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Unread 09-29-2016, 04:26 PM   #1
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Glass tiles and shower doors - stopping the cracking

We just finished a 40x40 full kerdi board shower installation using AS 6x12 glass tiles. Unlike most of the glass tiles we've encountered, these were a particular bear to work with. They would crack, chip, and spall like crazy. As an added bonus they were each cupped differently. Some so badly we could only use them as halves.

Our Montolit CPV blade helped tremendously, but the whole installation was quite frustrating for us as well as the customer.

We managed to drill a hole in a tile for the shower arm. Only took 1 try. We let the tile set overnight and installed it the next day using the same Laticrete GTA as the rest of the installation. We waited a weekend to grout with Fusion Pro. 10 days later the shower arm tile cracked on its own.



Then come the shower glass door installers (who know everything)

The plan is to have a fixed panel about 8 inches wide on each side of the the shower walls with a 24 inch left hand door attached to the right side panel.

So far so good.

They agree to no holes in the horizontal surfaces.
They agree to let me drill the holes in the wall tiles
They agree to NOT use those plastic wall anchors, letting the screw pass through the tile without touching it, going right into the shiny, new studs framed in place.
They agree to fill the screw holes with silicone.

The first holes where they didn't use the plastic anchors went well. The clips went in with no cracking of the tiles. The 3rd and 4th holes cracked the glass tiles. While we could see what we thought were traces of the plastic anchors, they denied using them. The radial cracks were suspicious though.

The complaint - when they added the weight of the door, the pressure on the bottom hinge broke the glass tiles.


A solution from the very helpful staff at AS was to have several tiles sent back to the manufacturer in China where they would waterjet them for free. We called this plan A. (for Ain't Gonna Happen) The waterjet pattern would allow for the wall mounted, glass holding 'clips' to set against the tile substrate which would now be inserted pieces of corian. This would make the tiles in U shaped pattern with 2 fairly sharp radius corners. The turn around time would be 6 weeks or more.

In the meantime we instituted plan B

1- Remove the broken glass tiles. This was not traumatic as expected. A bit of experienced chiseling got the thinset removed from the kerdi board.
2- Using the same aerated PVC molding as the rest of the bathroom, I fabricated a piece of PVC that would replace a section of the Kerdi board and rest firmly against the wall studs
3- The PVC had a raised area 3/8" wide, the width of the glass panels. These raised areas stuck away from the wall the same depth (plus a smidge more) than the wall tiles.
4- The PVC can be cut, drilled, sanded, and screwed just like wood.
5- We Sikaflex'd the PVC edges to the kerdi board for waterproofing.
6- The tiles were installed on either side of the PVC.
7- The 3/8" gap below each shim was grouted closed.

These shims allowed the clips to stand ever-so-slightly proud of the glass tiles, taking the glass tiles out of the equation. The glass panels and clips hid the shims and the added grout line.

These pictures were taken on day 2 (today) I'll post any changes if they occur.
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Unread 09-29-2016, 04:30 PM   #2
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Can someone rotate the second and last 2 pictures, please?
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Unread 09-29-2016, 06:31 PM   #3
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Unread 09-29-2016, 06:44 PM   #4
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Thanks
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Unread 09-29-2016, 07:43 PM   #5
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And the glass installers win again

Don't nobody ever tell that Paul that something can't be done

Good job.
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Unread 09-30-2016, 04:53 AM   #6
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Paul
Never a fan of foam boards for wall use if frameless shower doors are going to be installed. Do you think this would have happened if you did mud or cement board?
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Unread 09-30-2016, 06:12 AM   #7
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I thought about that, but this particular glass tile was such a PITA they stopped selling it.

We've never had a problem with shower doors and glass tiles over foam boards before....
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Unread 09-30-2016, 11:20 PM   #8
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tough break

no pun intended --

I like the idea of a pillow block to put the load directly on the substrate.

-custom cut piece of polished stainless would be nice . . .

-we've used this material:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

--available in varied thicknesses

I imagine the amount of compression to distort the kerdi board under the mounting plate and the glass tile in order to cause cracking would be yooooooge

-but it is conceivable -- I think it good policy overall to isolate glass tiles as much as is possible, and in anyway possible, even to the extent of isolating yourself from glass tile

I'm somewhat surprised glass door hinge manufactures don' t supply and specify their own pillow blocks for glass tile installations --

--But then I'm surprised at a lot of stuff.
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Unread 10-02-2016, 08:23 AM   #9
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Never a fan of glass tile anyway!
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Unread 10-02-2016, 08:36 AM   #10
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After seeing all the cracked glass projects that Dave Gobis posts, I've taken the Chick-Fil-A route and clucked all the way out of every quote for glass tile work. Lest I could convince them in the error of their ways.

But leave it to Paul to tackle the most challenging installs.

"I'm not gonna try it! I know, let's get Paulie to try it."
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Unread 10-02-2016, 11:27 AM   #11
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There's some neat looking glass installs,and some,not so eye pleasing glass installs. I don't have a problem installing glass tile,as long as the material is fairly small,in regards to size of material.

And kudos to Paul,for putting on his thinking cap,and rectifying a dilemma!
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Unread 10-02-2016, 05:46 PM   #12
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That's a nice glass looking shower , Paul

I like the way you insert the finished molding in between the glass tiles and the glass blocks -- window -- . Also , the baseboard looks good and wonder if you came up with the idea . A better pic if you don't mind ?

The bathroom is full of balanced details , great job .


Would you say that the same prep as behind the glass door hinges would work for a grab bar ?
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Unread 10-02-2016, 08:28 PM   #13
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Roberto,

The trim was installed courtesy of Ed Crain; carpenter par excellance. The bottom row had to be dead level at times due to the vanity mirror, doorway, window, and shower tiles. The ceiling is way crooked. His skill at changing the 1 inch steps in the crown moulding slightly to hide the wavy ceiling is superb. Its the same detail for the trim all throughout this house. I'll let him know of your praise.

Yes I'll use the same technique behind the next grab bar in a glass shower.
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