What is mosaic tiles

mosaic tile

In ancient times, the mosaic decorated exclusively houses of the nobility, as a symbol of wealth and luxury. This is explained by the fact that it used expensive materials, and the laying process itself was time consuming and could not be performed by any master. The mosaic, as a form of art, still fascinates and inspires creative people. It would remain a finishing material, which only the select few can afford, but the latest technology has made it more accessible to the average consumer.

If you intend to decorate your home in this way and buy a mosaic tile for the bathroom or kitchen, then you should familiarize yourself with some of its differences and features, since not every option can be used in those or other conditions.

Modern mosaic is made from a variety of materials. And its appearance, and the cost is very different, so it is worth carefully to understand this issue, to choose a suitable mosaic.

Types of mosaics on the method of attachment

Without a base

In fact – it’s just a scattering of colored parts of the same shape, of which lay out a large format decorative panels. Meets rarely, because the work of such complexity is performed only in the authors’ projects.

On a paper basis

The paper glued to the front side of the mosaic and holds the fragments in place, preventing them from falling apart. Removed this basis already after installing the mosaic. Wetted with warm water, the paper sheets come off on their own, and it is enough to make one easy movement to remove them.

On a plastic grid

The mosaic pieces are attached to the plastic base and installed with it. Standard mesh has a size of about 30×30 and the cell 2.5×2.5 (or 2×2), but in recent years, there are more and more new interesting options in different shapes. Due to the fact that the mosaic is glued to the flexible framework, it can be mounted on the areas of any configuration and give it almost any shape by simply cutting out the necessary parts with scissors.

On a rubber base

This type of base is used for metal mosaic, so it can be mounted not only on flat surfaces, but also on the protruding structures. At a low temperature base becomes brittle, so it is not recommended to finish this mosaic facades and open spaces.

Types of mosaics on the form of elements

Classic cells

Tile-mosaic in the traditional sense of her understanding – is the basis of 30×30, on which the attached square pieces of finishing material size of 1.5×1.5 to 2.5×2.5cm. They can be larger or smaller, have a smooth or matte surface, and be of completely different colors, but the overall appearance of this will not change. It will be all the same classic decor, divided into a number of square segments.

Long strips

Mosaic with modified elongated cells is a modern version of the finishing material. Such a d├ęcor fits perfectly with any ultra-modern style. The strips can be arranged vertically, horizontally or herringbone. They are also attached to the base and can easily be folded into a single pattern. The most effective look is a combination of glass and frosted strips or strips with a metallized surface.


In addition to the mosaic itself, there are mosaic decors and borders, laid out in the form of a scaled-down copy of brickwork. They are quite popular in collections of ceramic tiles and ceramic granite.

Other geometric shapes

There are very many types of mosaic elements: round, triangular, rhombuses, etc. They greatly enliven the interior and therefore are very popular with designers.

Cells with 3D effect

This type of mosaic is made of wood, ceramic or porcelain stoneware. The surface of the cells can imitate natural stone or simply protrude from the wall in relief. This allows you to expand the space and give it motion.

Tile under a mosaic

A completely separate decorative element is a ceramic tile that imitates a mosaic.

The resemblance is achieved with notches on the wall tiles or decors, which allows you to give the interior a 3D effect and expand the space. There are also tiles for mosaic without relief. A special mosaic pattern consists of clearly delineated square fragments, which makes it similar to the original.

If you decide to buy the tile under the mosaic, there may be difficulties with giving it the desired size (you’ll need special tools), but, of course, this type of decor will cost you much cheaper than the usual mosaic.

In addition to the external characteristics – the color, pattern and texture of the cells – the mosaic, as well as other finishing materials, has its own specific properties, inherent in the material from which it is made.

mosaic tile

Types of mosaics by material

Mosaic of natural stone

This type can be called a classic, because it almost has not changed since ancient times. In addition, it is most often used for classic interior styles. Pieces of natural marble, travertine, granite, onyx and other semiprecious and not so rocks properly processed and put in an intricate pattern. The combination of polished and brushed elements creates a shimmering effect.

In addition to polishing used and such a technique, as an artificial aging of fragments (often aged marble). The cost of such a mosaic is quite high, since natural materials are used for production. The exception is a panel of pebbles, collected by yourself on the shore.


– strength;

– durability;

– a variety of natural surface patterns;

– exclusive design;

– moisture resistance;

– resistance to fire;

– immunity to temperature fluctuations.


– high price;

– requires special care;

Ceramic mosaic

The most common and popular type of mosaic, due to fairly moderate, compared to natural stone, price. In fact – it’s small ceramic tiles, located on a single basis.

In this regard, and the main characteristics are the same as in ceramics: glossy/matt surface, embossed design (sometimes even small artificial cracks), a combination of different colors, the alternation of polished and unpolished fragments.


– A wide range of textures and shades;

– moisture resistance (like ceramic tiles);

– resistance to fire;

– easy care;

– resistant to high temperatures.


– The top layer can crack and burn over time;

– glossy sheen fades if the tile is constantly in contact with water;

– It is better not to use in places with high traffic.

Porcelain stoneware mosaics

Mainly available for flooring or as a general-purpose tile for floors and walls. It is good because, thanks to the very small area of the individual elements, it can withstand considerable loads and almost no mechanical damage. Mosaic, as a type of floor covering, is more expensive than usual porcelain tiles, but it also looks more impressive. Manufacturers often use mosaic as a floor edging or porcelain carpet, accentuating them all.

Water absorption, approaching zero values, makes porcelain stoneware mosaic an ideal finishing material for cladding swimming pools, showers and building facades.


– adaptability to heavy loads;

– resistance to mechanical damage;

– moisture resistance;

– resistance to temperature fluctuations;

– fire resistance;

– adaptability to all detergents;

– durability.


– high cost;

– The large weight of the product (compared to glass mosaics);

– The limited range (mainly imitations of natural materials).

Mosaics of glass

Such a mosaic consists of dense and strong pieces of glass, which is specially produced at higher temperatures and with a high percentage of stabilizing agents. Thus, you can not fear that the finish will crack at the slightest pinpoint impact. In addition, the small area of the segments can withstand heavy loads.

Most often, glass is combined with other materials to emphasize the characteristic shine and play on the contrast of glossy and matte fragments.


– A wide range of colors and shapes;

– resistance to bacteria and fungi;

– moisture resistance;

– resistance to temperature fluctuations, frost resistance;

– low cost (in comparison with other types of mosaics);

– does not require special care;

– durability.


– does not tolerate abrasive detergents.

Mosaics made of smalt.

Smalt is obtained by placing glass in conditions of high temperature and pressure, while adding dyes of the desired shade. The result is a material that is not transparent, but as if it glows from within and is highly durable.


– moisture resistance;

– immunity to low and high temperatures;

– resistance to frost;

– resistance to abrasive and aggressive detergents;

– a wide range of colors;


– higher, in comparison with glass mosaic, price.

Mosaic of metal

As you know, fashion dictates its own laws, so with the development of ultra-modern styles, there was a metal mosaic. Parts made of stainless steel or brass are mounted on a rubber base and can be used in the finish similar to other types of mosaics.


– Stylish design


– high cost;

– Does not tolerate abrasive detergents;

– Requires special care;

– because of the rubber base does not tolerate temperature fluctuations.