Installing metal mosaic tile, including stainless steel mosaic tile and aluminum mosaic tile is nearly identical to the process of installing ceramic or glass tile. The installation photos on this page show mosaic tiles being installed onto a wall, but the same process also apply's to installing mosaic tiles on a floor. The only difference is that the type of adhesive used to install metal mosaic tile on a wall or backsplash is different than the adhesive made for floor tile installation. This is merely a how-to guide and should only be considered and informational resource. The writer and publisher of this article is not responsible for any mis-installation, misuse, errors or damaged caused by the direct or indirect use of the content in this article.
NOTE: Because of the metallic nature of stainless steel tile you should ensure a qualified electrician carries out electrical work around metal tile.
REQUIRED INSTALLATION TOOLS AND MATERIALS FOR METAL MOSAIC INSTALLATION
INSTALLING METAL MOSAIC MOSAIC TILE STEP BY STEP
CUTTING METAL MOSAIC TILE
Due to the small size of the individual pieces on the mosaic tile sheet, you can normally just cut through the joints between the individual tiles and the mesh backingand simple remove them to fit your tile sheet around an obstacle or at the end of a row. However in the case that simply removing individual tiles from the sheet will leave a large gap you will have to cut the tiles to fit. Although it sounds difficult, cutting metal tile isn't really that challenging. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of metal mosaics are actually porcelain / ceramic tiles covered with a 1-2mm stainless steel cap. The image below shows the typical structure of a metal mosaic tile, using either a flat metal piece or a cap cover made of metal.
The best method is to use a motorized wet tile saw. Because the tiles are so thin, you can often get by with a low grade, low cost tile saw available at most big box stores. These saws typically retail between $80-$100 for low use DIY versions, to close to $1000 for professional versions. Many big box stores and tool rental company's also rent tile saws. We must stress that tile saws can be dangerous, their diamond tipped blades are sharp, and the size of a piece of metal mosaic tile is often quite small, and thus it requires enough comfort and skill to cut the piece of tile while not cutting yourself. There is one tool that will NOT work for cutting metal tile, and that is a manual scoring tool that is typically used for cutting porcelain, stone and ceramic. This tool works on the basis of scoring the relatively soft surface of porcelain or ceramic, however metal capped tiles don't take well to scoring, so this method will not work. If you do not feel comfortable with these sharp, potentially harmfully tools its likely best to call a professional in to make the final cuts required to finish your tile job.
FINISHING THE EDGES OF A METAL TILE INSTALLATION
A commonly asked question is "How do I finish the edges in my metal mosaic tile installation?". The answer is to use a common tile edging strip. These strips, which are shaped like an "L" provide an ideal way to terminate the tile installation at the edge. These tile edging strips can be purchased at any local big box store such as The Home Depot or Lowes, and are also available at most stores that sell tile. Simply install the strip at the edge of your installation using the same tile mortar / adhesive that you are using for your tiles. These edging strips often are perforated on one side, this is the side that you set into the mortar, against the wall. The finished edge will be left exposed, and you will tile up to it, and then, grout up to this edge.
Alternatively you can also purchase metal bullnose tile edging to match the stainless steel finish of the tile, this item is sold on our website, click on the photo below to visit the product page for steel edging