I want to make the walls near the work surface practical and beautiful, because it is on them that the eye most often falls when we work at the countertop. One of the interesting options is to lay tiles in the form of a mosaic for the kitchen on an apron. What are the nuances of the choice of materials and the installation process itself, we will analyze further.
Advantages and disadvantages
Mosaic for the kitchen always looks spectacular. Previously, it was laid from small pieces, it was a very complex, long and laborious process. Now they sell ready-made blanks of a convenient size. Most often, these are squares with a side of 30 cm. Laying such a mosaic is no more difficult than ordinary tiles. However, in terms of appearance, she wins a lot. You can create unique ornaments, fruit paintings, landscapes, city views that will immediately bring uniqueness to the interior.
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Advantages of mosaic in the kitchen:
- Interesting design.
- Long service life.
- Resistance of materials to water, ultraviolet (does not fade over time), chemical and mechanical damage.
- Does not require perfect alignment of the wall surface before installation.
The disadvantages are:
- Do not use abrasive products for maintenance.
- It’s hard to do the seams on your own. If you use cheap products, the entire mosaic will be vulnerable to moisture.
- Smooth surfaces, especially mirrored, metal ones, require frequent wiping from splashes.
Dimensions and shape of the kitchen mosaic
For a mosaic on a kitchen backsplash, small elements are fastened on the basis of a polyurethane mesh. This is how matrices with side sizes from 10 to 40 cm are obtained. The mosaic elements themselves are from 2 to 5 cm. The smaller the size of the tile, the greater the effect of expanding the space. Large tiles are more suitable for large rooms, combined rooms.
Mosaic tiles for the kitchen can be square, rectangular, irregular in shape, with imitation of natural stone, even oval and round. Matrices are mostly square, rectangular. When simulating shells, stones, the edges are made uneven so that the joints come out invisible.
For mosaics in the interior of the kitchen choose pastel, gray, black, brown colors. Bright mosaic looks good with white or other neutral furniture. Multi-colored tiles should overlap with the color of the floor, headset or walls.
The atmosphere of the Mediterranean is well recreated by the kitchen with a mosaic of blue, blue colors. It is also used by lovers of the Provence style.
How to determine the flow
A mosaic kitchen apron is laid out from square-shaped blanks. Measure the length, width of the wall between the cabinets and the table, add 10 – 15%. Spare tiles are useful for repairs in case of damage to the material. The resulting area is divided by the area of one tile – you get the number of tiles.
The most common form of elements for an apron in a mosaic kitchen is square; rectangular tiles are used a little less often. To obtain the effect of a stone wall, fragments are made under a stone of various shapes (six and octagons, rhombuses).
Mosaic for a kitchen backsplash can consist of fantasy elements or with rounded edges.
Appearance, care, durability of the mosaic wall panel depend on the choice of material. Mosaic kitchen apron is made of glass, tiles, porcelain stoneware, natural stone, mother-of-pearl elements, metal. They also combine different materials with each other, most often stone and glass. Or they lay out an apron from tiles, and in several places they make accents from mosaics.
Stores sell ready-made tiles that have a pattern that imitates mosaics. It is easier to lay, and the seams are much less.
Glass mosaic in the kitchen is inexpensive. The material is durable, lightweight, up to 5 mm thick. Glass is sold transparent and frosted, convex and even, in different colors. The structure is homogeneous, or sparkles, stone chips are added to its composition. Often, to obtain complex patterns, smalt is used – colored glass of increased strength. It is exposed to high temperatures during manufacture.
Mosaic tiles in the kitchen for an apron are often made of ceramics. The material is made of clay, on top – a protective coating of glaze. The tile is resistant to steam, water, extreme temperatures. Its thickness is greater than glass and can reach up to 1 cm.
In the form of a mosaic, tiles look much more interesting than classic tiles. But this is a rather fragile material and can crack with point impacts.
Porcelain tile imitates natural stone, but costs less. It is easy to take care of it, since its porosity is much less, and its density is higher. Due to this, the material is not inclined to absorb odors. Ceramic mosaic in the kitchen retains its original appearance well, does not deteriorate. It can be washed with detergents.
The only limitation is the colors of only natural colors: from beige to brown. Therefore, bright drawings and ornaments from porcelain stoneware will not work.
An apron made of stone looks noble, but it is also quite expensive. Use thin plates of marble, travertine, limestone, onyx. They are polished. not polished and polished surfaces. The stone requires special care, as it can absorb an unpleasant odor, change color from contact with dyes. Protect the surface already at the time of laying, covering with special waterproof compounds.
The stone skillfully creates an atmosphere of medieval times. However, it is often more profitable to replace it with a high-quality imitation. The view does not suffer from this, and care is much easier.
Plays of color, apparent fragility and lightness, subtle glow – all this is obtained when using mother-of-pearl materials. The most incredible overflows and stains are made in a single copy, they are created by nature itself, and not stamped by a machine.
The basis of this mosaic is natural stone. There is a special grout with a mother-of-pearl effect. Pearlescent powder can be added to ordinary grout. In kitchens with a mother-of-pearl apron, there is more light and warmth, because the shades are mostly milky, creamy.
A mosaic tile may have a thin layer of metal (up to 0.6 mm) of stainless steel on its outer surface. When laying, a metal wall is obtained. You can make an apron for silver, gold, bronze, steel. It looks original, but suits only a few modern styles – loft, industrial, modern, art deco. More often, metal fragments are included in finished mosaics from several materials. Care is required constant, as any defects are clearly visible on the metal surface.
Choosing grout and glue
The tiles for the backsplash in the kitchen must have high-quality seams. With a mosaic, there are more of them than when decorating a wall with large tiles. The most reliable seams are obtained from epoxy grout. You need to do the work quickly, because the material quickly hardens. But in the future, it well protects the joints from the penetration of water, chemicals, oil particles.
If you have any doubts about whether you can cope with this task, it is better to contact a specialist. There is a self-adhesive tile. The adhesive composition has already been applied to its inner surface. It remains only to attach to the wall, carefully aligning the mosaic element and press down. You also need to prepare the wall and make it even. The tile is well glued to plastic, glass, but not to plaster.
The adhesive must hold the tile firmly so that it does not fall off the wall during operation. Steam and humidity adversely affect the properties of the adhesive. It is better to choose a waterproof product.
What to consider when choosing
When buying glue and grout, you need to understand that the tiles will not have large mechanical loads, and contact with water will be periodic, unlike bathrooms. Under these conditions, cementitious adhesive does the best job of holding the tiles to the wall.
If we glue a transparent glass tile, you need to take white glue. Since the material is transparent, the adhesive base will shine through it.
The degree of adhesion of glue and grout must be at least 20 kg / cm2. Then the tile will hold well in its place, it will not fall off.
The gray color of the grout is universal for bright types of mosaics. The seams do not attract attention to themselves, dirt is not so conspicuous.
For stone mosaics, it is better to take cement-based glue. It dries quickly and leaves no marks on natural materials.
Laying a mosaic on an apron in stages
It is quite possible to lay a mosaic kitchen apron with your own hands. To do this, you need to have the following materials and tools:
- comb (6 mm);
- pressure roller;
- mosaic glue (in its composition – white sand);
- rag, sponge.
Preparing the base of the apron
To ensure that the angle between the walls is exactly 90 degrees, the surfaces are leveled with gypsum plaster along the lighthouses. Most materials do not require careful leveling of the surface. The exception is the stone mosaic. It is necessary to smooth out large irregularities and repair cracks for any material. Perform this step with putty.
Considering that the apron is subjected to temperature stress and humidity, the base is treated with an antifungal and antiseptic agent. This will protect the mosaic from the development of pathogenic microbes under it. If the wall is even, it is simply treated with concrete contact for better adhesion to the tiles.
After gluing, it will no longer be possible to move the elements. To avoid distortions and mistakes, markings are applied to the wall, along which tiles are laid out. The edge of the tile should go beyond the level of the work surface by at least 1 cm. From above, the same amount is brought in for the top row of cabinets. A laser level is used to determine the level. Mark the upper and lower boundaries of the apron, attach the guide profile from below.
Information on how to use glue is usually indicated on the product packaging. You can consult with the manager when buying. For different compositions there are features. Glue is diluted in warm water in the right ratio immediately before work, mixed well. They are applied to the wall with a toothed roller alternately – on the lower strip, then on the upper one. Glue is not applied immediately to the entire surface, because it dries quickly.
Laying out a mosaic on an apron
Laying mosaics in the kitchen is easier, the larger the elements. The easiest way is to glue a large layer. However, it costs more.
Start laying out from the bottom. The tile is applied, leveled and passed over the surface with a roller, evenly pressing the material. If the glue shows through at the joints, the excess is immediately removed with a sponge before it hardens. Excess material that extends beyond the top line of the apron is cut off.
Some craftsmen advise applying glue not to the wall, but to the back of the tile matrices. So less glue appears in the seams, the work is cleaner.
There are features when laying tiles on a paper basis. The paper is applied to the decorative side and holds the pieces together. Glue the workpiece with the other side to the wall (without paper). Epoxy grout can be used as glue. After the apron dries, the paper layer is soaked and removed.
The crucial moment, on the correct implementation of which the life of the entire mosaic depends, is grouting. No matter how spectacular the pattern is laid out, if the seams look bad, the whole mosaic will spoil the look of the kitchen rather than decorate it. The grout is susceptible to moisture, so it’s better not to save on seams, use high-quality epoxy material.
Contrasting grout can drastically change the look of the backsplash and the entire kitchen. Red, black lines combined with white tiles make the wall more expressive and noticeable.
Caring for a mosaic apron
In order to maintain the cleanliness of the wall surface near the stove, sink, it must be frequently wiped with a damp cloth using non-abrasive detergents. Old and stubborn grease and dirt cannot be removed in this way. Therefore, it is recommended to do cleaning regularly, to use pre-soaking of the surface by spraying a suitable product. You can use liquids for washing glasses, anti-grease.
Mosaic is a lot of small tiles. If the tiled material is not a problem to clean, then the seams get dirty over time, darken. Already at the stage of laying the mosaic, you need to take care of this and use high-quality grout, preferably epoxy. Hard brushes and powders can scratch the surface, and dirt will subsequently accumulate in the resulting surface cracks.
Mirror surfaces require the most difficult care. Drops and residues of solids, stains are immediately noticeable on them. Therefore, when choosing a mirror mosaic, you will have to carefully clean the surfaces. Can be combined with other materials, less demanding, close to the main sources of pollution.
To facilitate care, you can choose a tile that contains sparkles. The heterogeneity of the surface will brighten up the existing pollution.
How to avoid mistakes, recommendations on style, design
The easiest solution is to lay out the wall with elements of the same color and size. There are many options where the tiles have a different shade of the same color. Use a beautiful smooth transition from light to dark tones in the form of a gradient or arrange them in random order.
Mosaic with a mirror effect reflects all objects standing on the work surface. There may be a feeling of cluttered space. It is better to remove everything superfluous next to the apron immediately.
A bright mosaic in the kitchen is best combined with a calm coloring of the headset and floor. The variegation of flowers can tire the eyes. There is also a chance that after changing the furniture, the mosaic will not look as good with it as with the previous set. The tile serves 10 – 20 years, one mosaic picture can be quite boring during this time.
The color gradient and mix can be considered the most versatile way out, as they create many possibilities for combinations.
Laying a mosaic is not difficult, it copes well with the effects of water, steam, detergents and dyes, and mechanical shocks. The more imagination you show when decorating a tiled surface for an apron, the more comfortable, unusual the kitchen space becomes.