Glass Tile / January 10, 2019 / Genevieve Brunelle
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.
I am amazed at the number of tile contractors who claim to be experts in glass tile installations yet cannot even tell the right direction the tile should be installed! Some contractors will not admit they are unskilled and untrained at this specialty and install the tile upside down because they have never worked with "paper faced material". They later call to complain that tiles are falling out and have glass imperfections. So the first rule is to ensure the person who is installing your glass tile has attended a glass tile setting seminar such as those offered by Bisazza or Oceanside Glasstile or otherwise demonstrated glass tile installation competency.
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.