How to Set a Decorative Band
Often, the tile used for a decorative band is thinner than the tile that surrounds it. If the tile making up the decorative band is large, you can simply apply an extra-thick layer of thin-set under it and press it in until it’s flush with the thicker tile. But this doesn’t work with mosaics. Here’s how Dean solves the problem.
Step 1: Create a precise gap
First Dean carefully calculates how wide the band will be by measuring the width of the tile band and adding the width of two grout spaces. Then he cuts wood spacers and uses them to align the tile and to leave room for the decorative band of mosaic. Here Dean is removing the spacers after the adhesive behind the surrounding tile has set up.
Step 2: Screed with a customized putty knife
Next, Dean creates a custom screed by notching a plastic putty knife. He makes the depth of the notches equal to the thickness of the tile band, plus about 1/8 in. for the thin-set. He spreads a layer of thin-set in the band area and uses the notched trowel to screed the thin-set to the right thickness. Dean lets this layer of thin-set firm up before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Spread the thin-set
Next, Dean cuts 1/8-in.-deep teeth in the custom trowel. Then he spreads another layer of thin-set over the base layer and uses the notched trowel to create an even layer of adhesive. If the mosaic band is glass tile or thin mosaic, he flattens this layer of thin-set with a flat putty knife.
Step 4: Set the mosaic band
Finally Dean is ready to embed the decorative band in the thin-set. The built-up thin-set base ensures that the surface of the mosaic band will be perfectly flush with the surrounding tile.