Do you regret using glass tile?

tampatommy

Well-known member
May 2, 2017
258
Tampa, FL
We are starting our OB pool in January and after speaking to numerous tile guys, they literally have all told us to stay away from the glass waterline tile. They have all said that even if you keep your water perfect you will be a slave to it as far as buildup and mineral deposits go. We are looking at a dark blue 1x2 tile for the waterline in the pool and the spa.

Does anybody wish that they did a porcelain tile over glass or are you happy with your decision?
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,209
Central California
Just bumping. I don't have glass tile. I can share this, though. I have what I think is rock for edge tile. (You can see it here, if you're interested.) I would think slices of rock would be as prone to collecting mineral deposits as anything else, proven in part by the fact that my edges and pool surface were covered in it when I bought the house. I have hard water and high alkalinity. Since having it blasted clean, and adhering to TFP methods and advice, a year later I can't find a spec of mineral deposits or scaling anywhere above or below the waterline. (Don't spread this around, but I don't brush my pool all that much and have yet to scrub or even wipe down the edge tiles. Mums the word!!)

Even if what your "numerous tile guys" say is true, I'd wager that's based on the average pool subjected to average care, which tends to ignore things like CH build up in the water and CSI and proper pH and TA, etc (have you learned here about those things yet?). I think it prudent for you to research this in advance of deciding, just as you are doing, but unless I got a consensus of TFP pool owners to tell me they can't keep their glass clean, I'd be inclined to ignore what "numerous tile guys" have to say about it and trust that a true TFP will be easy to maintain, regardless of the tile choice...

:bump:
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,209
Central California
That is what im trying to gauge, id rather hear from owners who have it vs. an installer who puts it on and never sees it again.
I'm with you. Unless they've seen a pool with glass tile installed right next to porcelain tile, how could they make that claim? Sorry, all I can do for you is bump! If you don't get more contributions here, we can get your title changed. Maybe: "Which stays cleaner, glass or porcelain tiles?" or something like that. It's only been an hour, most of those old fogeys, uh, I mean, wisened pool owners are already in bed back east! What are you doing up!? ;)
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,063
Tallahassee, FL
Tile is tile..........They can all be hard to keep clean IF the water is not properly managed. If you follow the TFP method of water care then you should be able to use any tile you like.

I will say the glass tile is harder to put on. It takes a bit more time and care. As such most tilers try to steer people away from it.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,673
Houston, Texas
If you have hard water then mineral deposits will be a problem regardless of the tile they install. Glass as a material is no more prone to deposits than any other type of tile. It does take more skill to install to get a good result, and there have been reports of glass tile chipping. Mosaic tiles may have issues with the small individual tiles popping off the backing mesh, and most glass tiles seem to be mosaic. You want your installer to offer a reasonable warranty on their tile work. If they consent to do glass tile grudgingly make sure the warranty is equal to their warranty for other types of tile.

Check around and see if there is another type of tile that gives you the same look as the glass. Also keep in mind how you plan to maintain the pool. Will you do it yourself or will you use a service? Here are a few past threads about glass tile. To find more search "glass tile problems" in the upper right hand search box.

Any glass tile survivors out there?
Glass Tile chipping and cracking
Please help. Fractured Glass Tile. Need Opinions and Ideas.
 

back_yard_lap_pool

Silver Supporter
Jun 16, 2016
263
Texas
We did glass tile ~ 400 SF of it. So far it has done ok (it’s been in water about a year now. I think a total of 5 tiles have popped off. I cleaned out the holes and reset them - not a big deal.

There is one spot on the edge of the spa where I get a bit of calcium build-up. I’m wondering if it might be efflorescence where some of the hydroban was chipped before they set the tile.

Haven’t seen any broad calcium build-up yet. The water here in Houston tends to be hard but I actually had to add about 200# of calcium initially to get the levels up. Haven’t had to add any additional calcium since then. I’ve heard of services that will run your pool water through a water softener to remove excess calcium (though I’ve never seen it in person.) If high calcium were to become a persistent issue on a pool, maybe one could buy one of those $500 softeners from Lowe’s and put it on the auto-fill line....

One of my neighbors has 6x6 porcelain tile around his waterline and has paid a company twice to come out and remove the build-up. I don’t know the root cause (efflorescence or water chemistry), but calcium build-up doesn’t appear to be an exclusive issue to glass...

Anyhow - about once every 6 months I fill a water bottle with muriatic and poke a hole in the cap. Then just spray a small steady stream on the build-up spots till they dissolve. Takes about 15 minutes as there are only a handful of spots that have the issue on my pool.

It might be hard to see in the pictures below, but the tile setter painted the waterline and spa with hydroban to hold back efflorescence, then ran a skim coat of thinset to level and smooth the tile area, then set the glass tile with white thinset.





 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,209
Central California
Haven’t seen any broad calcium build-up yet. The water here in Houston tends to be hard but I actually had to add about 200# of calcium initially to get the levels up. Haven’t had to add any additional calcium since then. I’ve heard of services that will run your pool water through a water softener to remove excess calcium (though I’ve never seen it in person.) If high calcium were to become a persistent issue on a pool, maybe one could buy one of those $500 softeners from Lowe’s and put it on the auto-fill line....
Just to fine tune this point...

Unless you have an extraordinary amount of splash out (rambunctious kids) or backwash a lot (sand filter), even fill water with low levels of calcium (CH) will contribute to the CH-rise most all pools experience. The CH doesn't evaporate, it collects. Even if your fill CH is lower than your pool CH. The more CH in your fill water, the faster it will collect. A "$500 softener from Lowe’s" connected to my auto-fill line is exactly how I combat this issue in my area, which happens to have fill water of CH350. My pool's CH level has remained the same for over a year now, so I've solved for CH rise. And because a stable, within-range CH makes maintaining a healthy "anti-scaling" CSI number a breeze, I don't have any water line scaling, none on my new pebble, and no more SWG flakes.
 

back_yard_lap_pool

Silver Supporter
Jun 16, 2016
263
Texas
To quote my man Scotty P...


[emoji38]


But on a serious note, the installers we used knew what they were doing on glass tile. I have heard of nightmare stories on bad installs - including some this crew had to come in and replace for other pool builders in the area.

The installation cost was much more than the material itself as it is more involved than simply slapping some thinset against the wall and smushing the tile down. It can be very time consuming depending on the glass tile selection (especially if it is clear glass through and through.) The glass we used had a backer on it so they didn’t have to worry about seeing bubbles in the thinset through the tile.
 

Geebot

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2013
931
Just completed my fourth season post-replastering. We used 1" glass mosaics at the waterline and they look great. A friend in California warned me that I would be dealing with persistent haze or calcium build-up but they have remained pristine. Mostly due to chemistry and possibly also to daily use of my Maytronics S300. Either way, I'm very happy with the look.
 

tampatommy

Well-known member
May 2, 2017
258
Tampa, FL
We found some porcelain glazed tile we like. We will have the tiler price out the glass and porcelain for install since we are just paying his cost for material. I love the look of the galaxy 1x2 blue glass tile. That has always been the winner. Just wanted all of the info up front before making a decision involving money and headaches down the road. Thank you all for your input.
 

back_yard_lap_pool

Silver Supporter
Jun 16, 2016
263
Texas
We found some porcelain glazed tile we like. We will have the tiler price out the glass and porcelain for install since we are just paying his cost for material. I love the look of the galaxy 1x2 blue glass tile. That has always been the winner. Just wanted all of the info up front before making a decision involving money and headaches down the road. Thank you all for your input.
Galaxy is in the same series as our tile (cobalt). They have the stickers on the back of each tile, so that should make the install easier for your tile guy.
 

Sparks22

Gold Supporter
Apr 17, 2020
181
Austin, Texas
We did glass tile ~ 400 SF of it. So far it has done ok (it’s been in water about a year now. I think a total of 5 tiles have popped off. I cleaned out the holes and reset them - not a big deal.

There is one spot on the edge of the spa where I get a bit of calcium build-up. I’m wondering if it might be efflorescence where some of the hydroban was chipped before they set the tile.

Haven’t seen any broad calcium build-up yet. The water here in Houston tends to be hard but I actually had to add about 200# of calcium initially to get the levels up. Haven’t had to add any additional calcium since then. I’ve heard of services that will run your pool water through a water softener to remove excess calcium (though I’ve never seen it in person.) If high calcium were to become a persistent issue on a pool, maybe one could buy one of those $500 softeners from Lowe’s and put it on the auto-fill line....

One of my neighbors has 6x6 porcelain tile around his waterline and has paid a company twice to come out and remove the build-up. I don’t know the root cause (efflorescence or water chemistry), but calcium build-up doesn’t appear to be an exclusive issue to glass...

Anyhow - about once every 6 months I fill a water bottle with muriatic and poke a hole in the cap. Then just spray a small steady stream on the build-up spots till they dissolve. Takes about 15 minutes as there are only a handful of spots that have the issue on my pool.

It might be hard to see in the pictures below, but the tile setter painted the waterline and spa with hydroban to hold back efflorescence, then ran a skim coat of thinset to level and smooth the tile area, then set the glass tile with white thinset.





Is your tile the Master Tile AIM GC 82348 B2?