What should I use as substrate for mosaics?

KimmyStarJanuary 1, 2013

Flexible plastic or other material, thin composition paneling that has 'give', etc, should not be used as the grout will quickly crack and the tiles will pop off. Surfaces must be solid, free of loose paint, wallpaper, dirt and grease, etc., and must be able to support the weight of the tile and grout It may be necessary to 'key' the surface by scoring or sanding it so the your adhesive will stick to it. Particle board is NOT a suitable surface.

Backerboards Backerboards are waterproof and come from your local Do It Yourself home improvement store. They come in sheets which can be cut to size. It is commonly used to cover the wall under your shower tile and over wood floors to be tiled. Most are made of a concrete composition. 'Hardibacker' is the brand name for a backerboard that is easier to cut and lighter weight than cement boards like "Wonder board". Both are water resistant and secure well with thin-set. Backerboard cannot support itself and must be attached to something else. It can be screwed into wall studs, cement block walls, just about anything. For more information on Hardibacker go to James Hardie's website, (manufacturer of Hardibacker).

I want to make a tile mosaic to put on my house above the entryway outside. My house is made of stucco. This is also my first large-ish scale mosaic project, going to be approx 3' square. The problem is this: The area where this will be going is about 15 feet up in the air, so I wanted to be able to put the mosaic onto a backer board and then attatch that to the house. But, my design is very rounded, and from what I have read on the web, it is extremely difficult to cut something like hardibacker into rounded shapes. I don't want to use wood because that will rot in no time with the Florida weather. ----------------------------------------------------------- Follow-Up Postings:

KimmyStar Mon, Jan 3, 05 at 13:04

perrisquirrel, I did a half round backerboard piece. It's down the page a bit 'Grouted Sign'. While it isn't 3', it is rather large.

Draw your circle out. Score it all the way around. Then score from the circle to the outside of the backerboard and break off in sections.

If you have uneven edges, take a screwdriver and a hammer and gently tap. Worked like a charm for me.

Kimmy -----------------------------------------------------------

bondo4 Thu, Jan 6, 05 at 15:11

I cut a circle out of concrete backer board for my table using a saber saw and about 1/2 a dozen blades. It took a bit and next time I'll wear a mask (lots of dust) but it worked quite well. You do have to go slowly though and be prepared for some horrible noises as the blade dulls.

Buckster Sat, Jan 8, 05 at 23:41

Are you talking about wonderboard. This is a concrete type board. Also what do you use to put the tile onto the board, also did you use tile?


KimmyStar Sun, Jan 9, 05 at 7:29


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