glass mosaic tile art studio of william j enslen jr
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|Mosaic Floor...You Can Mosaic Anything...Even a Floor!
Whew! Finally done! It took us several months to complete, but we did it. Notice that the nice 5.25-inch baseboard is installed over the tile for a professionally finished look.
(NOTE: See pictures below for how I changed the mosaic after a while. My wife and I decided we wanted a different border than the diamond-shaped listellos. See
Tip! Before installing the baseboard over the tile, put down blue painters tape on the floor in a position so the baseboard will be on top of the tape at least 1/4-inch. In
other words, install the tape on the tile about 1/4-inch away from the wall. Then, install the baseboard directly on top of the tape. I then put down a second piece of tape
on the floor, overlapping the first piece by a hair, all around the baseboard to ensure a thick-enough width of tape so I don't slop any paint on the new tile and grout. Paint
the baseboard with two coats of your favorite color of high-gloss paint (use high-gloss for all trim molding). We like Glidden's Pearl Essence, which is white but not pure
bright white. Then, when the paint is dry, use a razor-blade knife with a new blade and run the knife along the edge of the baseboard cutting away the blue tape. Angle
the blade slightly so the tip cuts just a hair under the baseboard. As long as you use a fresh sharp blade (i.e., change the blade after every 30 linear feet of cutting), the
blue tape will cut precisely and you won't see the tape that remains under the baseboard. This gives a clean, beautiful finish. I believe putting the tape down before
installing the baseboard and then installing the baseboard on top of the tape results in a more professional look after painting than if you were to install the baseboard first
and then put down the tape adjacent to the edge of the baseboard. The paint job doesn't look as perfect.
In this picture, it's easier to see that the kitchen-transition mosaic is made from old kitchen tile and the new porcelain tile. Again, I love the thick 5.25-inch baseboard. It just
makes the whole project a stunning success. I can't wait for the new kitchen grout to get dirty and match the old kitchen grout! Now let's see the great room with all the
furniture, plants, and doodads all put back in-place.
Melissa enjoys watching HGTV and gets all kinds of ideas, which usually results in back-breaking work for me. I already have my next to-do list and at the top of the list is
"Replace the old 1980's ceiling fans in the great room." It seems like every HGTV show has the interior decorator going through an old house saying either, "That 1980's
light fixture has got to go," or "That 1980's ceiling fan has got to go." So, as I sit here working on the computer creating these new pages for my website, Melissa is out
shopping for new ceiling fans. LOL. "Yes, dear."
There's Fred back in his spot on the couch. He owns that old couch. He's so glad everything is back to normal. The "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" chairs are where we plop each
night to watch movies. I couldn't resist showing you the picture with Fred and Jinxi. As noted, they're so happy we're finished and everything is back to normal---me too!
I almost forgot to show you the results of cutting the hole for the floor outlet and installing the cover plate.
Looks pretty doggone good, eh? We don't use this outlet, so I installed the top cover over the outlets to close it
up. If we ever need to use it, I'll simply unscrew the screw and lift the top cover to expose the outlets. The
other floor outlet is where we plug in our electrical devices. The one secret I'm reluctant to share with you is
how to cut the round hole in the tile just big enough to fit over the gray PVC pipe in the concrete, yet small
enough for the lip of the cover plate to cover it. Remember, this is porcelain tile, not ceramic, so nippers and a
hand saw don't work. How do you think the hole was made? Shoot me an email and see if you can guess
correctly. Maybe someday I'll share with you how it was done, but not this day!
I hope this adventure has inspired you to create some of your own magic and transform your home into
something fresh, new, and beautiful. Remember, everything you've seen here is easy. You can do it. Yes,
Ooops, I did it again! I made another change.
Let this be a lesson for you. If you learn to do this yourself, you can always go back and make changes later if, over time, you find yourself not completely satisfied. The
change I made was easy as pie!
As you can see from the story above, we installed the floor mosaic inlay before re-doing the fireplace hearth with stone. After a while, I'd look at the floor and think,
"Hmmm, I wish the border around that inlay were stone so it matches the stone hearth. That would be cool to transition from the entryway to the fireplace." To be
honest, I also thought, "I just don't like that border, it's too busy or something and it doesn't really go with the rest of the inlay." One day, I decided to mention it to my
wife. I was surprised to learn that she thought the same thing. So, I went back to the tile store and got another box of stone sheets (i.e., 11 sheets per box, which was
just enough to do the entire border, so the cost was about only $110).
The following weekend, I pulled out my wet tile saw and cut the sheets into 4-inch-wide pieces. Then, I used my 4-lb hammer (refer to page 1 of this story to see the
hammer) and smashed the existing border to break it up. REMEMBER, always use proper eye protection when breaking tile! Once broken, I used a cold chisel and a
regular claw hammer to scrape away all the old tile, thinset, and grout. When the concrete base was smooth as a baby's bottom, I dry-fitted the new stone pieces
around the border to ensure everything fit properly.
Before laying the thinset, I got a piece of scrap 12-inch x 12-inch plywood from the garage and set it to the side. I then used a small-notched trowel to lay the thinset.
When using this stone (or any mosaic sheets), you should use a small-notched trowel; otherwise, the thinset will squish up and get all over the top of the stone, which
causes a big mess that you have to hurry and clean before the thinset sets on the top of the stone and ruins it. (Note: Using small notches instead of large ones reduces
the amount of thinset spread on the concrete base, which reduces the amount of thinset that squishes up when you set the stone into the thinset.) I carefully laid the
thinset to not slop onto the adjacent floor tile and gently placed the stone pieces on top of the thinset. I did NOT press down on the stone pieces to set them into the
thinset---I simply laid them gently on top of the thinset. By not pressing the border pieces down into the thinset, the border pieces stuck up just a bit higher than the
adjacent floor tile. Then, I gently placed the plywood so it covered not only the stone border but also the adjacent floor tile. Then, I carefully stood on top of the plywood.
This technique set the stone pieces into the thinset at the exact same height as the adjacent floor tile. Therefore, when walking across the inlay, everything is nice and
even without any areas sticking up higher than other areas. I simply moved the plywood along the border and stood on it so the entire stone border was set into the
thinset at the same height as the adjacent floor tile.
After the thinset dried overnight, I sealed the stone with three coats of sealer that I had leftover from doing the hearth. I used three coats to ensure the stone was
completely sealed. (Note: Sealing the stone prevents the grout from staining the stone.) Then, I mixed some of the leftover grout and spread it over the border. It was
okay to slop it onto the adjacent floor tile because it was the same color grout that I used before. Grouting this small amount of stone was quick and easy.
The result is shown below. I did the whole project in one weekend. We both think the new border goes better with the rest of the inlay, and it looks really nice seeing
the stone when you enter through the front door and then look up and see the same stone used in the fireplace hearth.