Glass tiles were first created by innovative artisans in Greece, Persia, and India in about the third century B.C. In recent years, glass tiles have become popular for both large area and accent tiles.
Recent technological breakthroughs, as well as the inherent properties of glass tile (the potential to impart intense color and reflect light and imperviousness to water) have made glass tile a go-to for many home designers. Linear glass mosaic tiles can be used in a multitude of ways in your home, including as:
- Kitchen backsplash tile
- Bathroom wall tile
- Shower wall tile
If you have a question about a specific type or color of glass tile, or need professional design assistance from our experts, call or visit Tile For Less Utah at either our Salt Lake City store or our Layton store.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How to cut glass tile?
You need two things: a wet saw with a blade made specifically to cut glass, and patience.
Glass chips very easily so you’ll need to go very slow as you cut. You’ll also need to make scoring cuts on both sides of the glass.
Rather than plunge the tile saw into the glass and get that cut completed in one pass, make lots of scoring cuts in several passes as you flip the glass and cut it on the back, then on the front, then on the back again, repeating until you’ve cut through the glass all the way.
Yes, this takes time. Yes, it’s a pain in the rear.
This is why tile installers charge much more to set glass than porcelain or ceramic. It takes at least four times as long to make one cut on glass because of the amount of slow cutting and flipping that needs to be done.
Your time will be worth it when you see beautiful cuts that are free from chipped edges and the installation glimmers in the light.
Tile For Less offers a high-end glass blade upgrade for our wet saw rental to make the job a lot easier for you! Glass tiles are beautiful and are worth the extra work.
Q: How to cut glass tile around an outlet?
We have a video on our Youtube channel showing a pro tip on how to cut a tile to fit around an outlet. It’s something that needs to be seen to really understand so check it out.
We filmed this video in our store and it features our very own Michele Bergman giving you all the tips and tricks:
Once you see her simple tip to get a perfect cut, combine that with the tip listed regarding glass blades and flipping the tile from front to back as you make your cuts.
Remember that an outlet plate will cover up these edges, so they don’t have to be perfect. As long as you don’t crack the glass you’ll be good to go!
Q: How to cut glass and stone mosaic tile?
You can cut this on a wet saw the same way you cut tile. Mark your cut line with a sharpie (it washes off most tiles but it doesn’t hurt to do a test on a scrap piece first) so you can see your line once the water from the saw starts hitting the mosaic.
Carefully lay the cut pieces of the mosaic aside so you can use these to fill in the gaps on the other side of the mosaic. If the pieces are very small, you can set the mosaic on a scrap piece of backer board to provide a more steady underlayment upon which to cut.
We cut and set a lot of mosaics in our store to provide display pieces, so feel free to come in and take a peek and ask questions. We’re happy to help!
Q: How to cut glass mosaic tile with nippers?
Don’t do it!
You need to use a wet saw or you’ll end up with a jaggedy mess. Even the best diamond blade for a wet saw doesn’t always get the job done when you’re cutting glass which makes nippers an absolute no-no.
You can rent the saw and the blade and have the correct tools on hand to do the job correctly and keep from wasting materials and causing yourself stress. Trust us on this one.
The people that do cut glass with nippers usually are doing stained glass and have very specific style nippers, score the glass with a special cutting tool first and have a lot of training.
The glass they are working with is much thinner than a tile glass too. Artists doing mosaics with glass tile do so using a specific type of hammer and a metal tool called a hardy. They also have specific training to do so.
Q: How to install glass subway tile backsplash?
You need a wet saw with a glass cutting blade and a mortar that’s approved for setting glass. Sometimes the back of the glass is painted with an epoxy paint and in this case your glass will literally fall off the wall unless you use the correct mortar.
Our Laticrete 254 Platinum mortar is rated for setting glass and will keep the epoxy painted glass tiles from slipping off your wall and crashing down in the middle of the night. It’s also the correct color of mortar for glass (and stone) applications.
Don’t use mastic.
While this is fine for a tile backsplash it’s not going to work for your glass. If you try and cheat the system and install your glass with mastic you’ll end up very sad. Mastic never dries all the way, which is why it’s approved for backsplashes and fireplaces which don’t get wet, but it’s not approved for glass.
Even the mortar for our large and heavy tiles, which can set a 24” x 48” slab of tile, isn’t approved for setting glass. Keep in mind that glass installations require different tools and materials and be prepared to pay the money and time requirements to do the job correctly.
The actual installation of the glass backsplash is the same as setting porcelain or ceramic tile. We have the right installation products for your tile project. Use a level to chalk your first line and make sure it’s true. Use wedges to raise or lower that first row of tile so it meets your chalked line.
Use the same spacers you would use to install porcelain or ceramic, just make sure they’re clean and free of debris so they don’t scratch the glass. You can grout it the next day with either a non-sanded grout or a grout made of acrylic, which has no cementitious or sandy bits in it.
Caulk the space in between the countertop and the first row of tile as well as any corners. Then sit back and enjoy your gorgeous glass, preferably while drinking the beverage of your choice. You’ve earned it!