Glass Tile / January 5, 2019 / Fleurette Theriault
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.
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.
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.