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Broken Tile Mosaic Counter

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This tile job improved the appearance and cleanliness of my old cement kitchen counter.    It was made with free discarded tiles from friends and the local hardware store.   The darker grout looks good with the lighter tiles, and the color helps camouflage the mold that   invariably grows on damp surfaces around here.  
 
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Step 1: Bust up some tiles

Picture of Bust up some tiles
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Tiles are made of fired clay with a thin layer of colored glass on the surface.  You have to be a little careful of cuts when handling them.  It is wise to sand the edges of all the pieces you are going to use.  I did that after laying out the pieces on the counter, so I didn't end up sanding lots more pieces than needed.  

This is not rocket science.  It's probably a good idea to wear eye protection, although I didn't notice many fragments flying around as I broke the pieces.  

Step 2: Lay out the tiles

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I had a limited number of patterned tiles to work with, along with some white and cream colored tiles.   To make sure I didn't run out of any of the tile types before reaching the end of the project, I spread them out in a random pattern over the whole surface before starting to glue things down.     
cool20001 year ago
Your house looks awesome, like Yoda's!
eyesee1 year ago
vrey good
do you live in a cave? jk nice house, and idea
sWillyPs1 year ago
I tile for a living, and just wanted to add a few notes to your sweet project. Here in the US, the 'glue' that holds the tile down is called thin-set mortar. It is completely different than the stuff used to fill between the tiles, which is called grout. As mentioned in your last step, the grout must be sealed, and resealed often.

Another option would be to use epoxy grout. Not as easy to work with, and a bit more expensive, but you'll never have to seal it, or worry about mold, or what to clean with.
Thinkenstein (author)  sWillyPs1 year ago
Thanks for the useful information. It's a pity about having to reseal often. I was hoping the silicone sealer would be permanent. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.
Test it by seeing if clean water absorbs or beads up. When it beads up, you have enough sealer. If it absorbs, put more sealer on.
Thinkenstein (author)  sWillyPs1 year ago
Once you get it saturated, does it ever need resealing in the future? I doubt the surface will abrade down much over time.
Yes. How often you need to seal will depend on how you clean it. And re-sealing is a pretty easy job, much easier than removing mold.
Gadisha1 year ago
Nice work, I love your kitchen!
Thinkenstein (author)  Gadisha1 year ago
Thanks. It's almost civilized now.
I just would like to know where the rest of the pictures of the house are?!? I mean I've been lurking on the site for years, I've never seen anything that makes me start looking around for a place to do it in! Thank you so much for the time to write this, and I hope you share more to come.
If you take a look through Thinkenstein's 95 existing 'ibles, you'll see lots of pictures of his home. For significantly more, visit his website. I've pretty much pored over & archived for later everything about his home in my quest for alternative architecture ideas.
Nice rustic look to your project! Discarded/leftover tiles are a dime a dozen, so this makes for an inexpensive project.

I did a project like this years ago and swore I'd never do it again! I used all different kinds of broken plates and mugs, marbles, beads, plastic turtles & old coins & cutlery, etc for patio tables for our restaurant. They were all different thicknesses, so grouting was a nightmare and I ended up with an uneven surface(should have anticipated that, hindsight ya know). Clear epoxy saved the day and they have withstood the elements on the sidewalk outside for 7 summers. Only problem now is the epoxy is starting to yellow a bit and turn sticky. Not just sure what to do about that.
Could happen because of inexact ratio base/hardener too.
I would consider a sheet of glass or Lexan for a new surface table surface secured over the old one. Also glue and fix with screws a new (plastic or metallic) rim band around the edges.
Thinkenstein (author)  jessandstavro1 year ago
(removed by author or community request)
That's a good idea. I will have to give them a scrub and pick up some more epoxy.
Another thin layer of epoxy might take care of it. Try just one table and see how it works out.
Thinkenstein (author)  jessandstavro1 year ago
If the little buried jems are still visible, although the surface is sticky, could you put on a little more clear epoxy, or casting resin, and eliminate the stickiness?
Helder4u1 year ago
Very nice.
Wish I could see more of Your house.
Beautiful job! And I love the lines of your home! The organic lines seem so soothing. I look forward to checking out your other instructables. Keep up the great work!
Thanks. Glad you like it.
I would love to see this entire kitchen. How fun!
What a FUN looking kitchen! Love the fluid lines. The tiles add a nice touch of whimsy.
Thinkenstein (author)  flyingpuppy1 year ago
Thanks, glad you like it.
You've done some interesting instructables. I'm going to study your one on video frame editing soon.
ceekay1 year ago
Great job. : ) I always enjoy seeing what you've posted here.
Thinkenstein (author)  ceekay1 year ago
Thanks.
bajablue1 year ago
Rustic and earthy... absolutely gorgeous.
Thinkenstein (author)  bajablue1 year ago
Thanks. The colors are subdued, but that was just doing the best I could with the tiles available.
I like the tile fragement layout and the slope toward the sink. I think you are overly modest on the tile layout since the pattern is quite well balanced and not at all "random." Excellent instructable and a nice job.
Thinkenstein (author)  cobourgdave1 year ago
Glad you appreciate the design element.
beatmakers1 year ago
cool! Awesome job man!
Thinkenstein (author)  beatmakers1 year ago
Thanks. Glad you like it.
I like the inset bowl by the sink, that's clever.
Thinkenstein (author)  mikeasaurus1 year ago
Thanks. It's for the detergent.

It's probably not worth another instructable, but I came up with a nice way to hang the metal scouring pad on the wall, too. I took a couple neodymium magnets and glued them to the wall. The pad sticks to the magnets, and is easy to place and remove.
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