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Unread 11-19-2008, 07:33 PM   #1
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Location: des moines ia
Posts: 360
My first glass tile job story...

At the risk of losing any shred of respect I may ever have on this site, I'm going to tell you my glass tile story, and you can tell me what you think.

First glass tile job. Pick up tile at wholesaler and tell them this is my first glass tile job. Manager says OK, here are instructions for tile, and you want to use modified white thinset (gives me a bag of hydroment reflex).

Go to job site, read instructions. Instructions are very specific. Three times it says to use WHITE modified thinset, recomends Kerabond/Keralastic but I figure reflex is OK. Recomends glass blade but says reg blade might work. Try regular blade, cuts like butter. Minimal chip out if I drop my dewalt saw down on tile like mitre saw.

Now, tile is gray and I'm using gray grout. I notice that the tile seems to have a painted surface on the back that is white. Seems odd to be using white thinset but I'm thinking better not vary, my first glass tile job, instructions are very specific, maybe would alter color to go gray, so I begin using white thinset.

Finish setting tile, looks good. PIA using white thinset, having to be careful not to get it between tiles etc.

Start to grout, I notice that every where I cut tile, I can see the white thinset through the cut end. If the white "paint" on the back isn't razor straight, (which it almost never is) even if it has the smallest chip, you can see it.

Long story short, I end up removing every cut tile, (we're talking, I dunno know, 100+ pcs.) and resetting them with GRAY thinset. If the tile has a chip in the paint, (which most did) I hit it with the stone at a bevel on the back side to straighten the line, and with the gray thinset, the problem went away. I think I could probably not even have used the stone and just the gray thinset, but the stone helped. BUT IT TOOK ME BETTER THAN A DAY TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM!

So I talked to the manufacturer and explained the situation. They said the white thinset is just a suggestion (????) I said, on a painted back tile, where I now realize thinset color wouldn't have mattered, why couldn[t you have just recomended modified thinset and left the color up to the installer so I could match grout or whatever? He didn't have an answer. Suggested I go back to where I bought the tile for any compensation, (???). Dealer has offered to reimburse me for extra time.

I'm sure all of you veteran glass tile installers are thinking this whole thing was a no brainer. And in hind sight, of course gray thinset was the obvious choice. But this was something new to me and I was so worried about NOT screwing it up and following directions, I guess my common sense went out the window.

So what do you think? My fault? Their fault? Shared fault? Go ahead, I can take it.

Thanks for listening,
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Unread 11-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #2
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Location: Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, PA
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I don't think that it is anyone's fault. We have to be on our toes all the time and play a little jazz here and there. unfortunately this is one of those expensive lessons we all seem to learn at one time or another.

I will say that a proper glass blade has such little tear out that it DOES NOT tear out the painted back surface. I was having trouble with a similar sounding glass that you used. The blade would tear the crap out of the back of the tile. I ordered an alpha glass blade and it solved all my issues.

Is the customer happy? cause that's all that counts at the end of the job.
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Unread 11-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #3
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Lucky you got something from the dealer. I always use white because even with the painted back, grey seems to darken the entire tile. Like using grey primer or white primer under a nice paint job. I've found that scoring the tile through the back coloring then cutting from the front gives you nice straight lines and no problems. Takes more time for each cut but worth it. You didn't have any problems with the 100 or so you replaced and did with grey looking different in the light than the rest of the job?
Chad N. owner
Signature Tile - Renton, Washington
www.signaturetile.net (a work in progress)
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Unread 11-19-2008, 07:51 PM   #4
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The glass is probably clear, the "paint" on the back is actually a colored coating. If you look at the side of the tile, you'll be able to tell right away. I've found that cutting the tile upside down with a nice glass blade helps prevent the "chipping" you're describing, although it doesn't totally eliminate the problem. As far as adhesives go, I'm pretty much by the book on the manufacturer's recommendation. Sounds like the dealer is willing to work with you on this, which is good to hear
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Unread 11-19-2008, 08:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Nest time I'l spring for the glass blade.

Chad, your "gray primer/white primer under paint comment is exactly why I thought I should use the white thinset. And your question about using gray thinset under the cut tiles looking different is a good one, but I can't see any color difference.

I guess every once in a while we have to take a refresher course from the school of HARD KNOCKS. Wonder if I'll ever graduate!
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Unread 11-19-2008, 08:21 PM   #6
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Location: Brazoria, TX
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It boggles the mind at how much time, effort, and money have been sucked out of installers because of glass tile "lessons". I'm up to around $15,000 myself in "tuition" in the School of Hard Knocks over the last 10 years from glass tile jobs. I've posted it before, but here's my webpage that shows some of our experiences with glass tile:

Chris Hall
Formerly @ RockSolidFlooring.Net
Brazoria, TX

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