Ask the experts
Helen Meiring of Cape Town writes
On the readers’ letters page in your August 2017 issue, Maria Leask of Sedgefield showed how she had adorned her drab steps with mosaics. I have a boring step at my back door that I’d like to spruce up but I have no idea how to go about it. Can you help me with step-by-step instructions?
Home DIY contributor Shelly Bergh replies It’s easier than you think; here’s what you need to do:
Ask your local tile merchant for any broken tiles they want to get rid of and break them into smaller pieces (make sure to use tiles that won’t get slippery when wet, since you want to use them on a step). Fold the tiles in towel or newspaper and break them into smaller pieces with a hammer; wear safety goggles and gloves when you do this. Pick up the pieces carefully.
Mix a little tile adhesive with enough bonding liquid to form a paste (follow the package instructions) – the bonding liquid makes the adhesive waterproof. Tile adhesive dries quickly, so mix small quantities at a time, especially if you’re inexperienced and likely to work slowly. Apply the tile adhesive to the back of a piece of tile and stick it in place. It’s like building a puzzle; you can plan your design beforehand to make sure every part of your step is covered. Use tile cutters to resize pieces if needed. If you find a piece that has a very sharp edge, use a file to smooth it before sticking it down.
Wait 24 hours for the tile adhesive to dry. Mix the grout according to the instructions on the package and apply it in the cracks between the tiles with a sponge. Once the entire surface has been done, wait for about half an hour. Your tiles will look hazy, but after 30 minutes you can wipe them clean with a damp sponge. Allow the grout to set properly for two days before sealing the tiles.
2 Start your mosaic 3