Using Glass Tiles
Tile surfaces are useful for many projects around the house, especially in areas where moisture can be a consideration. These areas are most often found in bathrooms and kitchens, and also entry areas. Glass tiles have recently been growing in popularity because of the differences in appearance and water resistance when compared to ceramic tiles. Tiles other than glass are usually used for floors and counter tops because glass is more likely to chip or even break. Walls and backsplashes are ideal for glass.
The primary differences between working with glass and ceramic tiles is that diamond cutting tools are far more important for working with glass, poor quality bonding materials (such as mastic) should not be used, and care in the choice of grout is even more important. Do not use short-cuts in the installation process (a good rule to follow with any tile installation project). The end result will be worth the effort.
Before you choose a tile for your project spend a little time studying the topic so that you understand what is involved, including the type of surface you need to work with. If you have never worked with tile and intend to do the job yourself, consider doing some type of practice project, perhaps a tile table top. Glass tile requires the use of a diamond blade wet saw, and might require a diamond hole saw. These can be bought affordably, or rented. These are are also useful for ceramic tile work.
When you purchase your tile be sure that you buy a little extra to allow for breakage when working and allow some left-over for future repairs. Pay attention to "dye lots", since different lots may not match. Tile manufacturers may recommend particular particular types of thinset mortar or epoxy. Thinset mortar used for glass tiles
should include some sort of latex additive. Follow manufacturer's recommendation for grout.
One good recommendation for setting glass tiles is to "back butter" the tiles, which means applying a thin layer of thinset to the back of the tile, as well as the layer applied to the wall. This avoids air bubbles in the mortar, which may be visible through the glass tile, and gives a superior bond. Allow the mortar 4 to 5 days to set before applying grout. A good tile job can last more than a lifetime, so do it right.