Glass Tile / January 23, 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.
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.
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.