Glass! Awesome! (I like glass tile…)
It is, however, fairly spendy. It is also a highly specialized installation when used for the whole installation. You need to understand the type of glass (there are three different manufacturing processes), acceptable processes, proper installation procedures and what type of glass can be used where.
It’s a lot.
So when you’ve found that perfect glass tile that would look great in your shower three things will happen:
- You will look at the price and multiply that by the square footage of your shower
- You will immediately go into shock
- You will decide that maybe a porcelain shower will look okay after all…
However (!), you don’t need to give up on that glass tile just yet. You can simply buy a few square feet and use it as an accent in your (now much less expensive) shower. I regularly use glass mosaic tile as an accent row or inserts in tile installations.
- You don’t really need to know every technicality of your particular glass tile (unless you want to use it on a floor!). With small strips or inserts the dimensional stability of the glass (which is a huge issue in large applications) is negligible. You still need to take it into account to an extent, but you don’t need a tile contractor’s education on glass tile to successfully install it.
- Most glass mosaics can be cut apart to the size you need. If your wall tile is only an inch short you can simply add another row of the mosaic rather than shifting your entire installation up or down. This saves you time and effort in making the layout fit properly.
- You won’t spend nearly as much for the installation materials. This leaves you more money for
beernew rubber duckies!
- It will turn a plain installation into a very nice, classy project. And who doesn’t want everyone to
believeknow they’re classy? I mean besides me…
Just like that little (?) bathroom up there on the right. That entire bathroom is just beige travertine. That’s it. However, when I added the glass ‘waterfall’ and the diagonal inserts it turned it into a very, very nice master bathroom.
And here’s another. This one has even more expensive mosaics – it’s glass and metal. As well as having the mosaics I took the 12 x 24 inch porcelain tile and cut every other row in half. So rather than a plain white porcelain shower it is now a very unique installation which stands out from all others (you can click on it for a full-size example of my horrible photography skills).
There are two basic shapes of glass mosaics (although you can find them in nearly any shape). You have the small square ones, which you can use for the diagonal inserts, or the long, rectangular bar mosaics, which are normally only used for liners like the waterfall stripe and a liner insert. The latter can not normally be cut into squares.
The biggest problem with using glass mosaics for an accent is the thickness difference between the regular wall tile and the glass. The wall tile is normally thicker. If you know how to resolve this it isn’t an issue. You can also get an accent tile like a pencil rail, which is a half-circle, to frame out the glass. If you do that the thickness difference will not be an issue, it won’t even be noticed (unless you invite a tile guy to dinner). Like this one here.
You can also have a focal point in your installation like tiling the back of a niche, like behind that tub there, with the mosaics.
Yes, both splotchy and dingy are technical terms.
You can even get creative with your design. Nearly anything you do with a glass tile mosaic in your installation will make it stand apart from a regular, boring installation.
The possibilities for glass tile mosaic use in your installation are only limited by your imagination. You can still let your imagination run wild without cutting into the
beer vacation money. If you find that perfect mosaic and find a wall tile that matches it well you can have a very nice installation for considerably less money.
Need help with design questions or basic layout of your tile project? Check out FloorElf’s Design Manual. It includes basic layout, correct installation and balance as well as a LOT of photos and design ideas.
You can click on any of the photos below for a larger version.