The key to a durable mosaic sink is using the right adhesive and grout. Epoxy adhesive bonds tiles with practically any sink surface, including porcelain, acrylic and stainless steel, and epoxy grout resists water and most stains. The downside is that epoxy materials must be mixed precisely and cleaned up quickly. Uninstalled sinks with no hardware are the easiest to tile. If your sink is already installed, remove it and the accompanying hardware, or hire a plumber to remove it for you. Tile the bare sink and install the faucet and drain hardware afterward for a neat, professional-looking result.
2. Peel the mosaic tiles away from the webbed backing sheets. If you are using broken pieces of tile for the mosaic, arrange the pieces face up on your work surface for easy access.
3. Mix a batch of epoxy tile adhesive in a small bucket, following the manufacturer's directions.
4. Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of tile adhesive on the back side of one mosaic tile with a 3-inch putty knife and press the tile against the sink near the drain opening. It is best to start tiling around the drain opening and work out in all directions toward the edges of the sink.
5. Spread adhesive on the back side of another tile and press it against the sink beside the first tile. The curves of a sink won’t allow tile spacers to work correctly because the tiles can’t sit in straight, flat rows; use your eye to judge the spacing between tiles, which should be approximately 1/4 inch. Continue gluing tiles to the sink, working out in all directions from the drain opening, until the sink is covered.
6. Allow the adhesive to harden overnight, or as long as the manufacturer recommends.
7. Mix a batch of epoxy grout in a small bucket, following the manufacturer’s mixing directions.
8. Scoop up grout on the short edge of a foam-backed grout float. Spread grout over the tiles, working from the drain opening out in all directions. Force grout into the spaces between the tiles, dragging the edge of the float across the tiles in all directions.
9. Scrape grout off the float onto the edge of the bucket, and drag the edge of the float across the tiles again to remove as much excess grout as possible.
10.Let the grout rest for as long as the manufacturer recommends, which is usually about 15 minutes.
11. Mix the grout manufacturer’s recommended or proprietary grout cleaner in a small bucket as directed, then scrub the tiles and grout with an abrasive nylon scrubbing pad dampened with the solution. Wipe off the solution with a clean sponge, and let the tiles rest again for approximately two hours.
12. Mix a fresh batch of cleaning solution, and scrub only the tiles, avoiding the grout lines.
13. Wipe the tiles with a damp sponge, then wait for a chalky film to appear. Wipe off the film with a dry rag. Wait at least three full days before using the sink.
Things You Will Need
- Sandpaper, coarse-grit
- Mosaic tiles, 1/2-inch or smaller
- Epoxy tile adhesive kit with resin, hardener and filler
- Wooden paint stir sticks
- Putty knife, 3-inch
- Epoxy tile grout kit with resin, hardener and filler
- Grout float
- Epoxy tile grout cleaner
- Nylon scrubbing pad
- Once dry, epoxy materials almost impossible to clean up. This makes a sink tiled with epoxy adhesive and grout very durable, but it can also make a giant mess if you wait too long before cleaning grouted tiles. If you can’t finish all of the grouting steps — including cleaning — on the same day, wait to grout the tiles until you can.
- Most epoxy adhesives and grouts will not clean up with water. Read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly before buying to be sure you have all the components that you need.
- Epoxy kits contain at least two parts, and some contain three. Premixed adhesives and grouts are generally not true epoxies and may not produce acceptable results.
- Ordinary thin-set mortar will not bond properly with most sinks.