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Thread: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    So we're trying to pick tile for the waterline and the perimeter overflow spa (these maybe be the same or different depending on what we decide to do on the spa). Our builder will do glass without question, but is really trying to make sure we understand the potential issues with it versus ceramic. Curious on the group consensus for the following:


    #1 - In the Spa, they say that some glass mosaic can be sharp on the edges. So if you are sliding your posterior over a seat or wall corner, it's possible you could pick up a sharp edge more easily than with ceramic.


    #2 - Glass tiles are more fragile to breakage from dropping something on them and again, they can create a cutting hazard if that happens.


    #3 - Glass tile may be more difficult to maintain than ceramic, specifically in areas that are prone to hard water staining, like an overflow spa if it is not run 7x24. Is ceramic easier to maintain?


    #4 - And this is my own question more related to small mosaic pattern rather than just glass specifically. Is 1x1 or even .75x.75 mosaic on the waterline more difficult to maintain from a scrubbing perspective? Is the extra grout an issue when compared to larger traditional waterline tile?



    Thanks!
    plat.
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    These are really good questions and am curious to see what other people say. I know I am planning on glass tiles.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Aren't there different mosaics? Cut vs molded pieces? The molded pieces don't have sharp edges.

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by BigEinAZ View Post
    Aren't there different mosaics? Cut vs molded pieces? The molded pieces don't have sharp edges.
    Did not know this. If that is the case, then #1 is just a product selection issue.


    Thanks!
    plat.
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    I will be watching this one to learn with all of you.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Great questions! Curious to read the answers as I also plan a similar use of glass tiles.
    Denise-TFP Guide
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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    1. Depending on the mosaic and the size of the glass yes they can have sharp edges. I would use a 1"x1" glass instead of a mosaic pattern. 2. Glass tile requires a different blade to cut than ceramic tile, also the edges of the glass when cut are not as smooth as a cut ceramic. 3. Ceramic tile can be bead blasted to remove hard water stains, the glass beads will pit the glass, causing it to look hazy. There are other ways to clean glass tile like blasting with baking soda but the cost is usually more. 4. The more grout joints that you have the harder the tile will be to keep clean. This is the reason that most remodeled pools, in Vegas ( very hard water), that had a mosaic or smaller tile will switch to a 6"x6". Less grout joints easier to keep clean.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Picture above is a mosaic on the floor of pool, very sharp and not pleasant to walk on. The beauty of the turtle is way beyond the practical use in a pool.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Have you ever used CLR or Kaboom to clean the hard water stains off tile? If it works in the bathroom, why not in the pool?

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Here are my thoughts.

    I love glass and currently have 1x1's as the waterline tile and on the perimeter overflow spa.

    The 1x1s (or smaller) can be troublesome. Typically, small glass tile's use some type of mesh backing to keep the tile together. Regardless of how thorough the installation method is, the surface area that makes contact with the thinset is greatly reduced because a.) its a 1x1 to begin with and b.) 60% of the adherence is to the mesh, not the tile.

    The result of this is they are more prone to falling off. And if improper thinset and installation methods are used, the entire installation could fail. If you went with 1x1, its not unreasonable to assume you'd be replacing about 20 tiles annually. In specific, the overflow on the spa with constant moving water is much more susceptible to the tile popping off.

    That being said, if I could do it all over again, I would go with a glass tile made in America, 2x2 as the very smallest, and would ensure its face mounted with paper (no mesh backing). If you are looking for a product like this, google lightstream glass tile. You will pay for it dearly tho
    28000 gallon IG pool, 3.5ft - 8ft deep, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Interior, Pentair Intellichlor SWG, Pentair Quad DE 100 filter, Pentair Intelliflo VS-SVRS, Whisperflo 3hp (water features), A&A Max in floor cleaning, Pentair Easytouch 8 Automation, Screenlogic II, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair Intellichem with acid injection via stennar pump, 9'x7' spa with Infiniti edge

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamcha02 View Post
    That being said, if I could do it all over again, I would go with a glass tile made in America, 2x2 as the very smallest, and would ensure its face mounted with paper (no mesh backing). If you are looking for a product like this, google lightstream glass tile. You will pay for it dearly tho
    My wife and I stumbled across their tile quite some time ago. Some amazing portfolio glamour shots from them....

    As I am doing some additional reading now, the paper face mounting option seems to be the way to go. Stories of mold on the mesh or mesh dissolving with no thinset adhesion occurring to the actual glass tile.


    plat.
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Paper faced is definitely the way to go. You should also ask your builder if they will install w/ a moisture barrier. Glass manufacturers "highly" recommend or even require moisture barrier for warranty. My opinion (just opinion) on all the concern over glass tile popping off is installation without moisture barrier in a high freeze/thaw area. Water gets behind the tile, freezes, and pop! I installed mine with hydroban and I have had 0.0 tiles pop off in 1.5 years.

    #1 - In the Spa, they say that some glass mosaic can be sharp on the edges. So if you are sliding your posterior over a seat or wall corner, it's possible you could pick up a sharp edge more easily than with ceramic.

    not an issue for us ... no damaged posteriors


    #2 - Glass tiles are more fragile to breakage from dropping something on them and again, they can create a cutting hazard if that happens.

    again, no issue for us

    #3 - Glass tile may be more difficult to maintain than ceramic, specifically in areas that are prone to hard water staining, like an overflow spa if it is not run 7x24. Is ceramic easier to maintain?

    not a problem here .. but not sure about the whole "hard water" thing as we do not have hard water

    #4 - And this is my own question more related to small mosaic pattern rather than just glass specifically. Is 1x1 or even .75x.75 mosaic on the waterline more difficult to maintain from a scrubbing perspective? Is the extra grout an issue when compared to larger traditional waterline tile?

    sorry, can't offer much help here ... no stains at 1.5 yrs. Grout lines are very thin on 1x1.

    #1 reason for going with glass tile ... it's gorgeous!
    #1 reason for not going with glass tile ... it's expensive!

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    I wanted to go with glass but my builder who was a pool service person for 16 yrs prior to starting his own PB business recommended against it. He stated that you have to be very careful when cleaning them or they will get scratched up and become dull. I asked two other independent pool cleaning companies about glass tile and they said the same thing. So I went with ceramic, don't get me wrong the glass tiles are beautiful and are very popular on this forum. This is just what I was told by a few folks in the biz.
    IG Gunite, 16' x 30', 3 1/2' - 5' deep, ~11K gal, Pebblesheen, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, LED Color Lights, Taylor K2006 Test Kit.
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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Blaze but, but, but.........they are SO pretty! I guess care would need to be used when cleaning them just for what you said.

    Thanks for sharing this input.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    We are going with a combination of 1x2 at the waterline and 1x1 on the spillway and spa seat. Every other tiles is pre-mottled so it will hide some of the discoloration if it occurs.

    The guy at Mastertile said that it is absolutely critical to get the correct thinset and grout for the glass tiles. Much more important than the paper vs. mesh debate. and of course the tile setter is critical...For What its Worth

    .
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Pretty!!! BLING!!

    I have to say what you say about the skill and such will be VERY important with glass.

    I have a friend who put glass tile as a back splash in her kitchen. Her husband "I can do that. There is nothing to it." Welllllll they are having to take it all out and redo. You can see through the glass. He missed quite a few places and the mesh shows through and you can see many grove marks from the trowel. It is going to end up costing MORE now than if they had paid someone as they have to buy the tile again. So skill is very important!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Question: Glass Mosaic Tile. The Good and the Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Rizzo View Post
    We are going with a combination of 1x2 at the waterline and 1x1 on the spillway and spa seat. Every other tiles is pre-mottled so it will hide some of the discoloration if it occurs.

    The guy at Mastertile said that it is absolutely critical to get the correct thinset and grout for the glass tiles.

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    Yup ... forgot that. Recommend you request Laticrete 254.

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