Glass Tile / January 14, 2019 / Annette Laforest
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.
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.
There normally is not a concern with seeing the mesh backing through this tile. The same precautions still need to be taken into consideration for installation as well. The last thing to take into consideration is the grout. To play it safe the best grout to use is either an un sanded grout or specialty grout. The reason you will wand an un sanded grout is there is no sand particles in the unsanded grout. Sand particles found in sanded grout can possibly scratch the surface of the glass. The specialty grouts do not have any sand particles in them including the epoxy grout and urethane grouts. Home owners who want to make their kitchen pools or bathrooms look good often consider using glass tile. However these tiles can be quite pricey and can end up costing a person more when it comes to construction and renovation projects.