Tips and Tricks for Installing Glass Mosaic Tile
“Do you know how to install your tile?”
You’ll probably be asked this before you even leave the store. But it never hurts to ask. Sure, we all just want to be in and out and avoid any unnecessary detours or sales pitches. However, even in the DIY space, we recommend you seek out any help you can - I mean, that’s why you’re here isn’t it?
We’re here to help you out! This time we’ve got 5 tips on installing your new glass tile.
Step 1 - Determine what type of glass tile is being used
Determining what type of glass tile you have is critical to the success of your installation. Factors such as its size and how it is made can make or break your entire installation process.
We can break glass tile down to 4 types:
- • Fused Glass - Made with a heat process which creates a variety of patterns and colors.
- • Low-temperature Coated (LTC) Glass - Given its look and characteristics by the product that is bonded to its backside.
- • Cast Glass - Tile with inherent creases, bubbles, and folds.
- • Recycled Glass - Usually made from crushed post and pre-consumer glass
Each of these glass types have different requirements when it comes to where and how they can be used due to their different characteristics and even stress points. For example - some low-temperature glass tiles may not have backs that are suitable for wet areas.
Step 2 - Using the proper bonding substrates
For most ceramic or porcelain tile there’s typically a go-to substrate to use for installation. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for glass. There isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” solution.
For example, if a substrate used for LTC glass has a stronger bond than the coating on the back of the glass, it’s possible that the coating may become distorted and ruin the final look of your tile. To avoid scenarios like this, as always, we recommended checking the manufacturer specifications for their recommendations on proper substrates, setting materials and installation directions. Glass tile typically requires a minimum bond strength of four hundred psi.
The appearance of bonding substrates is important as well. Glass tile comes in varying levels of transparency and translucence that requires specific types of mortars. Any shortcuts or poor techniques will be visible and obvious for anyone who takes a good look at your installation.
Step 3 - Properly preparing your substrate
Proper preparation of your surface is critical for any installation. You wouldn’t install a screen protector on your phone with a dirty screen, would you? The same principles apply to tile. If the surface of your substrate is not clean and level - any and all imperfections quickly become apparent. It’s possible to have issues with bonding as well which would affect the life expectancy of your installation due to cracking or failures in the bond.
Step 4 - Choosing the right grout
We highly recommend checking the manufacturer's directions when it comes to choosing your grout. Especially any recommendations they have in regards to exposure, moisture and whether or not it can scratch the surface of your tile. We’re looking at you sanded grout!
Step 5 - Be Aware!
Before, during, and after your installation, it will pay off, in the long run, to stay vigilant and be aware of certain factors or scenarios during the process of your install. Pay attention to the backing of your tile. Different backings can have different (unwanted) reactions to the mortar of your choice. Some metallic or painted backings used with cement based thin sets in wet environments could cause the bond to loosen between the glass and mortar. The same goes for some water-sensitive mesh backed tiles which may break down and cause a bond failure when exposed to moisture.
The biggest and easiest thing to look out for is simple: No Mastic. None. At All. Ever.
Glass is not porous so mastic cannot properly dry resulting in all sorts of obvious failure points for your installation.
Follow these 5 steps along with actively checking the manufacturer recommended specifications and you’re sure to have another beautiful installation added to your home in no time!
Mosaic Tile Outlet – Your definitive source
Whatever your style or choice may be, you can count on Mosaic Tile Outlet’s massive variety of mosaic to fit any style you have in mind. Simple, neutral, traditional or modern, we’ve got you covered.