How to Install Glass Mosaic Backsplash

Installing a glass mosaic backsplash can add a beautiful, eye-catching focal point to any kitchen or bathroom. With some planning and the right materials, installing a mosaic backsplash is a DIY project that most homeowners can tackle. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you install a stunning glass mosaic backsplash in your home.

Selecting the Glass Mosaic Tiles

The first step is choosing the right mosaic tiles for your backsplash. Glass mosaic tiles come in an endless array of colors, shapes, and sizes. Consider the overall style and color scheme of your kitchen or bathroom. Neutral colored tiles like white, beige, or grey can provide a clean, modern look. Bold colors like cobalt blue or emerald green create a striking accent wall. Iridescent and metallic tiles add shimmer and depth. Mixing complementary colored tiles in mosaic patterns can result in a visually stunning backsplash.

Some popular options for glass mosaic backsplash tiles include:

  • 1×1 inch mosaic tiles in square or subway shapes
  • Pennny-sized round mosaics
  • Irregular shaped tiles like hexagons
  • Tile sheets with mosaic patterns
  • Combinations of different shaped tiles

Examine tile samples in person before purchasing to get an accurate idea of the color and shimmer. Order 10-15% extra to account for breakage and to have leftovers if repairs are ever needed.

Gathering Supplies

Installing a glass mosaic backsplash requires several specialty supplies along with basic tiling tools. Here are the essential items needed:

Tiling Tools

  • Notched trowel for spreading adhesive
  • Grout float for applying grout
  • Rubber grout float
  • Spacers
  • Grout sealer


  • Glass mosaic tiles
  • Thinset mortar adhesive
  • Grout
  • Backerboard (cement, fiberglass, or Durock)
  • Caulk/silicone sealant

Safety Gear

  • Knee pads
  • Safety goggles and mask
  • Work gloves

Preparing the Surface

Installing the mosaic tiles on a clean, smooth surface is critical for getting them to adhere properly. Follow these steps to prep the installation area:

  1. Remove existing backsplash and wall coverings – Remove any old backsplash, wallpaper, or paint with putty knives, heat guns, and scrapers until you expose the bare wall underneath.
  2. Clean and sand the surface – Use TSP cleaner to scrub the wall and get rid of any grease or dirt. Sand any bumps or uneven spots.
  3. Install backerboard – Cut cement, Durock, or fiberglass backerboard to fit the backsplash area. Secure it with backerboard screws.
  4. Waterproof the backerboard – Coat the backerboard with a waterproofing membrane like RedGard. Allow it to fully dry.
  5. Apply mortar to the backerboard – Use a notched trowel to spread a thin layer of thinset mortar adhesive on the backerboard. This helps adhere the mosaic sheets.

Installing the Mosaic Sheets

Once your surface is prepped, it’s time to start installing the mosaic tiles:

  1. Dry fit the mosaic sheets – You may need to cut border or edge tiles with a wet saw. Dry fit pieces to ensure proper fit before applying any adhesive.
  2. Apply mortar adhesive – Use a notched trowel to spread a thin layer of mortar adhesive on the backerboard where you’ll place the next sheet.
  3. Place the mosaic sheet – Carefully lift and press the mosaic sheet into the mortar, gently pushing it into place. Use spacers between sheets.
  4. Remove any excess mortar – Before it dries, remove any excess mortar between tile seams with a putty knife.
  5. Continue installing sheets – Work in sections applying mortar and installing sheets row by row until the backsplash is filled.
  6. Let the mortar cure – Allow the mortar to fully cure for 24-48 hours before continuing to grout.

Grouting the Mosaic Tiles

Grout fills the spaces between the tiles to finish off your mosaic backsplash installation:

  1. Mix the grout – Follow package directions to mix a batch of unsanded grout in a color that complements the tile.
  2. Apply grout over the tiles – Use a grout float to spread grout over the surface, pressing into tile seams. Tilt the float at a 45° angle to prevent removing grout from seams.
  3. Clean excess grout – Wait 10-15 minutes until the grout firms up. Then use a damp sponge to gently wipe diagonally across tiles to remove excess grout.
  4. Polish and seal the surface – Once grout has cured 24 hours, polish the surface with a soft cloth. Apply grout sealer to protect from moisture and staining.

Finishing Touches

Add the final details to complete your stunning new glass mosaic backsplash:

  • Use caulk to seal all corners and edges where the tiles meet countertops, walls, or cabinets.
  • If needed, cut border or edge pieces to fit around outlets, fixtures, or other obstructions.
  • Finally, wipe down the entire surface with a soft, damp cloth to remove any remaining grout haze or residue.

With proper planning and preparation, installing a glass mosaic backsplash can easily be a DIY project. The end result will be a stunning focal point that adds artful style, visual depth, and value to any room. Dazzle visitors with your beautiful new backsplash!

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing a Glass Mosaic Backsplash

What kind of adhesive should be used to install a mosaic backsplash?

Thinset mortar adhesive specifically formulated for glass mosaics and wet areas provides the best bond. Avoid multipurpose adhesives. Backerboard will also need to be primed with a waterproof membrane like RedGard.

How are mosaic sheets mounted on the wall?

Sheets can be mounted directly on backerboard coated with mortar. Use spacers between sheets and press gently but firmly to flatten against the adhesive. Ensure proper adhesion by spreading mortar on both the wall and mosaic backs.

Should sanded or unsanded grout be used with glass mosaics?

Unsanded grout is recommended for glass mosaics under 1/8” as it smoother and less likely to scratch the finish. Sanded grout can be used for larger tile mosaics. Match the grout color to the tile color for a seamless look.

What’s the best way to cut mosaic tiles?

Use a wet saw with a diamond glass blade to carefully cut mosaic tiles and sheets to fit edges and corners. Take safety precautions and go slowly to avoid breaking tiles. A rod saw can also be used for detailed contour cutting.

How do you clean and care for a glass mosaic backsplash?

Use a mild, pH-neutral cleaner and soft sponge or cloth when cleaning. Avoid abrasive cleaners. Re-apply grout sealer annually. Immediately clean any sealant or grease spills to avoid staining the grout or glass.

What’s the best paint color to complement a glass mosaic backsplash?

Lighter neutrals like white, cream, light grey, or beige allow the mosaic tiles to stand out. Bolder accent colors like navy blue, olive, and citrus yellow also beautifully complement vibrant mosaics.


Installing a glass mosaic backsplash brings eye-catching beauty and visual interest to your kitchen or bathroom. With some careful planning and preparation, it can be an achievable DIY project. The end result will be a stunning focal point you’ll admire for years to come. Just take it step-by-step, use the right materials, and your new backsplash is sure to impress. Dare to make a bold statement with the artful drama of glass mosaic tiles!