diy projects interiors & styling

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Emmett and I spent the weekend laying the floor tile in the guest bath and it turned out even better than I could have imagined. It’s SO so beautiful! I’m obviously smitten and am even more excited for this space to come to fruition than before. If you’re in the market for tile or are planning a renovation, I rounded up my favorite marble mosaics from Lowe’s and wanted to share a tutorial on installing mosaic floor tile. It’s not as difficult as you might expect. Click through for more…

*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Before I dive into the DIY and installation part of this post, I figured I’d shed some light on why and how I selected this gorgeous geo marble mosaic floor tile. I really wanted to find something that felt classic (marble), a bit more modern (geometric), textural (patterned), and interesting (something I hadn’t seen a thousand times before). I also had a strict budget and wanted to keep it under $20 a square foot. I stumbled across this option and knew it would be perfect… plus I figured it would be an easy pattern to install (I was right). Lowe’s has plenty of easy-to-install floor tile options that allows you to save money without sacrificing style. Here are some swatches I saved while designing the guest bath, that also fit the bill:

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com 01: elite ceramica savy light geo marble mosaic tile // 02: anatolia tile venation uniform squares marble mosaic // 03: emser winter frost marble border tile // 04: elida ceramica white marble arabesque mosaic // 05: anatolia carrara grigio brick marble mosaic tile // 06: anatolia venatino polished basketweave marble mosaic // 07: american olean genuine stone carrara honeycomb marble mosaic // 08: anatolia venatino honeycomb marble mosaic // 09: anatolia tile flower marble mosaic // 10: emser winter frost marble chevron tile // 11: allen + roth venatino polished brick marble mosaic subway tile // 12: style selections aura taupe basketweave marble mosaic // 13: american olean stone pearl white lantern marble mosaic // 14: anatolia carrara pinwheel basketweave marble mosaic // 15: emser white frost marble mosaic tile

Alright, onto the DIY and installation process! Here’s what you’ll need for the project if you’re starting from scratch with new cement board (like we did)…

SUPPLIES + TOOLS

To give you an idea of how much time this project will take… our bathroom is about 100 square feet and we finished over the course of a weekend- with both of us working on it. The savings were well worth the effort and given the gorgeous result, I wouldn’t have done it any other way! It’s an easy project if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 1 // Plan and cut the cement board. Before nailing anything in permanently, we like to dry fit the cement board pieces like a puzzle. This will ensure everything fits properly and will give the tile a nice, flat surface to bond to. If you don’t have a table saw, I believe you can even have these boards cut at your local store before bringing them home!

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 2 // Clean the floor surface. Your floor probably isn’t as gross and dusty as ours, but we had just finished sanding new drywall and everything was white and chalky. It’s important to clean the subfloor before proceeding to the next step.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com To give you a visual (above)… this is what our floor looked like BEFORE we sponged it off and cleaned. The mortar isn’t designed to bond to a layer of dust. Ha! I’m sure that’s obvious, but I wanted to call it out- just in case.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 3 // Install the cement board. After the floor has been cleaned, mix up the mortar (per the instructions on the package) and apply a thin, even layer with your flooring trowel directly on top of the subfloor.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Begin dropping the cement board “puzzle” pieces into place, evenly (and gently) pressing them into the mortar. Once they’re all in position, screw them into the subfloor to secure permanently with the Dewalt power drill.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 4 // Tape the seams. After they’ve been screwed down, using a wide putty knife or flat trowel– spread a thin line of mortar over each seam. Follow the mortar with the mesh tape, then once everything has been taped, spread additional mortar on top of the tape, making sure to knock down any ridges or high spots.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Above, you’ll see what our cement board looked like once we were finished taping and mudding the seams. Once you’ve finished the installation process, allow it to cure or harden overnight.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 5 // Determine the tile layout. Now for the fun part… the tile! Before I got started the next morning, I used my Craftsman shop vac to carefully clean any loose pieces of dust, debris, and mortar. After that, I dry fit two lines of tile, running horizontally and vertically. This was to ensure the tile started and stopped where I wanted it to.

My pet peeve is seeing a sliver of tile against a bathtub or wall- or tile that isn’t centered in a room. Rather than dealing with tiny pieces as an afterthought, it’s best to arrange the layout to avoid any weird slivers when you get to the end of the wall or a corner.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 6 // Set up, level, and straighten your first row. Once you have the general layout figured out, you’ll want to make sure your first guide row is perfectly straight and level. I used my Bosch laser level to make quick work of this. The above image shows how far off I was by eyeballing the tile row. It’s a good thing I pulled out the laser to double check because I wasn’t even close! Once you have your guide row perfectly straight, you can begin permanently setting the tile.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 7 // Start tiling! This is the rewarding step… setting the tile! Using the power drill with the mixer attachment, mix up the same mortar you used for the cement board base. It should look like the above consistency.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Slather the mortar onto the floor in sections using a 1/4″ notch flooring trowel. I like to put down enough mortar to lay 3 – 4 tiles at a time. Gently press and wiggle the mosaic into the mortar using the grout float (rather than your hands) to ensure it stays nice and level as you press. You’ll also notice I’m still using my laser level as a guide for the first couple rows… just until I get going.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 8 // Continue laying tile and make any cuts needed. Once you get the hang of laying the tile, it goes pretty fast. If you’re working with a partner, Emmett and I have a system that works well for us… I lay the mortar and floor tile, while he makes the cuts on the Dewalt tile saw and delivers them to me.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Once the entire floor is covered in tile, allow it to sit and cure overnight. Do NOT walk on the tile once you’ve installed it, until it’s totally hardened.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 9 // Clean the floor in preparation for grout. The next day you’ll be able to grout, but first you need to clean and prep the surface! If any mortar seeped through the mosaic cracks, you’ll need to remove it with a grout saw.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Once all of the lines have been cleaned, vacuum any debris and dust. I just use my shop vac and do this as I go. Luckily, we didn’t have a lot of mortar that seeped through (a job well done), so this only took me about an hour to complete.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com After that task is finished, use a damp sponge to completely clean the tile surface of any dust particles.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Step 10 // Grout! Now you’re finally ready to grout. We used this premixed sanded Mapei flexcolor in silver to make things easy. It’s also the best product to ensure the color and texture is consistent throughout… which is ideal if you’re doing a larger space that would require lots of mixing.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Since our space is so large, Emmett just dumped half a bucket at a time, pressing it into the tile crevices with the grout float. I’d recommend working in sections for larger rooms!

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Give the grout 5 – 10 minutes to rest, then use a damp sponge to wipe the haze. It will take several wipes and clean water changes to remove the haze completely… that’s totally normal! Just be patient and keep at it.

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Again, leave the grout overnight before walking on the tile. You want to make sure everything is cured and completely set or secure after wiping! The process might seem long, but it’s really very easy once you get into a rhythm. Here’s how our finished floor tile looks…

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com I’m excited to start on the wall tile later this week! The guest bathroom is really coming along and I’m always super proud that we do things ourselves. This project was no exception- I love the look!

How to Install Mosaic Floor Tile + My Favorite Marble Mosaics - roomfortuesday.com Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. Do you like the tile I selected? I’m pretty smitten! In case you missed the design plan for this space, find that here. You can also see the plumbing fixtures I went with, in this post.

You Might Also Like



  • Reply
    Peggi
    February 13, 2019 at 6:07 am

    Beautiful! I love, love love the tile you selected. Crazy that it’s a stock tile, but I can’t say that I’ve seen it before. My favorite part is how the grout totally transforms the look. I’m interested to see how you handle the transitions between floors; I know in our house that was an issue. I also can’t quite get past the idea that marble is a high end material, and our house is humble. Maybe that’s just a Peggi problem.🙂 Regardless, this bathroom is going to be gorgeous!!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 9:12 am

      I know! It’s so pretty- I’m very very happy with it and am getting excited to finish the room! For the transition- I ordered a 4″ marble threshold that will bridge the gap between the carpet and the tile. We haven’t installed it yet (because we’re waiting to install the new interior door and the casing will affect the size), but once we do- I’ll be sure to share! Thanks so much Peggi :) xo

  • Reply
    Monica
    February 13, 2019 at 6:44 am

    Love the tile you selected and I really can’t wait to see the finished product!

    I’m getting ready to rip out a bathroom floor this weekend, but I am stuck on the transition to the hallway. Did you have an issue with tile height and an adjoining hallway?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Thanks so much Monica! We won’t have any height issues for the transition, but I like a clean finished look- so I always install a threshold. I ordered a 4″ marble one to match the floor tile and as soon as we install it (after installing the interior door), I promise to share!

  • Reply
    Allie
    February 13, 2019 at 6:59 am

    I love the tile you chose! Like you said, pretty and classic, but unique at the same time.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Thank you Allie! I’m really excited about the tile. It feels like things are finally coming together :)

  • Reply
    Amanda
    February 13, 2019 at 8:00 am

    I love the tile! It’s timeless, but yet modern and fun at the same time. I’m looking forward to seeing everything put together!! Also, thanks for the tiling instructions; my husband and I are trying our hand at the basement bathroom floor so they will come in handy!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Thanks Amanda! That’s exactly how I hoped it would translate! Good luck tiling your basement bathroom- it’s honestly much easier than it seems. Let me know if you have any questions! I’m always happy to help :)

  • Reply
    Julie S
    February 13, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Beautiful choice! I love the final look. Excited to see what else you are installing in this bathroom.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Julie! I’m planning to install wall tile this weekend- I’ll be sure to share that as well!

  • Reply
    Melanie
    February 13, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Wow, your skills are so IMPRESSIVE! We did a master renovation last year and while we did save some cost by DIY, replacing the floor wasn’t one we thought we could tackle. The cost for the labor alone was 6K (we demo’d the tile floor ourselves) and the square footage was the same as yours. Oh, and they took 6 working days too. Congrats, it looks fabulous. You guys are real pros at what you do.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      Thank you so much Melanie! That makes me feel so good knowing we saved at least 6K- so thanks for sharing :) We have a lot of fun doing what we do! xox

  • Reply
    Emily
    February 13, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    This looks so great! I have a floor tile project on my hands, but I ended up hiring it out since I’ve never done this before, our house was built in the 60’s and I’m fearful the sub-floor has to be replaced, oh! and I’m 6 mos. pregnant! haha
    But this is a really thorough tutorial and I definitely plan on using it someday on our basement bathroom. If you start with a concrete floor would you still put down mortar and cement board?
    I really love your tile selections and I’ve pinned a bunch of them! I’m new to your blog and just adore your style. I recently ordered the same 3 panel doors you used in your last house because I loved them so much. You made it an easy decision for me and I was previously soooo undecided!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 7:29 pm

      Thank you so much Emily! We’ve had to replace subfloors in the past and it’s not fun- especially if you were 6 months pregnant, I think hiring it out was the best thing you could’ve done. Ha! To answer your question- yes, you still have to put down cement board before tiling… even on concrete :) So happy to hear you got those 3 panel doors. They’re STILL my favorite! I almost got them again for this house. xox

  • Reply
    MelissaB
    February 13, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    I am in love with your floor! I actually have #7 on my short list for a rental bathroom floor we own but I am very nervous about using marble in a rental?

    Did you not have to seal your tile before installing?

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you! I’m really loving the way it turned out. I can’t wait to start tiling the walls now. #7 is so pretty- you can’t go wrong! Marble definitely isn’t the most durable material for a rental… you just have to know what to expect. It will patina over time and I don’t mind that, but some people aren’t into the look. For any natural stone, you would seal it after installation. For marble- I’d recommend sealing it BEFORE grouting… it will make it easier to clean the grout haze. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Camille
    February 13, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Gorgeous! And I so appreciate the detailed instructions. I also will be curious to see the transition and like another poster, I thought marble tile needed to be sealed first? I am confused because some sites say to seal before the mortar, before the grout, and after which I hope is not true. They seem to say that marble is so porous that they can stain from the mortar or grout. In fact, I have boxes of marble tile, my old floor ripped out and was too afraid to keep going because I was so unsure!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 13, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks Camille! I’ll share the threshold once we have it installed. We’ve sealed marble both ways… before and after grout. It really doesn’t matter! This time we sealed after grouting. It just makes the grout haze a little more difficult to remove, but it doesn’t ruin the stone or anything. You DO have to be aware of etching depending on what type of grout you buy (some need sealed and some don’t). Check out this post for all of that info: http://roomfortuesday.com/how-we-choose-grout-for-tile/

  • Reply
    Casey
    February 13, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    OMG so beautiful. As always, you are a pro at picking grout color. I’m still blown away by the terra cotta color grout you used in your last kitchen. I was so worried when you showed us the kitchen tile, I really didn’t like it, but then that grout you picked completely changed my mind. The tile ended up being my favorite part of the kitchen!!!! Anyways, well done and I’m so so so excited to see this house come together!!!!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 14, 2019 at 9:20 am

      Thank you Casey!! Have you checked out this post about grout? I spill my secrets to choosing the right one. ha! I also love and miss that tile. It was so pretty in person. I’m hoping the new homeowners keep it… I heard they weren’t into it. Oh well- we’re one the moon about this house and I can’t wait to share every little transformation :) Thanks for following along! xo

  • Reply
    Leigh
    February 13, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Love it. Amazng job! We are getting ready to remodel our bathroom. I have picked your #6 option from Lowes. The basket weave marble. Super excuted to get started. I do have two questions maybe you can help with

    1. Do you have to use cement board over subfloor? I’m worried because outside our
    bathroom is hardwoods and am already worried about how much higher it will be. We are planning to put down heat also.
    That brings me to question #2
    2. Will the threshold help with the different in grade between floors or is it just for nice transition? Can’t wait to see yours.

    Thank You,
    Leigh

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 14, 2019 at 9:26 am

      Thanks Leigh! That’s a beautiful and classic tile choice- I know it’s going to look amazing in your bathroom. To answer your questions…

      #1- Yes, you definitely have to put down something… you could use Kerdi Board as opposed to Cement Board. The industry standard for cement board is 1/4″ or 1/2″. I’d try to use the thinner one to account for the height difference. My other piece of advice is to get a threshold to tie the two floors together. They’re often tapered and camouflage the height difference- especially if a door hangs above it. It’s very very common, so don’t panic- to will look just fine!

      #2- Absolutely! I’ll try to share mine on stories today so you can get a feel for how it will look.

      Hope this helps! xox

  • Reply
    Jessica
    February 14, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    So pretty! Great post per usual!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      February 14, 2019 at 6:47 pm

      Thank you Jessica! xox

    Leave a Reply