Glass Tile / January 14, 2019 / Karlotta Boule
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.
Usually they are available mesh mounted on a fiberglass sheet or as field tiles such as subway 3"x6" 4"x4" 6"x6" and even 12"x12". Stained clear glass tiles are made of clear/translucent glass that are stained during its manufacturing process and then cut into multiple pieces. In this case you can see all the way through it even if it has a dark stain color and that is the reason they are not mesh-backed otherwise you would see the mesh through the glass even after installed. Instead they are mounted on clear-faced or paper-faced sheet. Plain or non-colored clear glass tiles are made of clear/translucent glass and do not have color in it. Though the word "plain" is used to describe these types of tiles they are extremely elegant and easy to work with if you want to give a special "touch" to a kitchen backsplash bathroom and shower or swimming pool.
Consumers need to consider that many mesh backed material use poor quality glue to bond the tile to the mesh. When the mesh side is installed to the surface the mesh acts as a barrier between the tile and substrate. If the glue subsequently breaks down or the bond fails the tile can then easily loosen and fall out because little of the tile surface is actually bonded to the substrate. This failure can begin almost immediately or can take up to a few years after all installation warranties have expired. With Chinese produced glass tile my experience has shown the glue used to bond the tile to the mesh is lower in quality than the glue used in higher quality products produced in Europe or quality US manufacturers.