When it comes to the installation of that beautiful glass tile, you just purchased, you should take the same care in picking out the proper setting materials as you did in choosing the flooring or wall tile. Why is this so important? The standard adhesive and grout for decades have been a cement-based product. This is the go-to generic product that tile setters have used since the dawn of time. Tile setters are usually reluctant to entertain using a new product. Therefore, you need to be knowledgable regarding setting materials, especially for glass tile. The issue with cement based adhesive and grout is that it is porous, prone to absorbing moisture, dirt and grime. In short-term it is less expensive than epoxy-based materials but, in the long term, it often costs you more for materials and labour in repairs, re-grouting, replacement and more. There are minute metallic particles within cement -based grouts that can begin to rust over time and cause unsightly staining and a set-up for failure. Some manufacturers add a microbial ingredient (Nanosilver) that can leach out into water systems and eventually cause the microbial retardant to become ineffective.
These are some of the many reasons why you would want to consider Litokol epoxy-based adhesive and grout systems. Consider some of these important facts, not all epoxies are created equally. Litokol is rated with the lowest toxicity classification even against cement grout. It has no impact on the environment and can be transported by air freight because it is not regulated as “dangerous goods”. All other epoxies are corrosives with potential for health hazard. All other epoxies are rated to have environmental risks. All other epoxies must be disposed of in a licensed facility as hazardous waste- both product and containers. So, if you are well read on the best practices and best materials needed to install your gorgeous tile you will be an educated consumer and your own best advocate while working with the trade professionals. Litokol has excellent technical support and will work with installers to educate and guide them if needed. To top it all off, Litokol has a broad colour palette including metallic and jewel additives and crystal grout to enhance your glass tile and decorative mosaics.
When installing glass tile, especially transparent glass tile, there is one “behind the scenes” step you or your tile installer must take. When applying adhesive to a substrate in preparation for installing the glass tile sheets one uses a notched trowel to ensure the proper amount of adhesive is applied. It is important that you flip the trowel to the smooth edge and proceed to smooth out the ridges caused by the notched edge.
There are a couple of reasons for doing this, one is to ensure that there is 100% coverage and adhesion of the tile to the substrate. The other reason is to eliminate those perfect little pathways that grout just loves to find its way into and travel back behind your tile. Imagine purchasing that gorgeous glass tile and then choosing that beautiful colored grout only to end up with polka-dots or streaks of color behind the tile. It is a must to read the manufacturers setting instructions and setting material recommendations so that you are well prepared for what to expect with your glass tile installation.
Is your grout really dirty looking and stained? Try a little bit of Baking soda and water. Make a loose paste and spread over the grout. If its a tough job let it sit for 30 minutes. Gently scrub with a 1/2 ” brass brush. If you’re worried about scratching your tile you can try a stiff nylon brush. If the stains are stubborn try pouring a wee bit of hydrogen peroxide over the paste. When the fizzing stops go ahead and lightly scrub. This should bring your grout back to the color it was when you first grouted. Please test this out in an inconspicuous area before going ahead with the rest of the floor. Wipe up the baking soda with a clean sponge rinsing thoroughly as you go. When you’re all finished mopping and drying the floor you may also want to treat the grout with a grout sealer.
Its always wise to check with the manufacturer or your tile setter before doing anything to your floors.
When installing tile whether it be glass or ceramic or any other tile type you need to properly caulk certain areas with silicone to prevent moisture from wicking up behind your tile.
Where ever there is a change of plane within your installation is the area that needs to be caulked and especially prior to grouting.
Prior to installing your tile the seam between your backerboard and shower pan must be sealed and protected with a bead of silicone. If not moisture will wick up the backerboard or sheetrock and eventually cause damage. If you are applying transparent glass tile you will see this moisture behind your tile and the thinset adhesive will stain.
Before you grout you must also apply a bead of silicone to the corners where your wall turns, this is a change of plane and a red flag area as well.
Glass tile is non porous so you need not sorry about your tile absorbing moisture, the water has to go somewhere lets keep it where it belongs! Down the Drain Not behind your tile!
A Few things you would Love to know about installing Glass Tile but were Afraid to Ask!
When it comes to transparent glass tile the Paper is on the FRONT of the tile! It is very surprising and more common than you would think that professional tile setters lay the sheeted glass tile with the paper into the adhesive. The end result is that the tile falls off during grouting and the entire job needs to be redone. Sheetrock or hardibacker ripped out and all! It is very frustrating for the homeowner and extremely costly for the contractor.
Gray thin-set will ruin your tile installation. This is yet another common error with inexperienced tile setters. Gray thin-set will completely change the appearance of the tile. It mutes and muddys up the color. So the beautiful coral pink or delicate buttery gold you were aiming for is just a rip out and reinstall away. WHITE modified thin-set is the recommended setting material and one of the best is Adesilex P10 by Mapei a major settings material manufacturer. It is the first of its kind in that it is non yellowing and pure white! It is also non sagging which is a real plus when installing on a vertical surface.
Manufacturing glass tile is a very volatile process and there are differences from LOT to LOT. Now one color will always be recognizable as that particular color until you try to add on to an existing installation. Then chances are it will be a different color when butted up against another lot of the same color. The moral of this story is make sure you have enough enough and if you are planning to add on at a later date buy the material and hold on to it until you are ready! Sometimes there are unanticipated mishaps like cabinets come in a little shorter than ordered or the tile setter installs it backwards. There is’nt anything you can do except hope your supplier can locate the same lot. IMPORTANT take down any lot information off the boxes before you throw them away. This will make the search much easier.
Glass tile is okay for your pool, shower , walls and floor. In fact it is a beautiful alternative to ceramic and stone. Some glass tile is not floor grade so check the manufacturer’s instructions before making your design decisions. Glass tile installed in a wet area such as a pool or shower may require a special additive to the thin set, check the manufacturer’s instructions on this as well.
One issue of major importance is that the area you are tiling is properly prepared. It needs to be clean and flat. If you are working in a wet area you will need to install a waterproof substrate such as Wedi Board. Glass mosaic tile is not very forgiving when it comes to an uneven substrate and will in fact accentuate any imperfection that may exist underneath.
Grout color is quite subjective and entirely up to you. If you want the grout to starkly contrast the tile then white or black grout will do. A very desirable option is to tint the grout to match the tile. This technique is very pleasing to the eye. There are many pre colored grouts readily available in your local home improvement stores. However they do not offer a very broad range of colors outside the browns, grays and whites. If you are looking for blues, greens ,yellow or more then you will need to tint it yourself. Mixol pigments are a fine choice for tinting your grout and will offer a vast spectrum of colors including violet , pink and red to mention only a few.
When you decide to use glass tile in your next installation please check with your contractor or tile setter to make sure he or she is well skilled in the installation of glass and glass mosaic tile. It is well worth the extra expense to hire a true professional with the experience needed to do the job right.
So how beautiful is transparent glass set on acrylic and back lit? It is cutting edge contemporary design at its best! We have been offering glass tile to discerning customers for years but we are just now noticing the demand increasing for transparent colored tile. Why do people want this?
It is the next evolution of design in glass tile. You can create a wall and not lose all the light, you can cover a backsplash and create a source of light where there was none before. There are so many reasons for choosing a transparent tile. Even without back lighting this tile type exudes a light crisp and fluid statement in color.
There are tricks to the learn and care should be taken when attempting this type of installation but with the right tools and planning you can make quite a statement in your bath, kitchen, pool or office! We have included a pdf from Sicis The Art Factory (major glass tile maker out of Italy) and a link to our Sicis Glimmer page. Looking for something really different in glass tile? Check it out!