Five Steps to Achieving Successful Glass Tile Installations
Glass tile can bring a unique aesthetic to a variety of commercial and residential projects. However, achieving a successful installation with glass tile requires careful product selection and installation techniques. Follow these 5 steps, and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful and long-lasting installation.
1. Select The Right Mortar for Aesthetics
Glass tile can be manufactured in many different styles – including clear, translucent with a colored body, or translucent with a colored backing. The color and composition of the mortar you select can affect the installation’s final appearance, especially with clear or translucent tile. Keep in mind that white mortars tend to produce a more pleasing and consistent appearance. We recommend TEC® Super Flex® for most glass tile installations. Another option for smaller grout joints (1/8” or less) is AccuColor® Unsanded Grout (white cement-based colors only) mixed with Xtra Flex™ Acrylic Mortar Additive. Choosing this option allows you more options for the color of the setting material that is seen through glass tile.
2. Choose the Right Mortar for Performance
Glass is impervious, making it a difficult material to bond. Some glass tile types have backings that also present challenges to bonding. Consult with your tile manufacturer or our Technical Support Team to choose the right mortar for your glass tile. In many cases, we recommend TEC® Super Flex™ Ultra-Premium Thin Set Mortar for glass tile installations.
3. Use Proper Technique to Achieve the Right Aesthetic
Mortar trowel ridges may be visible through clear and translucent glass tile. So, after spreading the mortar with a notched trowel to create ridges, use the flat side of the trowel to flatten them. This will create a uniform setting bed that fully covers the substrate. You may also need to back-butter tile to achieve a uniform appearance.
4. Carefully Select a Grout Recommended for Glass Tile Installations
Design FX™ grout is our new ready to use grout that we specifically created for glass tile installations. It’s easy to spread, and you can use it for tile joints from 1⁄16" to 1⁄2" on floors and 1⁄16" to 1⁄4" on walls. It’s good for indoor and outdoor, residential or commercial applications. If you prefer to do your own mixing, AccuColor® grout is polymer-modified for dense, hard, properly cured joints – making it a great choice for glass tile installations. For grout joints 1/8” or less, use white cement-based colors of AccuColor Unsanded Grout. For grout joints larger than 1/8”, use white cement-based colors of AccuColor Sanded Grout. Since some glass surfaces may be subject to scratches from installing with sanded grout, follow tile manufacturer recommendations or test a small area prior to use to determine suitability.
5. Consult Your Manufacturers
Glass tile of different types or from different manufacturers may require different installation materials. Consult with your tile manufacturer and with our Technical Support Team for product recommendations – based on in-house testing of a variety of tile types. Contact us here or call 1-800-832-9023, Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. CST.