Glass tile is one of the most beautiful and modern tiles you can install in your home. It is also one of the most popular tiling choices today. While it looks stunning when properly and perfectly installed, it can present many problems after installation if not installed correctly. Since glass tile can be on the expensive side, it is imperative to have the installation job done right the first time.

There are also a number of glass installation horror stories, so it is to your benefit to ensure that your contractor has experience working with the materials and that you do sufficient research before starting any DIY glass tile installations. If you will be embarking upon doing glass tile projects yourself, remember:

  • It is safer to use an opaque or semi-opaque glass tile. While translucent tile is appealing, if you end up with any "ghosting" more opaque tile will hide it better.
  • You must use a proper thinset material for your glass tile. This will help prevent "ghosting." It is advisable to take the glass tile manufacturer's suggestion when it comes to your thinset.
  • In most cases you should use a white thinset material and a white grouting material, especially if you are using 100 percent translucent glass tile. There are some home improvement stores that have computer programs that allow you to see a computer-based image of what different colored thinset materials look like with different colored glass tiles.
  • For a novice, it is best to use smaller sized glass tiles. They are easier to work with and are much less likely to crack.
  • Always ensure that your grout is allowed to properly cure. You can cover it with plastic. It should be wet (you can continually dampen it) and should cure for at least 28 days. This will ensure that the grout is high strength--less porous and less brittle.

Some common problems that occur with glass tile are "ghosting," cracking, and moisture build up. Ghosting is when you see a streaky, whitish haze behind your glass. To help avoid this, you should choose an appropriate thinset material. You also need to make sure that the thinset is absolutely level before applying your glass. Some Phoenix bathroom remodeling contractors in my area have experienced ghosting even when installation instructions are carefully followed. Because of this, it is sometimes suggested that homeowners use a more opaque glass tile to hide the defect.

Moisture is one of the more damaging problems you can have with glass tile. If moisture gets under the glass tile it can foster mildew and mold growth in a short period of time. One way to avoid this is to ensure that your grout is properly cured. If your grout is porous from not being set for an appropriate amount of time, then water is more likely to see into the grout and under the glass tiles. This is a big issue in bathrooms, pools, and other areas where your tiles might be consistently exposed to water. To avoid this problem you must let your grout set for at least 28 days. Grout also loves moisture so feel free to continually dampen it during the 28 days. You can cover it with plastic to lock in the moisture longer. Often times, a homeowner will notice that the grout looks dry and perfectly set within a few days. This is not a good sign. It should stay continually moist. Letting it cure for 28 days ensures that the grout with be at its toughest strength which means that it will be less porous so there is less of a chance that water will seep through it.

Cracking is also a significant problem that can occur during or after installation. Phoenix kitchen remodeling contractors get lots of requests for glass tile backsplashes. These are an incredibly hot remodeling idea right now, and glass tile is the hottest tile on the market. It is also the most "flexible" tile on the market. It expands and contracts to adjust to temperature changes more than most other tiling materials. Because of this, it can be more prone to crack. Larger pieces of glass tile are even more susceptible to cracking, so much so that there are certain sizes that are no longer made because they just cracked way too often during and after installation. You can buy smaller to tiles to try and avoid this. If you use slightly larger pieces of glass tile, just be sure that you properly caulk your joints and use the proper expansion joints.