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How to install glass tile

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Glass tile installation is similar to methods used for ceramic, porcelain and natural stone. Because of the fragile nature of glass tile, however, installers need to take additional precautions to avoid installation failure, either through discoloration or breakage. Many manufacturers outline specific steps to take with their product that go beyond general installation guidelines. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assure the best possible outcome.

Applications and Substrates

Glass tile is commonly used on interior surfaces, but may be used outside if temperatures do not fall below freezing. It is not appropriate for floors and countertops. Make sure you have the proper substrate before setting tiles into place, otherwise the installation could fail. Approved substrates include fully cured concrete and cement backerboard. Drywall is also appropriate, as well as blue board and cementitious board units (CBUs) such as WonderBoard, Durock and HardieBacker. Do not install glass tile over particleboard, chipboard, Masonite, press wood, plywood or asbestos surfaces.

Wall Preparation

Keep the installation surface clean and dry. New concrete should cure for 28 days in warm, dry conditions and for a minimum of 60 days in colder or humid areas. Fill substrate joints with the same mortar used to set the glass or fiberglass CBU tape. Apply a crack isolation membrane, available in liquid, paste or sheet form, to minimize the possibility of cracks in the substrate, which often transmit to the glass. The membrane also provides a moisture barrier.

After marking a centerline for the layout, coat the wall with thinset, working in small sections so the material does not begin to cure. Apply the adhesive via a fanning motion with a 3/16-inch by ¼-inch V-notch trowel. Using the notched trowel edge, comb the thinset horizontally, removing the excess to a bucket. Smooth the thinset downward with the flat of the trowel to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use white thinset with glass tile, as glass is clear and colored thinset can change the appearance of the tile.

Dry-Laying Tile

Because glass tiles are used on vertical installations, fitting can be difficult. To ensure that the tiles fit the space, make an exact template of the area and lay out the tiles on the template prior to installation. Leave a 1/8-inch expansion gap at the edges where the tile meets cabinets, walls or other perimeters. Handle carefully, as glass easily chips.

Setting and Grouting

Once you apply the thinset mortar to the wall, install tiles starting from the top left and moving to the bottom right. When using sheets of smaller glass tiles, apply gentle, even pressure to the sheet. Use a rubber mallet to gently pound the tiles into place. Ensure that each sheet is level. When working with larger, single tiles that are not part of a sheet, take extra care to set the tile. Let the tile set for at least 24 hours before grouting. After grouting, caulk the perimeter of the installation to seal it.

Epoxy grout ensures a durable installation of glass tile.

How to Install Glass Tile How to Install Glass Tile How to Install Glass Tile How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

Photo: Richard Bubnowski Design

Glass tile is gaining in popularity over ceramic tile as the surface of choice in home tiling projects. Although typically more expensive than ceramic tile, glass tile adds a handcrafted, artistic quality that is easily worth the cost.

Unique Appearance
Glass tile comes in a variety of forms and colors, which depend on the process used to create them. Some tiles are cut and cold-cooled while others are melted, cast, and cooled. “In cold-manufacturing, there is no heat, just cutting of the glass,” says Grace Kalina of Boyce & Bean, a glass and clay manufacturing company in California. “On the other hand, cast glass involves mixing sands and chemicals and melting them in a tank, which is then dropped into trays for cooling.”

The end result can vary by color, thickness, size, and shape. Some glass tiles contain tiny bubbles within each tile, which create a “still wet” look and makes for individual tiles that, like snowflakes, are one-of-a-kind. The varieties of glass tile allow for endless customization options, and its versatility opens the door to indoor and outdoor projects alike.

Glass is not always associated with durability, but in truth glass tile can be just as strong and long lasting as ceramic tile. By nature, glass tile retains certain properties that make it more resilient than ceramic tile. “Glass tile is not porous,” Kalina says, “so it does not absorb moisture.” Moisture penetration is the enemy of any tile project since it can spell mold and mildew. There is no such worry with glass tile as long as it is properly installed.

Glass Tile Installation
Most tile installers will tell you there’s not much difference between installing ceramic tile and installing glass tile. “Installing glass tile is pretty straightforward,” says Thomas Hubbard, a tile installer in Burlington, Vermont. “Some installers get hung-up on the cutting of the glass, but in all it’s not that difficult to install.” Hubbard typically sees glass tile used as an accent, but it can be used for larger projects, including entire walls, or shower ceilings.


Like ceramic tile, installing glass tile involves setting the glass onto the work surface. Since glass tile is translucent, the thin-set is usually white; so as to maintain a clear background that doesn’t affect the glass color. “With glass tile, which is see-through, the thin-set or subsurface must be perfect,” says Kalina. “If the tile is used in the bottom of a swimming pool, for example, the thin-set must be smoothed out or it will show.”

Grout for Long-Lasting Beauty
Grout will also impact the durability and look of the glass tile installation. Epoxy grouts are becoming popular for use with glass tile because of their longevity, strength, and relationship with the glass. Grouts like SpectraLOCK or Kerapoxy have a chemical composition that resists stains and breakdown. They are also non-porous and non-absorbent.

When mixed with antimicrobial products such as Microban, epoxy grouts also inhibit the growth of mold or mildew, a common occurrence with regular cement grout. “Cement-based grouts absorb moisture, so you have to seal the grout every two years,” Hubbard says.

Non-absorbent epoxy grouts require little maintenance, so while they may cost more than cement grout up front, they more than make up for it over time. The rubbery plastic-like characteristics of epoxy grouts make for a more challenging application, and a stronger finished product. “It takes a lot of elbow grease,” says Hubbard: “It also takes a lot of washing after. I’ll go over it several times with a light vinegar and water mix.”

Epoxy grouts come in a variety of colors, can be mixed with additives to adjust hue or create sparkles, and will not fade or change color over time. Set times for epoxy grouts are comparable to their cement counterparts. “I usually recommend staying off it for 24 hours,” Hubbard advises.

Related Articles

The walls behind your kitchen counters catch food splatters as you cook. Putting a glass tile backsplash on the walls makes it much easier to clean any mishaps off the wall. With the many colors and shapes available today, you can add just the accent your kitchen needs to make its backsplash stylish and serviceable. Rather than installing individual tiles, they come preassembled in sheets to make installation even easier.


While a glass tile backsplash adds a pop of color to the kitchen’s decor, you want to choose tile colors that complement colors that are already in the kitchen. Look at the colors in the wall, the countertop and the cabinetry. Pick your favorite hues from those pieces and look for colored tiles that pick up those colors. If you have stainless steel appliances, consider glass tiles with some metallic highlights. Measure the length and width of the backsplash area to determine how many square feet of tile backsplash sheets you need to purchase. While it’s common to run the backsplash from the cabinets down to the countertop, you may opt to install a short backsplash just 4 to 6 inches up from the counter.

Prep the Walls

The walls where you are installing the sheets need to be clean. Paint chips and cracked areas need repair before you attach the tiles. Many glass tiles are translucent, so you need to coat the walls with a good primer and sealer. The thinset mortar used to hold the tiles in place bonds better to the vertical walls if it has a slightly roughened surface. Light sanding with 80-grit sandpaper will give your tiles a good surface. Remove all the dust with a wet-dry vacuum before you begin so the dust doesn’t get mixed into the thinset.

Install the Tiles

Pick a focal point on the wall that you want as the center of the backsplash and mark it with painter’s tape. Working in both directions from the center point, lay out the tiles on top of the countertop. You may need to move them to the right or left slightly to help fit them onto the wall. Once you have your layout planned, apply premixed thinset mortar with a 1/4-inch notched trowel to a depth of 1/4 inch to a section of the wall. Starting at the bottom and working your way up, attach the tile sheets to the mortar by pressing them firmly into it. Add more mortar to another section and add more sheets until you finish the backsplash. Each sheet should be level to the adjacent sheets. Remember to leave a 1/8-inch expansion gap around the perimeter of the backsplash. Soak glass tiles with a paper coating with water applied with a sponge to make it easier to peel off the paper coating.

Work Around Obstacles

Small glass tiles fit into many areas simply by cutting the sheets apart at the joints. If, however, you need to cut the tiles, you can make the cuts with tile nippers. Don’t take a big bite with the nippers or you might break the tiles. If you need to get tiles to fit into a tight spot, cut them off their backing and make their joints closer together. Remember to turn off the electricity as you work around electrical outlets.

Add Grout

After the thinset cures overnight, it’s time to grout the backsplash. Premixed urethane grout is a good choice for this project because it doesn’t require sealing. A grout float is useful for pushing the grout into the joints. Moving the float diagonally across the tiles helps to work more grout into the joints. After the grout is in place, remove any that remains on the tiles with a clean, damp sponge.

Installing Large Format Glass Tile in a Shower: 10 Steps to Follow

[fa icon=”calendar”] Aug 22, 2017 8:30:00 AM / by CTEF Blog Team

How to Install Glass Tile

If you’re installing large format glass tile (per ANSI A137.2, any tile larger than 3” x 3” or nine square inches) in a shower, do you know what steps to follow and questions to ask? As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, installing tile in showers requires careful preparation given the extreme environment working showers create. Large glass tile can add to the complexity.

In this article, NTCA Technical Trainer Mark Heinlein CTI #1112 shares his advice on how to prepare for this project which involves 3×12 glass tile (aka subway tile) which is considered a large format for glass.

Installing Glass Tile? Here are the 10 Steps to Follow and the Questions to Ask

Glass subway tile makes for a beautiful wall tile, especially around water where the shimmer of water makes the translucence of glass stand out.

At the same time, if not handled properly, installing glass in showers can be problematic especially in a large format. Suspect culprits include:

  • Glass tile that isn’t intended for use in a shower environment
  • A substrate that hasn’t been adequately prepared and exhibits deflection
  • Thermal shock
  • Not using mortar that is appropriate for glass tile
  • Inadequate curing times
  • Not including movement or soft joints at changes in plane.

The success of a glass tile shower installation requires that you plan ahead and ask lots of questions. Here are the ten steps to follow and questions to ask befor e installing large format glass tile in a shower.

Step 1. Obtain installation instructions from the glass tile manufacturer or distributor

Contact the manufacturer of the glass and ask for installation instructions.

Ask what setting material is recommended and whether their tile is acceptable for use in a shower. If there are no instructions, ask the distributor for help. If there still are no instructions available, find another glass manufaturer that does provide written instructions.

Only the manufacturer knows their glass and how it will react to or be affected by deflection, thermal shock, mortar adhesion and curing. Obtaining the manufacturer’s instructions is a critical first step.

Step 2. Select a waterproofing membrane or substrate

In a wet environment, the best option is to have a waterproofing membrane or waterproof substrate.

Issues related to mortar curing merit the same concern no matter which membrane or waterproofing system or substrate is used.

Review the membrane and substrate manufacturer’s literature and contact their technical department to discuss this with them.

Step 3. Ensure the substrate is flat with no deflection

No matter what substrate is used, ensure it is flat and has very limited or zero deflection.

Large format glass is especially susceptible to breakage with movement and deflection. A flat substrate will help ensure your bond coat coverage is uniform. This will help ensure it cures evenly and thoroughly.

Step 4. Select the proper mortar for glass tile

Talk with the setting material manufacturer regarding the selected mortar. Some manufacturers make a very specific mortar for glass tiles which are actually labeled “Glass Tile Mortar”. Make sure you consider these specialized mortars.

Make certain that the mortar adheres extremely well to the glass and especially to the backing which holds the glass in place.

Another concern is that the mortar doesn’t shrink as it cures. If it does, significant stresses on the glass could cause it to de-bond, crack as it cures, or potentially crack even after it has cured.

Step 5. Plan on extended mortar cure times

An extended mortar cure time is required before grouting and applying sealant to changes in plane.

The mortar manufacturer can help you determine what is the correct cure time. Do not let this part of the process be rushed by the owner or other trades.

Step 6. Include expansion joints

As with all tile installations, it is especially important with glass to honor every change in plane with a soft movement / expansion joint. There must be a clean, straight, open joint at all changes in plane which include inside corners, floor to wall, wall to ceiling, and columns.

How to Install Glass Tile

Step 7. Anticipate the likelihood of thermal shock

Large format glass tiles (glass tile larger than 9 square inches) are very susceptible to thermal shock.

  • When cool glass is hit by hot water or steam (could be anywhere in the shower), the glass can expand rapidly and crack.
  • If the space is air conditioned (or even if not) the temperature changes in the glass can be extreme and fast.

Some glass can’t handle these extreme changes in temperature. Some cracks may occur quickly while some may only show up over time.

Again – cracking from thermal shock can occur anywhere in the shower. If the substrate expands and contracts from thermal changes, it too may have an adverse effect on the glass.

Step 8. Use 100% silicone sealant rated for glass adherence

All changes in plane must be filled with a 100% silicone sealant rated to adhere to glass. If you are not familiar with these products, your setting material manufacturer can help you determine which one is best.

Step 9. Embrace a “system” approach for setting materials

Using a system approach for installation materials including mortar, grout, sealant and, depending on the system you are using, the substrate and waterproofing is a wise choice.

This will ensure all components are designed to work well together and the manufacturer will stand with you to warrant the installation.

Step 10. Review your tile installation manuals for best practices

Finally, review the discussions on large format glass tile that you can find in the NTCA Reference Manual, the TCNA Handbook and ANSI A137.2.

Become a Certified Tile Installer

There are many items that need to be done correctly in any tile installation, especially in a shower and particularly in a shower with large format glass. Doing all the planning and research up front will help you ensure success in your project.

If you haven’t already, consider becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI). As a CTI, you set yourself apart from the crowd and know how to anticipate tile installation problems before they occur. Do it right the first time and get paid accordingly.

How to Install Glass Tile

Glass Subway Tile Backsplash

One of the easiest ways to give your kitchen a new, custom look is to install a glass tile backsplash. But how do you install a glass tile backsplash? For our new kitchen, we have decided to use a horizontal 3″x6″ glass subway tile to provide a clean, modern look. Let’s take a look at how to install a quality glass subway tile backsplash that will last for years to come.

Repair Drywall: When talking about how to install a tile backsplash, we need to discuss the substrate material. It’s important to have a solid backer for your new tile. If you have removed old tiles, you will most likely need to repair some drywall areas that have been pulled apart as the tile mortar was removed. Make sure that the entire surface is solid…you don’t want any flex in the wall as this will cause your grout to crack (and possibly your tiles).

How to Install Glass Tile

Electrical Box Extensions: We are talking about how to install a glass tile backsplash… so why do we need electrical box extensions? Your new tile has a thickness to it…so you will need to adjust the electrical boxes if you are installing tile for the first time. Extensions can be found at any hardware store for a dollar or two and can be installed in just a few minutes. If you decide to save a few bucks and install these yourself, make sure you turn off the power to the outlets and switches prior to installing. You should also check with your local building department prior to installing to make sure these are allowed per your local code.

How to Install Glass Tile

Electrical Box Extension Installation

Prime Wall: When I give tips on how to install a glass tile backsplash, I always mention the need to prime the wall. If you go with a translucent glass tile, be sure to prime the wall white prior to installation. This provides added protection against bleed through of markings or old paint. Thinset mortar should cover the entire area behind the tile, but there is a chance a small spot could be missed. And if a spot is missed, it’s best to have a white wall behind the translucent tile. This is just an extra quality step I picked up from an installer friend of mine when discussing the details of how to install a glass tile backsplash.

White Thinset Mortar: Make sure your installer uses a white thinset mortar to adhere your glass tile to the wall. This will prevent the mortar color from affecting your tile color. For example, if a grey thinset is used, your tiles will end up looking darker than the sample. Again, this is just a precautionary measure that we always include in our tips on how to install a glass tile backsplash.

Butter Tiles: Include in your contract with your tile installer to apply thinset in an even coat to the back of each tile before setting. The tile mortar is applied to the wall and then grooves are applied with a “V” trowel. By applying a thin, even coat of mortar to the back of each tile before setting, you will prevent the grooves from showing through your new glass tile.

How to Install Glass Tile

Glass Diamond Blade: You will also want to include a note in your scopes of work and specifications for your tile installer to use a special glass tile blade for the wet saw. Don’t allow them to use a standard wet saw blade. They make diamond blades specifically for glass that will help minimize your waste and bad cuts.

Non-Sanded Grout: Also make sure your installer uses a non-sanded grout for your glass tile installation. If he uses a sanded grout, the face of your tiles will get scratched as the grout applicator moves across the surface. Scratches on your gorgeous new tile will take away from the sleek, new look.

Leave Space for Future Changes: For my tile backsplash projects, I like to leave a small space under the microwave or rangehood just in case we need to remove it in the future. If the tile is run right up to the edge of the bottom of the unit, it will be difficult to remove without damaging the tile. Even if you have no intentions of removing your new appliance, you still may have a service issue that will require removal. If you must remove tiles to get the microwave out…how are you going to install the tile backsplash again so it matches and looks original?

You may also want to have your installer leave a small gap between the countertop and the tile. If you decide to replace the countertop in the future due to damage or color preferences, this will prevent you from having to repair or replace the tile backsplash. If you leave the small gap, be sure to use a clear silicone caulk between the tile and the countertop to prevent water damage.

Grout Spacing: Typical grout spacing for a subway tile backsplash is 1/8″. Your installer should use the spacers as shown in the picture to keep the grout joints consistent throughout.

Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions about how to install a quality glass tile backsplash. Check out our main site for more information on how to save money as an owner-builder on kitchen remodeling.

Q: How do I prevent the mesh backing on transparent glass mosaic tile from showing through when the tile is installed?

A: Tom Meehan, a second-generation tile installer and co-author of Working with Tile who lives and works in Harwich, Mass., responds: Glass tile can be very frustrating, even when you do things right. Most problems with glass tile arise from installation methods. My article, “Working With Glass Tile” (Mar/17), goes into more detail about the whole installation process.

Proper installation of any glass tile begins with prepping the walls. For installations in bathrooms and other high-moisture areas, I usually give the walls a coat of liquid stress-crack membrane. I follow that application with a skim coat of the thinset recommended by the manufacturer of the glass tile that I will be installing. When the skim coat has set, I give it a light sanding to make sure there are no ridges or bumps.

Because the thinset will be visible through the glass tile, it’s important to use white thinset and to make sure you’re using the thinset recommended by the glass-tile manufacturer. It is equally important that you have 100% coverage of the thinset—especially with mesh-backed glass tile.

To achieve 100% coverage, spread the thinset on the wall with the flat side of the trowel, as close to perfectly smooth as possible. Then switch to the notched side of the trowel (use the appropriate-size teeth for the size of the tile) and comb the thinset evenly in one direction. Last, go back to the flat side of the trowel and flatten all of the ridges of the thinset without scraping off any of the thinset, while continuing to maintain an even thickness.

When the thinset is ready, push the sheet of glass tile into it, shifting the tile back and forth until it is 100% embedded in the thinset (3). The white mesh on the back of the sheet should disappear completely into the thinset. Occasionally, some threads of the mesh might be visible next to the grout joints, but only if you are looking at the tile at an angle. When in doubt, try out your installation methods on a small area first.

About the Author

Tom Meehan, author of Working with Tile, is a second-generation tile installer who lives and works in Harwich, Mass.

Kitchen backsplash is a wonderful way to show off your design tastes. Glass Tile is a very popular backsplash that comes in many different styles, types, colors, and textures that are easy to incorporate into your home. If you’re wondering how much it will cost, check out our cost guide on installing backsplash professionally. If you are unsure of what backsplash you want, check out our 2017 Look Book of Backsplash Trends. When it comes to installing ceramic, porcelain, or stone tile backsplash we recommend you contact a professional. For free quotes without hassle or pressure, fill out our 2-minute questionnaire. Compare prices and profiles of our licensed, bonded, and insured professionals and get the best price for your project!


  • 12 inch Square Tile Sheets
  • Unsanded Grout (unless otherwise specified)
  • One Gallon of Tile Mastic


  • Tape measure
  • Block of wood
  • Putty Knife
  • Toothed trowel
  • Hammer
  • Grout float
  • Large Sponge
  • Soft cloth or rag

Installing Glass Tile:

  • If you have outlets on the wall you plan to install the backsplash, you will need to cut the tile beforehand.
  • If you are removing any outlets or switch covers, remember to turn the power off from your fuse box. Test outlets before proceeding to place tile.
  • Measure beforehand to ensure your tile does not go over the length of your outside wall. You do not want jagged cut tile on the outside wall. If you find that your wall is smaller than the amount of tile, consider moving the jagged end to an inner corner wall.

Step One: Start by measuring from the top of your counter to the bottom of your cabinets, followed by the height of the wall you intend to place the backsplash. After calculating how many rows and columns of tile you will need, begin planning the exact layout including any accent tiles you wish to include. Place tile squares along your counter allowing a 1/8″ gap between each to leave room for grout. Following the line of tiles on your counter take a pencil and sketch a general guide for applying mastic and continue up the length of your wall.

Step Two: Place a strip of painter’s tape along the top of your counter and on the bottom of your cabinets. Use the wall marks as a general guide of where to apply the mastic. Using a toothed trowel, begin spreading the mastic over the area where the first 3 feet of tile will be installed. Be sure to spread the mastic evenly. Lay cardboard spacers flat on the countertop with their edges pressed against the wall.

Step Three: Begin with the bottom row if you are stacking more than one row of glass tile. Aligning the outside edge with the wall and resting the bottom on the cardboard spacer, begin pressing the glass tile sheet into place. Remember to leave space for grout, usually 1/8″.

Step Four: Holding a block of wood firmly, begin tapping it with a hammer to evenly set the individual pieces of tile. Move the tile along the length of the placed tile and continue tapping it until all pieces are evenly placed. You can easily test this by running your hand across the tile lightly. If it feels even you did it correct. If it’s uneven, go ahead and re-tap the uneven places. Continue this process until the desired amount of backsplash is placed.

Step Five: Let dry for 24 hours or the designated amount of time given by the maker.

Grouting the Tile

  • If you are filling space less than 1/8″, purchase “unsanded” grout unless otherwise specified.
  • When applying and pressing grout, move the grout float diagonal to the lines only.

Step One: Grab your grout float, apply and press grout between the tiles. Only move the grout float diagonal to the grout lines. It is best to work in small areas at a time. Try sticking to a work space of 3 feet for the best results.

Step Two: It is important that you take care to mind your timing during the next few steps. You want the grout to be dry enough to hold the joints in place, but wet enough to be cleaned without applying too much pressure.

As the grout begins to form it will haze your tile, when you see this take a moist sponge and clean away the excess. Be sure to wash the sponge frequently throughout the process to ensure the best results.

Step Three: Before the grout has completely dried, use a soft, dry cloth to clean off the remaining haze. Begin sliding the cardboard spacers out from the bottom row of tiles.

Step Four: Wait two weeks before applying grout sealer for the first time. It is important to apply grout sealer annually.

How Can Great Pros Help?

Backsplash installations can be done by yourself as a DIY project, or you can find a professional to get the job done. We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to install glass tile backsplash! If you need help, contact us for free quotes from licensed, bonded, and insured professionals! Fill out our 2 minute questionnaire to get started! There is never pressure or hassle when you use Great Pros. Compare prices and profiles to get the right price for your project! You can check out our cost guide post to estimate how much it would be to intall backsplash in your kitchen professionally. If you’re not sold on glass tile backsplash, check out these other types of back splash in our 2017 Backsplash Trends Look Book.

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Mosaic Glass tiles are divine. The 1×1 inch squares may not look much butonce installed, they have this magical ability to transform the overallatmosphere of a place. As such, it is easy to understand why they have becomeso popular. Next year, in fact, glass tile will remain fashionable as designersand others experts in the field of interior decorating have stated thatreflective surfaces are in and glasstiles definitely fall under that. Whether as pool accents or as a full wallinstallation, mosaic glass tiles are impressive.

However, they are on anotherlevel of awesome if used as a kitchen backsplash. The tile colors, thereflective surface, and illumination from light sources can open up even themost sombre of kitchens. With knowing next year’s dandy trends, itmight be the best time to get started on some serious home renovation. Werecommend glasstiles but we also understand that, given the brittle nature ofglass, many folks might have an aversion to it. In truth though, mosaic glasstiles are less complicated than ceramic or porcelain. All you will need are a pairof scissors and a glass tile cutter. Armed with these, a fabulous kitchen backsplash is possible to accomplish within the span of a weekend. Advantagesof Using Glass tiles Some of you may ask though, why chooseglass tiles over other types? Apart from being stylish, there are a fewreasons.

One is that glass tiles are available in a number of colors and sizesgiving homeowners a wide range of options. Another is that glass is moreresistant to moisture, water, and even sudden temperature changes. Third, it iseasier to install than ceramic or porcelain. Fourth, the small squares can bepatterned into interesting designs and lastly, glass tiles are eco-friendly.Made from recycled glass, this is the choice for green proofing your home. With that in mind, let us get straight toworking on that backsplash.

MosaicGlass Tile Installation Materials: · Glass tiles · Thin-set mortar · Unsanded grout · Glass tile cutter · Trowel · Float · Sponge · Grout sealer · Tile spacers Steps: 1. Prepare and clean the workarea. Remove anything that will slow down work and carefully check the wallsurface for any residue. If the wall is painted, remove the paint first toensure a strong bond with the thin-set. In addition, if clear glass tiles areto be installed – it is vital to remove any previous paint job, as the colorwill be visible through the tile. 2. Practice safety and turn offthe power to the electrical outlets before removing the cover plates. Ifneeded, place a ledger for any gaps (such as the space where the stove is.) 3. Do a dry run and see how thebacksplash will look. Take corners and electrical outlets into account andmeasure the tiles to fit into these spaces. A test run will also help identifypotential problem areas. 4. Spread thin-set on the wall andplace tiles. Start at the bottom and work your way up. Make sure everything islevel and use tile spacers for even spacing. (Tip: Use only white, fast setting thin-set. Mastic adhesives canstay moist beneath non-porous tiles such as glass.) 5. If the tiles need to betrimmed, simply snip the mesh that holds the small tiles together. If the tilesneed cutting, use a glass tile cutter. This is a very handy and yet inexpensivetool. Aside from giving consistent clean cuts, this tool can be mastered by anewbie within minutes. 6. After installation, allow the thin-settodry in about 24 hours. Do not touch or do anything to the tiles. 7. Remove any excess thin-set then apply unsanded grout. (Tip:Sanded grout can scratch glass tile surface.) 8. Let the grout dry according tomanufacturer’s instructions then polish the tiles with a sponge. 9. Apply caulk where thebacksplash meets the counter or cabinet. Let dry again according tomanufacturer’s instructions. Finally, remove ledgers and place back the outlet’s cover plates. Then, step back and enjoy the lovely new backsplash.

How to Install Glass Tile

Installing some glass tile in your kitchen or bathroom can add an instant dramatic change to the overall decor of the room. Without major expense or renovation you can change the overall look of your room with the use of glass tile.

Backsplashes and countertops are a great place to install glass tile for a clean, polished look. There are some cleaning and maintenance care guidelines to follow, but you should be able to enjoy a long lasting countertop of glass tile for many years.

Step 1 – Remove Old Tile and Clean

Remove any tile that is on your countertops now. Use a small chisel and work along the grout pattern. This will take some time, but will make the clean up much easier. Pry each tile off and dispose of it. Using a scraper or sander, scrape off the remaining mortar and grout. Clean the entire area and remove any debris or dust.

Step 2 – Dry Fit Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

The best way to make sure you are going to like the glass tile pattern, and confirm you have enough to use, is to dry fit the tile where it is going to go. Work with the spacing, and make measurements for any pieces that will need to be cut. If you can do this from the outset, then the actual installation goes very quickly.

Step 3 – Mix Thinset

Mix the thinset according to the directions on the package. Each manufacturer has a slightly different method for mixing their tile thinset. Mix the thinset in a bucket with a mixing paddle attached to a drill. Mix to a mud like consistency.

Step 4 – Set in Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

Apply a thin coating of thinset to the surface area of where you are going to tile, using the trowel. This will take some practice if you have never done it before. Work in small sections so it does not dry out. Spread it out over the length of the area and then use the notched end to create grooves in the thinset.

Set the first tile into place with equal pressure on all four sides. Work it into the thinset and apply pressure for a few seconds. Continue setting in the tile working steadily so the thinset does not dry out. Keep each row even and use spacers in between each tile. Take care not to push any of the thinset up over the tile. You can press firmly, but not enough to dislodge any of the thinset.

Step 5 – Apply Grout

Mix the tile grout according to the instructions on the package. Using a grout spreader, spread the grout across the glass tile. Work it into the seams until it is level all across the countertop. The important point is to fill in all the seams as much as possible with the grout. Using a grout smoother, go through all grout lines leaving a finished look. A nice beveled look is nice and will not let water sit in the grout lines. After grout has dried, wipe off the rest of the tile with a sponge and warm water.


These instructions are meant to be a general guide for installations under normal conditions. Please read and understand this information before installation. If you have no experience with the installation of glass products obtain professional advice or use their services for the installation.

Clear glass mosaics and larger pieces that come loose, such as subway 3″x6″, 4″x8″, 4″x10″, etc., are made of crystal glass. Mosaics are back-mounted with a fiberglass mesh. These products are made using a cold glaze application process. Clear glass tiles can be used for interior wall applications in dry locations. The only wet application acceptable is as a decorative feature in the shower walls where only intermittent exposure to water will occur.

Recommended Substrate

Cement backer units and or concrete masonry block are acceptable substrates. Gypsum wallboard can be used for interior walls only. When it is installed close to hot areas (i.e. cook-tops, fireplaces and similar applications), keep the glass at a minimum safe distance of at least 6″ from any source of heat or heated surface.


Verify product characteristics BEFORE installation for any visible defect and or other aspects of the product that may be questionable, such as, but not limited to: shade variation, chipped edges, and scratched surfaces. Also check for variations between ordered and supplied products.

Installation, where a claim to be defective is not caught or the material is not corresponding to customer’s expectations, constitutes acceptance of the product as is” and no claims will be accepted after installation.

Never use products from different lots. Every box is labeled showing to production lot #’s, never mix these as part of the same installation.

The installation of clear glass tile requires proper surface preparation, a careful installation using a quality thinset (must be approved for glass tile Installation) and grout.

Surface Preparation

All surfaces must be between 40ºF (4ºC) to 95ºF (35ºC) and structurally sound, dry, clean, free of paint, old adhesives, sealers and curing compounds. Any contaminates that inhibit proper bond must be removed. Substrate preparation should be completed following ANSI A108 AN-2 “General Requirements for Sub-surfaces”. All substrates should be plumb and true; surface deviation should not exceed ¼” in 10’.

Applying Thinset Mortar

Apply a quality latex-modified thinset approved for use with glass or vitreous tile. Apply the mortar to the substrate with the flat side of the trowel, with enough pressure to firmly work into the surface. With a notched trowel, immediately follow with a heavier coat of material using the appropriate trowel and enough mortar to provide the necessary coverage to the back of the tile. Do not spread more mortar than can be covered in 20 minutes or before the mortar skins over. It is advised that during the installation, to remove a tile to ensure the mortar has not skinned over and check the tile and substrate mortar coverage.

Coverage of the thinset mortar is critical to the success of the installation of the tile. In submerged installations, the coverage of thinset between the substrate and tile should be a minimum of 95%. Coverage is also important, or you may see moisture between the glass tile and the substrate. Comb the mortar using an appropriate notched trowel in one direction, using the back of the trowel; flatten any notches of the mortar previous to placing the mosaic glass tile. Place tiles in mortar; beat in, to ensure proper coverage. Do not adjust tiles set in mortar after 15 minutes.


Set your sheets into the thinset layer spread on your substrate, taking care to square the sheets as you go. Sheets should be placed onto the newly troweled thinset on your surface immediately. DO NOT delay this step, or your thinset will begin to dry, and the tiles will not fully adhere to the surface. The thin-set mortar MUST cover the back of each glass piece pushing up slightly into the joints. Air bubbles not pushed out will be visible through the transparent glass and the bonding capacity of the mortar will be reduced. You can remove excess thinset from the joints, before grouting later.


Square the sheet and apply to your surface, and then “beat in”; gently with a rubber float or a beating block and a hammer to ensure 100% adhesion and a level surface. Beating in with your float or beating block across the joint between adjacent sheets will achieve a level field across the entire area. Properly beating in, and leveling will also prevent air bubbles from being trapped between the thinset and tile.

Align Grout Joints

Align each sheet carefully as it is installed to create uniform grout joints from sheet to sheet. A joint between adjacent sheets should measure the same distance as the joint between the rows of tile within a single sheet. If the joint between the sheets is wider, you will see a series of individual sheets outline on your surface, instead of a smooth, continuous field of tiles that covers the entire area.

Within 15-20 minutes of applying each section of your area, examine and straighten any joints that are not aligned. These straightening and aligning steps MUST be done while the thinset is still pliable. Do not wait until all of the sheets are installed to begin straightening the joints or the thin-set will be too dry to allow any realigning. Repeat these installation steps until all sheets have been installed. If you want to adjust the positioning of one or more glass pieces, use a sharp cutter to cut the clear film around the piece(s) in order to move as desired. Adjustments must be done immediately after or during the installation process before the setting material has dried.

Grout Preparation

After 24-48 hours (dependent on climate and relative humidity), the thinset will be cured, and the tiles will be ready for grouting.

Grout Application

Installation shall conform to the current method of ANSI A108.10.

Hold a rubber grout float at a 45° angle, force grout diagonally into joints ensuring joints are filled. Remove excess grout using edge of the float held at a 90° angle. Cleanup can begin as soon as the grout becomes firm enough only to be slightly indented when pushed. Do not use too much water for grout cleanup. Excess water will cause variation in color and may cause shrinkage, cracks or pinholes. Smooth and level joints in a circular motion, remove excess grout from tile with a damp small pore grout sponge. It is best to change cleaning water and rinse sponge frequently. Using clean water and sponge will enhance color uniformity.

Remove or buff grout haze from the tile surface with a soft, dry cloth.

How to Install Glass Tile

At one time, bathroom and kitchen backsplash areas were usually simple continuations of whatever material was used with the countertop. If ceramic tile was used in the countertop, it was often continued up the wall to form the backsplash. Laminate, granite, marble, or solid-surface countertops similarly included a narrow strip of backsplash made from the same material. Either that or the backsplash area was simply left as a painted or wall-covered wall.

For some time now, though, glass tile of one form or another has been the trendy option for backsplashes. There is a good reason for this since glass tile tends to catch and reflect light in an almost luminescent fashion, brightening up the often dim spaces beneath overhanging wall cabinets. And since these vertical spaces don’t get the heavy use of a horizontal countertop, more delicate glass is a good option for this territory. Finally, glass is one of the easiest surfaces to clean, making it a natural for backsplash areas.

Surfing Trends?

You may well wonder if using glass tile in any way creates a danger of dating your home since it is so trendy right now. Glass tile kitchen or bathroom backsplashes are everywhere in profusion at the moment, but will your house look dated in five years? Most designers, though, agree that glass tiles in backsplashes are here to stay, showing no signs of waning over the last 20 years or so. In terms of styles, designer Maria Killam advises not to worry too much about current trends, arguing that once established, style trends usually have great staying power. Subway tiles, for example, will likely always be in style, both as traditional ceramics and as luminescent glass tiles. Similarly, pencil tiles (narrow horizontal strips) and laser-cut geometrics are likely to be in style for decades.

Color schemes, on the other hand, may become dated more quickly than basic tile shapes. Designer Susan Serra, for example, points to the aqua-blue mosaic tile that became synonymous with “modern kitchen” in the late 2000s as a trend that may have passed its peak.

Mounted Tiles Are Easiest for DIYers

Whether in mosaic sheets of tiny 3/4-by-3/4-inch tiles or larger sheets of two-by-two-inch or four-by-four-inch tiles, glass tiles mounted on mesh sheets will be easier for DIYers to install. Rather than cutting tiles with wet saws, mosaic sheets can be cut apart with shears to fit available spaces. Tiles attached to mesh sheets are self-spacing, with no need for spacers to establish grout lines.

Use Glass Tiles for Accent

Individual glass tiles can be interspersed with other materials, such as traditional ceramic or stone tiles, to offer a jewel-like accent within the field of a backsplash. This is a good way to incorporate expensive, designer glass tiles into your room design without breaking the budget.

Use Glass Tiles as a Border or Band

A great way to use glass tiles is by including a row of individual tiles or mosaic strips in a field of ceramic tile or another material—either as an interim accent band or as a border at the top of the backsplash. Design options are almost unlimited when you reserve glass tiles for a border or band treatment.

Continue the Backsplash to the Ceiling

Increasingly, kitchen and bath designers are extending backsplash walls all the way to the ceiling. Especially in spaces lacking in natural light, the luminescence of glass tiles can brighten a room.

Use Very Large—or Very Small—Glass Subway Tiles

Combining tradition and trendiness, the standard three-by-six-inch subway tile can be replaced with tiny mosaic tiles or large individual tiles using the same two-to-one size proportions. Glass tiles with beveled edges are especially great in these variations of the classic subway tile look.

Install a Glass Tile Inset

The space immediately behind a range cooktop can be a great place for a full inset panel made from glass tiles. Glass is very easy to clean up, and it can help highlight a unique commercial cooking range. The space behind a sink is also a good place for a glass tile insert panel.

Use Contrasting Grout

Backsplashes, especially in kitchens, can be susceptible to stains. Glass tiles clean up easily, but grout lines are a different matter. Using a contrasting darker grout rather than traditional white grout can be a good option. Traditional glass subway tile, for example, can be paired with a dark grout that offers contrast while also simplifying cleanup.

Consider Recycled Glass

If you are environmentally conscious, shop for tiles made from recycled glass. Increasingly available from online retailers, recycled glass tiles are a “green” choice that can also be truly unique in appearance.

Look at the latest editions of home remodeling magazines or walk into any custom home decoration store and you’ll see the latest kitchen backsplashes are all glass tiles. When you see the beauty and warmth that glass brings, you’ll wonder why it took so long for home designers to think of the idea. Adding a glass tile backsplash is not as difficult as you may think. You’ll notice a tremendous difference in the overall look of your kitchen after installing one of these backsplashes [source: Home Remodeling, HGTV].

Here’s a list of materials you’ll need

  • Glass tiles
  • Glass cutter
  • Sandpaper
  • Adhesive
  • Grout
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Adhesive trowel
  • Grout trowel
  • Wax pencil
  • Ruler or tape measure
  1. Prepare the wall by cleaning and smoothing it with the sandpaper. Wipe the wall clean with a damp cloth.
  2. Lay the tiles out on a flat surface exactly as they’ll go on the wall.
  3. With the wax pencil and a ruler or tape measure, draw a straight centerline from the top to the bottom of the wall in the center of the area that the tiles will cover. This will help guide your tile placement.
  4. Start at the bottom of the wall, alongside the centerline and use the trowel to apply just enough adhesive for a few tiles.
  5. Place tiles over the adhesive, pressing down evenly. Keep on adding adhesive and tiles, one next to the other, until the entire area is covered. Make sure the tiles don’t touch each other.
  6. Cut any tiles that don’t fit exactly at the edge of the area with the glass cutter. Be sure to measure and mark the tiles carefully before cutting them.
  7. Wait 24 hours for the adhesive to dry before applying grout. Mix the grout according to its instructions and apply the grout in the tile seams with the grout trowel.
  8. Gently remove the excess grout from the tiles with a wet sponge.

Related Content

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

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I want to do 3×12″ Bliss Elements glass tile in white on my shower walls it will end up being 100 ft sq of wall tile in all. However, I have read about glass cracking post installation. What questions should I ask my installer about his process/products he’s going to use? What needs to be done to prevent glass from cracking once it is up? I’ve read about anti fracture membranes, but that sounds like it is for floors and not walls?

Cabot & Rowe

We install lots of glass tiles and have no reported failures. We to take some precautions in handling glass tiles; Excellent preparation is key, choosing the correct thinset, installing the thinset properly, cutting the tiles properly, avoiding L shaped tiles, drilling the tiles properly, and allowing for proper expansion and contraction.

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

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Creative Tile Eastern CT

Michelle, FWIW I recently attended an invitation only training seminar. There was over 1000 years combined experience between 32 attendees. When the topic of glass tile came up approx. half the group will not use it. TCNA Handbook states refer to the specific manufacturers installation instructions. Many manufacturers refer you to the handbook. There are guidelines but the risk is to great. The installer being the last to touch the material will be the one held responsible for problems. Glass is a completely different animal and the installers are the guinea pigs. Go by the manufacturers instructions only. Contact them directly and have a copy on hand. Ghosting is another problem. The cracks I have experienced post installation after following all manufacturers including the recommended thinsets. I personally would not do the job as the risk is to great. I’m sure there are many who will disagree. Hope all works out for you.

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Creative Tile Eastern CT

C&R, Nice installation. The crisp vertical joints on the angled wall show your expertise. Would you mind sharing substrate info?

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Pretty much the same comments as C&R.

I’ve never had a negative issue with glass, but that’s probably because I don’t treat glass like porcelain.

Most gripes on the forum, or complaints I get via email, fall into one of the following categories:
-Installers using the wrong thinset. Either wrong color; gray instead of white, or modified versus unmodified. As previously written, follow the manufacturer’s advice.
-Installers leaving ridges in the thinset that telegraph through the glass.
-Using epoxy grout, where the grout is stronger than the tile. You get a little differential movement for whatever reason and the tile fails before the grout. Cracked tile instead of cracked grout. Epoxy isn’t necessarily “wrong”. It’s just something that has to be considered in conjunction with the tile and the layout of the shower.
-Cracks at door hinges or glass clips because too much pressure was put on the glass. I overdrill the hole in the glass and sleeve the hole. The sleeve transfers compression forces from the clip to the substrate, bypassing the tile.
-Not treating cut edges. See C&R’s photo above.
-Glass tile being thinner than the surrounding porcelain. Instead of padding it out, the installer recesses the glass tile so there is lippage between the glass and the porcelain.
-Scratches can sometimes be an issue with sanded grout. Again, that’s usually operator error instead of an incompatibility between sanded grout and glass.

Just some points to ponder. Not all have to be incorporated into an installation, because they don’t all apply all of the time. But they should be considered.

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I didn’t address a part of your post. You asked about anti-fracture membranes.

True AFMs are not usually used on shower walls. However, you can get a little bit of stress relief by using a topical membrane, ether sheet or liquid. They are not true uncouplers or AFMs, but by being a bit flexible and having just a bit of give with regards to shear forces, they do provide a slight amount of relief from stress.

Plus, in my opinion, they are a superior form of waterproofing in a shower.

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Michelle O’Connor

Thank you SOOOO much for the information. What is the name of the topical membrane product? Is that redgard/hydroban for liquid and kerdi for the sheet?

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You hit on all of them.

I’m not much of a RedGard person, just a personal preference. I prefer HB liquid over RG when it comes to liquid membranes. For sheet membranes, Kerdi and Hydroban sheet are the two I use most often.

Nobel makes a fine line of sheet membranes too. I used them for interior floors and exterior patios and tiled balconies more than for showers.

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates a fast, no-fuss way to tile a kitchen backsplash.

1. Snap a chalk line onto the backsplash wall 5½ inches above the countertop.
2. Use a utility knife and steel-rule straightedge to cut five ⅜-inch-wide strips of tile adhesive. Notch the adhesive strips, if necessary, to fit around obstacles.
3. Peel off the protective membrane from the back of the tile-adhesive strips and press them to the wall just below the chalk line.
4. Cut the glass-tile sheets into 5½-inch-wide strips by slicing through the mesh on the back of the sheets with a utility knife. Repeat to cut enough tile to cover the backsplash wall.
5. Use a wet saw to square-cut the end of the first glass-tile strip. Allow the tile strip to dry completely before proceeding.
6. Peel off the protective membrane from the tile adhesive on the wall.
7. Lay the steel rule on the countertop and up against the backsplash wall to create an even grout-joint space beneath the tile.
8. Lightly set the first tile sheet into place against the tile adhesive. Once satisfied with its positioning, firmly press the tile to the wall. Repeat to install the remaining tile sheets.
9. Next, apply 1½-inch-wide masking-tape strips along the top and bottom edges of the tile backsplash, and to the sink faucet.
10. Use a rubber float to force premixed tile grout into the joints between the tiles on the backsplash wall. Scrape away excess grout from the countertop with a margin trowel.
11. Allow the grout to firm up for about 10 minutes, and then wipe the tiled surface clean with a sponge and clean water. Peel off the masking tape.
12. Wait about 5 hours for the grout to harden, then use a slightly dampened cotton cloth to buff off any hazy grout residue from the tiled surface.

Glass tiles are a wonderful way to create beautiful accents in your kitchen or bathroom. You can even do the installation of glass tiles yourself, although the process can be difficult. Read on to know more.

How to Install Glass Tile

Glass tiles are a wonderful way to create beautiful accents in your kitchen or bathroom. You can even do the installation of glass tiles yourself, although the process can be difficult. Read on to know more…

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

Using glass tiles in your home makes it look chic and stylish, and can completely transform the appearance of any room. In recent years, they have emerged as a very good way of creating a good impact in an otherwise drab room. They come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and textures. Special handcrafted glass tiles are also available, although they are a bit on the pricier side. They can also be used as mosaics or as border tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. Generally, two types of finishes are available for glass tiles: glossy and matte. The cost of the installation of glass tiles is quite high, so you might consider installing it yourself. It is not very hard to do, though the process can be a bit tricky and time-consuming.


The first step in installing glass tiles is to make sure that the surface on which you are going to place them is completely smooth and perfectly clean. The area should be dry and free from cracks. Also, make sure that the area that you are tiling is able to withstand the full weight of the tiles, especially if it is the ceiling.

Would you like to write for us? Well, we’re looking for good writers who want to spread the word. Get in touch with us and we’ll talk.

There are two types of adhesives that can be used. One is a thin-set adhesive, which has a very strong hold and weighs a lot less than the other variety. The thick-set Portland cement can also be used. A thin-set adhesive is generally recommended, because it sets faster and is relatively inexpensive. Using a thin-set will enhance the look of the tile, because the adhesive is translucent. Avoid using materials like epoxy and mastic, because they have a low bond strength and are also prone to yellowing.

Apply the adhesive using a V-notched trowel held at a 45° angle to the surface. Take care that you apply only as much adhesive as can be employed within 15 minutes. Also, apply the adhesive as uniformly and thinly as possible, because if it is applied thickly, it might result in uneven spots and shrinkage.

Check the tile sheet for any debris before installing it. Place the tile over the adhesive with the glass side facing you. The mesh should be placed over the surface; use a mallet or a hammer to lightly tap on a wooden block held against the tile sheet. Avoid using too much pressure while tapping with the mallet, as this may damage the tiles. If there is any excess adhesive present around the edges of the tiles, remove it with the help of a blunt knife. Let the tiles dry for at least 24 hours before grouting them.

Remember to remove the transparent plastic sheet that covers the glass tiles before applying grout. Apply white grout with the help of a rubber grout float between the joints of the tiles. Remove the excess grout with a sponge after 10-15 minutes. Rinse the grout frequently to avoid smearing the tiles. After 72 hours following the application of grout, mist the tiles with water, as it aids the curing process. You might find a faint discoloration in the tiles just after installation; do not get overly concerned about this, as this discoloration can be easily removed by wiping the tiles with a cheese cloth.

Some useful tips would be to use a special glass cutter or a wet saw if you are cutting the glass, and to ensure that the surface is level before you apply adhesives.

How to Install Glass Tile


Glass tile offers a unique visual appeal that can’t be achieved with standard ceramic or porcelain tile. Color options are almost limitless, and glass tile mosaics come in an array of shapes, sizes, colors and textures. This allows for a limitless amount of design possibilities and combinations to make your project truly stunning. Given the reflective nature of glass tile, it also helps to brighten up your space and give the illusion that it is larger than it actually is.

Glass tile is very low maintenance and super easy to clean, making upkeep a breeze. Regular glass or window cleaner and a cloth is all it takes to keep your glass tile and mosaic installation sparkling like new. This makes it great for showers and backsplashes where soap and dirt buildup occurs more frequently.

Each of our showrooms has designers that would be happy to help you pick out the perfect tile for your project. Check out our pre-visit flyer for ideas to help prepare you for your appointment.

How to Install Glass Tile


Glass tile, while beautiful, can present it’s own set of installation challenges. Like any installation, you should always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions. That being said, below we will provide some tips and tricks to help your installation go a bit smoother.

Cutting Glass Tile

After you plan out the layout and design of your glass tile project, the next step is cutting the tiles to fit that plan. There are a few options when it comes to equipment for cutting glass tile; a wet saw or a tile cutter (also known as a “snap cutter”). A wet saw is great for larger installations, as tile can be cut much faster. It will also leave a much softer, more finished looking edge. In addition to the saw, you’ll also want to get a good glass blade to ensure the best results. Louisville Tile carries several options for wet saws and glass blades.

Louisville Tile carries 2 brands of tile cutters; B.O.E. and QEP. Tile cutters come in various sizes, giving the ability to cut larger format tile in addition to glass tile. If you are only cutting glass, a smaller size will work in most cases. The process, as you’ll see below, is to score the tile first, then use the handle to apply pressure and snap the tile. When it comes to glass tile, anything larger than 4″ will require a wet saw.

Tip: for glass tile, a washable marker can be used to mark the tile before scoring.

Choosing the right adhesive

Once you’ve got your tile cut, it’s time to install. Choosing the correct thinset/mortar is important with any tile, and glass tile is no exception. It is important to use a mortar that is designed specifically for glass tile. A standard mortar will eventually shrink, leaving the possibility of cracking in your glass. The other factor to consider is the color of the mortar. Since your glass tile will be translucent, it is important to choose a white thinset so that the true color of your tile can show. Laticrete makes a product specifically for glass tile, Laticrete Glass Tile Adhesive, which is stocked by Louisville Tile. It is formulated in a way that will limit shrinkage, provide a consistent ultra white color across the installation area and has superior non-sag properties.

Choosing the right grout

Choosing the correct grout is important in any tile installation, but maybe even more so when it comes to installing glass tile. Sanded grout contains course grains of sand that could scratch the surface of a glass tile, making it unsuitable in a glass tile installation. Unsanded grout is a good option, in some installations, since there isn’t sand that can cause damage to your tile. In some cases, TEC Power Grout or Laticrete Permacolor are the best option. While they still contain an aggregate, the shape of the pellets is rounded, making it safe to use with glass tile. On glass tile with a wider grout joint Power Grout or Permacolor will be your best options, as unsanded grout won’t fill the joint well enough.

How to Install Glass Tile

Is Glass Tile a DIY Project?

While tile installation (glass tile included) has been made easier through product development, not every job is suitable for your average DIY’ers. While it’s possible to install glass tile on your own, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend you hire a professional to help bring your project to life. Glass tile equipment and installation products are expensive, and the slightest mistake can result in an unsightly final product.

Each Louisville Tile location can provide you with a list of preferred installers in your area. These are people that we’ve worked with and trust, but aren’t associated directly with Louisville Tile. If you’d like to find a professional to complete your project, give your local branch a call. We also have designers at each location that can help take your ideas and turn them into reality. Appointments are encouraged in the showroom so that our designers can give your project the time and attention it deserves.

Living Well Real Estate Blog

How to Install Glass Tile

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates a fast, no-fuss way to tile a kitchen backsplash.

1. Snap a chalk line onto the backsplash wall 5½ inches above the countertop.
2. Use a utility knife and steel-rule straightedge to cut five ⅜-inch-wide strips of tile adhesive. Notch the adhesive strips, if necessary, to fit around obstacles.
3. Peel off the protective membrane from the back of the tile-adhesive strips and press them to the wall just below the chalk line.
4. Cut the glass-tile sheets into 5½-inch-wide strips by slicing through the mesh on the back of the sheets with a utility knife. Repeat to cut enough tile to cover the backsplash wall.
5. Use a wet saw to square-cut the end of the first glass-tile strip. Allow the tile strip to dry completely before proceeding.
6. Peel off the protective membrane from the tile adhesive on the wall.
7. Lay the steel rule on the countertop and up against the backsplash wall to create an even grout-joint space beneath the tile.
8. Lightly set the first tile sheet into place against the tile adhesive. Once satisfied with its positioning, firmly press the tile to the wall. Repeat to install the remaining tile sheets.
9. Next, apply 1½-inch-wide masking-tape strips along the top and bottom edges of the tile backsplash, and to the sink faucet.
10. Use a rubber float to force premixed tile grout into the joints between the tiles on the backsplash wall. Scrape away excess grout from the countertop with a margin trowel.
11. Allow the grout to firm up for about 10 minutes, and then wipe the tiled surface clean with a sponge and clean water. Peel off the masking tape.
12. Wait about 5 hours for the grout to harden, then use a slightly dampened cotton cloth to buff off any hazy grout residue from the tiled surface.

1. Surface preparation is key

As with any adhered installation, your bond is only as good as what you bond to, it can’t be emphasized enough that the surface must be sound stable and free from contaminants especially dust, and if you’re installing over wood-framed or steel stud walls, they will most likely require additional blocking to resist deflection and impact glass is a very fragile finish and needs additional support to resist cracking. When you’re installing over wood joists, a non bonded wire reinforced mortar bed would be the best method to add rigidity to the substrate. Another issue to consider is for transparent and translucent tiles variations in the substrates color or absorption rate can show differences through the tile. If patching is required, patch the entire surface and allow it to dry sufficiently before installing tile.

2. Choose the appropriate thinset and use it correctly

Glass tile has become a very desirable material for designers and homeowners, they want the clean transparent and vibrant look of glass. When these tiles are clear or transparent and especially when they’re smooth, they pose additional installation challenges. The glass backsplash tile has a smooth surface, it’s important to use a premium high-performance thinset mortar which has a higher polymer content to achieve a strong chemical bond to install these glass tiles, particularly some of the larger ones.

How to Install Glass Tile

When setting traditional ceramic tile , the color of a thinset mortar is generally not a concern. However, with transparent or translucent glass, the mortars seen right through the tile if the color varies in the mortar, so does the shade of the glass tile to help eliminate variations across an installation of glass tile kitchen. In a typical ceramic tile installation, you spread a thin set mortar on the surface with a notched trowel, pressing the ceramic tile into the mortar with a back-and-forth motion, this sliding motion helps to collapse the ridges and improve the contact between a tie and the thinset mortar.

The industry-standard is to achieve contact to at least 80% of the back of the tile, but this can leave many voids in the mortar behind the tile, it’s not normally a problem for ceramic tile, but these voids are visible through transparent or translucent glass. Air pockets or voids in ordinary mortar are also randomly distributed throughout the installation and can cause a distraction from the beauty of the glass to avoid air spaces behind the tile. The proper installation method is to trial the specifically formulated glass tile thin set mortar on the substrate with a notched trowel, but this time knock down the ridges, then spread or back butter and even thin film about a sixteenth of an inch thick onto the back of the clear glass tile, these two mortared surfaces are pressed together with a back-and-forth motion to eliminate any voids.

How to Install Glass Tile

3. Lay the glass tiles for backsplash

Starting with your bottom row of tiles, apply tiles to the thin-set. Press and wiggle each tile to set into the mortar, keeping each flat, plumb and level. Use 1/8-inch spacers to keep a consistent space between tiles as you go. You can pull out the spacers when the mortar starts to dry. Add accent tiles or liner bars where you designed them. Keep an eye on vertical and horizontal lines and use the level to keep you honest.

4. Cut and polish glass tiles

Cut tiles as needed. You will likely have a space that does not perfectly fit the tiles that you have, create a need for only a portion of a tile. In order to fill these gaps, you will need to cut the tiles to size. You will need to use a wet saw with a blade designed for glass in order to cut glass tiles. Set the tile stop to the correct width, put the cutting blade down and score the tile with one smooth motion. Pull down the handle to snap the tile into two pieces. If the cut end tiles are to be exposed, polish the cut edges with a grinding stone to give the tiles a more finished look.

How to Install Glass Tile

5. Select the right grout for glass tile backsplash kitchen

After your thinset for glass tile is fully set, you’re now ready to start grouting. The acceptable type of grout may vary, so check the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations specifically for opacity and exposure to water, be sure the grout you choose will not scratch the surface of the glass. And after grouting, if you leave any grout haze on the surface, assure any cleaners you use are approved for use over glass.

6. Always install movement joints

When failures occur in kitchen glass tile installations, they are typically due to expansion from exposure to heat. Either from sunlight or from steam, the coefficient of thermal expansion and physical strengths of glass tile are very different from porcelain tile or concrete. High-performance inset mortars and grouts will absorb some of this movement. However, it’s more critical with glass tile to incorporate soft movement joints in the assembly, this will allow space for the tile to expand as it’s heated and help prevent cracking in the glass from compression.

How to Install Glass Tile

How to Install Glass Tile

In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates a fast, no-fuss way to tile a kitchen backsplash.

1. Snap a chalk line onto the backsplash wall 5½ inches above the countertop.
2. Use a utility knife and steel-rule straightedge to cut five ⅜-inch-wide strips of tile adhesive. Notch the adhesive strips, if necessary, to fit around obstacles.
3. Peel off the protective membrane from the back of the tile-adhesive strips and press them to the wall just below the chalk line.
4. Cut the glass-tile sheets into 5½-inch-wide strips by slicing through the mesh on the back of the sheets with a utility knife. Repeat to cut enough tile to cover the backsplash wall.
5. Use a wet saw to square-cut the end of the first glass-tile strip. Allow the tile strip to dry completely before proceeding.
6. Peel off the protective membrane from the tile adhesive on the wall.
7. Lay the steel rule on the countertop and up against the backsplash wall to create an even grout-joint space beneath the tile.
8. Lightly set the first tile sheet into place against the tile adhesive. Once satisfied with its positioning, firmly press the tile to the wall. Repeat to install the remaining tile sheets.
9. Next, apply 1½-inch-wide masking-tape strips along the top and bottom edges of the tile backsplash, and to the sink faucet.
10. Use a rubber float to force premixed tile grout into the joints between the tiles on the backsplash wall. Scrape away excess grout from the countertop with a margin trowel.
11. Allow the grout to firm up for about 10 minutes, and then wipe the tiled surface clean with a sponge and clean water. Peel off the masking tape.
12. Wait about 5 hours for the grout to harden, then use a slightly dampened cotton cloth to buff off any hazy grout residue from the tiled surface.

How to Install Glass TileGreasy or sauce-laden splashes are a pain to clean off of painted walls, but with a properly installed tile backsplash, cleanup is a breeze! Glass tile is a particularly good choice not only because it is beautiful, but is extremely stain resistant and wipes clean with little to no effort. Here is how to install a glass tile backsplash in your kitchen.

You will need:

  • Glass tile of your choice
  • Grout
  • Thinset
  • Tile cutters
  • Tape

Step 1:

Turn off the power and gas (if applicable) to the appliances in the area and move the stove to an area that is out of the way.

Step 2:

Use drywall screws to attach a small board across the bottom area that is to be the end of your backspalsh – usually 1/8″ above the top of your stove. Lay down scrap cardboard on the counters to act as a spacer and prevent them from being damaged during the process.

Step 3:

Use a medium-grain sanding block or sponge to rough up the surface of the pain on your wall. Hold the block or sponge in your hand and work in moderate circles to rough up the entire area where your backsplash will be. Use a large dry paintbrush to brush away some of the dust from the wall if needed.

Step 4:

Now you can mark a line across the top of your placeholder board to mark the bottom of your backsplash and then choose where you would like the focal point to be in your design. An easy and natural choice is in the center. Measure the horizontal center of this area, and mark this centerline on the ledger with painter’s tape so that it’s visible as you install tile on the wall.

Step 5:

Now, if you are designing your backsplash by hand you will need to use individual tiles to build whatever image you desire. For an easier approach, use sheets of glass tile in the color of your choice. Use thumbtacks to attach the sheets of tile to the DRY wall to be sure they fit. Cut and add wherever necessary to create as clean a fit as possible.

Step 6:

Take the tile sheets down, making sure to lay them face down on a flat surface in the same order as they were on the wall. Apply your thin set to the wall.

Tip: If the area you are working on is large, you may want to do steps 6 and 7 in stages to make it easier!

Step 7:

Begin applying the tile sheets in the same order as before. Apply even pressure over the entire surface of each sheet of tile to ensure it really takes hold in the Thinset. Use a dry grout float or even a board and hammer to very lightly to the tiles into place where necessary.

Step 8:

After you’ve applied the tile to the wall and made sure it is firmly stuck there, use a damp sponge to wipe off any adhesive that may be on the surface of the tiles.

Step 9:

Now apply your grout to the tiled surface using the float, Be sure to really fill in any gaps between tiles for a smooth, clean look.

Step 10:

Using a caulk gun and the right acrylic caulk for your grout, apply a seal all around the edges of the backsplash area, where the tiles meet your walls, cabinets, and counters. Let cure for a couple of hours. Reinstall the electrical receptacles, using longer screws if necessary. Remove the board ledger before replacing the range.

Step 11:

Now use a wet sponge and a bucket to clean the excess grout from the top of the tiles and any that may have gotten onto areas no intended.

Step 12:

Allow the grout to set for about 48 hours and then apply sealant. You are done – congratulations on your gorgeous new backsplash!

Step 13:

Move all appliances back to their proper place.

If you need help finding the perfect tile and size for your backsplash design, give one of our friendly customer service representatives a call.

HERE’S How To Install LED Lights into A Tile Wall or Ceiling

LED lights are a great way to save electricity while improving performance and value to a home remodeling project. Here we have installed a tile shower surround with string lights and glass tiles producing a strong, white light.

LED Light Strips

Using LED light strips can upgrade the look of bathroom or kitchen. You will save energy and modernize old decor and finishes or add mystery and depth to any room. LED’s are also good for stair and hall safety lighting.

Use glass, either clear or tinted and cut out tiles or accents for back lit LED designs.

Green Is Beautiful – Tech Is Empowering

Form meets function with Red Bud EX101, LLC renovations.

For instance, today’s tech allows you to lock, unlock and change the lock for guests all from your smart phone through your home Wifi, while still giving you backup protection with hard keys.

Adding energy and cost saving technology innovations improves your life

and improves more than your home.

The LED Tile Integration Technique

Installation Method

Use glass tiles and butt them by the side against a waterproof LED strip.

Hold the strip in place and keep it dry with clear or bright white adhesive caulk. Do not use regular caulk or cheap adhesive caulk for this. Do not use hard adhesives or you won’t be able to repair the installation later. Only use good quality “Adhesive Caulk.” This allows the backing on the tiles (usually white) to carry the light through the whole tile. Use adhesive caulk in a way that will allow you to cut out and remove the LED string lights if they ever need replacement.

How to Install Glass Tile LED On Glass Tile In Ceiling Creates Subway Lights Effect

LEDs can be installed behind glass tiles as a back-lighting shining directly out through the tiles. Try LED strings with very close spacing between LEDs to get an even light spread across the tiles.

Either method works with any glass tiles, but for back lighting the glass should be clear on all sides. Most glass tiles have an applied backing that helps tile adhesion. The backing on the tile ought to be scraped off or the light will be dim. Back lighting may require tinted glass or some means of light diffusion so the lights shine in a uniform manner.

Pins are used to align the LED light string pointed parallel to the glass ceiling tiles. Then the area that shows between the glass tile and the subway field tiles is covered in white adhesive caulk. If you like to finish wet areas with silicone or another caulk, that’s OK. Just put a layer over it two or more days later. Thus the LED lights are hidden until you turn them on.

How to Install Glass TileGlass Tiles Hide The LEDs When Off How to Install Glass Tile Demonstration of fiber optic effect of LEDs on a glass tile.

See how the whole glass tile lights up.
It will even transmit light to adjacent glass tiles though obviously with some loss of brightness.

This kind of installation can be done with multicolored, programmable and even remote or panel controlled light systems. When selecting a light string at a store, seek out those that can be hard-wired or that have an inline transformer.

How to Install Glass TileBetter to cut off and hard wire

Avoid using systems that have a transformer built into the plug end. They are not good for direct wiring into your shower surround tile installation.

That is, unless you want to install a hidden outlet with your LED Lighted shower surround. Which works but that part shouldn’t be hidden.

If you want to use a strip that has the transformer on the plug, then you’ll need to cut it off and use an inline transformer like this for your wire installation to be hidden.

If you’d like an LED integrated tile installation of your own,
contact Red Bud EX101, LLC in Buchanan, MI


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Waterproof LED Neon Lights, These are dimmable warm white rope lights, 50ft string.

120 LEDs/m, 110V, All Necessary Accessories Included.

Comes in bright white or 5 other colors.

Waterproof Super Bright LED Light Strip
LEDMY LED light strip. Useful as underwater lights and for any indoor or outdoor use.
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Better and Longer LED String Lights
Shine Decor Dimmable Rope Light Led Strip Lights, uses line voltage
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Other Useful LED Lighting Stuff for the Interior Designer

For use with your own LED DC string selection
LED Inline 12v Waterproof Power Transformer

For hard wiring or plug connection of LED lights

Upscale Fashion Waterfall LED bath accessory
23″ Waterfall Spillway Stainless Steel 2″ Lip and LED Light Strip Combo Warm White