Glass Tile / January 17, 2019 / Genevieve Brunelle
The reason for doing this is when installing the glass tiles you do not want to see the trowel marks through the glass tiles. Another key to think about when installing the translucent tile is to make sure the surface behind the tile is white. If you have a painted kitchen and the walls are currently a dark or strong color that color could appear through the glass tile. If installing the translucent tile make sure the surface is painted white first and make sure the use of white thin set as well. The second type of glass is where the glass itself is a crystal type glass with the color backed on the back. Most 4mm or 8mm crystal type glass is clear and then the color of the tile is applied on the back of the tile giving it the color.
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.
Most quality manufacturers sponsor minimum of two-day seminars to ensure a finished look that will last decades rather than months. A Phoenix Arizona based company recently conducted two-day seminars bringing Alex Arcaro of Bisazza to their Scottsdale showroom to teach contractors the fine art of glass tile installation. The benefit of a "paper faced glass tile" is that it allows for an efficient method of installation and is used by quality glass tile manufacturers. When installing a paper faced material 100% of the glass tile is bonded to the substrate which has tremendous benefits especially if it is being used in wet area applications.