Glass Tile and How To Install It
WHY USE GLASS TILE?
Glass tile offers a unique visual appeal that can't be achieved with standard ceramic or porcelain tile. Color options are almost limitless, and glass tile mosaics come in an array of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. This allows for a limitless amount of design possibilities and combinations to make your project truly stunning. Given the reflective nature of glass tile, it also helps to brighten up your space and give the illusion that it is larger than it actually is.
Glass tile is very low maintenance and super easy to clean, making upkeep a breeze. Regular glass or window cleaner and a cloth is all it takes to keep your glass tile and mosaic installation sparkling like new. This makes it great for showers and backsplashes where soap and dirt buildup occurs more frequently.
Each of our showrooms has designers that would be happy to help you pick out the perfect tile for your project. Check out our pre-visit flyer for ideas to help prepare you for your appointment.
INSTALLING GLASS TILE
Glass tile, while beautiful, can present it's own set of installation challenges. Like any installation, you should always follow the manufacturer's recommendations and instructions. That being said, below we will provide some tips and tricks to help your installation go a bit smoother.
Cutting Glass Tile
After you plan out the layout and design of your glass tile project, the next step is cutting the tiles to fit that plan. There are a few options when it comes to equipment for cutting glass tile; a wet saw or a tile cutter (also known as a "snap cutter"). A wet saw is great for larger installations, as tile can be cut much faster. It will also leave a much softer, more finished looking edge. In addition to the saw, you'll also want to get a good glass blade to ensure the best results. Louisville Tile carries several options for wet saws and glass blades.
Louisville Tile carries 2 brands of tile cutters; B.O.E. and QEP. Tile cutters come in various sizes, giving the ability to cut larger format tile in addition to glass tile. If you are only cutting glass, a smaller size will work in most cases. The process, as you'll see below, is to score the tile first, then use the handle to apply pressure and snap the tile. When it comes to glass tile, anything larger than 4" will require a wet saw.
Tip: for glass tile, a washable marker can be used to mark the tile before scoring.
Choosing the right adhesive
Once you've got your tile cut, it's time to install. Choosing the correct thinset/mortar is important with any tile, and glass tile is no exception. It is important to use a mortar that is designed specifically for glass tile. A standard mortar will eventually shrink, leaving the possibility of cracking in your glass. The other factor to consider is the color of the mortar. Since your glass tile will be translucent, it is important to choose a white thinset so that the true color of your tile can show. Laticrete makes a product specifically for glass tile, Laticrete Glass Tile Adhesive, which is stocked by Louisville Tile. It is formulated in a way that will limit shrinkage, provide a consistent ultra white color across the installation area and has superior non-sag properties.
Choosing the right grout
Choosing the correct grout is important in any tile installation, but maybe even more so when it comes to installing glass tile. Sanded grout contains course grains of sand that could scratch the surface of a glass tile, making it unsuitable in a glass tile installation. Unsanded grout is a good option, in some installations, since there isn't sand that can cause damage to your tile. In some cases, TEC Power Grout or Laticrete Permacolor are the best option. While they still contain an aggregate, the shape of the pellets is rounded, making it safe to use with glass tile. On glass tile with a wider grout joint Power Grout or Permacolor will be your best options, as unsanded grout won't fill the joint well enough.
Is Glass Tile a DIY Project?
While tile installation (glass tile included) has been made easier through product development, not every job is suitable for your average DIY'ers. While it's possible to install glass tile on your own, we'd be remiss if we didn't recommend you hire a professional to help bring your project to life. Glass tile equipment and installation products are expensive, and the slightest mistake can result in an unsightly final product.
Each Louisville Tile location can provide you with a list of preferred installers in your area. These are people that we've worked with and trust, but aren't associated directly with Louisville Tile. If you'd like to find a professional to complete your project, give your local branch a call. We also have designers at each location that can help take your ideas and turn them into reality. Appointments are encouraged in the showroom so that our designers can give your project the time and attention it deserves.