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Old 07-07-2009, 05:23 PM   #1
Pippabean
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How to install large tempered glass sheets around bathtub?

I know, I know this is technically not a stone/tile question, but I've been directed to this page by so many people whom I've been asking this question, so that now here I am asking:

What thinset/mirrormastic/tile-adhesive do I use to install LARGE (31" x 63") tempered glass sheets on walls?

How much spacing do I leave between sheets? 1/8" enough?

What kind of grout do I use, or is it best to just use silicone?

I would love to hear from somebody with some experience with such a project.

For illustration purposes I've added a couple of pictures:

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Old 07-07-2009, 05:51 PM   #2
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Silicone. Industrial strength. The real stinky stuff.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:13 PM   #3
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if you notice on your pics the panels are set in u-chanel, they set the glass on 1/8th shims to allow for exp/contraction as well as to give the glass a soft seat (tempered doesnt like to sit on hard surface) then just silicone to fix the panels. your other option is clamps. but the panel is still gonna want to sit up off the tile surface abit. like this.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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Hi Kid,

My question is about adhering the glass sheets to the wall. Just like glass tile.
The tricky part is to use just the right thinset or mirror mastic.
Essentially it's a shower backsplash/splashback, NOT a freestanding surround.

I've seen it in Europe, and oooohhh, it's gorgeous. The glass sheets are back-powder-coated, and are NOT set into, or held by a steel groove, but adhere to the wall just as tile does.

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Old 07-07-2009, 09:06 PM   #5
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like Jason said 100% silicone get the best you can buy. I believe Jeremy is trying to enlighten you on the fact that glass exspands and contracts so you need to shim away from wall when applying silicone
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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Thanks for your responses.

So you guys all think I should use industrial strength silicone for both wall adhesion as well as in place of grout?

I have no issue about using silicone instead of grout.
I also agree that there needs to be spacing between the glass and any other hard surface.

Regarding adhesion on wall:
What I know about silicone, is that it takes a long time to actually cure and hold glass in place. How will we ever hold the glass up the wall until the silicone will do it on its own?
Thin-set holds even large, heavy material immediately. It seems to me that maybe mirror adhesive or some sort of thin-set for glass tile might be in order.

I think that at least 3 things will be crucial about the thin-set, mirror-mastic, silicon:
1. The material needs to be low water content, but cure chemically, since neither the glass nor the concrete board behind it absorbs water. Behind a large sheet of glass that moisture would have nowhere to go, and instead of drying the material would get moldy.

2. The material needs to cure quickly so as to be capable of holding the glass by itself quickly.

3. The material needs to stay flexible after curing, to allow for shrinkage and expansion of the glass.

Am I on the right way, or completely off?
Glass tile and mirror experts out there, I would appreciate your input!

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:58 PM   #7
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your confusing me here. please explain what exactly your trying to do.

If you just want your glass panels to look like they are set with no fasteners set the glass in u-chanel and tile up to it, this will give you a clean look. just not sure what your going for
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pippabean
My question is about adhering the glass sheets to the wall.

How thick is the glass? What is the substrate you are attaching to? Is the glass transparent, translucent, painted, frosted, etc....?

Oh, and got a first name for us to use?
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:14 PM   #9
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Hi Jeremy,

Sorry about being confusing. Let me try to explain.
I'm not trying to install a typicla shower door/glass wall.

I am trying to use large glass sheets instead of tile behind the bathtub and shower. If you look at the pictures on my original post, ignore the free standing glass surround, look behind on the shower wall, that's what I'd like to recreate: glass covered walls.
I hope this helps.

Thanks,

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:38 PM   #10
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Hi Dana,

oh, my name IS Pippa, short for Philippa.

The glass is 3/8" tempered back-painted white (opaque) glass originally used as table tops. It has the look of high end white glass tile.
The sheets measure 31" x 63" each.
I won't need to cut or drill any of the sheets, so tempered is ok.
We're thinking of using concrete board behind it.

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:53 PM   #11
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Hi all:

Here is a drawing of what we're trying to do.

I'v colored the glass sheets lime green, so you'll be able to see better what I mean.

Thanks,

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:16 AM   #12
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Sounds like a fun one. Oh course you know you'll have to post some 'after' photos.....

If you saw them in Europe, you may want to begin your search there....via www of course. If that turns out to be a dead end, then.......

I'd check with a local glazier for expansion gap sizes. They deal with this stuff regularly (exterior guardrails use this stuff if the sheet is big enough). I may even call a few to see if they agree, then I'd probably hedge by allowing a bit more than what they told me. I'd also use clear 100% silicone to glue and 'grout' the sheets, like Jaz said, get the industrial stuff from some place like CRLawrence. You'll also want to get some clear glazing shims to set them up a bit as Jeremy mentioned above. Brace the sheets til the silicone cures (don't skimp on the silicone), then caulk the edges. Tempered glass is very tough stuff but will literally explode into many pieces if an edge is bumped against any hard materials like a tile floor or wall. Those sheets are heavy, >100# each. You'll need a few people and glass cups to handle them safely.

To see how the silicone will look thru the glass and at corners, may want to build a mock up. One panel set over substrate with clear silicone to see if it shows thru and 2 panels at a corner to see how the corner will look. Don't need a full sheet mockup, just a corner or two to verify and adjust methods.

For the concrete board, I'd use a moisture barrier behind it and after mudding and taping the seams, I'd skim coat with white thinset.

May run your installation ideas past a local glazier too, you may find them to be a valuable resource.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:43 AM   #13
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Dana

You've given me a lot to think about and figure out. Thank you.

I have talked to several Glass fabricators, who don't seem to eager to part with information, which is why I started posting my questions on this site.

By the way, at glasskote.com you can see some of the applications of this large back-painted glass.
The Glasskote people are not a good source of info though, since they just supply the powder coating technology, not the glass. They use local glaziers to fabricate the glass, to coat and temper it, etc. Nobody yet in the Chicago area, since the whole thing is fairly new in the US.

The fact that it's permanently back-painted makes these wall-covers possible. I won't have to worry what the silicone or thin-set looks like, since it won't show through the glass.

If we ever get there, I will post pictures for sure.

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Old 07-09-2009, 09:04 AM   #14
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Here are some pictures from a glass shower I tiled.

The big panels you see are thick tempered glass pieces.

www.tietsortdesign.com This is the company that designed and installed the glass.
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:13 AM   #15
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Welcome, Pippa. If you'll go to the UserCP above, find Edit Signature on the left and enter that name there it'll appear in each post automatically for folks to use.

If those glass pannels are made for the purpose you intend, I'd want to consult the manufacturer for installation instructions and follow them to the letter.

Glass tiles are a tricky proposition in smaller sizes, and are considered "large format" when they get much bigger than 4"x4." Your pannels are huge by comparison and may well present problems we haven even thought of in the general world of ceramic tile.

It's possible they would be no more problem than the free-standing glass pannels used in shower enclosures, but once you start trying to bond them to wall surfaces you may find new issues to deal with. I'd sure wanna know what the manufacturer had in mind before I attacked the project.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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