Please tell me how to finish these edges

rosiewOctober 23, 2010

I'm not blessed with talent nor a ring-saw. But having much fun creating a cover for a submerged pond, using an oval 21"x23" satellite dish, with copper piping coming out of the center to a height of 14". Drilled holes in the dish to allow water to return to the buried reservoir.

Problem is this. I'm using glass tile, each just over 1/2" square. Can't for the life of me figure out how to do the outer edges. I have two wheeled nippers and some Dremel bits that I might be able to use. Hoping I can make the whole surface blend together. The dish is cupped.

Ready to do this! But I'm an old and wise gal and know y'all can tell me how to do this right. Will be using white thinset.

Huge thanks in advance for your help.

Rosie, in Sugar Hill, GA

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A picture would help a lot! If we can eyeball it, we can figure it out.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:50PM
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Neighbors here helping me post these pics.


Many thanks, again.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rosie's fountain project (WIP)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 6:20PM
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Ok, from your pic I assume you are talking about the rounded edge of the dish and not the actual sides which you already have tiles on correct? and you dont have anything glued down.
2 options.
1. start from the outside and move in. This is usually how most people do it....but there is no right way.
here is an article and the pic at the bottom shows and edge like this.

Or 2. you can cut your tiles with your wheeeled nippers to fit the edge like in this example. Tiles can be cut into practically any shape to fit the edge and keep your gridlike pattern if that is what you want.
Thats a pretty good pic of that type of edge. The disadvantage is that type of egde is weaker than the first example.

(If you dont know how to see the pics, copy and paste the address into your address bar of your browser. left click and drag with your mouse to highlight the address, then right click and select "copy" from the menu. Got to your address bar, remove the address thats in there by backspacing, right click the space and then select paste.
Not treating you like an idiot, just dont know how much you know and lots of people dont know how to do that.)

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 7:53PM
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Wacky, thanks for these two examples. You say "1. start from the outside and move in. This is usually how most people do it....but there is no right way."

I'll experiment - have another dish I put mesh shelf liner on with spray adhesive to keep the tiles in place. THOUGHT I wanted to keep the gridlike pattern. There's so much going on in the garden that I thought the simple grid would be good.

Another question. If I soak off the paper top and lay the tiles individually should I apply thinset to the entire top and hope I can finish before it skins over? Or can I apply thinset in batches, doing one area at a time ?


    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 8:54AM
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Ok I dont use thinset-there are ladies here that do,but you can actually just butter the back of each piece as you lay it, or you can put thinset down in just a section at a time-use one of those those grout spreaders with teeth to get an even layer. Dont do the whole dish tho-you will lose the time battle and not enjoy yourself worrying about it.
I think starting outside in id favored because you only have to fiddle with the pieces in the center. If you do it opposite you have to fiddle with the entire edge.
Ask away if you have more questions and be sure and show us pics when you are done!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Of course I have more questions! And thanks, Wacky, for helping with this. Want to know which alternatives to thinset you recommend, if any. The glass tiles are clear/transluscent, with the satellite dish a medium gray. I'm wondering if GE Silicone II would work. Certainly a more controlable medium. Man, I'd love to get this tiles and grouted and sealed and operable. LOL. Could I skim the white thinset on to give me the white coverage, then use the GE II?

Here is a link that might be useful: tiling dilemna

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 7:29AM
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ROSIE: I use thinset for all outside projects, and find it very easy to work with. The Mapei Ultra Flex II that I use comes in white and a soft grey. You say GE II is more controllable. I find it is awful messy and VERY hard to clean off the tiles. As I stated in another thread, why not mix up more things to put into your fountain to make a traditional mosaic - adds lots of interest. Also, I've seen mosaiced tables where copper was put around the edge. Since you w/have copper tubing for the plumbing, it w/make a very nice edge for your fountain. Just a suggestion.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 9:24AM
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Glad you chimed in, Slow. I think you probably can mosaic at warp speed, but maybe can tell me if I can thinset in portions. Using Traditions in Tile & Stone Multi Purpose Latex-Modified Mortar.

Re the copper - plan to use one or two lengths of stranded copper wire along the bottom edge of the lip on this dish. Also will experiment with applying lengths of a heavier stranded to the upright copper (fountain part)and also to the fittings (not shown) that go on top.

GEII isn't the easiest thing to remove. I dull small paring knives getting my goofs to go away.

In my pics, there's one that shows a mosaiced ball I did recently. It's right next to the pond. Think a trip to Value Village and Goodwill might be necessary to come up with pieces I could mix with the tile. Aside from not having some great pieces to add, I'm concerned that the thickness of the glass tile and other pieces I could add might present probs. The tile is really thin. Can get more of these glass tiles in other gorgeous colors. Hmmmm.

Keep the solutions coming.

Grateful, in Sugar Hill, GA,

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Definitely in small portions. I'm working on a birdbath right now, and I use a small palette knife to spread the thinset in portions. When I have a curved piece, I butter the back to fill the curve. In your case, I expect you could spread enough to lay a whole sheet of tiles onto your substrate, if you keep them on the net backing. I like to cut them apart and use individually, if I have a sheet. I have all different thicknesses. W/post a picture shortly of the birdbath - working on the bowl right now. Anxious to see your WIP.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 12:22PM
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Update from Rosie. Disaster struck. See link below. Arrgghhh!

Meanwhile, on an optimistic note, I've laid out tiles, mixing some iridescent purples into the mix, all removed from the paper topping on the tile sheets. Did this by cutting a clear shower curtain to the oval shape and laying them on one at a time. Should be easy now to thinset onto the satellite dish.

Slow, your birdbath is to die for!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pond lifting out of ground

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 6:55AM
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