Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Cut Glass Tile....

Installing glass tile can be tricky, but cutting it can be even trickier. People are always asking how to cut small glass tile without chipping it, cracking it, having the pieces fall into the wet saw trays groove or having it shoot out of their fingers when they cut it. From over the years of installing glass tile I have learned a few tricks. One of the most simplest is to make sure the smaller glass tile that are mesh mounted have a solid backing under it when you pushing it through the wet saw. Another thing you want to make sure you do is to have the glass tile held down so it doesn’t move around while cutting it.

Glass tile once wet on mesh sheets or paper backed glass tile sheets start to soften the glue, once that happens they start to fall off. Sometimes that isn’t a bad thing when you want to put them in one at a time, but can be annoying when trying to install a row of them mounted. In the first picture below you can see the wrong way and the trouble you will have by just sitting the glass tile sheet on the wet saw tray. The glass tile once cut will drop down into the opening for the blade, it also chips when not supported 100% as it is being cut. If your wet saw has an adjustable head/motor you can raise it up and use a scrap piece of plywood to support the small glass tile.

In the rest of the pictures you can see my trick for cutting small glass tile with a mesh backing and trying to get a bunch very small pieces all the same size. I use a scrap ceramic tile or whatever field tile you are using on your tile project. I then blue tape the small glass tile securely to the backside of the ceramic tile. Then I make my cut mark on the tape and use blue painters tape since you can see through it and know right where the mark is on the glass tile. Then align up the mark to the blade on the wet saw and make the cut. The glass tile mesh barely gets wet but there is enough water on the blade to make a clean cut. After the cut I remove the tape to see my precise cuts that are dry and still attached to the mesh backing, ready to install into the modified thinset I am using to set the glass tile on the waterproofed shower mud floor.

Glass tile is becoming more popular in the areas like Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Orlando, Clearwater, Brandon, Bradenton & other largely populated area’s in Florida and other U.S. cities with homes that are stylish and keeping up with current bathroom, kitchen & backsplash tile trends. People are having glass tile installed in the bathroom on the walls as an accent band, as a deco, on shower floors, back splashes and in pools. I wouldn’t suggest a opaque or paper face mounted glass tile install for a DIY job, glass tile is tricky and there are certain rules you need to adhere to from the glass tile manufacturer. One being the use of a highly modified white thinset. Some require a crack anti fracture membrane, while some will scratch with the use of a specific type of sanded grout. And by all means Do Not Use Mastic or Premixed Thinset.

You also want to make sure you use the proper sized notched trowel or you could ruin your glass tile install with too deep of a trowel and thinset coming up through the grout joints, or not deep enough of a trowel and the tile not adhering or bedding properly to the substrate and becoming loose and ruining the installation. I would highly suggest you read up on glass tile or find a tile contractor that is familiar with glass tile, it’s special installation requirements, has done a fair amount of glass tile installs and has references.

The glass tile used in this install was Hakatai TA810 M China Blend

If you have any questions feel free to email me and I can help with some simple questions. Or if your looking for an estimate in Florida on a glass tile project you have coming up, please Contact Us for a Free Estimate.