Monday, February 14, 2011

Design Tip!

Pssst! Hey you!

Yeah, you. Design aficionado.

I want to share a little secret with you.
I usually don’t share this with anyone, but here it is:

Mosaic tile installations can be a great way to liven up any surface especially in a bathroom or a kitchen. When it comes to dealing with visible grout lines in mosaic installations, there are typically two options.

ONE: If you don't want to accentuate those grout lines you Pick a color that will blend into the color scheme of the tile.

TWO: Sometimes, you actually want to accentuate the grout lines. Isn't that part of the point of a mosaic installation anyway? In that case, you choose white or gray grout or a grout color that shows off the grout lines best with your mosaic tile.

Now, listen closely, since I'm going to let you in on this secret.

I have a THIRD option! This is an option which I use ALL the time. It's a cool little trick. Even designer colleague's of mine love it when they learn how I did certain mosaic tile installations.

Are you ready? the little secret is...

...use Clear Epoxy Grout!
Here's why it works: The clear grout blends in and reflects the color from tile in the mosaic. It also has an incredible shimmer to it which you can't get with a typical, flat grout.
check out these close ups on these mosaic installations where we used clear epoxy grout. 

Take a look at how the copper glass mosaic tile in ceiling of this steam shower blends. The clear grout, which is used throughout, made the job simple and clean. If we had tried to use a brown grout in ceiling, it would've created a mess on the blue tile, even if we had taped it off. Even if we had avoided that problem, the brown would’ve been a different shade. On top of that, the rest of the mosaic pattern itself has copper, titanium, gold, white and blue and if we used a blue or a gray (or even a white) grout, the lines would be really pronounced and perhaps a tad too busy. In this case, I didn’t want to see that. So clear grout was the way to go.

The blue mosaic tile is from SICIS, and SICIS loved my little grout trick too.
The fish mosaic is a custom mosaic design by Waterworks based on a Japanese painting my client loves.
I love that I stumbled upon this secret years ago while experimenting with and doing research on grouts and mosaics. It’s made sooo many of my projects a lot nicer! This is probably the most valuable trade secret I’ve shared thus far, so use it well!

One thing you might want to consider as well is that you should always use a professional tile installer to install glass mosaic. Because it’s a specialty, it MUST be installed with WHITE thinset (preferably Mapie). If not, the mosaic will show trowel lines behind glass mosaic tiles, just to name one of the many problems that could come up in the ensuing fiasco.

I hope you can use this little trick next time you're looking to make your mosaic tile installation look spectacular.


  1. Where do you find a clear epoxy grout? Or is it the same thing as an epoxy glue? I was at Lowe's last night trying to figure this same thing out and they ended up talking me into polycrylic which I haven't tried yet. What suggestions do you have?

    Thank you, Shannon

  2. It's a product from Bisazza called Fill gel . This should be professionally installed and would recommend using the shine cleaner to remove lingering residue . It's not inexpensive , but well worth it if done professionally .

  3. just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

    Epoxy Grouting

  4. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    Epoxy Grout

  5. What color Bisazza Fill Gel did you end up using in the above pics? I'm considering it for some Solistone Folia glass tile ("Silver Maple") as a back splash and I thinking of going with the nuetro color. I'd really like the grout lines to just blend. Haven't used it before. Any experience with the nuetro color and how would you describe the color it takes when it dries?? Thanks!!

  6. Btw, I realize you mentioned clear epoxy grout above... but Bisazza doesn't have a clear, neutro is the closest thing, I just wanted to make sure we're talking about the same thing...

    1. Yes, It is the Neutro Fil Gel. I've used it numerous times with different color glass and it looks perfect in every case.

  7. I am so thrilled to have found your article! We have just filled a 12" x 12" section of our glass mosaic tile with white grout and it just ruins the whole flow! I was googling to see if anyone made a "clear grout" and this looks like it fills the bill perfectly. My question is, after an hour of internet searching, I'm not finding a simple way to order the product. It looks like there are no local distributors here in Las Vegas. I did find a bisazza store in Miami but they were closed for the day. Is that who you purchased your materials through? The bisazza site is difficult to navigate and keeps popping back into a different language. Thank you in advance for any light you can shed on procuring this magic stuff!!

  8. This sounds really good. Does it work with Ceramic or porcelain tiles? I had bad luck trying to match the color of my tiles by adding pigment to the grout. Does it make sense to paint the wall the color of the tiles and then use clear grout over it? I thought maybe the color of the wall would show through the clear grout or would it be too cloudy to do that?

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