Any glass tile survivors out there?

consoleman

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2014
164
Houston, TX
I've just found out some of the problems that can eventually happen when choosing glass tile like cleaning the grout, tile loosing shine, falling off, lasting only x years, ect). We picked our tile from Mastertile 1x2 inches with the mesh backing (pool remodel has not started yet). I know the paper backing is better but they dont carry it and I wouldnt want to pay for it.

*

My question is not if its a bad idea, rather are there any members out there that installed glass waterline tile (hopefully mesh backing) and survived to tell the story? I would like to know how its holding up after any number of years (shine,falling out, cleaning). I read a post that stated expect to replace 20 indiviual tiles a year.

 
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Elizsanchez

Member
Apr 15, 2017
16
San Diego, CA
I am interested in this question as well. After 6 weeks I finally chose a glass tile, but because of the issues I've read about and discussed with knowledgeable tile setters, I've opted for only a glass waterline tile from Lunada Bay. We were going to have a raised wall but I decided stone would last the test of time. By the way, from everything I've heard and read Oceanside glass tile is the best out there and they do offer discounts on overstock listed on their Facebook page.
 

SuzfromTexas

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Apr 7, 2015
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I love my glass tile. It was installed in late spring of 2015 with the pool filled the end of July 2015. So not quite 2 yrs old with pool water. None of the tiles have popped off. A number of the glass tiles on the spa spillway have cracked. There doesn't appear to be any issues from the cracking - so far. I'm assuming they cracked due to the changes in the water and air temperatures. I haven't seen any cracked tiles elsewhere.

Keeping them new looking is becoming a pain in a couple of areas. The tiles are hazing and having some sort of build up. I've used the tfp water maintenance from day one of the pool fill. Granted, I'm not perfect, but I've worked hard to keep my CSI been - 0.3 and as close to 0 as possible. I will admit to slacking off on cleaning them regularly. But the crud sneaked up on me quickly.

Here's my list for myself of where I will and won't use glass tile in my next lifetime! Lol!

1. I will definitely use it anywhere the tiles are always submerged. OMG! I love them covering my spa benches and trimming my steps and sun shelf. They look as new and beautiful in those places as the first day the pool was filled. Also, in my yard, the tiles show up more and sparkle more on the horizontal surfaces. The vertical surfaces do ok, but the 'sparkle time' is much less - probably the way the sun hits my yard.

2. I probably will use glass tile again on a spa spillway. There is almost no residue build up in that area. The spillway is slanted and faces East/SE which catches the sun perfectly for better than half the day. Stunning if I do say so myself. Time will tell if the 'probably' changes to a 'definitely' depending on how those cracked tiles hold up.

3. Probably won't use glass tile again on the waterline. The glass on the waterline (I have it only in the spa) doesn't get enough bang for the buck. Again maybe an issue with my location and position of the pool. Maintenance is more with the glass compared to my neutral travertine-look waterline tile which is in the main pool area. I'm sooo glad I didn't use the glass for the pool waterline. It's not bad in the spa to keep it nice looking, but I'm lazy and wouldn't want that upkeep in the much bigger pool area.

4. I will definitely never use glass tile again under/behind a sheer descent (I have 2). That is where the buildup of whatever it is, is the worst. I see it everyday and it's bugging me. Many of the tiles look bad. Wherever the tile looks bad, so does the grout. I used a medium to dark gray grout. I can't say it's really discolored. It hasn't turned whitish - it's different and not in a good way. So far I've tried using MA (probably the most successful so far) and CLR. I'm having more success with the tiles than the grout. I may try the OceanCare products.

I hesitated to post for several reasons. I don't want to admit failing with my water and tile cleaning. It was a lot of money to install the glass under the sheer descents - so disappointing. I've mentioned this before in posts with little or no response to my heads up. To be honest, I haven't heard grumbling from other glass tile owners. So I often think it must be me and not them.

Just my .02 worth (if that!), and I'll end as I began - I love my glass tile!! But not under my sheer descents or on the waterline. Good luck!
 

consoleman

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2014
164
Houston, TX
As always great write up suz. We had previously decided to not get glass tile because of the cost untill I read a thread where you basically told someone not pass up on glass tiles merely based on cost because they will regret it everytime they see a nice pool with glass tile.

I know I would slack on tile maintenance so ill probably look in ceramic. Im not even 30 and you made me feel old, what does csi mean?

You should make this brush and try it on your descent grout line. I dont know if it will dull the glass tile so you can try on some spare tile if you have some. If not they just use painting tape but make sure not to tape it vertical and horizontal at the same time,otherwise you'll miss some spots.

Best Way to Clean Grout (EVER!!!) -- by Home Repair Tutor - YouTube
 

Marlahoutex

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Aug 9, 2014
2,550
Houston tx
I have glass waterline tile from Mastertile and haven't noticed any difference in appearance. I'm not great (I don't do it often) at scrubbing it either. I'm pretty lazy about it, but my robot does scrub the waterline tile and seems to do a decent job. No problems with it popping off, although my pool is only a little over a year old.

Tough decisions, but when it's all done you'll wonder why you stressed so much about it!
 

yankeelawyer

Bronze Supporter
Jun 21, 2016
118
Virginia
I have glass waterline tile from Mastertile and haven't noticed any difference in appearance. I'm not great (I don't do it often) at scrubbing it either. I'm pretty lazy about it, but my robot does scrub the waterline tile and seems to do a decent job. No problems with it popping off, although my pool is only a little over a year old
Same here. We have glass waterline tile and no issues. Our pool is chlorine (not salt water) with a DE filter and we keep it balanced.
 

SuzfromTexas

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Apr 7, 2015
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Houston, Texas
As always great write up suz. We had previously decided to not get glass tile because of the cost untill I read a thread where you basically told someone not pass up on glass tiles merely based on cost because they will regret it everytime they see a nice pool with glass tile.

I know I would slack on tile maintenance so ill probably look in ceramic. Im not even 30 and you made me feel old, what does csi mean?

You should make this brush and try it on your descent grout line. I dont know if it will dull the glass tile so you can try on some spare tile if you have some. If not they just use painting tape but make sure not to tape it vertical and horizontal at the same time,otherwise you'll miss some spots.

Best Way to Clean Grout (EVER!!!) -- by Home Repair Tutor - YouTube
Thank you so much for the video tip on making the brush!! I have that same screw driver/drill thingy, so I will make that!

I'm feeling pretty bad I talked you out of glass tile altogether. I was too strong about the glass tile under the water features. Now when you miss having the tile, you will always remember old Suz talked you out of it. :cry:

I found the picture of your pool. The glass tile you like would be lovely trimming your steps, pool bench, or in the spa - the bench and/or waterline? I love how the current trim tile was used in the spa. You could do the same with the glass tile. It wouldn't be much to maintain in the spa.

Now, for CSI...... This is copied from TFP's Pool School (there's a tab for it at the top of each TFP page) in the definitions and abbreviations section:

"CSI Calcium Saturation Index and LSI Langelier Saturation Index
CSI and LSI are two similar measures of calcium saturation in the water. LSI is a simplified version designed for manual calculation, while CSI is a more precise version that requires computer assistance to calculate. When the saturation index is too negative the water will try to dissolve calcium out of pool surfaces. A low saturation index is a problem for pools with plaster/pebble/quartz/tile surfaces. When the saturation index is too positive the water will tend to deposit calcium on the pool surfaces. A high saturation index is a problem for any kind of pool."


Keeping your CSI at the recommended levels keeps the water from being corrosive or scaling.
Pool School - Calcium Scaling

You can find out your CSI by using Pool Math
Pool School - PoolMath
https://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
 

Frank Rizzo

Silver Supporter
Nov 13, 2015
178
Woodland Hills, CA
I used the exact same tile, different color from Matertile. 12" waterline tile in the pool, 6" in the spa, spillway and seat portion of the spa...I have a lot of tile for such a small pool. No issues what so ever after a year. They had to re pebble my pool because of some staining, but cut around the tile perfectly. I would not do anything else.

Installation is critical. Plenty to read and fret about here, but the bed and membrane are crucial and letting them dry adequately. I used the stain proof grout from Mapei and I have no issues so far - and my grout is white (Sauterne).

.
 

consoleman

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2014
164
Houston, TX
So we decidee to keep the tile after all. My wife said "we'll just clean it more often then" , but I know that means that Ill clean it more often lol.

Frank, I guess Ill have to look into how exactly to install it so i can make sure they do it the right way. Im sure the thinset application is very crucial. If you have any links or info please share. Does the stain proof grout help with the staining that happens through age?
 

SuzfromTexas

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Apr 7, 2015
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Houston, Texas
AmyJo, thank you for the link to the installation webinar! I'm curious what will be different in this new set of instructions.

I need a webinar on how to clean glass tile in a pool. All the suggestions so far are not working - much. I know there's a better answer somewhere - I just have to find it. I'm beginning to think the glass tile companies are like PB's. They know how to make and install the glass, but when it comes to the details of after care, not so much. Most of what I've read has to do with cleaning the tile before there's any accumulation of mineral deposits, etc.

Back to installing glass..... I hope it's ok, Amjo, but I'm pasting from your thread your information you have gotten from the Oceanside Tech Manager. It is the best I have seen anywhere. I printed the LightStreams manual for the workers doing my pool, but I think your info includes more steps with waterproofing etc than mine. I hope my tile lasts in spite of missing some of those steps!

From AmyJo's thread - post #115. Link: Lap Pool Renovation with Aquabright - Page 6

"I've spoken at length with Oceanside Glasstile's Tech Manager who is a former tile setter and he says if we follow their guidelines we should not have a problem. There are many brands of waterproofing/thinset/grout they recommend including Laticrete, Bostik, etc and also recommend doing all of the materials from one company. When pressed, their preferred brand is Mapei, but say all are good if exact directions are followed. On the tile we are ordering (from their Teserra line), they recommend sanded grout! Apparently sanded grout offers the flexibility to expand and contract, whereas for our climate and tile, expoxy grout can expand, but doesn't contract back. Who knew? Therefore we are going to use all Mapei products for a prolonged prep for the tile - Primary waterproofing, Mortarbed, Secondary waterproofing, Thinset and finally tile and grout. There are recommended curing times for all of these steps - including curing of 21 - 28 days after thinset before the pool can be filled. I have a photo of our exact tile installed where the PB did not pay attention to the curing time, used the wrong thin set plus immediately filled the pool and the tile looks horrible. The clear tile in the blend has turned an ugly shade of tan. I would be so upset! I will find a photo to insert here."

You can see the photos by clicking on the link above.
 

SuzfromTexas

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Apr 7, 2015
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So we decidee to keep the tile after all. My wife said "we'll just clean it more often then" , but I know that means that Ill clean it more often lol.
I'm so very happy ya'll decided to use the glass tile! I hope my experience is the worst case scenario.

After 5 years of loving your pool with the glass tile: "What was that crazy old woman talking about? I dunno, but we should never have listened to her in the first place!!! Oh, you believe everything you read. Don't you know you can't do that??? Well, just look at that gorgeous tile, and it was no trouble keeping it like new. Easy for you to say!!!" (intentionally left out who's saying the lines) :laughblue:
 

AmyJo

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LifeTime Supporter
Jun 18, 2015
683
Atlanta, GA
AmyJo, thank you for the link to the installation webinar! I'm curious what will be different in this new set of instructions.

I need a webinar on how to clean glass tile in a pool. All the suggestions so far are not working - much. I know there's a better answer somewhere - I just have to find it. I'm beginning to think the glass tile companies are like PB's. They know how to make and install the glass, but when it comes to the details of after care, not so much. Most of what I've read has to do with cleaning the tile before there's any accumulation of mineral deposits, etc.

Back to installing glass..... I hope it's ok, Amjo, but I'm pasting from your thread your information you have gotten from the Oceanside Tech Manager. It is the best I have seen anywhere. I printed the LightStreams manual for the workers doing my pool, but I think your info includes more steps with waterproofing etc than mine. I hope my tile lasts in spite of missing some of those steps!

From AmyJo's thread - post #115. Link: Lap Pool Renovation with Aquabright - Page 6

"I've spoken at length with Oceanside Glasstile's Tech Manager who is a former tile setter and he says if we follow their guidelines we should not have a problem. There are many brands of waterproofing/thinset/grout they recommend including Laticrete, Bostik, etc and also recommend doing all of the materials from one company. When pressed, their preferred brand is Mapei, but say all are good if exact directions are followed. On the tile we are ordering (from their Teserra line), they recommend sanded grout! Apparently sanded grout offers the flexibility to expand and contract, whereas for our climate and tile, expoxy grout can expand, but doesn't contract back. Who knew? Therefore we are going to use all Mapei products for a prolonged prep for the tile - Primary waterproofing, Mortarbed, Secondary waterproofing, Thinset and finally tile and grout. There are recommended curing times for all of these steps - including curing of 21 - 28 days after thinset before the pool can be filled. I have a photo of our exact tile installed where the PB did not pay attention to the curing time, used the wrong thin set plus immediately filled the pool and the tile looks horrible. The clear tile in the blend has turned an ugly shade of tan. I would be so upset! I will find a photo to insert here."

You can see the photos by clicking on the link above.
Hi Suz - happy to have you share! I am by no means an expert AT ALL. Just a really good researcher! The guys at Oceanside say there are many variables about why glass tile can fail, but the main reasons are inferior glass tile (made inexpensively and not cooled correctly) and failure to follow correct installation instructions.

Have you look at their cleaners? They have several they have developed - and also a tile sealer (that may not be the exact term) that is apparently amazing: Oceanside Glasstile - Installation Support - Maintenance Solutions
.

The link to their entire installation manual is:
Oceanside Glasstile - Installation Support - Installation Guide


There are also several videos about installation and care.

I am beyond impressed with this company and their customer service. It's also very wonderful to understand that they want correct information out there about the glass tile *industry* - not just their own product. For anyone considering glass tile, you should definitely check them out. They also have considerable overstock - most of which is not shown online. I suggest emailing or calling their showroom directly.
 

SuzfromTexas

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Apr 7, 2015
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Houston, Texas
Thank you, AmyJo for the links. I have checked on their tile calcium releaser (I think that's the name). I didn't pay attention to the sealer - I guess you're talking about one for glass tile. I need to check that out more carefully. My problem is getting the tiles clean enough to put on a sealer.

It sounds like Oceanside customer service is much better than my glass tile company. That's good for us to take note of for people in the future wanting advice on glass tile.

You may not feel like an expert, but you're already my go-to person for glass tile!! We need a glass tile expert on TFP since glass tile for pools is getting more popular! Thank you for all your terrific research!
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
931
I've just found out some of the problems that can eventually happen when choosing glass tile like cleaning the grout, tile loosing shine, falling off, lasting only x years, ect). We picked our tile from Mastertile 1x2 inches with the mesh backing (pool remodel has not started yet). I know the paper backing is better but they dont carry it and I wouldnt want to pay for it.

*

My question is not if its a bad idea, rather are there any members out there that installed glass waterline tile (hopefully mesh backing) and survived to tell the story? I would like to know how its holding up after any number of years (shine,falling out, cleaning). I read a post that stated expect to replace 20 indiviual tiles a year.


I installed the 1x1 version of this tile when we replastered in 2015. The pool guy wanted nearly $5,000 and I did it in a couple of weekends (1 for demo/prep, 1 for install) for the cost of materials ($1,200). I have a hybrid pool with a vinyl tile channel about 3" high. Don't know if this hurts or helps but we are in Chicago and have made it through two very cold winters with not a single problem.
 

Frank Rizzo

Silver Supporter
Nov 13, 2015
178
Woodland Hills, CA
So we decidee to keep the tile after all. My wife said "we'll just clean it more often then" , but I know that means that Ill clean it more often lol.

Frank, I guess Ill have to look into how exactly to install it so i can make sure they do it the right way. Im sure the thinset application is very crucial. If you have any links or info please share. Does the stain proof grout help with the staining that happens through age?
I originally said Mapei, I just went and checked and we used all Laticrete products..I remember considering Mapei, but they never returned my call with technical questions so I took that as a omen. Mortarbed, thinset, waterproofing and the stain proof grout were all Laticrete. I spoke to the Laticrete rep and they strongly advised against epoxy grout in a pool, so I went with their "Perma Color" line of stainproof grout instead and so far (almost 1 year now) it has been fantastic. Like I said, I used white grout and there is no evidence of stains whatsoever.
You know how expensive this stuff is. I went with 11" of waterline tile in the pool, 6" of spa waterline and the edges of the steps and benches in the 1x2. The spa seat is all matching 1x1 and I used their (very expensive!) radius trim tile on the edge of the spa seat, inside corners and on the inside side of the spillway. I certainly did not want any problems and did a fair amount of research. The installation is much more critical than the tile having paper or mesh, they will both work fine. However if they dont do the mortar bed, waterproofings and glass pool tile approved thinset along with good grout - you are going to have problems. I think a lot of people hire pool tile contractors that dont have a lot of experience, have problems and give glass a bad rep. Even my guy had a boatload of "issues" because the owner did not tell him what we discussed and agreed on. Luckily I was there thru every step of the process. I stopped them on the mortarbed. Then I stopped them on the waterproofing and again on the grout. Every one of these "stoppages" were because the workers were using off the shelf products and did not know any better. I would stop the work, make them get the correct products again and again. And this guy was a "high end" dude specializing in custom homes and commercial pools! All I can say is Trust but Verify!

All in all We are super glad we did what we did. It is really the "jewlery" of the pool as my wife describes it. I have a SWG and keep a close eye on the ph. The top of my spillway faces up towards the sun and it gets really hot here in the summer. No signs of any issues at all, so I think the 'thermal shock' worries might be overstated.

there are more pics in my build thread

 

SuzfromTexas

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Frank, gorgeous tile, gorgeous pool. Great posting about the process and how meticulous you were about all steps. I just checked out your pool build, and it is amazing. Here's the link to Frank's thread: O/B Woodland Hills, CA

Now, two requests - add the link to your pool build to your signature so others can quickly find your thread. And then post updated photos on your thread of your finished pool and backyard. I want to see more!!
 

consoleman

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2014
164
Houston, TX
I spoke to the Laticrete rep and they strongly advised against epoxy grout in a pool, so I went with their "Perma Color" line of stainproof grout instead and so far (almost 1 year now) it has been fantastic.
So i have been doing some research calling the glass tile mfg and laticrete tech support. He recommended the epoxy grout if i am worried with staining, but said anytime you have waterline staining will be an issue regardless of which grout you install. He said which ever of the two (spectralock pro or permacolor) will both work for waterline tile with a mesh backing (non water soluble).

Im also worried about the cure time. Mfg suggest 7 days but I have a hard time believing they will want to wait that long. Not sure if I should go with white or grey grout (like in the first pic above).


I will be using the following laticrete products"
2 coats of hydro ban (waterproof)
Thinset - glass tile adhesive or laticrete 254 platinum
grout - spectralock or permacolor
 

AmyJo

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Jun 18, 2015
683
Atlanta, GA
Frank, gorgeous tile, gorgeous pool. Great posting about the process and how meticulous you were about all steps. I just checked out your pool build, and it is amazing. Here's the link to Frank's thread: O/B Woodland Hills, CA

Now, two requests - add the link to your pool build to your signature so others can quickly find your thread. And then post updated photos on your thread of your finished pool and backyard. I want to see more!!
Suz! Just saw this video posted and thought you might like to see. How wonderful is this!?
Glass Tile Shield - YouTube
 

SuzfromTexas

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Suz! Just saw this video posted and thought you might like to see. How wonderful is this!?
Glass Tile Shield - YouTube
:bounce::bounce::bounce: Oh oh oh!! AmyJo, you're brilliant for finding and posting this video!! It sounds awesome, and the demonstration is so encouraging! I've been wondering what I could do to slow down build-up once I get my tiles looking new again - or close to. Rain-X, turtle wax? But I wondered how those might affect the glass with pool water. I'd much rather use this shield made for glass tile.

I have questions, but I haven't looked yet to see if they have more info on the Shield. Does it have to be reapplied in a pool situation (since pool water isn't tap water)? If so, what's the typical time frame? How well does it work when applied to older tile (not newly installed)? How clean do I have to get my tile before applying it? I know glass is porous, so would it still be effective if there's any kind of build-up remaining? I'm so curious!!

I'm making headway getting rid of the build-up on my tiles. I still have some hazing left around the edges. I can't tell if it's permanent, or I haven't found the right product yet.

Have you already ordered your Shield??

Thank you, AmyJo! You knew I'd have a fit over this. I love TFP!!! Best networking ever!

Take care,
Suz
 
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