February 23rd, 2012

This is part of an ongoing series to help educate both consumers and trade professionals with real answers to every day challenges in the tile industry.

Q: I bought this beautiful clear glass tile from a local dealer. My tile installer installed the material, but I can see lines behind it! I think it is the adhesive holding it to the wall? Why does it look like this?

A: Glass tile has been a hot trend in tile for some time now, but it does require different installation than a standard tile. Ceramic tile is opaque, so when the tile setter is spreading the thinset with a trowel, you will not see those lines. Because some glass tile is clear or translucent, there are some critical procedures to ensure a beautiful install.

Most important is the setting material color and that you are getting full product coverage. White is most commonly recommended. Make sure that you are using setting materials from the same production batches and check for bag-to-bag color consistency if you are installing in a large area. To achieve uniform coverage, your tile installer may have to use a technique called back buttering, where they spread thinset to the back of the actual tile before installing it. Also, it is necessary to flatten the trowel ridges.

If you are installing glass tile, it is wise to understand the installation process. The  Tile Council of North America sets the industry standard for installation practices and has very comprehensive directions for installing glass tile. Please consult their web site for more information or call your Kate-Lo Tile & Stone oncall sales rep to discuss your project.