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What Are Metal Mosaic Tiles?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Metal mosaic tiles are tiles made from different types of metal and are used to create mosaics for various projects. These tiles are available in a wide variety of metals including stainless steel, copper, gold, and bronze. The tile itself is typically made from a brushed metal overlay that has been bonded to a clay base, though some types are available that are only metal.

Designers may find metal mosaic tiles in any size or style to suit the needs of their project. Individual tiles range between three-quarters of an inch (2 centimeters) to five inches (12.7 centimeters). They may be pre-fabricated in a pattern on a fiberglass mesh backdrop, or may be purchased as individual tile pieces and mounted in alternating patterns that fit a pre-conceived design concept. Each tile, or sheet of tiles, may be cut down to size to fit unique areas, such as curves or existing fixtures, using a wet diamond bladed saw.

The patterns of metal mosaic tiles available are as wide and varied as the sizing and color options. Individual tiles shapes may be round, square, rectangular, or uniquely organic. Square tiles are often alternated using two different types of metal to create a checkerboard pattern. Rectangular copper pieces may be structured to resemble a metal brick wall. Organic sheets of metal tiles may feature a grouping of pieces in which no two tiles are identical, and when viewed from a distance resemble a grouping of metal pebbles.

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Some designers may prefer to use a blend of standard tile types together with metal mosaic tiles. Rectangular metal tiles and square glass tiles may be intermixed to create a visually striking display with a minimum of color. Metallic tiles are also frequently used as accent tiles and may be used exclusively as a border or as a stand alone focal point placed periodically along an otherwise solid colored ceramic wall.

Installation techniques for metal mosaic tiles is similar to those used when installing standard porcelain or ceramic tiles. Tile mortar specific to the area of installation may be applied to the walls or floor where the mosaics will be placed for adhesion. Unsanded grout should be used in the tile joints to avoid scratching or marring the metallic finish in any way.

Once the tiles have been installed, they may also require sealing. Sealant is a liquid material applied to standard ceramic or clay based tiles that prevents staining and helps tiles retain a new look continuously. This product should be purchased for use with metal tiles specifically. Stainless steel tiles will generally not require any additional protection because the metal is durable and naturally stain and scratch resistant. Copper, iron, and any metals which have a reaction with moisture or exposure to air can be sealed to prevent rust and discoloration over time.

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