One of our customers wanted to update their kitchen. Above is what their kitchen looked like before they started the project. Using our white glass subway tile they were able to transform their dated kitchen into a beautiful modern kitchen with a stunning backsplash.
To achieve this kitchen backsplash took a 1/16″ grout line with a pure white grout was used and every other row was offset to give it that brick style look. The countertop is granite and the faucet is a single hole Delta. All the appliances were replaced with stainless and the standard brass light fixtures were replaced with nickel plated ones. The white vinyl floor was replaced with a wood laminate and the cabinets were painted white. Undercabinet lighting was installed to hi-light the backsplash and reflect light into the kitchen, giving it an open fill. Our customers were able to do all the backsplash work themselves and had this to say about the experience.
“I enjoyed working with the glass tiles. I've never worked with it before, so I was curious to see how well it cut. I bought a special glass tile blade for my wet saw, and I have to say it’s really easy to work with. Much easier to work with than marble, which I put in our powder room last year.”
Here are some quick and easy tips to install a great glass tile backsplash in your kitchen!
1) Check the Surface
The first thing you want to do is to ensure that the substrate (the surface the tile will adhere to) is structurally sound, clean and flat. The substrate creates the base for the rest of your backsplash project so it needs to be solid!
2) Start off level
You always want to start off of the countertops. The countertop should be perfectly level. You want to start with a full tile at the lowest point and move up. This way if you have to cut any tiles they will be under your cabinets, range hood etc. and be mostly out of sight.
3) Make the cuts
The next step is cutting the tile. Glass tile is very easy to work with using a wet saw and a diamond blade it cuts like butter. It won’t splinter or shatter and will leave you with a very nice edge. As most people don’t own a wet saw there are many equipment rental places that rent them for around $50 a day. Using a wet saw not only ensures a clean cut but also reduces the heat on the material and the blade as well as minimizes dust!
4) Make it stick
There are a few methods for applying the morter/mastic. If you use a traditional mortar such as thinset or quikset we always recommend applying the first layer with the flat side of the trowel to ensure an even application that is completly adhered to the wall with no air pockets. After this is laid you would want to go back over the material with the notched side of the trowel to pull away any excess material and make a roughed up surface for the backsplash tile to stick to.
Tip: For easier application go with a pre-mixed mastic!
Another option to use to easily install any glass tile in a small area such as a backsplash is Bondera. Bondera is a sticky mat double sided adhesive which minimizes the tools and labor involved in installing your backsplash.
5) Lay the tile
Our 3″ x 6″ glass subway tile is perfect for any backsplash because it comes on a mesh backing for easy installation. It installs in one square foot sections easily. We still recommend using tile spacers especially between sheets to ensure perfect spacing of the glass. After the tile is adhered to your mastic of choice it generally should set for 24 hours and allow the mastic to dry.
Once the mastic is set its time to grout your new glass tile backsplash! You want to use a non-sanded grout and always use the grout float diagonally across the tile to ensure a complete fill of the space between the glass. Once this area is grouted you will want to sponge off any excess grout with a damp sponge. After drying you may still notice some haze on your new glass tile but another pass with a damp sponge should remove that permanently.
Congratulations! You have enhanced an often overlooked area of your home with beautiful glass tile. Your new glass tile backsplash will add beauty and value to your kitchen for years to come.
For more inspiring pictures of glass tile backsplashes be sure to check out our Photo Gallery!
Installing glass subway tile is easier than you think and can be accomplished by yourself. Also by installing the tile yourself, you’ll save a good deal of money and more than likely pay closer attention to detail than someone else would.
Tools Needed to Get the Job Done
The Right Backing for Your Project
You’ll want to make sure that your tiles are installed onto the right surface for the area that they are being installed in. An improper installation surface could cause you problems after your tile is already installed so you’ll want to get this right.
Drywall - This is acceptable in areas of low or no moisture. You’ll more than likely have drywall installed behind your kitchen countertop and this is an acceptable surface as long as it only receives small amounts of moisture.
Cement Board – When installing tiles around a tub or shower a good choice to go with is to use cement board. Make sure when you install your cement board that you use galvanized screws, because standard drywall screws will rust over time.
Green Board -Green board can be used in areas that are occasionally subjected to moisture, so areas like behind your sink, toilets, and other backsplashes. While green board is water resistant, you do not want to use it for areas with high exposures to moisture such as your shower as it will soften over time and your tiles will come loose.
Concrete - Having concrete as your surface is great for tiles. It is ideal for outdoor areas that are subjected to freezes and thaws. You’ll want to make sure that if the concrete is newly poured that you wait at least 28 days for it to cure before installing your tiles. Also if the concrete surface has cracks or large chips make sure you repair those before installing your tile.
Grouts and Adhesives
When choosing an adhesive we suggest that you go with a Latex modified thin set and to verify with the manufacture that the product is suitable for glass tiles. You’ll want to shade the surface area that you are applying your thin set to if necessary as direct sunlight can cause the surface to dry unevenly or dry to fast causing you problems during installation.
As far as grouting it is recommended that you use non-sanded grout for most glass tiles. If your spacing between tiles is 1/8″ or less then you must use the non-sanded grout, but if it it greater than 1/8″ you’ll most likely want to use sanded grout. The color of grout you use is completely up to you though it is typical practice to use a grout color that is lighter than the color of the tile you’re installing.
Installing Your Tile
1. Clean the surface you are installing your tile to, you want a nice clean and smooth surface before you apply your thin set. When you’ve finished cleaning your surface you will want draw some guidelines on the wall, so get our your tape measure, chalk guide lines and level and draw as many necessary guides as you think you’ll need to properly line up your tile.
2. Once you are happy with the amount of guides you’ve drawn on the wall it is time to mix your latex modified thin set. All thin sets are a little bit different so make sure to read the manufactures instructions on mixing.
3. Time to apply that thin set to your surface! Using the flat side of your trowel apply the thin set to only the area of your surface that you plan to install tile on in the next 10 to 15 minutes. Typically this would be the size of 2 to 3 square feet, but if this is your first time I’d recommend that you only put up enough for 1 square foot your first couple of sheets of tile.
4. Now you’ll want to angle your trowel about half way between 45 degrees and 90 degrees using the notched side of the trowel to evenly spread the thin set. Once down switch back to the flat side of your trowel and gently flatten all the peaks and notches in your thin set. Your goal here is to flatten your thin set without changing its thickness and minimizing any air pockets or gaps in your thin set.
5. Time to set your first sheet of tile. With your hands gently press the tile into the thin set while aligning it to your guide lines. Make sure to use gentle and even pressure across the sheet when pressing it into the thin set.
6. Grabbing your wooden block that is wrapped in cloth, place it over your tiles and lightly tap it with a hammer to make sure all the tiles in your sheet are flush with each other.
7. Now you can repeat steps 3 through 6 for the remaining sheets of tile in your project. Make sure when placing the next sheet that they are evenly spaced from the other sheets in accordance with the width between the tiles in your sheet.
8. After all your tiles are placed on your wall, you’ll want to let them cure for a minimum of 24 hours or longer if stated in the instructions of your thin set.
9. Once you’ve waiting 24 hours or longer you can now begin to mix your grout. Go ahead and follow the manufactures instructions for the grout you choose and mix it up.
10. Use a tile sponge and dampen the surface of your tiles. This will help with the application of your grout.
11. Using your rubber float apply the grout in between your tiles forcing the grout down into the spaces between the tiles. You’ll want to make sure that you left no air pockets in the joints.
12. After you’re satisfied with the grouting you can use your rubber float to scrape off the excess grout that is still on the tile face. Holding the float at 90 degrees to the surface and scrape diagonally. By scraping diagonally you ensure that you are not removing grout from between the tiles but only the excess that is left on the tile face.
13. Let your grout dry a bit but not set completely. Usually this takes about 20 minutes. If you wait too long the residual grout still left on the tile face will be very difficult to remove.
14. Grab a damp sponge and gently clean the residual grout from the face of the tiles. You’ll want to be sure that you don’t use too much water or force because you don’t want to remove the grout from between the tiles, only the excess grout on the tile face. Make sure you do a very detailed job here, because you don’t want to leave any grout on the surface that will cure completely.
15. After removing the grout you’ll want to wait at least 24 hours to let the grout cure completely, before applying a grout sealer. A grout sealer will protect your grout from water damage so this is extra important to do in high moisture areas.
16. Too apply the grout sealer first you’ll want to wipe down the surface with a dry towel to remove the haze that the grout left after installation, and then follow the manufacturer of the grout sealers instructions on application.
17. You did it! Now you can invite over all your friends and family to marvel at the amazing transformation of your space and all the great work you did.
Although we carry both glass and ceramic subway tile we have to recommend glass for most applications.
While a bit more expensive than ceramic it has many noticeable benefits. Our glass tile comes in a wide array of colors instead of the black or white generally offered in ceramics. Our glass tile also comes on a mesh backing making for a much easier installation.
One of the biggest benefits of using glass tile is it will still give your space the classic “subway tile” look but with a more contemporary looking material. Our glass tile is extremely durable because it is manufactured 8mm thick and the color is fired onto the back of the crystal clear glass pieces. Firing the color to the back means that your thin-set or other mastic used to attach the tile to the surface will not show through.
The reflective properties of glass will also make your room look bigger, brighter and all around more open. Glass is all much more suitable for wet areas like bathrooms as glass tile is much more resistant to mold or mildew. Glass tile is impervious to water with a 0.00% absorbency rate while ceramic tile has an absorbency of 0.5% to 3.0%. Glass tile also sports a surface hardness of 6 on the MOHS scale with a PEI rating of Class IV abrasion resistance.
Another often overlooked benefit of glass tile is that it is the greener option of the two. The materials are fully recyclable and they only take roughly half the energy to make vs. ceramic!
An often overlooked application for glass subway tile is in bathrooms. Glass tile can be easily used on shower and bathroom walls to really change a normal, everyday space intoa contemporary, luxury environment.
Because the color is fired on to the back of our crystal clear glass the tile will never discolor. Glass tile is also impervious to mold or mildew and because all of our tile is 8mm thick is also extremely resistant to breakage or damage.
A common use of our glass subway tile is in kitchen backsplashes but it can look just as wonderful as a bathroom backsplash. Imagine looking at your self in a mirror that is mounted to an all glass backsplash.
Because of our tiles resistance to water and temperature it is perfect for regular and high end showers including completely enclosed steam showers. The shower above uses our Sage Green Glass Subway Tile along with brushed nickel fixtures to create a wonderful spa like oasis.
All in all Glass Subway Tile is extremely versatile in use and can be used to enhance any room in your home! Take a look at our glass tile installation photos to get some ideas!
An often overlooked area in many modern homes is a bathroom or kitchen backsplash. Developers of even luxury homes often leave backsplashes with a plain white paint and rarely use high end trim. Replacing a plain kitchen backsplash with glass tile is an easy and fun do it yourself project even for inexperienced DIY’ers! These jobs can often be accomplished in a matter of hours and will have a huge effect on your space. Not only will it add beauty and detail but it will also add value to your home.
You can find lots of instructions on how to install a glass tile backsplash all over the web. We recommend taking a look at instructions for our beautiful glass subway tiles Here.
If you are looking for some design ideas be sure to look at our photo gallery to see pictures of many great backsplash projects done by our past customers. We have had everyone from housewives to computer programmers to professional contractors install our tiles with a beautiful result!
This beautiful kitchen was created with stainless steel appliances (they go great with glass tile!), white natural wood cabinets, a creme granite countertop and finished off with our Sky Blue Glass Subway Tile!
This light and airy kitchen features our white glass subway tile in a traditional “brick pattern” layout along with a stainless steel apron front sink and matching appliances.
The below kitchen uses a lot of wood tones including a butchers block island and wood cabinets to accent the stainless steel appliances and apron front sink. The backsplash is finished wonderfully with our Surf Subway Tile.
If you have decided to finally spruce up your boring backsplash then we hope the above information has been helpful! You can always find more ideas in our photo gallery.
If you have any questions feel free to post a comment or contact us.
When searching for a tile for your kitchen backsplash there are several important things you should take into account. First and foremost you need a color that matches your space, or that will match your newly remodel space. Second you want sure you get the highest quality tile that you can that will last. Lastly you want to make sure the tile will fit into your budget.
If you in the phase of your project where you don’t know what colors you want to use or the style that you are going for, I would suggest that you head over to a tile gallery page such as that one, or use Google images to get some inspiration of what others have done. Also it is a good idea to consult an interior designer during this phase or even any your friends who style you like. Once you have the color and style nailed down you’ll want to definitely order a sample of the time you are thinking of. This is a hugely important step because what you see on your monitor and the actual tile color can be very different, due to things such as monitor color calibration and lighting. Here at Subway Tile Outlet we will even refund the price of your sample if you like it and decided to use it on your project.
Now that you have your sample and you are happy with the color. You’ll want to inspect the tile for quality. What you are looking for are uniform straight edges and defect free materials used in their construction. Make sure you check their measurements as well to see if they are up to specifications. Some retailers of tile will sell real low end glass tiles that are only 4mm thick, you’ll want to avoid this and make sure your glass subway tiles are 8mm thick.
Finally comes budget. What you’re looking for here are things like free shipping and low price guarantees. Finding sites that offer these will save you lots of money and will guarantee that your project stays on budget!