If you’ve ever considered a new backsplash for your master bathroom, kitchen, or powder room, a glass tile backsplash might’ve been your medium of choice.
Glass tile backsplash is a great option. Before pulling the trigger, you may think this is a decision that costs a lot of money, and labour, to reverse if you don’t like it. And, knowing how to cut glass tile isn’t something you must know. Before going for it, here are a few things to know.
When you take a look at the latest home remodelling magazines, you’ll see that glass tile backsplashes are all over the place. You can get glass backsplash tiles for any environment, and you’ll love the translucent warmth and beauty that they give you. Those glass tile backsplash ideas will give your house a very modern touch.
Can it break? Yes, but not here
AV Architects + Builders
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Breaking it accidentally isn’t really a problem, since these vertical areas don’t get nearly as much abuse as a countertop would. You might slide something heavy such as a blender or mixer into it, there is little to no chance of it actually breaking.
Try to mix it with other materials
Kitchen & Bath Gallery
The entire field doesn’t have to be glass. One popular option is going with a glass subway tile, and ceramic. Put a field tile of ceramic, and a glass tile 6” off-set band. This will be a strip, an inch or two wide, that goes six inches above your countertop, parallel to it.
You don’t have to go with a glass mosaic tile at all times
Mosaic tiles are a popular choice, but not all glass tiles are mosaics. You can get glass tiles in a lot of sizes, from pebble, to 2” x 2”, and more. Consider the full range of tile sizes.
Go for a mounted glass tile, for ease of installation
Tom Stringer Design Partners
There are two varieties, and both make a difference in installation. You can get mounted or unmounted glass tiles. Pre-mounted tiles come with a mesh backing that ensures tiles are evenly distributed, and this gives them a more consistent look.
With a mosaic tile, the tiles are about ¾” squares, but this size may vary. This is a much easier tile to install for a DIY tiler.
Unmounted glass tiles
Four Brothers LLC
These tiles usually don’t have the aforementioned mesh backing, and take more time to install. The good news with these stained glass tiles is that you have a lot more options with the color and pattern, since you won’t be buying the glass in sheets.
With the paper off, cutting glass tile is done, and you are ready to grout. A lighter shade of grout will require more cleaning, as earth tones and darker grout colors hide dirt better.
You can also get recycled glass, the green glass tile option that is used in the environmental-friendly recycling stircles. They give you a rustic character you won’t find in a new tile.
A few ideas for a kitchen backsplash with glass tiles
Atelier036 Studio of Architecture pllc
A kitchen backsplash will give your room a somewhat permanent element, since you’re putting your tiles in place with a relatively strong adhesive, you can’t really change your mind a few days later.
Unless you want to re-do everything, that is. Once you have your scheme and design idea, try to rearrange your tiles on a table first, to see which colors and layout to go with.
Rainbows and ombre
Hannah Dee Interiors
If you have a kitchen décor that plays off a single shade, such as a light green, a fade or ombre backsplash will really enhance the look. All tiles that you use will include your main color, plus a few shades that are lighter or darker.
You can begin with either light or dark on one side, and work your way either darker or lighter along the backsplash. A rainbow effect can be used in the same way, with most colors of the rainbow, and this will give you a cheery and vivid backsplash.
Blocks and borders
If your backsplash covers a lot of area, your room can have more variations in tile patterns and yet not look busy. For example, you can use copper foil-backed glass tile, to create a border that is a few inches into your main layout. This makes some kind of frame for a design within.
Repeat the original tile color inside, and then go for something that is completely different. Instead of a single large frame, you can use the frame’s color and make random frames or squares within your design, or even go with interlocking squares.
Waves of grain
Despite looking good in a bathroom or spa, a wavy pattern also works for a kitchen backsplash. Use small glass tiles of varying “grain” colors, best used in shades of green and yellow, and get an end result that reminds you of a farm field on rolling hills.
Use that same technique but with hot pepper reds for a spicy theme. If you want a focal point, add a hand-painted tile of a grain of wheat, for example.
David Sharff Architect, P.C.
A chevron pattern reminds a bit of inverted V’s, and will give your backsplash a modern touch. This often appears on fabrics and wallpapers, in bold colors, but you can go with subtle color variations and give your backsplash a subdued effect.
The background tile colors are similar to the ones of the chevron, so the farther you get, the more obvious the pattern is.
Installing your glass tile backsplash in your kitchen
Measure and lay it out
Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly, Inc.
Measure everything, from the top of your counter, to the bottom of your cabinet, and plan the layout. Incorporate the accent tiles you may have planned for your design.
Mark the center point, and use a level to draw a horizontal line from one end to the other. To determine how many rows you’ll need, measure up from the countertop to the bottom lip of your cabinets. Don’t forget the 1/8” grout lines in the measurements.
If you have a countertop with a pre-built backsplash, the top of it should be used as the base line for your first row. See if you’ll need to cut the tiles at either the ends of the wall, or for the row that is closes to the upper cabinets.
Mix the thin-set mortar and apply it
Mix it according to the manufacturer’s directions, and add mortar to water a little at a time while stirring. When it’s ready, the consistency should be that of creamy peanut butter.
Let it set for around 10 minutes. Apply thin-set to the wall, in smooth and even strokes. You should cover about a 2 square foot area at a time, and always have a sponge and water handy for cleaning. Thin-set stays workable for around 45 minutes, but applying too much at a time is a mistake.
Lay the tiles
Glass tiles are tricky behind cook stoves, as some have a lot more expansion and contraction than a regular ceramic tile. The tile retailer or manufacturer can be of assistance when you need to know whether to set grout lines that are a bit wider behind a hot stove.
Also, some of the sealants and adhesives necessary may react with the back coating of some specific glass tiles, so you should have compatible adhesives and sealants for your glass tiles.
Begin with your bottom row of tiles, and apply tiles to the thin-set. Press, and wiggle each tile, and set them into the mortar, making sure they’re flat and level. 1/8” spacers can help you keep the space between tiles consistent, and you can pull them out when the mortar starts to dry.
Accent tiles or liner bars should be added where you designed them. Make sure the vertical and horizontal lines are true, and use the level to help with this.
Cut and polish the tiles
Prestige Flooring, Inc.
Cutting the tiles can be done with a Rubi cutter. Just set the tile stop to the width you need, put the blade down and score the tile in one smooth motion. When you pull down the handle, the tile will snap in two pieces. You may need a bit of practice here, in order to minimize any unwanted mistakes.
If you end up with tiles that are exposed, polish the edges with a grinding stone to give them a more finished look. If you have a lot of cutting to do, a wet saw can be very helpful. They may be a bit expensive to rent, but the tile cutting will go very smoothly with one.
Grout the backsplash
Grout with unsanded grout to avoid scratching the tiles. After the mortar sets and you’ve cleaned the tiles of excess, mix up the grout to your manufacturer’s recommended consistency. The grout is to be applied with a float, and glide above the tiles at a 45-degree angle.
Applying too much pressure may sink the tiles or push them out of plumb, so be careful. Every now and then, back off and check that none of the tiles have moved.
By the time you get to one wall, the first section should be dry enough for a wet sponge. Wipe the grouted tiles, and make sure not to indent the grout lines. Once the grout is done, use a soft cloth to polish the haze off the tiles.
Innovative tips for glass tiles
Incorporate floor accents
Incorporate glass below your eye level, this will help your entire space glisten. A subtle touch to your floor design, such as a couple of mosaics here and there, can brighten up your space. With an innovative pattern, you’ll draw a lot of attention to your custom tile floor.
Jazz up the kitchen island
Berghuis Construction LLCe
Glass adds color and sophistication to either a classic or contemporary kitchen. Glass tiles can be put in an unexpected location for a modern look, such as on a center island, on the front portion, below the countertop. This makes decorative use of a space that is underutilized. Decide whether you’ll match the glass to the backsplash, or have it serve as a pop of color.
Transform your shower shelves and bench
Place glass tiles in a non-traditional fashion if you want to add a bit of opulence to your shower. On a small shower bench, add tile to the top, or use a row of tiles as a transition to the shower wall. You can also tile any inset shower shelves to add a bit of dimension.
Brighten the bathroom wall décor
AMW Design Studio
In a bathroom, glass tiles will add a captivating, bold flair. Add tile to either all the walls, or to one area if you want to highlight a focal point. For example, tile a wall behind your bathtub if you want to draw attention to that part of the room. Using glass tile will transform your bathroom into a space that feels a lot like an at-home spa.
Enhance your fireplace
Use glass tile to add a modern twist to your fireplace. The fire’s light reflects off the glass, and gives the entire space a warm, twinkling glow. You can try a gem shade for a touch of opulence, and the shine and shimmer of the glass will easily make your fireplace the room’s focal point.
Ending thoughts on glass tile backsplash ideas
Glass tile is undoubtedly beautiful. The unique shapes, textures and finishes that it offers, along with the colors that you won’t find in any other material, are stunning, and offer a lot of versatility. And, depending on its rating, you can use it on anything from walls, to countertops, backsplashes and even pools.