I'm installing a glass mosaic back splash. The tiles are 3/4 inch square and are mounted on a mesh of size 13 x 13 inches. They are 5/32 of an inch thick. I am having trouble with my technique to get good mortar coverage on the wall so the tiles stick well. What kind of trowel (v, notched) and what size would you recommend and would you flatten the ridges to get an even coat on the walls or would you leave the ridges in the mortar and put the tile on that? I am using a glass mosaic motor with a polymer.

  • You could use a backer board with the tiles
    – tegbains
    Jun 22, 2011 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


When applying thinset, put it on in a flat coat first,, and lay it on thick, pressing it against the wall or floor. THEN go back at an angle and notch it, removing excess. This makes sure the thinset has good contact with the wall over the whole area and will bond well. Laying it on at an angle, so it's notched in one pass, doesn't spread the thinset over the wall nor press it into the wall as well as laying it flat first.

Use a V-notch trowel, definitely; A narrow U-notch will work in a pinch, and don't bother with square-notch; those are for laying floor tile mostly, where you need a lot of vertical play to create a level surface. If the mesh tile doesn't seem to be adhering well to the wall, you can try "back-buttering" the mesh with some more thinset, kind of like applying glue to both sides of a wood joint. Just don't damage the mesh or lose too many attached tiles. Don't be afraid to really lean in with pressure to get the tiles into that thinset; just don't pound on the tiles/wall too hard.

  • Good advice - that's basically what I did. Put on a good solid coat and then trowel it with the notches. I also had to pay good attention to the coverage, especially at the edges.
    – BrianK
    Jun 23, 2011 at 3:13
  • I use a putty knife to apply adhesive in the hard-to-reach or finicky places. It's easy enough to skim off the excess.
    – Dave
    Jan 26, 2016 at 21:48

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