Glass Tiles Information

Glass tiles are thin, flat shaped tiles used to line or cover a surface. Glass tiles come in a wide variety of shapes, transparencies, colors, and can come in combination with other materials such as stainless steel. They can be used to make a surface more durable or water repellent, or they can be used for surface decoration. Glass tiles are more rigid than ceramic or cement tiles, making them easier to break under stresses. Though they require more delicate handling, glass tiles are popular because they can refract light, offering a wider variety of surface effects than ceramic or porcelain. Glass is also impervious to water, will not fade in sunlight, and is frost-proof.

Glass tiles are typically used for walls, bathrooms, in window details, or for decoration. However, some glass tiles are manufactured for use as floor tiles. Glass floor tiles are often textured to prevent slippage when wet. Tiles come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, making them attractive for both residential and commercial use. Glass tiles can be transparent or opaque, depending upon the mixture of glass and other components such as metal oxides. Some tiles are backed with other materials like stainless steel, or coated with substances that allow the tiles to be impregnated with heat transfer dyes. Coated tiles are used to create custom glass tiles for use in murals or other artistic designs.

Glass tiles can be cast into identical shapes, such as a square or rectangle, and used with grout to cover a surface in a geometric pattern. The tiles can also be irregular in shape and used to create a free-flowing or organic design. Glass mosaics have been made this way for many years, using a variety of shapes and colors to make a unique design. Glass tiles can also be manufactured in large sheets with a mesh backing, making for easier installation.

Glass tiles are commonly manufactured by fusing, which involves placing several thin sheets of glass in layers into a kiln and heated to about 800 degrees Celsius, essentially fusing the different layers of glass together into one sheet. Glass tiles may also be manufactured using glass powders that are melted together in kilns operating at much higher temperatures. The layers of glass go through a cycle of ramps, where they are heated rapidly; and then soaks, where they are held at a specific temperature. Tiles go through the ramping and soaking process for several cycles until the kiln operator decides they have fused together to the desired effect. The fused layers are then allowed to cool over time, essentially annealing or strengthening the glass tiles.

Installing glass tiles involves using a backing such as a cement board; green board, which is water resistant; concrete; or drywall. The tiles are mounted in an adhesive and then secured together with a grout. Glass tiles may also be cut to fit into small areas or around fixtures. Tile cutters or nippers are used to shape small tiles, while a wet saw is preferable for use on larger or thicker tiles.