Glass Tile / January 22, 2019 / Genevieve Brunelle
Consumers need to consider that many mesh backed material use poor quality glue to bond the tile to the mesh. When the mesh side is installed to the surface the mesh acts as a barrier between the tile and substrate. If the glue subsequently breaks down or the bond fails the tile can then easily loosen and fall out because little of the tile surface is actually bonded to the substrate. This failure can begin almost immediately or can take up to a few years after all installation warranties have expired. With Chinese produced glass tile my experience has shown the glue used to bond the tile to the mesh is lower in quality than the glue used in higher quality products produced in Europe or quality US manufacturers.
The first type of tile is a translucent glass. A translucent glass is a type of tile that you could actually hold up and see right through it. The most common types of glass that is translucent is a recycled glass or an oval penny round or brick type of tile. Majority of translucent glass tiles are paper faced. The reason that most of these are paper faced is because the mesh backing can be seen through the glass tile. When installing this type of glass tile you want to use a small notch trowel when spreading your mastic on the installation surface. After spreading the mastic you will want to flatten down or knock down the trowel marks.
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.