Glass Tile / January 22, 2019 / Morgana Faubert.
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.
OK youve decided that glass tiles are perfect for your project - so where do you go from here? What are your options? A lesser known option is to explore "art glass tiles". These are made by studio glass artists in smaller lots and are generally made specifically for a client or project. Generally these tiles can be customized specifically to a clients color texture style and size preferences and even incorporate custom designs to match other motifs in the room. For example would you like your tiles to match certain fabrics a specific paint color or type of stone? Would you like a continuous wall panel or smaller accent tiles? These are the types of variation that can be specified when ordering art glass tiles.
In this method colors are added to the top or bottom of the glass. Fused glass tiles are characterized with a translucent area and a layer of opaque color visible through the tile. These tiles are further treated with an etching or other coating for aesthetics or abrasion. Sintered tile is a variety made by pressing glass powder into dies and then heated until the particles fuse. The color is either added into the powder or added topically after cooling. Unlike smalti tiles sintered tiles tend to have a uniform look. This milky and scratch-resistant finish makes it versatile. Cast tile is made by inserting chunks of glass into a mold which gives it a layered look.
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.