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Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

by Mike last modified Jun 29, 2011 07:55 AM
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Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Mike at December 26. 2006

I am in the process of picking out tile for my bathrooms and I am in love with clear and frosted (matte) glass tiles but... I am concerned that they will look dated or at least "mid 2000's" and I am trying to do a more classic design...  I understand that other design factors come into dating a room besides materials but what do you think... are clear glass tiles going to stand the test of time or will they look dated and tied to a time period very quickly?

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at December 27. 2006
I think the colored glass mosaic tiles are a classic. They were first used in the 50s and I think that the recent revival and popularity is just a surge in what has been a long-standing product. I was specifying these in the 1980s, so its not like they were out of production till recently. The larger clear and bottle green tiles are more of a recent phenomenon. I'm not sure if they will hang on too.

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Matthew Mueller at December 27. 2006

I believe that it also depends on how you use it (i.e. as just an accent or as a field tile). 

Also, if it is a basic shape and color, it will probably, stand the test of time.  Tiles that are more trendy recently like oval shapes or long thin horizontals, I believe will feel more dated in 20 years. 

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Mike at December 27. 2006

I was leaning towards a 1"X2" in a brick pattern in a clear brown/gray glass tile, I might use the frosted (sand blasted) version not too sure which way right now.  I agree that the 1x2 might look dated before the glass does but there again the subway tiles were popular and have made a big come back.

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at December 27. 2006
I like the horizontal proportion - we used subway tile for the backsplash in our kitchen. There is little that does not look dated if you are going to use current products. Keep it "quiet" and not zooty and it will hold up.

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Ed at December 28. 2006

The way I see it, trying to predict what will/will not be timeless is like trying to predict the weather 10 years from today.  I cannot really think of many materials/finishes that have been in vogue continuously for long stretches of time.  However, for whatever reason, I think the Scandinavians seem to have been the most successful at remaining timelessly tasteful for the long haul.  So, if history is any indication, maybe it would be a good idea to check out Swedish or Danish design periodicals.

Another rule of thumb is that you can't really go wrong with honesty.  In other words, you are probably okay as long as you are not using a material that is attempting to appear to be something else.  Therefore, if glass tile looks and feels like glass, it's probably going to hold up well.  One thing I am finding more and more these days is ceramic tile that has a hardwood design/finish baked onto it.  It's a forgone conclusion that this stuff will be out of vogue very, very soon; history has not been kind to faux finishes. 

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by paul schuster at December 28. 2006

we just had the shower retiled in the house we are living in now.  we used a glass mosaic.  this blend is not the clear glass.


check this url for a pic



http://austinmodhouse.com/images/glass001.jpg



anyhow, we also have the clear glass tiles with the color applied to the back.  we haven't yet worked out all our pricing schedules.  but I think the prices are much better than what I paid for glass tile at home depot.  (yes, we loved the glass tile so mcuh we became the dealer).



but before we can actively start selling what we have we need to figure out what we'll need for the new home construction. 


Previously Mike wrote:

I am in the process of picking out tile for my bathrooms and I am in love with clear and frosted (matte) glass tiles but... I am concerned that they will look dated or at least "mid 2000's" and I am trying to do a more classic design...  I understand that other design factors come into dating a room besides materials but what do you think... are clear glass tiles going to stand the test of time or will they look dated and tied to a time period very quickly?

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Matthew Mueller at December 28. 2006

The "horizontal" shape I was refering to is tiles that are about 1/4" x 2" and tend to look more "zooty" as Greg puts it.  I like the subway tile proportion and tiles like it.

About glass tile in showers, I've been advised numerous times not to put glass mosaic in zones that receive constant moisture.  I've heard some bad stories about having to replace it all after a short time.  I think it mainly depends on the grout types and the installer.  Epoxy grout is better for showers but some glass tiles are specified to be installed with sand-based grout.  (Sorry Paul...hope your installation holds out!)

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Mike at December 28. 2006

Paul,


The clear glass ones I like have the coloring on the backside and not in the glass...  I was planning on using just one color in a 2"x1" brick pattern...  The price I was given was $13 sq/ft or that is the price the store will sell to my GC for...



Mathew,I

will ask them about the grout and the longevity of using these tiles in a shower...  my will be going in a steam shower which, no doubt, would be even worse.

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Steven at December 29. 2006
I'm hoping for timeless.  My tile guy is grouting my two new glass tile showers today!

Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by Splatgirl at December 29. 2006

Mathew,I

will ask them about the grout and the longevity of using these tiles in a shower...  my will be going in a steam shower which, no doubt, would be even worse.


With regard to grout and setting materials...glass tile has specific requirements when it comes to installation because of it's greater propensity to expand and contract with temperature.  The expert consensus seems to be that epoxy grout is a POOR choice because it has no flexibility, and sanded vs. unsanded grout has nothing to do with durability of an installation or suitability for use in a shower.  Using the wrong materials, from substrate to grout to sealing,  and improper construction techniques, however, does.

I highly recommend the John Bridge tile forum if you're interested in learning about tile installation and understanding the specifics of glass tile that have a tendency to make its' install somewhat more demanding.


Re: Glass tile, a fad or a timeless classic?

Posted by James Wasson at June 29. 2011

Its now 5 years later! I am interested in whether or not you are sick of your glass tile? I am about to embark on the same thing and planning something similar... how did the installation turn out? I am looking for something more modern and perhaps a mosaic like bathroom tile pictures on SJM.  I think I am going to use 1x1" tile for the design.

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