Painted glass backsplash advice needed

PugetSoundjjAugust 20, 2013

We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel of our mid-century ranch home. We have opened up the space between the kitchen, dining and living room. The total length of the room is 57 feet. There is a water view all along one side except for a 10' fireplace wall. The main backsplash wall will have a hood on it. We are thinking of running the backsplash all the way up the wall between the cabinets on the side. We are doing white cabinets and appliances, White Macaubas vein cut countertops, and DuChateau wide plank white oak flooring (antique white Vernal collection).
I really liked the simplicity of the one piece painted glass backsplash. Here is a sample of what I am talking about:

Modern Kitchen by Los Angeles Architects & Designers Griffin Enright Architects
Has anyone done something like this? My contractor is planning on purchasing the non-tempered glass and painting it himself with some special paint from Sherwin-Williams. My concern is that it is not glass paint and that it is not tempered. He is going to use a paint that will adhere to anything. Should I be okay with this? Also, with the non-tempered glass? The backsplash will be on two walls, one is behind an induction cooktop though, the other just between upper and lower cabinets.
We plan to have a pretty neutral paint color on the walls and then a medium blue painted glass back splash in Pratt & Lambert Pale Cadet color. The color can be seen in this photo. I like it because the colors of the kitchen will be very similar, except for the black vent hood:

Traditional Kitchen by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Anthony Baratta LLC
Any strong objections, thoughts? Here is a photo of the room. The main backsplash will be on the far wall. I think we need something a little bright and blue would tie into the water view. It also goes well with the Macaubas quartzite.

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Have the contractor make up a sample piece of glass for your approval.

I'd really think that you would want tempered glass.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:16PM
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You can use latex paint on the glass, it just takes lots of coats. It's protected because it's on the back. I would recommend Starphire glass (Low Iron) so it does not tint the paint color green.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Why wouldn't you use paint that's especially made for backpainted glass?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:43PM
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I don't think there is one. It's just paint on the back surface of the glass. It's not fired or anything.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Yes, there is a paint that is just for glass. I am not sure I would just trust a latex paint based on the things that I have read. It could end up peeling off and if it is between the glue and the glass, it could easily come off of the glass, and the glass could fall over if it isn't screwed in or adhered through some other manner.

Here is a link that might be useful: glass paint

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Mine was not attached except at the edges. We were afraid that any adhesive on the field of the glass could telegraph through. I've seen this even on mirrors where the wrong adhesive was used.

Remember if you have switchplates and such they will also provide some mechanical retention.

One of the reasons we used regular paint was because it was the same color as the walls and the cabinets and if they were ever changed we wanted to be able to change the backsplash as well. In 7 years it showed no sign of deterioration even though the wall underneath was not flat and there were air pockets behind the glass. The painted to match glass switchplates also showed no deterioration of paint at the edges even though the surrounding surface was Windexed every day.

I am not discouraging the use of the specific paint, just saying that it isn't always necessary or possibly desirable to do so.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:09PM
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palimpset, your kitchen back splash looks great. How thick of glass did you use?

I am having some trust issues with my contractor who claims he can pull this off for me. I just want to make sure I am educated about all the details it takes to pull off a back splash like this.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I think it is 3/8. I don't live there anymore.

I used the same people that have done mirrors and such for me before, and I painted it myself, after they checked for fit and then they came back and installed it.

The first one cracked when they were trying it in. The second one developed a crack in the same spot (behind the microwave) almost immediately after it was installed so I wonder if it really started from the same stress point as the first one. We decided to leave it because the faucet would have to be uninstalled.

I dealt directly with the glass people myself and they had done these before and would have painted it for me as well.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The wall needs to be really really flat. Much flatter than for a tile installation. The glass needs to be tempered, and as Pal says, Starfire would be the best choice. However, this is not at all an inexpensive choice. It's much higher than a basic tile and even some luxury tiles. If your contractor is trying to do this "on the cheap" I'd back away from him. There aren't any real shortcuts to the more intense prep needed, or the dollars needed to accomplish this.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:05PM
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I would be willing to bet by the time your done you would be in the $55 - 60 a sq ft installed range for backpainted or spandrel glass. It must be tempered bt code and it is normally a ceramic frit finish.

This post was edited by millworkman on Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 20:21

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:19PM
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you could also try something like parapan or zenolite. they would come in 4x8 sheets, pre colored.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Hollysprings, why does the wall need to be really flat? Currently there are several holes left in the wall where the backsplash will be and I am not sure the contractor was planning on covering them up. Surprisingly, he has not been around all week to ask.

robbbcs3, parapan and zenolite look like cool products, but I am not sure an acrylic product would be good for a backsplash behind a cooktop.

millworkman, actually the cost that is contracted for runs $35 a sq foot. If the contractor can pull this off, I think it is pretty reasonable. We are talking about two areas for a total of about 53 sq feet so if I were to pay in the $55 - $60 range, it would be much more expensive and not very affordable.

I have looked into some other options with my kitchen designer. We can just do 4x8 inch glass squares or we can go with a more retro matte ceramic tile (the house was built in 1952). We are looking to do modern, clean lines so these options would make it a bit more busy.

We can also order cut glass squares to size like in this photo that would eliminate a lot of the grout lines:

Modern Kitchen by University Place General Contractors REIER Construction
I am waiting to hear back from the designer on the costs of these other options.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The wall has to be flat because glass doesn't bend. It breaks instead. You can't glue glass to a wall with humps and bows to it. It's like super large format tile. And yes, every time I had a client interested in it, around $50-$75 was the going rate. It depended on how many electrical outlets had to be cut out in it. The glass has to be cut perfect and then tempered. Non tempered glass is NOT an option, but I'd bet that's what your contractor is actually planning to do at that price level. If regular glass gets hit by a hot spatter of grease and shatters, you've got sharp shards that can cut you. Tempered might shatter, but the pieces won't cut you.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 7:32PM
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Holly, PugetSoundjj says her contractor isn't planning on using tempered glass.

Which would make me question anything else he's suggested for your reno. Tempered is a MUST, and it's not cheap.

BTW, your first pic with the blue wouldn't pass inspection anywhere. I don't know why things like that keep getting featured on the net. Any counter section larger than 12" has to have electrical outlets available. The outlets have be close enough together so that no point on the counter is further than 2' from an outlet. Plug mold under an upper can satisfy that requirement, but if you're not planning uppers, you have to plan for the outlets on the backsplash.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:34PM
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The wall under my backsplash was not flat at all but the field of the glass is not glued to the wall either, it is mechanically fastened at the perimeter.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:00PM
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