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Unread 03-01-2020, 03:02 PM   #1
Pyohe
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Advice on glass tile installation

We will be having someone install a matte glass subway tile on our kitchen backsplash. We live in a rural area so professional tile installers are almost nonexistent. We can't get people to drive two hours from the nearest large city to do the work. I can't blame them. It is a small job and four hours of the day will be driving.

The manufacturer's cutting, grouting, and installation guidelines are very specific. They said do not use someone without a lot of glass tile experience. I can read their requirements for installation so I will know if a local person knows what they are talking about in regards to the glass.

We have had problems with electricians, plumbers, sheetrock installers, and painters not knowing what they are doing. We had to pay others to fix problems that the original contractors should have fixed, but they didn't know how. We went through five electricians before we found one that knew his job well. We talked to their past "customers", so we did check them out. We never take the cheapest bid either.

So, I am not taking a chance with the expensive backsplash tile. I want to be able to ask questions so I can make a choice of which installer to use. I can use the info on the tile manufacturer's website to make sure the installer is following directions.

What I don't know is the process of how a tiler decides where to start the tile so that slivers of tile or weird looking tiles don't happen. Likewise with placing tiles so that cutouts for electrical outlets are not weird looking. I don't know if I am explaining this well.

I need to be proactive. Can anyone help me with understanding the beginning planning process before cutting actually happens? And anything else I need to watch for?

Also, if I put a stainless steel panel behind my rangetop, the tile work will be thicker than the stainless steel panel. What has to happen to make it flush with the tile?

Thank you for your advice.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 03:59 PM   #2
Pyohe
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Larger glass tile backsplash

I hate cleaning grout so I would like to use larger subway glass tiles on my backsplash. I can use 4x8, 3.5x12, or 6x12". Besides the design aspect, what is the best size to use? I have heard that a larger tile on the floor can break easier if not installed correctly. On a backsplash, does it matter? I know there will be less cuts and less grout on the larger tiles, but are they as forgiving as smaller mosaics with a backing?

I know the glass tiles we will be using will need to be cut differently than ceramic tiles for electrical outlet. The electric plug cover is supposed to barely cover the edges of the tile in order to not have shadows. Do you think it matters with larger tiles?



Your thoughts will be very helpful.
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Unread 03-01-2020, 04:42 PM   #3
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Many glass tile are at least somewhat translucent, if not transparent. If you don't set the tile well, and leave any of the trowel ridges uncompressed, and a gap, you tend to be able to see them through the tile. The larger the tile, the harder it is to flatten the mortar behind it. A slant-notched trowel can help with that as can backbuttering the tile so you're sure it is already fully coated with thinset. Typically you'd set glass tile with a white thinset so you don't darken or shade it...tends to cost a little more than the grey, but necessary.

You might want to consider either a one-part acrylic grout or a 2-part epoxy. Both of them are much easier to keep clean as they don't tend to absorb anything (they're plastic) versus a cement based grout that probably should be sealed, and will tend to stain if you don't clean it up quickly. A grout sealer doesn't prevent stains...it slows them down so you can clean things up prior to them becoming embedded.
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Unread 03-02-2020, 12:18 PM   #4
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Where do you live? We might have an installer interested in escaping the city for a spell. There are folks like myself who hitch the tool trailer to the back of the RV without hesitation. Some of our colleagues are traveling installers as well.

If you add your location to your User CP it would really help. It is linked in the dark blue bar above.
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Unread 03-02-2020, 12:20 PM   #5
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As far as electrical outlets go, its always a great idea to round the corners as much as possible to spread out the stresses in the glass tiles as much as possible. Avoid L shaped cuts at all costs.
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Unread 04-06-2020, 09:13 AM   #6
Pyohe
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Is glass tile with metallic backing difficult to cut?

I am looking at Sonoma Astoria 6" x 12" glass tile for my backsplash. The cutting directions specify to use a piece of cardboard between the back of the tile and the blade then cut the tile face up.

CUTTING
IMPORTANT: Astoria glass tile needs particular tools and methods to cut successfully. Cut very slowly and use a high quality, wet tile saw equipped with 10”, continuous, smooth-rim, wet, diamond blade made specifically for
cutting glass tile, such as: 10” Alpha Vetro and 10” MK 215 GL.

Make sure the wet saw has abundant water flow and cut slowly at 30 seconds or more per inch. Use a new piece of cardboard for cutting each tile.
Keep saw table clean.

Use a wet tile blade dressing stone for this purpose. Cut a small slice off.

https://sonomatilemakers.com/wp-cont...TechInfoAS.pdf


Is this usual for ALL glass tile? Will this tile installation be more expensive?
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Unread 04-06-2020, 10:07 AM   #7
Pyohe
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Glass tile

Sorry! I finally figured out how to find my posts.

I live in Southeast Oklahoma on Lake Eufaula. A great fishing lake!Not so much for boating. You might be in 65 ft of water or 6" of water if you don't pay attention.

https://sonomatilemakers.com/wp-cont...TechInfoAS.pdf

THIN-SET
ANSI A-108.15 Adhesives
• Custom Building Products: Glass Tile Premium ThinSet Mortar
• Custom Building Products: MegaLite Crack Prevention
Thin-Set
• Custom Building Products: MegaLite Rapid Set Crack
Prevention Thin-Set
• Laticrete Glass Tile Adhesive Mortar
• Laticrete: 254 Platinum Multipurpose Thin-Set Mortar.
• MAPEI: Adesilex P10 mixed with Keraply liquid
admixture.
• MAPEI: GraniRapid Thin-Set Mortar mixed with
GraniRapid admixture.
• TEC(H.B. Fuller): SuperFlex Premium Universal
LatexModified Thin-Set.

* Grouting: Do not use epoxy grouts. Additionally, due
to the numerous grouts available, and ways to apply
it, no adjustments will be made for glass damaged by
grout .* Grouts tested include Custom Building Products
Polyblend Sanded Grout • Laticrete PERMACOLOR
SANDED GROUT • MAPEI Keracolor S Sanded Grout • TEC
Accucolor Sanded Grout

Thanks for the advice.
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Unread 04-06-2020, 10:53 AM   #8
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As far as grout goes, I would stay away from Custom Polyblend. Waaaay to unpredictable. You could end up with 5 different shades in 5 feet or less. Laticrete Permacolor is far superior in my opinion. I grouted an entire pool with it and it came out spectacular with zero shading issues and very easy to work with. The tile was also from Sonoma Tile but porcelain.
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Unread 04-07-2020, 10:41 AM   #9
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Sounds like that's the way to do it, Patti.
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Unread 04-07-2020, 11:31 AM   #10
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All glass tile poses some real challenges compared to porcelain. Although some is pretty, IMHO it has proven to be a pox on the installation side of things for a variety of reasons.

30 seconds per inch is incredibly slow. That's 6 minutes to rip a single 12" tile. More time to install = more $$. More waste because some glass has internal stress and is crack prone = more $$. Spendy per sg. ft.= more $$. Specialized mortar and flattening trowel comb marks= more $$. Rounding inside corner cuts=more $$. It all adds up.

So, yes, I'd expect to pay more for a good glass (vs ceramic/porcelain) tile installation in which installer is aware of the above (and more) factors. It really comes down to a "pay to play" equation for me. There's no free lunch.
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Unread 04-07-2020, 11:52 AM   #11
Pyohe
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Glass tile

That is what I thought. It sounded very time consuming for this particular tile. I didn't know if all glass tile took this much time, or if it was just THIS tile. It is so difficult to find good contractors where I live. I have cut and installed ceramic tile, but I have never used glass tile, so I doubt I could do a good job.

I don't mind paying more, but I did not want any surprises after the installation. Budget is budget, no extra money to spend. That happens a lot here..."I miscounted, and I need to add 20 more 2x4s." The price goes up!

I just paid a $200.00 trip charge to get a garage door opener fixed. 34 miles round trip. They didn't mention a trip charge until they handed me the bill.
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Unread 04-07-2020, 11:57 AM   #12
Pyohe
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Grout

Ok, thanks. That is good to know. I may have to give up the glass tile because it is so difficult to cut.
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Unread 04-07-2020, 01:00 PM   #13
Pyohe
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Movement joints

"Movement joints are essential for the success of tile installations. Follow recommendations on movement joints EJ 171-17 in the 2017 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation book."

"Movement joint requirements will vary depending on substrata, climate, and size of installation."

"An architect or design professional should be consulted when specifying the exact number, location, and size of each movement joint."

Questions:
1. An architect or design professional? I would have thought the tile person would decide that.

2. Size of installation...does this mean size of the project or size of the tile?

3. The tile is only on one wall for the kitchen backsplash. Wouldn't the movement joints be on the left and right sides? Maybe I am not understanding this.

4. Can anyone tell me the "recommendations on movement joints EJ 171-17 in the 2017 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation book"?

My GC will have to install the tile. He said that he has experience tiling with wet saws, tile, and diamond blades. He is also great at searching for answers if he has never done something before. He is very careful to follow directions.

Thanks.
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Unread 04-07-2020, 02:40 PM   #14
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Hi Patti. On a backsplash most installers caulk the intersection of the countertop and backsplash and the same with the cabinets above. You shouldn't need any additional caulk or movement joints. When the manufacturer says consult architecht or designers they are generally talking about large projects where these individuals have a say in technical things like that. The architect should know some of the expansion issues and the designer will say where to place the caulked joint for aesthetics. I tile entire pools and I have not once had an architect have any interest in getting involved with movement joints. I had a designer one time walk down into a pool I was working on. I listened to him blather on for 5 minutes about something. I told him what he was proposing wasn't going to be done by me and he left and never came back. They have there place but it's not usually around me.
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Unread 04-08-2020, 02:30 PM   #15
Pyohe
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Tiles

Thanks, Jerry, that must have been for commercial jobs.


I never take the lowest bid, and usually not even a middle bid, and I talk to references, but people around here lie about having experience and references.

I need to tile:
kitchen backsplash
enlarge 1 shower, add Swanstone base, and tile the walls
replace 1 tub and tile the walls
tile 3 bathroom backsplashes
tile another half bath backsplash

I don't dare try for a tiled shower floor. I don't trust anyone local in this rural area, except my GC. He said that he has laid tile, but I doubt he has the experience of a full time tile person.

I drew up a mock-up of the 6"x12" tile on my backsplash. We are trying to figure out how to best lay it out. I have several U shaped cuts where the recepts/switches go. Some pieces will be 1". I know that they will probably break. If I center the tiles under the vent hood, the cut outs for the receps/switches are horrible.

Thanks again.
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