Glass Tile / January 23, 2019 / Astrid Auclair
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.
In this method colors are added to the top or bottom of the glass. Fused glass tiles are characterized with a translucent area and a layer of opaque color visible through the tile. These tiles are further treated with an etching or other coating for aesthetics or abrasion. Sintered tile is a variety made by pressing glass powder into dies and then heated until the particles fuse. The color is either added into the powder or added topically after cooling. Unlike smalti tiles sintered tiles tend to have a uniform look. This milky and scratch-resistant finish makes it versatile. Cast tile is made by inserting chunks of glass into a mold which gives it a layered look.
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.