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Installing Mosaics for Pools and Other Outdoor Projects

Andrea helps people design their homes and gardens. She likes to use Western Astrology and the Chinese Zodiac to help build templates.

The aquatic mosaic at the bottom of the pool elevates things to the next level. The art adds creativity to what would otherwise be a standard pool.

The aquatic mosaic at the bottom of the pool elevates things to the next level. The art adds creativity to what would otherwise be a standard pool.

Beautifying Outdoor Spaces

I recently purchased a mosaic of the Versace logo from Mozaico, an art company that makes handmade mosaics and sells them around the world. The art can be installed inside or outside your home.

I had some questions for the company about how the mosaics work for pools and other outdoor features. I was very curious as to how the mosaics could stay outside and not get harmed by excessive sunlight or weather.

I was surprised to find the CEO of the company, Chady Tawil, was willing to do an interview to answer my pesky questions. His insight is invaluable. He reassured me that installing mosaics outside is easy and the art won't fall apart.

Below is my interview with the CEO as well as pictures of outdoor installations and Mozaico videos. This should give you a better idea of what these products are like.

This is the mosaic I own. It's of the Versace logo. It is very detailed: there are hundreds of tiny stones. The stones have been cut and colored to help create dimension.

This is the mosaic I own. It's of the Versace logo. It is very detailed: there are hundreds of tiny stones. The stones have been cut and colored to help create dimension.

Who Is Chady Tawil?

Before you start reading the interview, I would like to share some information with you about CEO Chady Tawil. He is an entrepreneur and e-commerce expert hailing from Beirut, Lebanon. Chady founded Mozaico in 2003 and has managed to grow the young brand into a multi-million dollar company, selling mosaics to more than 12,000 customers from more than 80 countries.

With 20+ years of experience in e-commerce and online sales, Chady also does consultations to help brands go digital.

Interview with Mozaico CEO Chady Tawil

1. How does mosaic tile art compare to plaster or aggregates for outdoor projects?

Mosaic tile has become a top choice for outdoor projects. It’s due to the actual materials used. Plaster is, of course, Portland cement and sand mixed together. Aggregates are simply plaster with extra materials mixed in. They’re still porous and can crack. Mosaic, on the other hand, has a surface that’s non-porous and extremely durable. We use natural stone and glass to create our products. In addition to the aesthetics of mosaic art, it’s also very, very tough. No fading, no deterioration—you’re going to have that gorgeous tiled finish indefinitely.

2. What are some of your recommendations before purchasing a mosaic?

Don’t limit yourself. If you can imagine it, we can likely create it. Mosaic art is so inherently flexible. We love a challenge. You can order just what you need to fit a space—we’ll create it with custom dimensions, fit it to odd shapes, what have you. In addition, we can change colors to suit a customer’s preferences. We can also create an entirely new design from scratch. And, you’ll always know what you’re getting—we can provide a customer with a sketch before we start production. No surprises.

In addition, our selection is huge. Be prepared to find a lot to like. We have over 7,000 designs in our catalog, and we’re always adding more. Your hardest decision may be narrowing down the designs you like to just one piece!

When you’re looking for a special mosaic design, consider where you’ll be installing the piece, as well. The materials that are used for the tiles can make it a masterpiece. Glass mosaic tiles, for example, can add extra light and sparkle to water features.

So, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make a list of your wants, spend some time looking at our catalog and inspirational photos, gather up your color swatches and measurements, and go for it. Keep in mind that this is going to be a durable product that will last forever outdoors. It has a lifetime guarantee. We want you to love it.

3. What kind of designs can people expect to find on your online store?

We literally have something for everyone. You can get lost in our catalog for hours. I invite everyone to visit our site and try out something like our Mosaic Finder. It’s a great introduction to the wide range of designs we offer.

We have extensive selections in the popular categories—such as florals, abstracts, animals, and nautical motifs. We also have extensive choices in twenty different themes. There are rug designs, landscapes... You can find a piece of very modern-looking art, or you can choose something from the Roman era, a favorite of mine.

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It’s incredible that we are still making reproductions of Roman mosaic works, when the originals are so well-preserved. Mosaic is truly the most durable form of art. Some of the Roman mosaic discoveries date back to the 2nd century BC, and they’re still bright. They only recently unearthed the largest Roman mosaic find in decades in London—it’s 1,800 years old, and it’s largely intact.

Martini art installation into pool fountain.

Martini art installation into pool fountain.

4. How labor intensive is it to install a mosaic?

Probably not as labor-intensive as you’d think. We’ve managed to make the process as simple as possible, because of how we deliver our products. It’s going to arrive rolled up, with the design ready to install on its mesh backing. From that point, it’s simply some basic skills needed to mortar, grout, and install.

We have videos on our website that show the process—and they’re just a couple of minutes long. Mozaico has done most of the work by the time you receive your piece. We want it to be easy.

5. What would you recommend for people planning to install a mosaic into an outdoor table?

Mosaic tables are a fantastic use of our products—we can even adapt our designs to custom dimensions. So, I would recommend that you first carefully measure the tabletop you’ll be adding the mosaic to. This will ensure a perfect result. We can also create designs that work with non-standard shapes—we just need a tracing of the surface. Keep in mind that each mosaic is heavy—so make sure your furniture is sturdy.

I also would like to encourage customers to be creative with their mosaic selections. They don’t have to be subdued. Let your tabletops work as pieces of art when you’re not using them. Harmonize the design with your outdoor furniture or garden sculptures. Choose a bold design, and enjoy the look year-round. And don’t forget—mosaic designs are also perfect for outdoor fountains and water features. All the same principles apply here—we can customize the design to the exact shape needed, and they can also be a highlight in your garden. It’s an easy way to add fine art outdoors.

6. What tools will people need to install a mosaic?

Mosaic installation is straightforward: You’ll be adhering it to the surface, using grout and mortar. As such, tools and supplies are simple: A trowel and notch trowel, a grout float, thin-set mortar, epoxy and unsanded grouts, and color enhancer. Cleaning up is also easy, and can be done with a sponge.

Seahorses mosaic for a pool fountain.

Seahorses mosaic for a pool fountain.

7. What can people do to help extend the life of their mosaic?

Mosaic is tough, but using a tile and grout sealer will help your outdoor mosaics maintain their good looks. As for cleaning, It’s also stain resistant. You can use almost any cleaning product. Otherwise, our mosaic art is there forever. People die, centuries pass, and the mosaic is still going to be there.

8. What is the hardest part of installing a mosaic?

It’s key to spend time on your preparations. Read the directions and product instructions for the grout, mortar, and sealer. Make sure that the surface you’re installing the mosaic art on is fully prepped. Have your tools at hand. Choose your best grout colors. Take a little time to get ready for the process, and it becomes even easier.

9. What are some different mosaic projects people have done for their garden?

We’ve seen mosaic-covered sculptures, large installations on walls that create big dramatic views, mosaic surfboards, incredible outdoor shower backsplashes with all kinds of designs—every surface, basically. Nautical compasses are placed in decks, pathways get all kinds of embellishments, and of course, water features are a perfect place to add mosaic art. It’s also perfect for benches, furniture, and patios because it’s slip-resistant and durable.

10. What makes the installation resistant to algae, water damage, and weathering?

By using stone and glass, we’ve created designs that are impervious to what life throws their way. They’re non-porous. There’s no UV damage. They can be cleaned off with soap and water. Once you seal the grout, there’s no place for water to penetrate and cause damage. These designs are ready to last for generations.

Patio table with geometric mosaic.

Patio table with geometric mosaic.

11. What are some mosaic designs you would recommend for gardens?

Our nature-inspired art is always popular, but I encourage customers to think outside the box. Search by color on our website, and see what pops up. It’s a great way to get inspiration. We also find that a medallion design placed in a special spot can be very meaningful. Compasses, a saying, or even a symbol can be eye-catching.

We can create custom mosaic pieces with words you specify, customized designs, and even reproductions of photographs.

12. What are some challenges people might run into while trying to install a mosaic for their pool or fountain?

Odd shapes can be challenging, but we can certainly eliminate that issue by working with customer-provided templates. Correct installation is very important. Make sure to use the right products, and to apply them correctly. The best grouts and sealers can still fail if they are not used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

13. What are some things people shouldn’t do with their outdoor mosaic?

Don’t hide your mosaic art in the corner! Seriously, don’t be afraid to make a statement with your art. Don’t limit yourself to traditional choices. Otherwise, mosaic art is ready for anything that you might subject it to.

Check out this garden terrace floor mosaic. It blends in with the scenery and amplifies the mood of the jungle around it. The flooring gives the structure a sophisticated look. It reminds me of a botanical garden found in a big city.

Check out this garden terrace floor mosaic. It blends in with the scenery and amplifies the mood of the jungle around it. The flooring gives the structure a sophisticated look. It reminds me of a botanical garden found in a big city.

14. Do you have any recommendations for outdoor designs that will work for the whole year?

If you select some bold colors that complement your winter landscape, it looks amazing. Think about off-season plants, and pick up on the colors of berries, branches, or evergreens. Or, use one of our floral and tree motifs to keep the feeling of summer all year round.

15. Has anyone done a mosaic art piece that can work as a bird feeder or birdhouse?

We have many designs that will look great on a birdhouse or bird feeder. But, I would suggest checking out our border designs and our huge range of field tile colors for inspiration. These can wrap around the house or feeder, and it will likely create the most popular birdhouse in the neighborhood.

You don't have to get too fancy with outdoor mosaic installations. You could simply hang one on a wall.

You don't have to get too fancy with outdoor mosaic installations. You could simply hang one on a wall.

16. What about a mosaic bench? What would you recommend? Or is that a bad idea?

We love mosaic benches. Mosaic is a great way to transform garden furniture into art. Why be boring? As with all outdoor installations, it’s tough and impervious to weather. If you’re thinking about adding one of our designs to a bench, measure it carefully, choose a design from our catalog, and get in touch with us to have it made to your exact dimensions.

© 2022 Andrea Lawrence

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