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Foundations

Mosaic Foundations

Your choice of foundation depends on the size of your mosaic and its final location (indoor or outdoor). A variety of foundations are available.  We cover the most popular below:

MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and Plywood

Available at most home improvement stores, MDF comes in varying thicknesses and is easy to cut to shape.  It has a very low tendency to warp, especially in sizes under 24".  Plywood can also be used but we recommend plywood with 5 or more layers.  The more layers, the better the resistance to warping.  With both of these products, we recommend you coat the surface where the mosaic will be adhered with Bonderizer to seal the pores of the wood.

Wediboard

Wediboard is an excellent all-around foundation for mosaics.  Its foam core makes it very lightweight and easy to cut.  Its concrete mortar surface is very receptive to adhesives and it can be installed indoors or outdoors.  If you use Wediboard without a frame (perfectly acceptable) and you plan to hang your mosaic, you must install specific Wediboard hangers before you place your mosaic.

Pre-Cut Frames, Boxes, etc.

Start with a well constructed frame or box.  Stay away from the one or two dollar examples sold at local hobby stores.  The biggest problem with these is wood cracking and swelling, both of which are not good for your mosaic.  Whatever you do choose, make sure the mosaic surface has been sealed with Bonderizer or a similar product.

OSSB (Oriented Structural Straw Board)

If you have taken a mosaic class in Italy, you may have used this material.  It is a manufactured board (like MDF) made from wheat straw.  This is a very strong, low-porosity material but it is hard to find locally.  If you do look for it, don't be fooled by another material - chipboard. This has a similar surface appearance but it is not recommended for mosaics due to its low density and surface quality.

Honeycomb Panels

The most common of these is Fibrelam.  These laminate panels have two fiberglass surfaces covering a lightweight aluminum honeycomb.  They are incredibly strong and rigid - their typical use is in the aircraft industry for constructing lightweight floors in airplanes.

Concrete/Concreteboard

When installing a floor mosaic, you are typically installing on a concrete base. It is important that the concrete is cured and stable.  Thinset specifically made for mosaic installations, such as Kerabond/Kerlastic, should be used as an adhesive.  These products are elastic and will help prevent cracking.  If you are considering concreteboard, we strongly recommend you evaulate Wediboard as an alternative.

Steel or Other Metals

If you are installing over these surfaces, contact us.  There are several products (all epoxy based) available depending upon the size and location of your install.

Commercial Projects

If you are working on or bidding on a commerical project, there are standards for tile installation.  We subscribe to the Tile Council of North America's publications and we are happy to assist you in determining the correct installation method and materials.