Skim Coating Mosaic and Glass Tile.
The installation of mosaic or glass tile can be a delicate process that sometimes requires a few extra steps to get the best results. One such extra step is the process called skim coating. Skim coating involves the application of a setting material to the back of mosaic tile, glass or stone and then allowing the thin set to cure and harden.
For best results, the tile should be placed face down on a flat surface. Using the straight side of a trowel, a thin layer of setting material is then spread onto the back of the tile. Typically, the setting material will harden sufficiently overnight, but consulting the manufacturer’s recommendations is recommended.
Skim coating is not absolutely necessary, but it does make the tile installer’s job easier. It often reduces the overall time spent on the job. It is a particularly useful technique when setting borders with delicate elements that contain water jet cut details, as well as any mosaic created from small sizes stone or glass. Once cured, the skim coated border becomes more easily managed during installation. The cured border prevents the smaller pieces from falling off when the tile is being cut.
Skim coating is also beneficial when setting face taped mosaics that are slightly irregular in thickness. By skim coating with the face of the mosaic on a flat surface, you are more able to achieve a relatively uniform face. The problem of variation in thickness at the back of the sheet can then be resolved by the depth of the setting bed material.
Another added benefit of skim coating is that the very light application of setting material helps to reduce “squeeze through” of setting material into the joints during installation. The skim coating process produces a clean installation with less total effort.
Skim coating typically is performed with a thin set mortar. Usually both the skim coat and bond coat are of the same material. If you are planning on using different materials, confirm compatibility between the skim coat material and the bond coat on the tile or stone. Adhere to all manufacturers’ instructions regarding the choice of setting material. With translucent materials, such as onyx or glass borders, be certain that you achieve 100% coverage on the back of the tile.
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My tiling service areas include Port St. Lucie (PSL), Fort Pierce, Stuart and Vero Beach, FL. FL.