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D.I.Y. #38 – How to Install Pebble Mosaic Tile (Video)

Entry #431, February 26, 2011

Happy DIY Saturday Stagetecture readers. With the onset of March right around the corner, more home owners are turning to renovating and beautifying their interiors and soon to be exteriors. Today’s DIY project is for those of you who want the nature inspired look of pebbles on your wall, backsplash, or floor. This can be achieved with beautiful pebble mosaic tile.

pebble tile_main

Pebble mosaic in a bathroom backsplash

See the You Tube video below from Lowe’s, as well as graphic and written instructions for transforming your space with pebble mosaic tile.

Graphic Instructions:

Instructions from Natural Stone Outlet:

pebble tile_step by step

Detailed Instructions:

Pebble and stone mosaic tiles can be used in an extensive variety of installations. They are appropriate for both indoor and outdoor application. Commercial applications include flooring, feature walls, bar surfaces, and walkways in projects ranging from restaurants to medical facilities, public parks, and corporate offices. Residential installations include pools and pool decks, patios, landscaping, fountains, water features, kitchen backsplash, flooring, shower floors, bath and powder room floors, entryways, fireplaces and BBQ areas.

Preparation and Application

Installation of these tiles is similar to any other natural stone product for best results, we recommend a qualified tradesperson who is experienced in the laying of
natural stone product the tiles are sold in 12 inch by 12inch all tiles interlock on all sides sort tiles before installing to ensure an even color layout for a vertical or contoured surface, smaller pebble sizes should be considered as well as a polymer based adhesive with a short hydration period, i.e.: glue setting time Substrates – Area of application should be flat, clean, dry and free of contaminants. For wet areas the use of reinforced waterproof membranes is suggested. In the case of flooring a fall to the drainage point of no less than two inches in required.

pebble tile_white

Pebble tile on a bathroom floor


Adhesive – Use only a high quality thinset mortar. The manufacturer’s literature will outline if it is appropriate for indoors or outdoors as well as for floors and walls.
It is important that each pebble is embedded in adhesive, however they should not be pressed deeply into the adhesive. Select a product suitable for application with a ¼” or 1/8” notched trowel and apply no more than three square feet of adhesive at a time.

Sealing and Grouting

It is recommended that the stones be sealed before and after grouting. For the best results use a good quality penetrating sealer. These types of penetrating sealers ordinarily do not change or alter the color of the pebbles. In order to enhance the color of the stones to a deeper matte or glossy finish it is suggested you use natural stone color enhancer or natural stone color and shine enhancer prior to applying the penetrating sealer. A sanded grout that is suitable for external or internal conditions which ever may be the case is recommended. Generally grouts are a water mix but where some flexibility may be needed then a latex additive or similar should be used in the water it is important to wait the interval recommended by the adhesive manufacturer before grouting to minimize dirt ingress between the pebble and avoid the opportunity for dislodging of pebbles grout a small area at a time.when grout has dried, use a stiff bristled brush to scrub excess grout.
After removing most of the grout with a brush use a grout sponge to continue removing grout until the desired finish is achieved.

pebble tile_floor accent

Pebble mosaic tile in floor accents

Control Joints

Joints can be easily formed with two angles, sealant and bond-breaker between them designers may show points at which joints are needed and they are certainly required where tiles join walls or some other building material in the substrate a tile saw may be used to fit edges or corners you can also flip the tile over and cut the desired edge or shape with a sharp cutting instrument OR take individual pebbles off the mesh to fill the gaps ordering extra sheets of tile may be useful for this.

Sealers and Cleaning

It is recommended that the pebbles be sealed with a quality impregnator before grouting and again after the grout has dried completely. To maintain ease of maintenance of natural stone it is recommended that sealants be applied every 2-3 years. Whenever using sealants and cleaners, ensure you follow the manufacturers recommended method of application. The pebbles can be cleaned with neutral mild detergents. The porosity or water absorption in pebbles (natural stone) varies, and therefore staining will occur in different degrees if the stone is unsealed consequently, any spills should be cleaned quickly to lessen the degree of the stain and sealers are highly recommended

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