Glass Tile / January 11, 2019 / Morgana Faubert
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.
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.
Choosing the right grout color to match your glass tile is essential to preventing blemishes and imperfections from being easily spotted. Because of the reflective surfaces on these tiles grout can disrupt the refraction of light easily catching the eye and revealing blemishes in the tiles. A suitable match is one that is similar in color to the tiles color. Mixing grout is as simple as making pancake batter. Use a paddle bit and a ½" drill to mix non-sanded grout into a five gallon bucket stirring in water slowly. Once the mix has achieved the consistency of pancake batter the grout will be mixed to perfection. Add more water or more grout as needed to thin or thicken the grout mix.