Mosaic tile problems - Paper mesh

We are having ceramic tile installed on one of our bathroom floors and have run into a problem. The tile is porcelain 12x12 set on diagonal inside a 3² ³brick pattern² mosaic made from 1x2 darker tiles of same type with a paper mesh backing. I did all the prep (removed old floor to sub floor, 5/8 T&G & 1/4 Hardibacker), but decided to hire someone to lay the tile. The inside tiles are done and look great, but everything has come to a grinding halt with the mosaic border. The guy I hired looked over the material and job before taking it and said there would be no problems with the materials or design, but working with the mosaic border has proven to be a problem. I don¹t think he has any/much experience with this material and claims as soon as the backing on the mosaic gets wet either by cutting or when laying the tile the mosaic separates from the paper backing and becomes a bunch of loose 1x2 tiles. He is blaming the material, but looking around I see that this is a common way for mosaic to be made so there must be a way to work with it. I am sure there has to be some special technique for handling this type of trim, but I cannot find any information. My tile guy took the material with him yesterday and said he would return with a solution, but I am hoping that one of the resident tile experts here might be able to offer some advice. How do you cut this stuff? What type of adhesive is best to use so that the paper does not fall apart as soon as it is applied? What type of special technique is required to work with this material?
I wish I did not have to worry about this as that is why I hired someone else to do it, but I now find myself in the position of trying to find a solution or at least become educated a bit in this regard. The guy did a great job on the inside tiles and I am hoping he comes through with the proper solution to the problem but thought I would post here...
Thanks in advance for any advice or information.
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cut it with scissors or a box cutter on cardboard.
what does it matter if it becomes wet when it's laid? once laid, you're not supposed to move it until the thinset/mastic hardens anyway, and once hardened, it's stuck in place. it's supposed to have a little give to it once wet so you can reposition it to the exact place you want it, then just leave it alone.
if your tile person can't figure this out, they haven't done many tile jobs. it's really common to have mesh backed small tiles.
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I can see the problem. He is using a wet saw to cut full sheets. He is going to have to rough cut the sheet with scissors and then nibble the rest.. Lots of time here. Or use a circular saw with a diamond blade and do it dry. Try harbor freight for the blade. Pretty cheap and the blade will be junk when your done.
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Exactly. The border is 3 rows of the tile so we rough cut the sheets into strips of 3 with scissors, but the corner cuts are the issue. The bathroom also has a corner shower so again cutting the outside corners requires a nice clean cut at the proper angle. I am not a tile guy and that is why I hired someone I thought could handle the job.
Even if the tiles are dry cut I think he was having issues with laying the strips of tile and getting them positioned before the mesh backing gave way.
Seems to me it is just s bit more tricky and once the tiles are dry cut they need to be laid in place and leveled quickly with minimal fidgeting with them. Although at this point I am not real impressed with this tile guy, I did hire him and should probably give him a chance to figure this out.
Thanks for the suggestions
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cut the backing with scissors so that you can lay complete tiles as much as possible.
rip off a few tiles from the backing, cut and shape on the wet saw, and lay them individually by hand. you can't cut an entire sheet of tiles still on the backing well at all.
if he didn't figure this out, he hasn't ever tiled before. you need to get references and see their work before hiring. don't let him learn on your floor, unless you're willing to live with the result.
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Unfortunately it looks like I have a situation where he is learning to deal with this particular issue on my floor. If I had known this going in I would not have hired him. He assured me that he could handle the job and I did see examples of his work, but nothing with mosaic trim like my job. doh!
I am debating having someone else with experience with this material finish the work...
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