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5 Common mistakes when starting out

1. Most people have a tendency to lay glass vitreous tiles upside down on their base (i.e. the flat side down and the ridges facing up). Sometimes tiles come with the smooth surface down against paper or mesh backing. The ridges are designed to hold the glue and add extra bondage to the base. If laid the wrong way round, the grouting process will be hindered as mortar will get stuck in the ridges, making the cleaning process difficult, often requiring an old toothbrush to sweep the grout from the grooves.

2. When making a mosaic it can look a lot neater if the gaps are small, or even non-existent. Do not do this! Gaps between tiles are a vital part of the mosaic. It is the addition of the grout between the tiles that ensures your mosaic will strong, durable and stand the test of time. On the flip side, avoid leaving huge gaps unless you know the grout can withstand it. Most gaps will fill 3-4mm, sanded grouts will fill more. The wrong grout will cause cracks and reduce the strength and visual appeal of your work.

3. Cheap, ready-made adhesive and grout all-in-one pots from DIY stores may seem like a convenient solution but low quality products can ultimately ruin your finished piece. If you spend hours working on your mosaic, take your time choosing quality and compatible products from a professional brand.

4. Choosing the correct colour grout can be tricky- the wrong colour can have a huge negative impact on your work, a fantastic choice can work wonders! To be on the safe side it is worth making a test board beforehand. Using offcut tiles from your mosaic and creating a few strips for reference is a useful idea. Use sample bags of grout and allow each strip to dry to identify which colour you think works best.

5. When starting out try not to rush into an overly complicated design. Keep it simple and let the beauty of the tiles do the talking. It is a lot like cooking- a few quality ingredients can make a fantastic dish! It takes time to master technique, so avoid disappointment, be easy on yourself and your work. Learn from your mistakes and gradually improve your mosaic skills and enjoy the process.

We hope you enjoy your mosaic journey!