Can I use glass sheets instead of tile?

happyancaSeptember 22, 2011

Hi there. Does anyone know if I can adhere sheets of glass to the wall instead of using tile?

I was thinking that it would be nice to paint the back of a sheet of glass with a pattern or a flat color and then just stick it to the wall, like tile. I'd like to do this in the bathrooms. Would this work?

I was thinking that it would be cheaper than tile. I could paint whatever i wanted on the back. AND there would be almost no grout lines.

My sister-in-law is using floor to ceiling height Corian slab but it's too expensive for us.

What do you guys think?

-- Anca

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Yes you can. Unfortunately, when I checked ~ 1 year ago the cost of doing so was prohibitive (> $2k per wall, no patterns).

The glass fabricator will need to cut out every hole you need at the exact locations.
shower controls, shower head, hand-held shower, shower bar screw holes, screen attachment holes.

Your local ColorKote representative would be glad to give you a quote.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 7:02PM
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OMG! I thought that this would be CHEAPER, not more expensive. Sigh... Oh well. It was worth a shot I guess.

Thanks a lot for letting me know. I just emailed ColorKote to see if it can be done (before reading your comment). I should ask about pricing too I guess.

WAIT! How do they cut tile? Can't they do the same for glass? If it is affixed to the wall then maybe it won't crack. I'm grasping at straws here...

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 10:42PM
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The glass would need to be tempered(same as a shower door)and any and all cuts or holes must be drilled in the glass BEFORE it is tempered.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:14AM
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Not to mention keeping it clean!! Glass shows every spot. Not so with tile. It is hard enough keeping shower doors clean (that's why we did doorless :-))--even with the glass treated.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Even if the glass is painted? Will it still show spots as much?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:40AM
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why don't you do a mock up? take a piece of glass, paint it how you like, find some way to safely attach it to the wall where it will be sure to get sprayed by soap and shampoo, etc. Wait a week and see how the glass looks. Maybe it won't be that bad, but I wouldn't count on it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 1:05PM
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I am going to take your advice nycbluedevil -- I'm going to mock it up, at least for the kitchen area.

It's too expensive to glass the shower it turns out -- $65 - $165 per square foot installed, according to GlassKote.

Bummer. I had a vision of a super modern and CHEAP tile effect, maybe with silver leaf even, but it is not going to work out it seems. :(

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 1:44PM
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Be very careful with your experiment. Placing untempered glass in an area that is a prime slip hazard area means that there is the potential of shards of razor sharp glass underfoot if you hit against it wrong.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Check with a local glass shop. They might be a lot more reasonable than GlassKote and able to create tempered pieces templated to allow for fixtures.

Most glass shops can easily do inexpensive tempered panels for kitchen backsplashes.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Listen - This is not a money saving alternative even if you do much of the work yourself.

Just drop and save everyone (yourself included) a lot of grief.

It is a fine and sometimes beautiful product to do a shower out of. It has never been cheap. Tile is cheap because it has been around for use in showers a loooooong time, there are zillions of manufacturers, an almost endless supply of customers, and it is cheap to manufacture (compared to glass). Glass wall panels are a specialty item and has a small customer base. You can figure out the macro economics from here.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 7:57PM
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The reason why tempered glass cannot be cut or drilled is because of the surface tension holding the glass (glass is a super cooled liquid and not a solid). Consequently, the glass is harder than normal and will shatter when the surface is damaged.

Glass panel walls are hence extremely expensive as all the holes/ cuts must be exact. Installation is also tricky as the panel must not shatter from an accidental scratch.

Local glass shops in the bay area, CA also charge in the vicinity of $50 to $100+ per sq ft. Labour charges take the lion's share of the cost.

The alternatives are large format tile, fibre reinforced panels like swanstone, quartz/ stone.

The swanstone panel option is probably the cheapest and will last longer than fiberglass shower surrounds.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 11:11PM
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Glass or ceramic tile would look better.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:01PM
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