Installing fiberglass mesh smalti mosaic

palmetto_moonDecember 11, 2008


I'm new to this forum. I just finished my second mosaic, first smalti mosaic. I used Weldbond on mesh, and I'm planning to install on a wall with thinset (size is 16 x 16). I'm apprehensive-some of my smalti are butted right up against each other, and others have spaces, and I was heavy-handed with my Weldbond. It seems every smalti mosaic I see, though there's no grout, achieves a "groutish" look---I suppose this is because thinset is used as the adhesive in some instances, and in some others, they self-grout, which is what I hope to acheive, although because of how very close some smalti are and because some holes of my mesh are blocked, I worry that the self-grouting will be spotty at best.

So, I've just spent a considerable amount of time picking glue from between the smalti (I was afraid they'd all fall out when I did that; some did, and I fear more still will when I pick the piece up--do you ever use clear tape on the front to hold a piece together while you're installing?). So now there are a lot more open holes. Is there any way to get the thinset in from the front? A pastry bag, perhaps, or could I use premixed grout in a pastry bag?

Do my concerns sound valid, or if I just put it on the thinset and "smoosh", will I likely be OK?

Thanks for your help. My house is on a tour on SUNDAY and I have to get this thing on the wall!

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Seems you're already pretty knowledgeable on your technique. In my limited experience, and NONE w/smalti, I've seldome seen it grouted. If you wish to do the method you propose, I'd suggest to smoosh lightly, and fill in your blank areas as you've suggested w/a pastry bag - small tip w/thinset. Yes, I've seen others use the tape on front to hold it together while it's installed. I assume this is for an interior wall??? If so, the pre-mixed stuff w/ work. Welcome to the forum. Don't know how much you've read up on us, but we LOVE pictures - even works in progress (WIPs). Anxious to see a picture b/f and after installation.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 8:24AM
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Wish I could help, but I haven't worked with Smalti yet myself. Welcome!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:04AM
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Palmetto, I'm up against exactly the same issue, I'm just not as far along as you, so I'm very very interested in what works. I too wasn't spare with the weldbond, and am using smalti, and will thinset directly on the wall.

Just last weekend I put up a piece of smalti in an indirect method (no glue no fiberglass), and was surprised by how much thinset oozed up through the gaps. It looks grouted in places (until I have time to dig parts of it out). That kind of reassured me that there will be enough thinset coming through that those heavily glued spots won't be a big deal. Does that make sense at all? I'm more concerned about any larger gaps where there is lots of glue -- I don't want the mesh to show - an in those cases I'll put a tiny bit of thinset down in those spots and use a little paintbrush to even it out.

Best of luck and PLEASE report back on your success - with pictures hopefully!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 10:07AM
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