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Unread 03-14-2021, 04:36 PM   #1
KarenA01
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Sealing Crackle glass Mosaic Accent for Shower

I posted about this on the thread on my bathroom, but got no feedback there. As this is a really a generic topic appropriate to this sub forum I figured asking here might get some feedback. I hope posting this here is not an issue.

I am aware that some say crackle glass should not be used in a shower... and initially that steered me away from considering using it...

But we have not found an accent that we like nearly as much and the this mosaic is supposed to be able to be used in a shower both from the importer website as well as the the guy at a local tile shop, as long as it is sealed both before and after grouting and periodically resealed.

The accent will actually go all round the whole bathroom, but the shower area I think is the only area with potential issues...

The accents we are considering is combination of polished light and dark emperador marble and crackled glass pieces (either 1" squares or 1X2" rectangles) I am including pictures.

If anyone thinks this a really bad idea for the shower area please let me know. While the re-sealing would a pain, it would not be hard to do so the look would be worth the effort... if there are likely to be no other issues if the sealing is kept up.

Searching the forum for "crackled" I found a thread that talked about crackle finish tiles (not Mosaic) and talked about submerging them in sealer to do 6 sided sealing. I would be very willing to do that on my own before having it installed, as well as doing the after installation sealing of the accent as well as the grout after grouting.

Doing the 6 sided sealing before installation would mean I could do it before the contractor starts the tiling so as not to slow down installation.

But in that same thread thread someone else said the doing that could cause an issue with the mortar being able to stick to the tile ... which I assume means there was the potential for the tile to separate from the wall

So is 6 sided sealing good idea for this mosaic or is it likely to cause issues?

Also what would be the best sealer to use for this type of mosaic?

After doing a bunch of reading on the web I think Stain-Proof penetrating sealer (formerly known as Dry-Treat) seems to be one of the best. I have read a review that said it seem to be a bit better than bulletproof.

It is organic solvent not aqueous based and has high VOCs... But I have always had to handle organic solvents in my job so know how to handle them.

It significantly more expensive too, but if it cuts the chance of having issues with the accent in the shower in the long run it would be worth it!

But as I don't have any experience with this kind of thing, hearing from those with real world experience would be helpful.

The accent mosaic tiles will need to be cut at wall corners (and there will be one outer corner) with either the squares or the interlocking "bricks". The cracked glass pieces are obviously not through body and are just a layer on top of a ceramic (probably not porcelain ) piece.

Also when the mosaic has to be cut, the installation instructions says the ends need to be sealed before grouting as well ... Would that end sealing need to be need to before it is put on the wall (so by the installer when cut) or can that be done (particularly for inner corners) after it is put on the wall?

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- Karen
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Unread 03-14-2021, 10:14 PM   #2
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Unless the manufacturer puts their money where their mouth is when this goes South, I wouldn’t install this in a wet location. There’s too many entry points for moisture to get in that tile to cause you grief.

And the purpose of “sealing” has nothing to do with waterproofing. It is to temporarily hold back a potential staining liquid long enough for you to clean it off. Will it temporarily hold back moisture? Temporarily, it will.

If you are willing to risk it, hey, it’s your house and your money.
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Unread 03-15-2021, 04:07 AM   #3
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Can’t cue in on sealer, I’ve only used sealers for natural stone or on grout.
On crackle glass, I’ve always ran a bead of super glue down my cut edges, not all glass tile is created equal. It’s proven to be cheap insurance IMO
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Unread 03-16-2021, 12:18 PM   #4
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I agree, sealer isn't the long term answer. Some crackle tiles will darken in the cracks when water soaks in. Especially on the lower walls and shower floor.
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Unread 03-16-2021, 12:43 PM   #5
KarenA01
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Thanks all for the replies... Not what I was hoping to hear... those mosaics fit really well with the overall look we want.

The accent would be about 6" wide and would start at about 48" up the wall. Darkening a bit from time to time would not bother me if no harm was being done... but mold or mildew would.

I was hoping to hear of good experiences, but I guess I'm out of luck.

Lots of places say crackled glass is OK in the shower as long the sealing is kept up... but if the real world experience is that even with sealing it is a problem long term, then it is not worth the risk... <sigh>

Trying to find an accent that both has a stone look consistent with/complementing the base tile that will also be wainscoting and on the floor outside the tub/shower area (it looks like rough cut marble I'll include a picture) but also has enough of the right colors to supply interest is hard ... I guess we will need to start looking for another one again.

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-Karen
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Unread 03-16-2021, 03:31 PM   #6
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Hi Karen,

At four feet up the wall I think you'll be okay IF you follow John Bridge's famous advice and towel dry the shower each and every time it's used. You can get a way with just about anything if you do that.
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Unread 03-16-2021, 04:29 PM   #7
KarenA01
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John Bridge wrote:

Quote:
At four feet up the wall I think you'll be okay IF you follow John Bridge's famous advice and towel dry the shower each and every time it's used. You can get a way with just about anything if you do that.
Thanks for the feed back John! At least one maybe... then the question becomes how conscientious we would be at wiping it down and running the fan long enough afterwards each and every time.

I think we will look a bit more for something else, but if we can't find anything we will talk over using one of these.

If we do decide to use it, do you have an opinion on if 6 sided sealing with a penetrating sealer before it is put on the wall would be OK?

Is it likely to cause issue with the mosaic staying on the wall, or likely not?

Thanks,
-Karen
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Unread 03-16-2021, 06:27 PM   #8
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Karen, you can always make a sample board. Seal a few tiles like you're talking about then stick them to a piece of sheetrock or cement board. Grout it and let it set a few days before you pry them off. That should give you a pretty good idea how well they will bond.
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Unread 03-16-2021, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenA01
If we do decide to use it, do you have an opinion on if 6 sided sealing with a penetrating sealer before it is put on the wall would be OK?
Will 6-sided sealing have any affect on your particular tile? Based on the appearance of it's laminated construction, it doesn't look like it. Statistically, you're barking up a problematic tree here. You can make that sample board like Davy said and get it wet and see how it reacts. But don't be wimpy about sprinkling on a little water and calling it good. Prop that board up in another shower and test it for several weeks. Realize that if moisture does get into the tile, it's unlikely to ever dry out between showers without direct intervention. And realize that if moisture can get in, mold food can get in.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenA01
Lots of places say crackled glass is OK in the shower as long the sealing is kept up...
I'm afraid that folks that say this are most likely under a fairly common misconception that sealing tile has anything to do with waterproofing. It does not.

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Unread 03-17-2021, 09:24 AM   #10
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I’ve run gobs of Jeffrey Court crackled glass borders in showers, no issues. No need to seal 6 sides.
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Unread 03-17-2021, 11:46 AM   #11
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Karen,

I recommend the towel drying method irrespective of what kind of tile you use. The more conscientious you the better.
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Unread 03-19-2021, 11:21 AM   #12
KarenA01
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Thanks all for the additional replies. It seems there are strong opinions on this topic.

I understand the reasons for concerns here and they do give me pause. We will make an effort to see if we can find something else and test if we don't.

But for those that say it is a significant issue, as you speaking about issues with crackle glass tiles you have personally seen, or theoretically because the crackle finish makes the issues possible and better save than sorry?

Jeff wrote:
Quote:
I’ve run gobs of Jeffrey Court crackled glass borders in showers, no issues. No need to seal 6 sides.
A couple of question for Jeff.

As much as you can tell from the pictures posted earlier in this thread, would you expect these mosaics (Chinese made BTW and expensive) to behave like those you have experience with?

For the ones you have installed, when you say no issues, do you mean long term issues with mold or mildew in the cracks, or just with the installation?

I would guess a pro is mostly like to see such issues during a renovation when taking old crackle mosaics out.

Thanks,
-Karen
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Unread 03-20-2021, 09:11 AM   #13
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Hi Karen, hopefully Jeff will answer your questions.

I've seen home owners bring samples home from the tile shops that had stickers on the backs that said not to use them in showers. I've never seen problems caused from crackle tiles but if the manufacturer is recommending crackle tiles not be used in showers, as an installer, I try to talk them into something else. The manufacturer likely knows something I don't.
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Unread 03-20-2021, 10:17 AM   #14
KarenA01
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Hi Davy,

For both of the two crackled glass tiles I have pictures of above, the manufacturer (they may only be the US distributer though as the are made in China) say they are Ok for residential showers. See attached...

But what bothers me about the specs is that the 2 mosaics are the same composition and the only difference is one has square pieces and the other rectangular (brick), but they have different shower recommendations... For square only residential showers and the rectangular all cases... I don't think they should be different!

BTW We have seen the Square version in person and it looks a lot nicer than it does in the picture, and I would expect that to be the same for the brick.

-Karen
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Unread 03-20-2021, 03:26 PM   #15
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I have some showers running over 5yrs old that aren't showing any issues with mildew or cleaning. If you where doing the whole shower I would pause. On projects like this where upkeep needs to be addressed I recommend a cleaner/sealer in 1.

Can't say for sure on the product you have there will perform the same. My biggest complaint with that crackle glass is it will leave chipped ends when cut, just part of the crackle.

If you still have reservations look into Oceanside Glass and Tile. They have great designs, the material is installer friendly and will work in your application.
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