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Unread 07-25-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
adventuresinheatherland
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Advice on Large Format Glass Tiles

Has anyone used large format glass tiles for a kitchen backsplash? The tiles in question are 9x18", with rectified edges.

I have my heart set on them, but I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to be a huge pain in the a**.

So far I see 2 hurdles to overcome:

1. How the heck do I cut out the squares for the outlets (4 in total)

2. What can I do to prepare the wall for large format? It's too late in the game to reframe the walls, but when I put a 6' level against them, there's some peaks and valleys that are going to be a problem.

Also, I know nothing about setting glass tiles. Can someone share a link with some insight, i.e. best saw blade, best thinset, best advice...

Thanks
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Unread 07-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Heather, if you'll type "glass tile" or/and "glass tiles" into the Advanced Search feature and ask for Titles you'll find lots of reading about the subject and help you narrow your narrow your questions a bit. Doing the same with "saw blade" and similar terms will get you a world of opinion on blades for glass tile, too, and opinions on cutting them without a wet saw at all.

What are you calling "large format," by the way?
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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Thanks CX. I've poured through the other posts, I was just hoping to get a more current opinion, like someone that has done a project like this in 2013. I'd hate to buy a thinset that was recommendeded in 2009 and now there's something better on the market.

I do consider 9X18" to be a large format tile, that's why I'm calling it that. Is this wrong?
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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What is on the back of these tiles - are they coated for color/transparency?

I have not done anything that big, but I did do a 4x8. There really isn't much difference between porcelain and glass IMO outside of glass being more "chippy" even with a good procelain blade. You really need a good glass blade (i think mine is a MK jobby) the grain size is much smaller and it make a huge difference in cut - they also get dull very easily and you need to sharpen them if you start getting cracking/a change in pressure.

I wouldn't hesitate using any good modified rated for glass or a glass specific thinset - most likely your glass is enamel coated on the back - so the thinset is not bonding to glass anyway...

Big tiles are big tiles, and you already know how that goes...
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather
I do consider 9X18" to be a large format tile, that's why I'm calling it that. Is this wrong?
Nope, I just missed the size in your first post. That's very large in glass tile terms.

You really, really, want to read and follow the installation instructions of the tile manufacturer, including their recommendation of bonding mortars. If they recommend one or more by name, use one of those.

Keep in mind that there will be at least two opinions here on ever thinset mortar you might select, one saying it's wonderful, one saying to avoid it. If you find one you like, use it. If not, read the threads with recommendations from mortars on the manufacturer's list for glass tile installation and pick the opinion you like best. Seriously.

The best choices are generally made from a manufacturer who's products are readily available to you. Every one of the manufacturers discussed on these forums makes at least one good mortar for your application, some of which might appear on the glass manufacturer's list.

With glass tile that large, read and follow the tile manufacturer's recommendations to the letter. And then prepare yourownself for some problems anyway.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:32 PM   #6
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@Kevin

They are painted on the back, they are also kiln fired... I haven't figured out if the way they are made means anything to the choices I make for products.

Thanks for the blade recommendation. I'll google that. I am prepared for them looking a wee bit chippy, do you have any tricks for fixing that after a cut to make it prettier? Or should I bank on always hiding the cut edge?
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:39 PM   #7
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@cx

Isn't it funny that I'm usually suspicious of manufacturers's product recommendations? I always figure they are in cahoots with someone to make more money... But that makes good sense. I will read the instructions, fancy that.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
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I believe the coating on the backs of those types is porcelain enamel, so I would have to be convinced that bonding is any different then porcelain.

I don't think you have to put up with any chipping given a good blade, this is the edge of my backsplash up close - that is a cut edge, with a slight sanding to take off the sharp edge and to match the frosting of the front surface - prettyy much the same as you would have to do on a thru body porcelain that you wanted to show the edge of.

You will need to experiment to see if you need to cut the glass upside down to lessen the chipping of the coating.

I used a struck joint (for the grout) to keep the internal reflections that glass has.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 03:58 PM   #9
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That looks awesome! Very nice.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 05:33 PM   #10
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When setting glass tiles you want to be very careful to avoid any L shapes. Sharp corners around electrical outlets are where cracks will form. If this backsplash has no receptacles then you will be OK. If you are trying to cut squares into this glass you are asking for cracked glass tiles down the road.

Somewhat carefully typed on teensy cell phone keys.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 05:34 PM   #11
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If you want to cut holes for receptacles you'll have to do it like the mirror installers do using to round holes drilled in one above the other.

Somewhat carefully typed on teensy cell phone keys.
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Unread 07-25-2013, 07:02 PM   #12
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@Paul

That's good to know. I have 4 outlets- and I was pretty sure that was going to invite some trouble. Drilling round holes makes sense.
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