Glass mosaic tile is occasionally sold loose for crafters and artists, but it usually comes mounted to allow quick installation and even spacing between tiles in architectural applications. Many manufacturers mount glass mosaic tile on a fiberglass mesh the same way that ceramic tile often comes. This fiberglass mesh is on the back sides of the tiles and meant to be glued to the surface being covered. The problem with mesh-mounted products is that the mesh is increasingly more difficult to remove if you want loose tile because the technology and adhesives have improved so much.
Glass mosaic tile often comes FACE-mounted on paper sheets. This method is particularly popular with manufacturers of 3/4 inch glass mosaic tile in Italy and China as it helps ensure that the tiles don’t become damaged during shipment. You can verify that the tiles are glued face down by noticing that the back sides are exposed. These sides will have ridges to allow adhesive to bond more securely to an otherwise slick glass surface. The important point is how face-mounted sheets of glass mosaic tile are installed.
Paper is much more easily removed than mesh. Generally, it only requires a few hours soaking in water, and often the tiles fall right off.
Installing Face-Mounted Sheets of Glass Mosaic Tile
Tile mastic or another adhesive is first applied to the wall or floor. The sheets are then pressed into the glue WITH THE PAPER SIDE OUT. After the glue has had time to bond securely, the paper sheets are then sprayed with a small amount of water until they slide from the face of the tiles. Usually the installer will then go back and straighten or replace any tiles that have fallen off the wall. With the paper gone, the tiles can then be grouted. Artists and crafters can get loose tile from face-mounted paper sheets simply by soaking in warm water.