Glass Tile / January 20, 2019 / Morgana Faubert
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.
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.
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.