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Kitchen Design/Remodeling/Mosaic tile border installation



We are installing tile that will be capped off with a 3 inch mosaic strip, with a 1 inch "chair rail" piece on top of the mosaic piece. The mosaic strip has about 24 square pieces on the top and also on the bottom of each strip.

The tile installer wants to stack the mosaic strip on top of the top row of tiles and then stack the chair rail on top of the mosaic piece.  My wife wants a 1/8 inch grout line on the top and the bottom of the mosaic strips.  

I understand the logic of the installer: stacking will help ensure that the squares/mosaic will be straight.

Is there an answer as to what has to be done?  I'm inclined to go with the installer on this. But don't want my wife to tell me (forever) that it was installed wrong. Thanks!

ANSWER: Peter,
It is recommended to have a minimum grout joint of 1/16" between tile.
When there are different types of tile involved (mosaics & moulding) it is often best to have some width of grout joint, plus having a joint allows for minor adjustments to insure that the tile/chair-rail is straight. It is not advisable to not have a joint.
If the installer does not want to use any grout joint to make it "easier" to install or stack, then this is not a preferred method.
Ultimately, when it comes to joint width decisions, it is usually the person writing the check who has the ultimate say in the matter.

I hope this helps.

Torin Dixon

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for getting back so quickly!!!!  Is there a tool the installer uses to get the mosaic pieces straight or is it just eye/hand craftsmanship?

Yes, there are various sized tile spacers or tile wedges. see link:

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Torin Dixon


All questions regarding fabrication and installation of natural stone tile and slab countertops, flooring, backsplash. All questions related to cleaning, sealing and stain removal of natural stone surfaces. All questions on importing process and selection of natural stone slabs and pricing issues. Granite, Marble, Limestone, Slate, Travertine, Onyx, Tile, Quartz countertops, Silestone, Eco Cannot answer questions on cabinet construction


Expert in traditional hand methods of natural stone fabrication. Expert in modern manufacturing techniques using latest machinery and equipment. Consultant of shop layout, design, and workflow analysis. Consultant of job costing, pricing structures, bidding processes of natural stone fabrication manufacturing. Expert in specifying stone maintenance cleaners and sealers Expert in stone restoration, stain removal and damage repair.

Former Vice Chairman of the Missoula Design Review Board advisory committee to the City of Missoula, Montana City Council National Association of Home Builders member Missoula Building Industry Association member Billings Home Builders Association member Bitterroot Building Association member Marble Institute of America member President-Tyler Boshae Foundation President-Club Twitch

Slippery Rock Gazette -Dimensional Stone Trade Magazine

Journeyman Marble Mason, Bricklayers & Allied Craftsmen, Los Angeles, CA 1978

Awards and Honors
Numerous Parade of Homes winner as fabricator and installation contractor of granite and stone countertops and backsplash

Past/Present Clients
Thousands of residential and commercial clients from simple bathroom countertops in private homes to granite exterior cladding on high-rise buildings over a 34 year career.

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