Glass Tile / January 14, 2019 / Karlotta Boule.
Although the definition of clear/translucent glass is "allowing light to pass through partially or diffusely" it doesnt mean that all clear glass tiles are transparent in a way that you can see for example an object or your hand behind it. Clear glass is the material used to make these tiles but they can have color or not. There are basically three types of clear glass tiles: back colored stained and plain or non-colored. Back colored clear glass mosaic tiles are by far the most popular in the market. The tiles are made of clear/translucent glass usually from 4mm to 8mm thick and they receive a coating/painting on the back during manufacturing which is what gives the color to the tile.
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.
The first type of tile is a translucent glass. A translucent glass is a type of tile that you could actually hold up and see right through it. The most common types of glass that is translucent is a recycled glass or an oval penny round or brick type of tile. Majority of translucent glass tiles are paper faced. The reason that most of these are paper faced is because the mesh backing can be seen through the glass tile. When installing this type of glass tile you want to use a small notch trowel when spreading your mastic on the installation surface. After spreading the mastic you will want to flatten down or knock down the trowel marks.