Glass Tile / January 6, 2019 / Annette Laforest.
Their craftsmen work the glass by hand to transform each tile into a piece as unique as a snowflake. Bisazza glass tile uses the highest quality ingredients and constantly works to improve the production process to result in stronger materials with more vibrant colors. Shortcuts in production and compromises with materials result in a finished product lacking perfectly squared edges color quality and strength. To the untrained eye the product may look similar in display but it is in fact extremely inferior. Quality producers of glass tile may also apply a bevel to each of their tiles to allow for more level and consistent surfaces during installation.
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.
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.