Tiling a Glass Mosaic Backsplash
Be sure to prep the wall with an antifracture membrane before spreading the thinset and setting the glass tile.
Glass tile backsplashes require a slightly different procedure than is used for setting other kinds of tile. First, it’s essential to install an antifracture membrane underneath the glass tile because glass expands and contracts more than stone or ceramic tile. Without the membrane, a glass tile installation can fail, leaving you with cracked tiles that need replacing.
Learn more about Antifracture Membranes
Spread the thinset on with a 3/16-in. V-notched trowel on an area that can be set in 15 minutes (about 2 sq. ft. to 4 sq. ft.). Apply the thinset with the flat side of the trowel, to key it in 1. Then comb the thinset with the notched side of the trowel, working in one direction and striving for an even surface 2. It’s very important to apply a thin layer of the thinset that’s just enough to bond the tile to the wall. A too-thick layer causes shrinkage that can actually crack tiles as the thinset dries. Now go over the thinset with the flat side of the trowel, to flatten out the ridges and create a smooth, even surface 3. Any ridges from the notched trowel, debris, or patterns left in the thinset may show through the glass tile.
Carefully press the mesh-backed sheets of tile into the thinset 4. After several sheets are in place, use a beater block and mallet to embed the tile into the thinset and smooth out the tile surface 5. You can easily cut any sheet of tile into smaller pieces to fill in areas that are less than a full sheet. Use a sharp razor knife as the netting can be tough to cut 6.
Glass tiles do not generally come with trim shapes, although a few manufacturers are starting to make them. For a finished look to your glass backsplash, lay full tiles right up to the ends of the splash. Later, apply a fine line of grout along the edge to finish it off cleanly 7.