Installing Stainless Steel Metal Mosaics


Before starting sometimes it is nice to see our metal installed buy someone else this is a nice blog to view.

1. Stainless steel penny rounds, brick metal and square metal mosaics are made of a metal capping glued onto a porcelain tile body.

2. Sheffield has a grade 304 stainless steel finish. The different colors of stainless are produced by an anodizing process. Colors are V1 in shading. Brushed and stippled metal will be installed randomly on the sheet from the factory, in reference to the direction of the texture. This will give the appearance of different shades, and adds to the character of the product.

3. The glue used to bond the metal to the porcelain base is German “Henkel” contact adhesive. It is temperature resistant to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, water resistant, and resistant to diluted acids and alkaline.

4. Penny Round copper may be installed on interior wall areas, in wet or dry locations (such as a shower wall or kitchen backsplash). It may not be installed on floors. Through oxidization, all copper will patina (darken or turn dark green).

5. Copper should not be used in steam showers, submerged areas, or exterior applications.

6. Stainless steel mosaics should not be used in steam showers or submerged areas, but can be used in frost-free exterior applications. Both stainless and copper can scratch and dent.

7. Make sure all product is inspected by the end user before installing to avoid any issues. No refunds or adjustments of any kind will be made by after the product is installed. The installer is responsible for installing the correct material. Use constitutes acceptance.

8. To cut, use a tile wet saw with a diamond blade designed for cutting porcelain. Target, Pearl, MK, and many other blade manufacturers make blades for porcelain. Always cut with the metal side up. It may be necessary to debur the edge of the metal with a rub stone or fine file. Always wear eye protection.

Suggested Installation Method

1. Always use a licensed contractor.

2. Always confirm in person with the end user / specifier that the product being installed is the correct product before installing it, and is suitable for the project.

3. Always inspect the product for unintended flaws that are not part of the fashion or style of the product. Do not install defective or damaged product. If there is a question about the quality of the product, contact your supplier before proceeding.

4. Make sure the substrate is suitable for stainless steel metal mosaic. Choose and follow the best technique for your project. See TCNA handbook, page 10 and all pages pertaining to substrate preparation.

5. TCNA handbook, page 10. And all pages pertaining to substrate preparation. ANSI A108.1B, A108A2.1.8, C1396, C1396M-04 Make sure crack isolation membranes and water proofing membranes are considered for your type of installation where necessary.

TCNA handbook, page 9, 10, ANSI a118.10, A108.12

6. The metal mosaic may expand and contract differently than adjacent tile. Make sure expansion joints and movement joints are considered and used when necessary. Keep this product over six inches away from an open flame. Areas of concern would be steam rooms, fireplace surrounds, and backsplashes behind cook tops. Extra soft joints may be required in these high heat areas. Use a soft (caulking) joint between the metal and any other material in a continuous installation. Use a soft joint where two different planes come together. Use a soft joint every six feet in a continuous run, or according to the TCNA handbook. Use a soft joint where the metal abuts to plumbing fixtures, cabinets, counter tops, window or door moldings, and bath tubs in accordance with the TCNA handbook. TCNA handbook, page 8, 9, 68, 69, and EJ171-05.

7. Use a flexible modified white thin-set mortar that meets or exceeds ANSI 118.4 (a flexible acrylic mortar system such as those from Mapei, Laticrete, TEC, Customs, C-Cure, Siena, or equivalent). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Organic Mastic and Epoxy are not recommended for Penny Rounds.

8. Use the correct size notch trowel depending on the size of the product and your desired results. In most cases a 5/32 x 5/32 v-notch trowel will be used. Do not allow the white thin-set to rise up in the joints. Make sure you achieve full contact between the back of the tile and thin-set; you may use a clean grout float to embed the metal.

9. Allow the thin-set to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

10. Use a modified grout. Grout with flexing capabilities or a flexible additive is preferred.

11. Non-sanded grout is highly recommended. Be careful not to scratch the metal with the non-sanded grout. The colored metals can be damaged and the color removed by over-rubbing during the grouting process. Perform a test to see if the grout will scratch the metal on a loose piece before proceeding with the installation.

12. Epoxy grouts and pre-mixed grouts are not recommended with copper or stainless steel because they can chemically damage the surface. This reaction can also stain the grout.

13. Read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions on the grout.

14. Buff and cure the grout according to the grout manufacturer’s instructions. Sealing the grout is optional, follow all instructions regarding sealing. The metal mosaic does not require sealing and is non-absorbent.

Care and Maintenance

Regular cleaning with a neutral tile cleaner and a soft cloth or sponge is recommended. Use cleaning products that don’t leave a residue behind. Rinse with a soft wet cloth. Buff dry with a soft cloth. Do not use acids or cleaners containing acids or oils, corrosive chemicals, or abrasive cleaners. Do not use ammonia based cleaners on copper.

Care and Maintenance for Borders

Regular cleaning with a neutral tile or stone cleaner is recommended. This will also clean the glass and metal components in some of these products. Use cleaning products that don’t leave a residue behind. Rinse with a soft wet cloth. Buff dry with a soft cloth. Do not use acids or cleaners containing acids or oils, corrosive chemicals, or abrasive cleaners. Do not use ammonia based cleaners on copper.


Copper will patina (darken) over time. Topical coatings usually don’t stick to metal products. To slow the aging process, if desired, one can apply a light coat of a high quality Carnauba auto paste wax to the surface of the copper, when dry, buff off. Make sure there are no abrasives in the wax. Abrasives are very common in auto waxes. Waxing will reduce the exposure to air and thus slow (not eliminate) the aging process as long as the wax is not removed. Be careful not to get the wax in the grout. It could discolor the grout.

Although very tough, all metals can scratch or dent, use common sense when choosing the installed location.Looking for a Blog to see our metal installed this is a nice one to view.

Cutting Stainless Steel Metal Mosaic Tile

In a lot of cases due to the small size of the individual metal tiles they can be cut away or taken off the mosaic mesh and used as individual pieces to fit the area exactly.  However when the fit is not exact cutting may be necessary.

Fortunately Sheffield Steel metal mosaic tiles are not solid metal, fortunate for the installer cutting and fortunate for us shipping and making the cutting of stainless steel mosaic tile far less challenging. This is due to the fact that that Earthworks metal stainless steel tiles are actually porcelain tiles covered with a 1-2mm stainless steel cap. If the entire tile was solid metal cutting with regular tools would be impossible the product difficult to ship and expensive to make.

The best method is to use a motorized wet saw. Because the tiles are so thin, you can often get by with a low grade, low cost tile saw available at most big box stores. These saws typically retail around $80.00. Many big box stores and tool rental company’s also rent tile saws, so if you are doing this as a one off project, you might consider renting a tile saw for a day to get your job done. However please cautious tile saws can be very dangerous with diamond tipped blades these saws are extremely sharp.  Earthworks metal mosaic tiles pieces can be small as small as 1×1” for the small square mosaic so you must have enough confidence and skill to cut the tiny pieces without causes yourself serious injury.

The other option is to use a ceramic tile hand saw, also available at most local big box or tile stores. It is important to mention however that there is one tool that will likely not work for cutting metal tile, and that is a scoring tool or the scoring technique that is typically used for cutting porcelain and ceramic. This tool works on the basis of scoring the relatively soft surface of porcelain or ceramic then using force on two points to ‘snap’ along the scored edge, however metal capped tiles don’t take well to scoring or simply snapping so this method will not work.

If you do not feel comfortable with these sharp, potentially harmful tools it is best to call a professional to make the final cuts required to finish your tile job.

We hope this will give the installer an avenue to become and stay educated with the most current recommendations. Please refer to the TCNA hand book regularly because it is revised each year and techniques can change. Our goal is to have trouble-free long lasting installations that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Use constitutes acceptance, there will be no credits, refunds, cash settlements, and etc. made after the product is installed regardless of the circumstances. The TCNA website is

Finally…  How do I finish the edge?

You can finish the edge of your metal tile with metal/stainless steel edging.  These are generally associated with ceramic metal edge pieces.  If you go onto Google and search “metal edge L finishing piece” you will get a plethora of options.  You just butt your tile up to these pieces, they come in all sorts of shapes with those that like a challenge 🙂

You can also consider the metal edger that we sell, cut into strips it can be another good option in particular to match.  Metal Edgerfrom The Builder Depot.

Metal EdgerMetal Edger

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