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Sticking Point

Glass mosaic tiles create a gorgeous pool interior or water feature in your backyard, but getting them to stick and stay requires care and precision. The Adhesive Contact Calculator is a new tool developed by a team of glass mosaic manufacturers to help tilers and home renovators better determine the suitability of a glass mosaic mounting system. Iain Middleton, technical manager at V-vo Architectural Mosaics is endorsing the tool to support the industry in reaching higher standards and minimising failure in work delivered.

To meet Australian Standards, mosaic tiles must have at least 90 per cent adhesive coverage when installed, however, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Rear-mounted mosaic tiles come on sheets that have mesh or netting holding them in position on the back, often inhibiting the amount of area available for adhesive, while the face-mounted variety comes with paper or film on the face of the tile to hold them in position. Although they have 100 per cent of their reverse surface available for installation adhesive, face-mounted tiles are not always an option, as they require more specific surface preparation and training.

“When it comes to rear-mounted mosaic tiles, the plastic or mesh holding them in place can sometimes seriously interfere with the ability of the installation adhesive to bond to the back of the tile,” Middleton says. To achieve 90 per cent adhesive coverage on a rear-mounted mosaic tile there has to be at least 90 per cent of the tile available ‘after’ the mounting mesh or plastic. Thus, a tile that complies with Australian Standards can have only up to ten per cent coverage of plastic and mesh glue keeping it in position. “This leaves exactly 90 per cent area remaining,” Middleton says. “So to comply in this scenario, the tiler has to achieve 100 per cent coverage of the remaining area.” Some mosaic tiles have more than 20 per cent plastic or mesh backing, Middleton notes, which makes correct installation virtually impossible.

“There are a few brands of mosaic tiles with a rear mount system that do comply with Australian Standards. The Adhesive Contact Calculator allows tilers to fairly accurately assess this, whereas previously it was a faith and fingers-crossed phenomena,” Middleton says. By simply selecting the corresponding size on the tool’s window, and counting how many squares out of the 100 are covered by mesh or glue, a percentage can be worked out. With this knowledge, the tiler can then ensure that their tiles meet Australian Standards, and will therefore ‘stick it out’ through the years.

To obtain a free Adhesive Contact Calculator, you can call Europe Imports on 1300 EUROPE (1300 387 673).