Glass tile has steadily risen in popularity these past few years, and as a result costs have been driven down as competition increases between makers. Even better, eco-friendly processes have become involved, and some makers boast 100% recycled glass tile lines.
However, some contractors are reluctant to lay glass tile because they are not used to the methods to set it down. It’s different from ceramic tile and if done wrong can be costly to re-do. Contrary to popular belief, it’s fairly easy to do, as long as you’re prepared appropriately.
Do keep in mind that tile sets often come with specific instructions. Be sure to read carefully and follow them if included.
- The Materials/Tools
- 3/16” square notch trowel
• latex fortified thinset mortar
• wood pounding block
• waterproof membrane
• epoxy grout
- Prepare Your Area
If this is going to be installed in a wet area (shower, bath, swimming pool), you will need a waterproof membrane between your substrate and mortar. Depending on your area (shower vs countertop) the proper choice can vary. An anti-fracture membrane is also recommended, as substrates that are freshly cured can still shift over time.
- Lay your Mortar
With a mortar like Versabond Latex modified Thinset, use your trowel to spread a grooved 1/8 inch thick layer on an area that you can cover with tile in less than 10 minutes.
Spread another thin layer of the mortar on the back of the tile, and then gently but firmly press your tile into the surface. Using the wood block can help a great deal, enabling several tiles to evenly sink into the mortar. Check your work to make sure you’re following the pattern you’ve decided to lay down.
- Grout your Glass Tiles
Mix a sanded epoxy grout and lay it with a rubber grout float. Clean with a damp tile sponge and wipe any haze on your tile with a dry cheesecloth. After 48 hours, go back over your tiles with a soft, dry cloth to remove any lingering haze.
If you need to adjust the size of a glass tile for a mosaic, you’ll need glass mosaic tile nippers. These will use cutting wheels to cut very straight lines through the glass. Score your cut before using the tool, this will prevent the cutter from slipping and scratching the tile.
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