Glass Tile / January 8, 2019 / Genevieve Brunelle
For the past five years I have witnessed an unprecedented increase in the use of glass tile mosaics in residential and commercial applications. As with many other high end popular products cheaper knock-offs have quickly flooded the market. Unsuspecting consumers purchase these attractive-looking cheap tiles only to become frustrated months later when they learn the investment in their home is not only worthless but also costly. When a glass tile installation or product fails homeowners are left with expensive tear-outs and repairs. To the end user and many untrained contractors the quality differences may seem subtle but these distinctions have a major impact on the final appearance and durability of the project.
The most important step in putting glass tile in a swimming pool is choosing the right installation materials. To reiterate the high rate of expansion and contraction of glass caused by temperature changes is the leading cause of cracks and damage to installed tiles. In order to compensate for this special thin-set adhesives and additives have been developed that expand and contract with the glass. The leading manufacturer of glass-specific tile adhesive systems is MAPEI and their Adesilex P10 thin-set and Keraply additive can be combined into an installation system that is specifically designed for applications where the glass tiles are completely submerged.
I am amazed at the number of tile contractors who claim to be experts in glass tile installations yet cannot even tell the right direction the tile should be installed! Some contractors will not admit they are unskilled and untrained at this specialty and install the tile upside down because they have never worked with "paper faced material". They later call to complain that tiles are falling out and have glass imperfections. So the first rule is to ensure the person who is installing your glass tile has attended a glass tile setting seminar such as those offered by Bisazza or Oceanside Glasstile or otherwise demonstrated glass tile installation competency.