Mosaic

Writing With Hex Tiles

Custom tile can be expensive. With a little creativity, you can create your own custom one-of-a-kind floor or wall installation that is low cost and high style!

Hexagon tiles are one of the most classic looks in the industry. They have been around for decades, creating looks ranging from simple to complex designs with a timeless appeal. Most commonly, you see these tiles with colorful hexagon flowers or dots to add a simple design element to the living space. However, you can also find where people use these tiles to write words and numbers to create custom designs.

Writing with hexagon tiles is great for expressing your creativity, whether it is for something fun to show your personality or for practical use. Business owners and homeowners alike both take advantage of this exciting project. Hexagon tiles can be a creative way to display your address, business or personal name, and give directions, advice or information.

 

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A mashup of projects submitted by our friend Charlotta

Writing with hexagon tiles requires prep work to yield the best results, but all of this hard work will pay off when you see the final outcome. When you know what you want to write, there is a fun website called Grid Paint which is a Google site that allows you to draft up a hexagon grid so you can see exactly how to arrange the hexagons and how many you should expect to need without having them in front of you. Other than the fact that it is just fun to color in these little hexagons, this will make the installation process run smoother. Don’t underestimate the importance of prep work. Doing the simple legwork can help assure that you purchase enough product for the installation and your words don’t come out lopsided, making it less time consuming overall.

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Screen shot from Grid Paint

 

For the most part, these tiles come mounted on a mesh backing, which allows you to easily remove tiles from the mesh where they are not wanted, and replace them with other colors. We do not recommend that you glue these other tiles onto the mesh, but just place them in in their position around the mesh- mounted tiles. Glue acts as a bond breaker and could cause problems for the installation. Before actually using thinset, you may want to lay these mosaics out to see how they look, if they line up where you want them, etc. before permanently bonding them in place. This gives you one final chance to review your project and see how everything is laid out.  As I mentioned, prep work is key, and in my opinion you can never prepare too much.

Now, you need to choose grout color. Keep in mind that grout can change the entire look of this project, so you will want to plan that choice out before as well. To see how drastic of a change grout can make, check out one of our previous blog posts that highlight the effect grout can have on a final project.

Check out this quick step-by-step guide to successfully write with hexagon tiles:

  1. Decide what you want to create and where you want it to be installed.
  2. Figure out what tile colors and grout color you want for your installation.
  3. Use Grid Paint to layout your work. This will also help with deciding how colors look together and getting an estimate on how many tiles you need. (We always recommend buying 10% overage to account for cuts and future repairs)
  4. Purchase all of the tile, adhesive, grout, sealer and tools necessary to complete the project.
  5. Lay out your design in your space without thin-set to get a feel for final look before permanently installing in place.
  6. Install this tile with the thinset.
  7. Use grout to set the look in place.
  8. Seal your project if desired. (Always seal the grout)
  9. Enjoy your new space!
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An example of one of our grouted boards, inspired by our new Retrovation Bays at select Home Depot stores.

I hope that this was helpful for your next creative tile job. Keep in mind that these tips can be used in other tiling projects as well, not just writing with hexagons. If this helped inspire you to try a project like this, you can use our entire collection of hex mosaics to create your own masterpiece. Do you plan on doing this or have you done this before? Send us pictures and tell us about it! We would love to see them and feature them on our website and social media! You can send these to us at photos@merolatile.com or through our social media. Good luck!

Fall Colors for 2014

It’s true: in just a few days, summer is unofficially over.  While children grapple with the levity of needing to go back to school, those with jobs grapple with the levity of an entire summer going by… again.  As we approach fall, however, some of us start thinking towards our next home project: how do we make our homes fashionable and still timeless?

The answer, of course, is in the colors. Pantone’s Fashion Color Report for fall 2014 has a lot of versatile colors whose appeal remains steady through the ages:

 

Courtesy of Pantone.com

Courtesy of Pantone.com

What a beautiful array of shades! So how do you tie this selection into your home décor? There are little things you can do to pull these colors into your home. Accents are key- pillows, tablecloths, furniture, appliances, artwork, and even the occasional accent wall are just a few ways you can keep your home up-to-date.

The chairs are one of the many pieces of this kitchen that blur the line between kitchen and dining room.

Our Tessera Subway Sage, available through the Home Depot, is a deep green that would make the perfect backsplash in this crisp, clean fall color.

 

This accent wall brings joy to a sleek, modern space, keeping it from seeming sterile.

For those that want to get a little bolder, it’s worth noting that a lot of these colors have been mainstays in home décor for decades and some bring a distinctive vintage charm to a space. Check out our Penny Round Vintage Yellow in this sunny kitchen. This is a perfect shade to blend in with vibrant fall leaves or to accommodate the bright light of spring.

The Penny Round Vintage Yellow is available through the Home Depot.

The Penny Round Vintage Yellow is available through the Home Depot.

Mixing the blue and yellow may be a bit predictable, but the pops of color and chic, modern tile lend balance to this otherwise rustic kitchen:

A tile that would make this setting a little more bold and exotic would be our Metro Lantern Glossy Blue tile, pictured below.

This is available through the Home Depot along with our full range of popular lantern mosaics.

This is available through the Home Depot along with our full range of popular lantern mosaics.

Some of the home décor pairings that are surfacing from these colors are fun and original. This eclectic mix of styles comes together boldly and combines the pink shades and the royal blue in this fall’s palette:

This palette is the perfect mix of neutrals and bold colors, however, making it suitable for a range of purposes. The Aluminum shade is a versatile pick that can be understated or coupled with other shades to really make a statement. Here it is in our Concret Rombo Vigeland:

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This tile is available through the Home Depot.

The options are limitless with Pantone’s Fall 2014 color palette, and a range of versatile hues is great for the homeowner looking to apply ageless style to their space.  Whether you jazz up your home with a toaster or a tub surround, go with the wisdom of Pantone’s palette.

Product of the Week: Crag Subway Sunset

Bringing nature home is a lot easier than you’d think.  Our Crag Subway Sunset is a subway mosaic made with natural slate.  Though the word “slate” is associated with deep gray and black (it used to be used as chalk boards!), it’s far from a plain stone tile- its palette of earth tones, rust, gray, and blue is full of character and adds a rural touch anywhere.

The Crag Subway Sunset is available through the Home Depot

The Crag Subway Sunset is available through the Home Depot

Slate has been used as a building material for centuries- the first recorded instance of its use as a roofing material was in 1287.  Time has proven it to hold up well against the elements, keep its dramatic natural beauty and its hardy endurance over time.

This angled shot shows some of the intricate coloring of natural slate.

This angled shot shows some of the intricate coloring of natural slate.

Something that makes it great for a tile is that it breaks smoothly. It’s a foliated metamorphic rock, meaning it slices in a clean, flat plane when struck by the right instruments. Its fine grain makes it highly slip-resistant and ADA-compliant.
This look is suitable for a lot of different spaces. Check out some applications of slate tile in a modern setting:

I love this because while you’d think a black tile would dominate a space, it doesn’t do that at all. The sunlight and light blue tile temper it beautifully.

 

Look at how this beautiful, multi-colored tile works with just about any finish! The dark wood pulls from some of the rich tones in the stone, and the metal appliances and fixtures complement the lighter gray slate, pulling everything together wonderfully.

 

And of course its rugged appeal is the perfect fit for an all-natural feel. Check it out in this cabin:

 

Here’s a rustic farmhouse-style kitchen that uses the colors and stone very well:

It’s a warm and welcoming look, with a rugged inviting touch. There’s no mistaking that timeless subway shape, but it breaks the mold with its organic appeal, which is anything but urban.

For its versatility, breathtaking color palette, and hardiness, the Crag Subway Sunset is this week’s Tile of the Week.  Check it out on HomeDepot.com!

Sources: here, here, and our resident experts.

Summer Fun

Summer is in full swing, and we’re happy to bring you some of our favorite images from the home décor set.  A hot day is made infinitely better when you jump into a pool… an experience made even better when the pool is luxurious and beautifully tiled!

This is a customer-submitted photo of our Modena Cobalt Blue tile installed in their pool. It’s a classic look!

 

This is available through the Home Depot.

This is available through the Home Depot.

 

If you’re looking for something a little bohemian, this is very similar to our Coppa Brown Gold and the way it plays off of the shade of the pool water is incredible.

This tile is available through the Home Depot.

This tile is available through the Home Depot.  Photo from Pinterest.

Here’s a way an installer has used tile to make the pool space lush, verdant, and beautiful. This is comparable to our Resort Palm Green tile:

Photo from CasaSugar.com

The Resort Palm Green is available through Home Depot. Photo from CasaSugar.com.

We have a whole Pinterest dedicated to hanging out all summer, and it’s perfect when you’re looking forward to your weekend. Take a look here and give us a follow!  Happy Friday!

Product of the Week: Tessera Alaskan View

Tiles of mixed textures and finishes have always been popular, but on glass tiles the light plays in such a way that the variety truly pops.  These variations are what make glass mosaic tile so much fun: you really can get any look you want by getting the right colors, choosing the right texture, and placing them in the right light.

Our Tessera Alaskan View is proof positive of that.  Shades of ice blue and deeper blue complement each other while the various finishes add dimension. Just in one sheet, you’ll find frosted glass, smooth glass, and glass rippled like drops of water.  Bright white matte tumbled stone throws a snowy element into the mix, accomplishing a chilly, soothing look.

I took this with my cell phone to give an idea of the textures:

The ripples look like droplets of water. Love them!

The ripples look like droplets of water. How cool is that?

And here’s a professional photo to reflect the wonderful color variety in this mesh-mounted mosaic:

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The variety of color and finishes makes the Alaskan View a great choice.

If you’re hesitant to use such a seemingly bold tile in your space, consider the palette: it’s been discussed before that blue and shades of it are versatile and soothing, and the Alaskan View is no exception.

Here it is as an accent in a shower niche.  It breaks up the pattern in the wall and works really well with the glass wall enclosing the shower!

 

If you’re looking for a large expanse of glittery, textured beauty, take a look at some examples.

This tile is quite similar to the Alaskan View, and when used as a main wall installation, the other fixtures (plumbing, cabinetry, et cetera) either tie into the tile or directly contrast it. The dark cabinets look so striking in this bathroom!

And let’s not forget the fantastic potential it has as an accent. Though this is not the Alaskan View, it has a similar palette. It’s in an unusual location (the face of the stairs) which is why it’s so captivating- it’s difficult to realize what a focal point stairs are until they look absolutely marvelous, like these do. The Alaskan View could certainly fill this purpose!

Finally, they make a lovely accent for a pool.  The intensified light coming off of the water really unlocks the mosaic’s potential with how it works with light.  Here is a customer-submitted photo of an installation:
That glittery accent underneath the edge of the pool? That's Alaskan View!

That glittery accent underneath the edge of the pool? That’s Alaskan View!

Its chilly palette and sparkly qualities add up to a captivating mosaic, and for that, the Tessera Alaskan View is this week’s Product of the Week. Use it as an accent or a main focal point, and wow everyone who passes by!

Installing and Caring for Stainless Steel Tile

Our Meta Steel Hex tile, available on HomeDepot.com

Our Meta Steel Hex tile, available on HomeDepot.com

Did you fall in love earlier this week? Was it with our Product of the Week, stainless steel penny round tiles? We don’t really blame you. It’s a seriously fabulous product. But people are a bit leery at the thought of putting metals in their home, specifically a spot like their walls, which may see a bit of wear and seem a little harder to install. Fear not… it’s a lot less intimidating than it may seem, and it’s worth the research to have such a hardy material in your home! Here are some things to keep in mind when installing and caring for stainless steel tile.

  • Measure the surface area you’ll need to cover, and then add 10% onto that to compensate for any damage or extra cuts (this is generally recommended for all tile purchases and installations).
  • Use a silicone-based adhesive or mastic to stick the mesh-backed tile to the surface where you’re installing it.
  • We also strongly recommend using non-sanded latex-based grout, as sanded grout may scratch the stainless steel top.
  • As with all tile installations, it is extremely advisable to use all new products: a fresh, new sponge; new buckets for grout and water respectively (any leftover residue from past projects may wind up in the grout or the water, potentially scratching the surface of the tile); and a brand new float- preferably the softest you can find, as being gentle during installation is essential to the finished look. Here at the warehouse, we use a float that’s a bit foamy.
  • While sponging as you grout, make sure you go in one orientation (up and down or side to side). Swirling the sponge around may leave stains.
  • If necessary, cut this tile from the rear with a diamond-tipped wet saw to prevent uneven edges. You can then treat and smooth the cut edges with fine sandpaper or a metal file.

Once you’ve successfully completed your beautiful installation, all you need to do to keep it clean is use warm soapy water and a soft, clean sponge! Here is a photo from a customer of our alloy quad tile as a backsplash:

Our Alloy Quad series is available through the Home Depot.

Our Alloy Quad series is available through the Home Depot.

These simple steps will keep your stainless steel tile looking great through the years. Just as you bought stainless steel appliances for their durability, the same goes for tile. With a little upkeep, you’ll have this timeless glinting metal for as long as you like!

 

You can find other general tips about installation here.

 

Source: our resident experts.

Product of the Week: Stainless Steel Penny Rounds

We all have that one room in our homes that just needs a certain something.  It’s not really that the space around it isn’t nice, but perhaps it just isn’t quite as you envisioned it. Not enough character? Not bright enough? Lacking some sparkle that you need in your life? Look no further: stainless steel penny round tile is here.

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

The Merola Alloy Penny Round, available through the Home Depot

Penny rounds are a classic shape. They came about, much like subway tiles, around the Industrial Revolution in an attempt to keep everything more hygienic (or at least give the appearance that it was) as indoor restrooms became more commonplace.  As tile evolved in terms of shape and aesthetic, penny rounds became a little less popular but never fell out of favor- much like subways or hexagons, they are a timeless look with vintage origins.

Fast-forward to the past five years: the surge in demand for metallic tile has resulted in inspired and artistic mosaics that have really accented the versatility of the material.  Check it out when mixed with other textures:

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

The Tessera Square Alpine tile is available through the Home Depot.

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A closer look at the Tessera Square Alpine.

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The Fusion Linear Lorraine, a glass and metal mix mosaic tile available through the Home Depot.

However, in the face of all this innovation, ageless looks stand tall: stainless steel penny rounds are tremendously popular. The addition of a glittery sheen to such a versatile look brings this vintage look into the 21st century.

That doesn’t mean it has to go in with other futuristic looks, though. It works with a range of styles. Check out this stainless steel penny round backsplash in this craftsman kitchen:

It coordinates beautifully with the dark colors of the island and the cream cabinets on the wall. Not to mention the fabulous way it contrasts with the copper pots- brilliant!
When paired with polished granite, the effect intensifies. Look at the reflective properties that come together here. This installation is sure to brighten the room:

Just because it’s an up-to-date look doesn’t mean it can’t work anymore with its vintage brethren! Here it is as an accent with some vintage-look subway tile. It acts as a medium-tone between the bright white tile and the dark walls and black accents, accomplishing an effortlessly clean and coordinated look.

As versatile as the original penny rounds that surfaced in the 1900s, stainless steel penny rounds are a perfect example of teaching an old dog new tricks. By adding the stainless steel caps, the look is brought up-to-date while retaining its classic allure.

Curious as to how to care for metal-topped tile? Stay tuned for a post dedicated tips for cutting, installing and caring for your new look!