriately. 


We have spoken to the customer this morning and are now in the process of hunting for a different mosaic. They were happy with the look, but this morning we explained the problems that can come up with the excessive glue on the back. Our customer is a professional electrician and appreciates us explaining and looking out for his showers.

Thank you all for your help. The information we get from this email address is more than worth the NTCA membership fee!

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