Cape Town Heritage building mosaic floor renovation

I recently completed the installation of the missing section on a very special 80-year-old mosaic floor in an iconic heritage building. Here I take you through the fabrication process and finally to installation:


The missing portion of the mosaic was removed a very long time ago by someone to make place for a carpet to wipe your feet on before you entered the building. This iconic heritage building is called the Rex Trueform building and is located in Saltriver, Cape Town, South Africa. The mosaic floor has been sanded down by generations of feet walking in and out of the building and if you wiped your hands over the floor you would not feel the difference between one tile or the next. The mosaic floor consists of small hand cut glass tiles all cemented closely together to form the beautiful coat of arms of the Rex Trueform company. See this detail:


I bet if this mosaic could talk it would have some riveting stories to tell us about Cape Town in the day. My task was to match the color and texture of the new piece perfectly to this older mosaic. I did this in my factory. I replicated the mosaic and worked on matching the colors perfectly.


Once the mosaic was ready for installation, I had to prepare the cement surface for the mosaic to be installed onto.

I also had to cut and shape some of the older surrounding tiles by hand using a grinder and a Dremmel tool.


The tiles were all individually hand cut with not one tile the same shape or size. Yet, the craftsmanship and detail in laying was exquisite. I had chipped and cut all of my tiles to match as closely as possible the style of the craftsman and woman who installed this floor.


I also had to take into account color variations and inconsistencies with the 80-year-old tiles and spent a lot of enjoyable time treasure hunting thought tile shops, looking for the perfect tiles and colors.

Once the new tiles were installed, I grouted the mosaic a dark grey to match the original mosaic floor as closely as possible. I had to stain the new tiles slightly to match the naturally stained color of older mosaic. The new mosaic matched up seamlessly to the old mosaic and we were very happy with the end result. What do you think?


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