Adding a mosaic to your outdoor space can make a bland garden, patio, or pool into something extraordinary. Whether it's a piece of art you craft yourself or something you've purchased, the beautiful colors and patterns that go into mosaics are absolutely timeless! But how should you properly adhere to the pieces or the tiles? What is the best glue for outdoor mosaics? We've done some searching and have some excellent information for you.
Outdoor mosaic glue needs to be waterproof and durable. The glue needs to withstand the elements or potentially bear weight, depending on if your project will be vertical or horizontal. The best adhesives for outdoor mosaics are:
- Mapei Type 1
- Beacon Mosaic Glue
- Epoxy Resin
- Silicone II Household Glue and Seal
Now that you have a list of different adhesives that will work well with outdoor mosaics, let's review each and discuss them in more detail. Read on to get all the information as well as the answers to questions you might've not thought to ask!
Mapei Type 1
Mapei Type 1 is an acrylic-based adhesive. This is a white-colored adhesive, so keep that in mind regarding your project. Most mosaics will have the adhesive covered by grout, but some color could peek through it.
This type of adhesive works well with ceramic and porcelain tiles, though it does not mention glass as an agent that can be bonded. We would not recommend trying to bond glass on glass with this adhesive. Type 1 will work well on vertical or horizontal projects.
The product is waterproof without a doubt, as it is frequently used in bathrooms and showers. The product is more expensive than some resins and silicone adhesives, but due to the size of the tub, it will last through many mosaic projects.
SimpleSet is a cement-based adhesive. Though not glue in the traditional sense, it is used to stick two objects together, in this case -- your mosaic tiles. This product comes pre-mixed and ready to use, which can definitely cut down on mess.
This product's price is mid-range, but remember it is pre-mixed so it does not create more products other than what is in the container. It works for porcelain and ceramic tile, not glass.
Beacon Mosaic Glue
This glue is made specifically for mosaics. As you can see, the bottle itself is quite small, which makes it better suited for small projects. It is waterproof and rated for indoor and outdoor use. Beacon Mosaic Glue dries clear and works on most materials, including glass.
The price compared to the amount of product doesn't quite have the best value versus other products we've mentioned, though it does have the handy nozzle if you need something precise. Beware if your hands get sore easily, as this type of bottle will require a lot of squeezing.
Epoxy resin adhesive is a two-part solution you mix in a 1:1 ratio to activate the adhesive. The resin dries clear, tough, and shiny. Epoxy resin is naturally waterproof and works with all materials. This product boasts strong holding power and would work well with either vertical or horizontal projects.
One of the advantages of using this type of product is that you can add pigmentation to the epoxy resin to create a custom color for your adhesive. If you're not planning to apply grout to your project once this adhesive dries, this would be a great option to add whatever you'd like to show off between your mosaic tiles.
This is the priciest product we've listed, but it also has a lot of versatility!
Silicone II Household Glue and Seal
This silicone glue is super flexible, so it's the perfect option if you're creating your mosaic on something that might expand or contract in the elements, such as glass. However, because of its soft nature when dry, it is not recommended for any projects that might be placed vertically. Save it for tables, stools, or ground tiles. The product does dry clear without bubbles.
The best part is how affordable it is. The container is small, but it is a great value at less than $10 a tube.
VersaBond is a cement-based adhesive. As with some previously mentioned products, it works for porcelain and ceramic mosaics. This type of adhesive is superbly durable and will withstand all types of weather. There is quite a bit of this mortar in the pictured product, so it will work well on large products. Just add water! This product is gray and gritty and dries quickly in cool weather.
Can Glass Mosaic Tiles Be Used Outside?
Glass mosaic tiles can be used outdoors. The beauty of glass pieces is unmatched by anything else, but glass expands and contracts based on the weather. Sometimes getting the best adhesive can be a challenge. There are plenty of products made with other materials, but the availability of glass adhesive is much more limited. Ensure the type of adhesive you purchase is rated for glass and outdoor conditions, or run the risk of the adhesive loosening or cracking.
Do Outdoor Mosaic Tiles Need To Be Sealed?
To ensure your mosaic's longevity, you must seal the mosaic tiles once they and all the adhesive are applied and grout has dried. There are a couple of primary sealant types, penetrating sealers and membrane-forming (topical) sealers. Whichever type of sealant you use, make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying.
Penetrating sealers actually are absorbed into the pores of the materials used to create the mosaic, and they are generally made of latex or silicone. This is so as the materials expand or contract, so will the sealant.
Membrane-forming sealant creates a hard, glossy protective coat over the project and could affect the color that shines through from underneath. Some use epoxy resin as a sealer as well as an adhesive.
How Do You Apply Mosaic Tile Sealer?
Before you begin applying your sealer, ensure the tile, grout, or adhesive is clean and free of any debris. Remember, anything left lingering on or around your tiles will be sealed in once you've applied the sealer! Ensure the surface is completely dry as well, or it could affect the integrity of the seal. Additionally, it never hurts to do a spot test before applying the sealer all over your project.
- Apply the sealer using a large brush or fleece pad. Do not allow it to pool anywhere and maintain an even coat over the whole project.
- If you notice any excess, clear it away using a towel or brush.
- Allow to absorb or dry for several hours.
- If you wish to apply the sealer to only the grout lines, use a brush and wipe away the sealer from the tiles with a towel before it dries.
- Repeat if desired.
Want to know more about protecting your mosaic from the elements? Read our article, "How to Make a Mosaic Waterproof."
What Tiles Can You Use For Mosaic?
Most people think of glass tiles when they think of mosaics, but many more materials are available! The tiles can be made of glass, porcelain, stone, ceramic, or anything you can dream up. You could even make a mosaic out of something precious to you that has broken, such as a teacup, vase, saucer, broken mirrors, CDs, beads, or plates. Creating a mosaic out of found objects is following one of the truest traditions.
If you don't have time to find all the pieces yourself, you can use many manufactured tiles in your mosaic.
Are Mosaic Tiles Hard To Install?
The difficulty of installing mosaic tiles really depends on the project you have in mind. Mosaic tiles can be used to create faces, animals, full murals, or whatever other creative ideas you'd have in mind. However, a mosaic can be as simple as adhering symmetrical pieces of tile to your chosen backboard.
In fact, many mosaic tiles are sold as solid sheets with their own adhesive, which only requires a few simple steps to apply. Installing lovely mosaic tile in your shower, on your backsplash, or around your pool is no longer a painful, long project.
Many different adhesive types can be used for mosaics. Understand your project, what materials you are trying to adhere to, and where you will be placing the mosaics before making any purchases. Research all products before purchasing, and remember your budget. Enjoy crafting your next masterpiece!
If you'd like some information on how to make some lovely mosaics yourself, read our article, "How to Make a Mosaic at Home."