Glass Tile / January 15, 2019 / Annette Laforest
The versatility of art glass tiles textures and appearance is at best very difficult to emulate on a manufacturing line. The glass artisan specializing in tiles has many glass colors and styles to choose from when creating these works of art just as a painter has myriad shades of colors on their palette. And as the application is specifically designed for there might be a little more effort involved in having tiles "made to order" but the result will truly be one-of-a-kind. To stretch your budget consider using factory glass tiles as the "field tiles" and mixing in custom art glass "accent tiles". Field tiles make up the bulk of the tiles in any project whereas accent tiles can be incorporated in much smaller quantities. Glass Art accessories such as accent tiles are the ideal solution for enhancing any room.
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.
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.