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Glass tile installation questions

Posted by kleekai (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 28, 10 at 14:43

First, thanks to all the information presented on this forum we are almost ready to post some final pictures -Yay! We need to have the floor guy fix his oversite and do the backsplash and we should be good to go.

We plan on doing a vertical set pattern of Mirage Glass Tile Mosaic Cane series broken up with a few vertical columns of 4X8 beach glass. The Mirage glass pattern is made up of three different width and length interlocking glass pieces. The backsplash will run under the cabinets and behind cooktop will go to the ceiling. Hubby had done a lot of tile installs (mostly ceramic) and I have the following questions:

1. Can you set the glass tile directly on sheet rock or is a different substrate needed for glass tiles (Durock, wonderboard,hardibacker,etc)?

2. The installer who owns the tile company from which I plan on buying my tile has quoted sanded grout, yet the Mirage company says they recommend unsanded. Has anyone had experience using sanded grout on glass - result?? Any other comments and recommendations?

3. Anyone ever use Star Quartz Glass Grout? I heard it is more expensive but gives it a cool look.

4. Any other advice you learned to pass along with regard to installing a glass backsplash??

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Glass tile installation questions

OK I am actually doing this right now. We have similar tiles and I'm also installing vertically also. I'm using the Artistic Tile Stilato pattern.

- I am setting directly on unpainted sheet rock. Manufacturer says thats fine.

- Artistic tile recommends sanded grout but their sales people said unsanded. I have seen Bill V here recommend sanded grout for glass. i don't know how you avoid scratching it up. I'm still researching grout.

- Never heard of Star Quartz glass but i'll look into it.

OK here's my tips and tricks learned so far after 3 days of tiling. Pretty much all of the below I came up with by trial and error. There just isn't a lot of info out on the web on cutting and installing the type of glass tiles we have vertically..

- You want to use high quality non sag white modified thinset. Obviously you don't have to use a non-sag but its only about $5 more a bag . It really helps keep the pieces in place when you line them up. Mix it on the stiff side.

- I use toothpicks for spacing between tiles. It works 1000 times better than tile spacers. I'm very anal so I actually make sure every piece is perfectly lined up. Basically i am moving at about 20 minutes per sq ft but for me its worth it.

- You don't have to back butter but you probably should. It eliminates any chance that you will see the meshing in certain lighting. Takes a little more time when you back butter cos you'd have more thinset to clean out from the joints with... you guessed it ... your handy tooth picks. when you back butter you shouldn't need to knock down the trowel grooves (i'm using 3/16 v-notch trowel for my 5/16 thick glass) especially if the backing is supposed to be opaque. Note I said "supposed to" because mine isn't really. When i hold a tile up to light i can see right through the "opaque" back where the color is. .

- My tile's mesh glue is water soluble so forget about cutting with a wet saw because it will completely fall apart. you can use a wet saw for really small cuts on single tiles. I am using a good score and snap cutter. Bought a $17 one from HD and didn't work very crisp. Got a $100 one and its perfect. It can snap off as little as 1/2inch tail. Anything smaller i use the wet saw. So my cutting method is as follows.

a) Tape over the area to cut with painters tape. (this helps ensure a clean score and snap )
b) Mark your cut line
c) score the line on the snap cutter
d) Snap tiles one at a time on the snap cutter. I place a piece of cardboard on the tile as i snap it for 2 reasons. First you're less likely to marr the tile with the snapping end and secondly the wheel tries to dig into the tiles as you snap.

There could be an easier method but I didn't find it. i read about using the hand glass scorer with oil so I went out and bought it. Doesn't work well at all. The problem with most places I went for help is that they propose methods that work for a few cuts but with the vertical install pretty much every tile needs to be cut.

Good luck.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Our backsplash is the Artistic Tile Stilato pattern as well. Our tile guy used a mix of sanded and unsanded TEC Bright White grout (I can check on the ratio for you if you'd like, I think I have it written down somewhere). It is NOT the XT grout, which we just used in the bathroom (more stain and crack resistant, mold and mildew resistant as well).

I know that you must use highly modified thinset with glass tile--prevents tile cracking and holds it better (?).

Back buttering was also recommended, which our tile guy did.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Kleekai; We are almost done with the backsplash (we being me paying someone to do it). We used the Star Glass. We were the first in the area -- the tile place recommended it, but hadn't used it. I tried to take a picture for you, but a photo doesn't capture the luminescence of the grout. We used "diamond", which appears to be a light white grayish sparkly color. It isn't really translucent, but rather, but has a luminescence. We've paid about a $100 more for about 45 sf of it. The tile setter said that it was very easy to work with. We are happy that we used it.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

We did ours directly on the sheet rock, no issues 1 year later. Regarding the grout, we were told to only use unsanded grout which we did. It looks great. There was a post just a few weeks ago from someone who posted pictures of their scratched glass tiles because the installer used sanded grout. I don't know what the downfall is with unsanded grout but I would not take the chance.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

1. Can you set the glass tile directly on sheet rock or is a different substrate needed for glass tiles (Durock, wonderboard,hardibacker,etc)?

Sheetrock is fine. The only thing you need to make sure of is that it's a premium latex white thinset. My preference is Laticrete's 255 Non-sag, or 254 Platinum.

2. The installer who owns the tile company from which I plan on buying my tile has quoted sanded grout, yet the Mirage company says they recommend unsanded. Has anyone had experience using sanded grout on glass - result?? Any other comments and recommendations?

This was grouted with sanded grout. In fact the bag is sitting right there with it. This is only one of many glass tile jobs I've done, and with only one or two exceptions, they've ALL been grouted with sanded grout.

Photobucket

In the close up, the area shown is have grouted, and half not. The reason I'm showing it is so you can see there's no change from one side to the other(NO scratches):

Photobucket

3. Anyone ever use Star Quartz Glass Grout? I heard it is more expensive but gives it a cool look.

I've used it several times, but to tell you the truth, with a glossy glass, THAT grout, I'd have a problem using. First, the sand is much more coarse than in most grouts. Secondly, as you spread the grout, it gets tougher and tougher to spread, meaning you have to press on it alot more to fill the joints. THIS is when you're going to get scratches.

4. Any other advice you learned to pass along with regard to installing a glass backsplash??

Spend the money and get a glass blade for the wet saw. A standard blade will chip the tile way too much, especially if you use the clear glass with the painted backs, as shown in the pictures-- it'll chip the paint and make it look like hell. Also, if you're using clear glass, take the time to make sure you press the tile well into the thinset so you don't see trowel marks through the tile, especially if you're using something bigger than mosaics.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Wow - thanks for all the superb feedback!! TEC XT Sanded Grout was what the installer quoted as well as Full Flex White Thinset (I think TEC makes this, too). Not sure if that is considered premium latex grout, but I think it is.

I called StarGlass to find out a local distributor near me (not many) and they said it cost $265 for 18 lb premix tub and $150 for a 9 lb premix tub. I have 41 square feet in total but my glass widths are all different so I am not sure how much of this I would need. I would like to see some color samples of this first anyway. As of now, we picked TEC XT grout parchment.

rjr220- do you know how much Starglass grout your person used for your space - would the 9 lb bucket be sufficient?

Bill - is TEC fullflex white thinset considered premium latex? Will this have that sag protection feature?

Padola07- thanks for all the details. We will review all your points again and let you know how our project unfolds.

My husband will be home this weekend from business trip and I will definitely show him all the information posted.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

TEC IS a premium latex thinset, but it's not their non-sag. Their non-sag thinset is called 3in1.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Bill,
If i can ask a few questions

- Is there any special process of applying the sanded grout so as not to scratch the glass. And also why do use sanded grout?

- How would you cut a sheet of mosaic on a wet saw if the glue on the mesh dissolves on contact with water.

Thanks


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

We needed an 18 lb tub for about 45 SF. Here is their calculator for figuring out what is needed.

Here is a link that might be useful: star glass grout calculator


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Our tile guy mixed some sanded with the unsanded grout because of the grout joint thickness. He's very meticulous and careful, so there were no scratches on any of the tiles.


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Talked with the man who owns the tile store and does the acutal tiling today.

1. Regarding sanded vs. unsanded grout - he uses TEC full flex and says it has more polymer than other sanded grouts. It's more velvety and he has never had a problem of it scratching the glass tiles. When asked about the no sag product (3 in 1 per Bill), he said another product, Multimax white thinset is used for ceiling applications and would make our job easier in applying the tile. It is more sticky and holds stronger.We probably will go with the Multimax (it's a premium white thinset). Bill, ever hear of this Multimax?
2. No luck in finding samples of the Star Quartz Glass Grout. I called the company and the only distributors in Massachusetts is Daltile. Called them (in Woburn) and they don't have a sample board of colors and I have been waiting 2 days to hear back from them as to how long it will be before they get one. I am hesitating with that product as Bill stated earlier it is hard to work with. We have done a lot of tiling in our home but only worked with glass tile once (oceanside in the bathroom).

Bill, I have the same question as Padola above - is there any special way you apply sanded grout so it doesn't scratch?


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

Is there any special process of applying the sanded grout so as not to scratch the glass. And also why do use sanded grout?

When I spread the grout, I do it softly, rather than bearing down on the grout float to get the tile really clean. I'll worry about cleaning later with the sponge. As for why sanded grout? For the same reason I recommend it with ceramic mosaics with the same small joints. The tile is completely non-absorbent, which means the water won't pull out of the grout as well, meaning it'll tend to pit and crack a it shrinks while drying, if you use an unsanded grout. With sanded grout that won't happen, because whereas with unsanded, portland cement makes up the bulk of the grout, with sanded, it only holds the grains of sand together, and sand doesn't shrink.

Bill, ever hear of this Multimax?

Yes, I have, and I'm told it's a good thinset. I've never used it, only because I tend to stick mostly with Laticrete, and if it's not available, Mapei. They work for me, and like the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! :-)


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RE: Glass tile installation questions

I installed mirage glass tiles in my bathroom on the wall. During and several months after the installation several tiles have cracked where cuts were made for the shower body and other things. Some of the cracks happened several months after installations. Has anyone had similar experience?


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