Glass Tile / January 4, 2019 / Morgana Faubert
Most quality manufacturers sponsor minimum of two-day seminars to ensure a finished look that will last decades rather than months. A Phoenix Arizona based company recently conducted two-day seminars bringing Alex Arcaro of Bisazza to their Scottsdale showroom to teach contractors the fine art of glass tile installation. The benefit of a "paper faced glass tile" is that it allows for an efficient method of installation and is used by quality glass tile manufacturers. When installing a paper faced material 100% of the glass tile is bonded to the substrate which has tremendous benefits especially if it is being used in wet area applications.
In addition there are two other eminent glass surface treatments for these tiles: slumping and etching. Smalti tile is type of tile which is an opaque glass. It has been in use from ancient times. "Smalti" is an Italian word and refers to a glass paste. Smalti is made by mixing molten glass with metal oxides for color. Translucent Smalti is a popular variant of smalti glass tile. It looks like stained glass with uniform colors. Byzantine Glass is another smalti variant made from thinner slabs of glass. Metallic Smalti is a swirl of a copper-bearing mineral added into the molten glass before it is pressed. Gold Smalti are made by applying a gold leaf and a thin layer of blown glass. Fused Tile is manufactured using the fusion method. In this type a flat glass is cut into tiles shapes and then fired in a furnace. The clear glass will show the tile until treated with a color.
In situations where glass tile is exposed to extreme temperature differences an elasticizing polymer is added to the mix allowing the grout to stretch and flex preventing breaks from occurring in the delicate glass tiles. Using a grout float scoop a manageable amount of grout onto the float. Start at the farthest or highest spot away from you and spread the grout in between the tiles diagonally across the pattern. Dont worry about getting grout all over the tiles. The grout must be firmly pressed into the grout lines with the grout float covering all spaces and voids. Once a 3x3 section of grout has been applied to the tile use the small rubber edge of the grout float to remove about a third of the grout from between the tiles.