Pebble Tile Installation Guide
You can use pebble and stone mosaic tiles in a lot of different ways in a variety of installations. They can be used both indoors and outdoors, further increasing their versatility. The commercial applications of pebble tiles include feature walls, flooring, bar surfaces, and walkways in projects from restaurants to medical facilities, corporate offices, public parks, and everything in-between. The residential installations of pebble tiles include landscaping, patios, pools and pool decks, fountains and other water features, flooring, kitchen backsplashes, slower floors, floors in bath and powder rooms, fireplaces, entryways, and BBQ areas.
- Gather your tools, including your trowel, penetrating sealer, a sponge, cloth, and anything else you might need.
- Apply the thinset using a trowel
- Place the tiles down on the thinset. Be careful and ensure that each tile is close to one another with their interlocking shapes.
- Lightly tap the tiles down, using enough pressure to push the tiles down without pushing them into the thinset itself
- Use a good penetrating sealer to seal the tiles into place. Consider using color and shine enhancers to give the pebbles a unique and attractive finish
- Apply a sanded grout on 2”x2” sections until you have covered the entire installation
- Leave the grout for 30 minutes to dry and then use a stiff-bristled brush to get rid of any excess grout
- Continue sponging the grout off until the surface has the desired look. Keep an eye out for narrow grout lines between pebbles. After drying the grout and getting the look you want, give the tiles one last coat of sealant to complete the job
Preparation and Installation
- Installing pebble tiles is much like installing any other natural stone product
- We recommend hiring a qualified and experienced tradesperson to do the job if you want to have the best possible results
- Tiles are generally sold in a size of 12” x 12”
- All the tiles will interlock on every side
- Sort the tiles before installing them to ensure that the color layout is even
- For vertical or contoured surfaces, use smaller sized pebbles and a polymer adhesive. Allow a short time for hydration, such as glue setting.
- The tiles should be applied to a flat, clean, and dry surface free from contaminants. It’s recommended you use waterproof membranes for wet areas when installing flooring. You will also require a fail to the drainage point of two inches or more
- Ensure you use only a high quality thinset mortar. Check the adhesive to see if it is appropriate to be used indoors or outdoors, and walls and floors.
- Ensure that every pebble is embedded into the adhesive, however they shouldn’t be pressed too deeply into the adhesive
- Choose a suitable product to apply the adhesive such as a 0.25” notched trowel, and apply the adhesive in patches of 3 square feet.
- It’s recommended that you seal the stones before and after the grouting process. Use a high quality penetrating sealer to sealer to get the best results. Penetrating sealers will typically no damage or alter the way the pebbles look or their color
- If you are interested in enhancing the color of the stones and creating a glossy or deep matte finish, we recommend using natural stone color enhancer or a natural stone color and shine enhancer, which should be applied before the penetrating sealer
- We recommend using a sanded grout that is right or internal or external conditions, depending on which you need
- Grouts generally come in a water mix, but you should use a product such as a latex additive to add flexibility as needed
- Ensure that you wait the amount of time recommended on the adhesive by the manufacturer before grouting. This reduces dirt ingress between pebbles and reduces the risk of dislodging pebbles
- Grout small areas at a time
- Use a stiff bristled brush after the grout dries to scrub away the excess grout
- After using the brush to remove most of the grout, a grout sponge should be used to remove the rest of the grout until you reach your desired finish
- Joints can form easily with two angles with sealant and bond-breaker between them
- Designers may show you areas where a joint would be needed, and joints are definitely needed in areas where tiles join walls or another building material in the substrate
- Fit edges and corners using a tile saw
- If you don’t have a saw then turn the tile over and use a sharp cutting instrument to get the desired edge, or fill in the gaps by taking individual pebbles off of the mesh
- You may want to consider order more tiles than you need, just in case
- We recommend sealing the pebbles using a high quality impregnator before grouting, and then doing so again after the grout completely dries
- In order to keep maintaining the natural stones a simple process, we recommend applying sealants once every 2-3 years
- Whenever you use sealants and cleaners, ensure that you stick to the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to applying them
- Pebbles can be kept clean using natural mild detergents
- The amount of water absorbed by natural stones such as pebbles can vary between individual pebbles. This means that the stone can stain unevenly if left unsealed. This is why you must clean any spills as soon as possible to reduce the chance and severity of stains and why we recommend using high quality sealers
Sealing and Grouting
Sealers and Cleaning