General Note about BELK Tile Installation Guide

The following general installation and grouting guidelines pertain to most applications for glass mosaic tiles. The technical service departments of major setting material companies should be consulted regarding specific installation questions.


The end user is responsible for determining the acceptability of the product. Installation constitutes acceptance of tile order.

The handmade character of glass mosaic tile creates a degree of artistic variation in shade, color, tone, and size within each sheet of tile.

Open and inspect each carton of tile to confirm shading consistency. Randomly select 5 sheets from different cartons to establish color control during installation. Before installing tile, blend sheets from different cartons to assure random placement during installation. As sheets are being installed, check them against control samples prior to placing them in the setting material to assure acceptable shade variations and quality.


Expansion Joints
Expansion joints are essential for the success of most glass mosaic tile installations. Expansion joint requirements will vary depending on substrate climate and size of installation.


Cutting glass tiles and glass mosaic tile:

Small format glass tile are best cut with specialty glass mosaic tile cutters/clippers, and the larger sizes such as the 4 x 12 series glass tiles are best cut with a wet saw. Cut edges are very sharp and should be smoothed with carbide paper or a "white stone" available at tile dealers.


Straight Cuts
Straight edge to edge cuts on 4mm large format can be achieved with a simple glass scoring tool and a straight edge. Score the glass lightly on the front face along the desired cut line and snap along the line. This method is only suitable for cuts that are 1" (25 mm) or larger. To snap the tile, place a piece of thin wire directly under the edge of the score and apply even pressure to both sides. A ceramic tile cutter is not recommended for this purpose. Whenever possible cut edges should be sanded and placed in corners where they can be covered or hidden. Cutting Thick, Etched or Textured glass tile. Use a diamond blade designed for cutting glass on a wet saw. A blade for cutting glass has smaller diamonds than a tile blade, has a continuous rim and runs at a slower speed. Note: A blade designed for cutting ceramic tiles is coarse and will chip the glass. Plasplugs makes a small tile saw (DWW105US - contact Plasplugs at (800) 966-6400 that can be fitted with our exclusive diamond blade to make excellent cuts on our tiles. Hint: When cutting glass on the Plasplugs saw, place the glass with the smooth surface down. Avoid stress to the last portion of the cut by cutting slowly and by pushing the glass with a scrap piece of wood placed across the entire rear surface of the glass. Other manufacturers offer solutions for cutting glass: Makita manufactures a battery operated saw (model 4190DW equipped with 724-950-8V glass blade), contact Makita at (800) 462-5482. MK also makes special glass blades for their tile saws (model MK215GL, available from 7" to 12" diameter). Contact MK Diamond at 800 421-8830. A lapidary blade also makes a very clean cut on glass tiles.

Cutting Curves
A ring or band saw designed for cutting glass makes cutting curves easy. For more information, contact Gemini Saw at (310) 891-0288 or Diamond Tech at (800) 937-9593.

Types of Setting Materials to Use

Setting material products are available through tile dealers, home centers, and major setting material companies.
Use A white thin-set mortar (2 component, flexible acrylic thin-set mortar system)

Mapei: Adesilex P10 (bright white) nonsag mortar for glass tile. Mix with water or Keraply. Specifically designed for glass tile.

Custom Building Products: MegaFlex Ultimate Thin-Set Mortar (white). No admixture is necessary. 

Laticrete: 254 Platinum Multipurpose Thin-Set Mortar. No admixture is necessary.

TEC (H.B. Fuller): Super Flex Premium Performance Universal Latex-Modified Thin-Set Mortar. No admixture is necessary.

5/8" x 2", 3/4" x 3/4", 1" x 1" etc.

Use enough setting material to assure 100% tile surface coverage but not so much that it will "ooze" above the top of the tile through the grout joints. Use a 3/16" x 5/32" V-notched trowel and do not flatten the "rows" created in the setting material. Apply only as much setting material as can be covered with tile within 10 to 20 minutes or while surface is still wet and tacky.

With firm, even pressure apply sheets of tile mesh side down into the setting material, using a wooden beating block or rubber grouting float to create a flat surface. Carefully align each sheet as it is installed to create uniform grout joints from sheet to sheet. Allow tile to set until firm. Clean excess setting material from the surface of the tile with a damp cloth or sponge while the setting material is fresh.

Special installation information for Multi Pattern glass tile: To achieve a seamless fit from sheet to sheet, individual tiles may need to be adjusted at time of installation.

Installation for stainless steel tiles/mosaics

Step 1
Determine the pattern for your backsplash or countertop. While a pattern at eliminates a lot of tile cutting makes the job easier, you can choose whatever layout you desire. Test fit a row of tiles in each direction to make sure that you are happy with the how the finished pattern will look.

Step 2
Mix the tile adhesive according to package instructions. The consistency should be like peanut butter. Some adhesives are ready to apply and do not require mixing.

Step 3
Apply a consistent layer of adhesive to a small area of the wall or countertop with the trowel. Prevent the adhesive from drying out by working in a small area. Form rows of ridges by dragging the notched side of the trowel through the layer of adhesive.

Step 4
Press the first tile into the adhesive. If desired, use the tile spacers to form consistent spaces between the tiles. You can also choose to set the tiles as close as possible if you do not like the look of grout lines with your stainless steel tiles. Repeat this process until all the whole tiles are installed.

Step 5
Cut all necessary tiles for edges and corners. Use a circular saw with a blade designed to cut metal. Protect your eyes, hands, and mouth from sharp metal edges and flying metal shards with safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask. Cut with the finished side of the tiles facing up, and use a metal file or sandpaper to smooth the cut edges. Install the cut tiles using the same method you used with the whole tiles.

Step 6
Grout between the stainless steel tiles with a non-sanded grout or an acrylic caulk.

Paper-Face Mounted Sheets / Plastic face mounted 
***IMPORTANT NOTE! When installing paper-face mounted tile sheets,

For paper mounted

After the tiles have been installed, to remove the paper, apply a moderately wet sponge to the paper, allowing the water to soak through and dissolve the glue. (Warm water dissolves quicker than cold). Paper should be wet for removal only at time that it will actually be removed. If paper is wet for removal, but then dries again without having been removed from the tile it is VERY difficult to remove upon wetting it again. Starting at the corners, peel the paper from the tile. If tile comes up during this process, allow setting material to set a little longer. Once paper is removed make any tile alignment adjustments while the setting material is fresh.
For plastic mounted

Once all film-mounted sheets are installed into setting material, creating small pinholes or slits in the film improves the breathing and setting up process. Once setting material has set up, remove the film by pulling it from the tile, starting at the corners and pulling downward. If tile comes up during this process, allow setting material to set up longer. Once film is removed make any tile alignment adjustments while the setting material is fresh.

Further Installation Notes

Some setting materials manufacturers recommend applying setting material to the back side of the sheet of glass mosaic tile ("back buttering") with the flat side of the trowel immediately before placement of the sheet into the freshly trowelled setting material on the surface receiving the tile. This extra amount of setting material is recommended to help assure 100% coverage of the tile. It does, however, increase the amount of setting material available to "ooze" up through the grout joints. If too much is applied, the setting material will, particularly on the thinner 3/4" x 3/4" and 5/8" x 5/8" tile, completely fill the grout joints leaving very little or no space for grout.

If 100% tile surface coverage (no voids between the tile and the surface receiving the tile) can be achieved by applying sufficient setting material only to the surface receiving the tile, this "back buttering" step might be unnecessary. We suggest experimenting with a sheet or partial sheet of tile before starting the job to determine the best approach for achieving 100% coverage.

Water Immersion Applications

Regarding tile work in swimming pools, fountains, and other continuous water immersion applications, minimum cure time after grouting is 21 days before flood testing or filling with water. Follow setting materials manufacturers recommended cure times.

Shell mosaic tiles are suitable for dry, interior wall applications only. Avoid installation in areas exposed to direct rays from the sun.

Grout Color

Grout color plays a major role in the final appearance of any glass mosaic tile job and should be selected carefully. Grout color that contrasts with the tile color tends to create a "frame" around each tile.


Grouting may be done after tile is firmly set approximately 24 hours after installation. Apply grout, unsanded, with a rubber float, making sure that grout joints are completely full and free of voids and pits. Clean the surface with a clean, damp sponge.
Allow grout to set firm or until haze forms on the tile and the grout in the joints sets firm. Use a soft, clean, dry cloth to polish off haze and remaining grout residue. Final cleaning of grout haze and tile polishing is done with clean, dry cheesecloth within 24 hours of grouting.

Cleaning & maintanance

Normal cleaning of glass mosaic tile can be done with room temperature water and a rag. For a more thorough cleaning and to remove stubborn dirt and stains, use any of the many tile and grout cleaners available through tile dealers or home centers.

Shell mosaics consist primarily of Calcium Carbonate, which reacts with acids including vinegar, acidic foods and carbonated beverages.

We recommend cleaning with a damp cloth or a gentle furniture polish cleaner