The traditional installation technique is to mortar the mosaic directly onto a masonry wall, floor or sculptural form. The trick here is to ensure that the surface is stable enough to support a mosaic. Walls in particular must have a block or cement core and be covered with a scratch coat of mortar. The mosaic is then applied like any tile product.
The mosaic is adhered to a mesh backing in the studio. Then it is mortared to the wall in sections.
Floors are laid in a similar manner, except that the mosaic is "set negatively", to render the surface smooth. The mosaic is fabricated upside-down and flipped during installation. This process ensures that all the irregularities in the materials are buried in the mortar bed.
Mosaics can also be hung on most interior surfaces with drywall anchors and screws. In these situations, the mosaic is built on a foam backer board, and then attached to the wall. Screws are strategically placed in the design to be hidden. This technique can allow for free-form shapes.
Autonomous panels can free-hang on a wall, like large paintings. A steel bracket is attached to the back of the mosaic, and a corresponding receiver is attached to the wall.
The inset picture at left shows the support bracket on the back of the mosaic.
Arrows point to the receiving channel on the wall-mounted bracket. In this example the wall was curved, necessitating a large bracket.
Weight Loads of Mosaics:
Mosaics can be fabricated using numerous types of materials: Glass smalti, stone, marble, tile, and metal. The backing material may be mesh (installed similarly to tile), or foam-board (free-hanging panels). Because of this wide variation, it is impossible to give a standard weight for mosaics, but for estimation purposes, 5-6 lbs per square foot is safe. Spread out over a large area, the weight of a mosaic is usually not a problem.