Glass tile advice: ADKO vs Waterworks?

karin_mtNovember 30, 2012

Hello Kitchen Friends,

We're doing a glass tile backsplash in a contemporary kitchen remodel. We ordered ADKO tile and were discouraged to open the boxes and find the vast majority of the tiles were defective. They have a frosted finish, but the finish is uneven, with some spots still glossy. The overall effect is mottled rather than smooth.

So we returned them, and our dealer is very gracious to help us find a solution. Our choices are to try another batch of ADKO, or to go with another brand. We are wary of getting more ADKO because these were so bad, what are the chances the next batch will be different?

Very few brands offer tile that we want (pale green, frosted, in a shape that is a long rectangle, like 3x12 or 4x12). I see that Waterworks does have that in their Opix collection. Our shop is not a Waterworks dealer but they can probably get them, but this will be a long process.

Does anyone have experience with either of these brands? Or other possibilities?

The waterworks tile
http://www.waterworks.com/collections/waterworks/optix/305

The ADKO tile
http://www.akdo.com/products_detail_coll.asp?pid=4628&collid=48&subcollid=

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

Karin

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soibean

No personal experience yet - I'm dreading the backsplash decision. The AKDO tile is beautiful - does the dealer know if it commonly has problems?

Here are a couple of possibilities, but I'm not sure they are as beautiful as the AKDO you have selected:

http://www.glasstileoasis.com/p-13090-Ice-Mist-Matte-sold-by-the-box-Green-Frosted-Glass

http://www.completetile.com/products/glass/glass_expressions/glass-tile/3-x-6-glass-tile---frosted/glass-expressions-tile-green-whisper-frosted

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:38AM
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karin_mt

Thanks for the links, that is helpful!

Well the Waterworks is out at over $50 per square foot. Ouch!

The ADKO dealer and their rep had not heard of this problem before, so I do take some comfort in that. But if I wait for a new lot of tiles (no sense in getting them from this same lot) then it will be late January. I don't mind waiting, but if I wait and they are still not right that will put us way behind schedule.

Villi glass has some beautiful tiles too, but we don't like the color quite as much. But I will bring some samples home again and reconsider.

Funny, the backsplash was the very first element of the kitchen we selected. I thought we were getting off so easy in not having to go through the ABB thing. :)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Linelle

ADKO tile is so beautiful in person. It was a little out of my price range, so the problems you had with your first lot surprise me. Maybe just a bad batch?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 3:15PM
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karin_mt

I thought I'd follow up with this, just to close the loop and provide a Google-able track record. We got our new batch of tiles today. They are much better but still not very good. DH and I sorted through the order of 162 tiles and about 1/3 of them are fine, 1/3 are marginal with small imperfections, and 1/3 have obvious defects.

It's really disappointing. It's too late to change our plan, as the rest of the kitchen is now built around the dimensions of these particular tiles. Plus, this tile really is a perfect match for the look we want.

So now we have to figure out the best way to use the good tiles in the most prominent places, while putting the imperfect tiles in less visible places. In some cases where tile needs to be cut, we can cut off the damaged part. But we are left with a sour taste in our mouths. This is expensive tile and clearly the company has no QA process, and they just pass along the seconds to their customers. Our dealer has been very agreeable and I don't want to be overly complainy to them, but this has not been a good experience.

The backsplash install is set to begin on Friday. The project has been stalled while we waited for tile and the builder needs to get going again. So tomorrow we will sort through the tiles again and come up with the best plan possible. That's going to be a big, stressful PITA. What a shame.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:23AM
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amandasplit

That is so disappointing! We JUST ordered AKDO in a clear tile. I will say the frosted samples in the store were all messed up looking, but I assumed it was from all the handling, but maybe it's just a tricky finish? Would you be interested in trying sea shell clear?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:46AM
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maryl1

I don't like to be too complainy either but I think we all totally understand how you are feeling! AKDO makes some beautiful tiles. Would it be possible to exchange just the 1/3 with obvious defects if it wouldn't take too long for a new batch to be sent? Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:17AM
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karin_mt

That is an interesting data point Amanda! I am starting to think that the matte finish is just a bad choice. We did consider the clear finish but the matte is a much better match for the smooth, contemporary lines we are going for. Plus we have hard water and in our trials the clear glass got annoyingly spotty behind the sink. The matte hid that better. We'll be using the less-than-perfect tiles behind the sink since that location will probably never be perfectly spot-free anyway.

Thanks for the info. What color/shape did you get? I do love their stuff!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:40AM
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karin_mt

Thanks Mary,

Sorry I didn't answer your question sooner. With perfect hindsight the solution would be as you suggested - to order enough extras to make up for the unusable ones. Had I thought of it I would have ordered a whole bunch more and then returned the flawed tiles.

Anyway, I have mapped out where the best tiles will go and have set aside the very worst tiles which we won't need to use since there are extras. I also made markings on some of the crappy ones that show which half is usable, so that they can be salvaged in corners or other places the tile will be cut.

Anyway, what a pain! When all is said and done I plan to bring back the unused tile for a refund. Any that are leftover will be bad enough to be non-usable for anything else, so I'm hoping that at the very least I can get a few bucks back and make our unhappiness known.

The backsplash gets installed tomorrow so I will be hovering nervously, but I am certain that it will look awesome when all is said and done. :)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:32AM
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amandasplit

We got Icelandic blue but only because we never saw the sea shell. If we had, I probably would have loved it! I've been obsessed with finding the perfect green that wasn't too blue but then just ended up with blue. We are doing 3x12 tiles. I'm so interested to see how ours will arrive now.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:40AM
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amandasplit

Also please post a pic when it's done I can't wait to see it!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:41AM
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karin_mt

Amanda,

When I saw the Icelandic Blue in the store I thought for sure that would be our color. It's totally my favorite color. But our stone has green in it and the Icelandic Blue was too blue for that. But with a different stone I would have loved the blue. Anyway, they are very pretty colors that have a luminous quality to them.

If it's not too late for you, I would try to get some extras because some were defective in ways that are unrelated to the matte finish. For example, some had voids in the white backing so that the substrate would show through and look like a dot on the tile.

Of course I will post pictures! It's going to be a big change to the look of the space. Can't wait!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:13AM
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amandasplit

Ugh, that is so annoying, I wish I had seen your post before I ordered. Well, I'm glad you mentioned this so that I know to inspect every tile before handing them over. I'll post pics too! What color are your cabinets?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 10:20AM
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karin_mt

Amanda,

Yes, absolutely inspect every one. This would have been a major hassle had I not checked them in the first place. Install is going well so far. We are doing a nice dance where I am marking off ones with ends that can be cut off and we are all coordinating things. The best tiles are in the best places and everyone is happy so far.

The cabinets are birch and the stone is Wild Sea (grey with green and garnet). All the pics are in the thread below.

Here is a link that might be useful: our remodel in process

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 12:52PM
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karin_mt

OK, tile is done!
We love the overall look. I have intentionally not looked too close for flaws. The guys were totally great at abiding my OCD. Bottom line is that it's totally cool, phew!

I'll post more pics in my ongoing remodel thread tomorrow.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 7:49PM
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