Glass tiles have been a practical product used in both residential and commercial applications around the world. Due to its translucence that makes the space appear brighter and bigger, glass tiles are a great choice for decoration in areas inside the house, including bathrooms, kitchens, or living rooms. 

If you’re thinking of upgrading your tiles inside your bathroom or installing new a backsplash in the kitchen, you might be wondering if glass tiles are worth it to use. 

In this article, we’ll lay out all the relevant information you need to know about glass tiles, including the different types and purposes. We’ll also provide you with a simple step-by-step guide on how to cut a glass tile you can do at home. 

What is a Glass Tile

Glass tiles are thin pieces of glass made into flat-shaped tiles and come with different types of designs, colors, transparencies, and shapes. The types of available shapes are rectangle, square, triangle, diamond, picket, and hexagon, among others. 

They are made with a translucent finish or glaze with a wide range of various effects, such as pearlescent, shiny, iridescent, and marbled finishes.

Glass tiles can appear opaque or translucent, depending on what components are mixed with the glass during the process. Some glass tiles are incorporated with materials, such as metal oxides, heat transfer dyes, or stainless steel.

Moreover, glass tiles are more sturdy than then cement or ceramic tiles, making them a great tile choice for both residential and commercial applications. Unlike ceramic or porcelain tile, a glass tile is more likely to expand when exposed to varying temperatures and is less impact and abrasion-resistant. 

There are three main types of glass tiles: Coated Glass, Cast Glass, and Fused Glass.

Coated Glass 

Coated Glass is a type of glass tile made from glass sheets sprayed with thin coatings of metal oxide and changed at a low temperature. The thin coatings are comprised of sub-coatings and have varying types of thickness. 

The back of the coated glass tile is coated with a layer of color, making the design of the glass tile transparent and easily viewed.

Cast Glass 

Cast Glass is the type of glass tile made by melting pieces of glass at a temperature of at least 1600 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and the molten glass is then inserted into a mold.

This process makes the cast glass produce a textured or slightly wavy appearance on its surface with visible small creases, bubbles, or folds that adds color and design to the surface appearance. 

The appearance of cast glass is somewhat comparable to the marbles commonly played by children, which have swirls of different colors inside.

Fused Glass

Fused Glass is a type of glass tile made from glass sheets that undergo treatment using different levels of heat to alter its appearance, creating a textured or smooth surface. The temperature usually ranges from 1100°F to 1500°F. 

Multiple layers of varying glazes and other materials are then added to create a design with different patterns and colors. The appearance of the fused Glass can be compared to a combination of cast and coated glass as its final product. 

What Are Glass Tiles Used For

Compared to other tiles, glass tiles appear slightly translucent and reflect light than absorb it, adding a sparkly light effect when being installed. The radiant glow it emits makes it a great choice as a tile backsplash for parts of the house with water features, including kitchens, bathrooms, fountains, spars, and swimming pools. 

Due to their durability and capacity to withstand elements, glass tiles can be placed on a kitchen or bathroom counter, which helps protect the wall against water damage due to splashing. They can also be placed in other areas of the house, such as walls, fireplaces, or floors.

Since glass tiles have a wide selection of designs, shapes, colors, and pattern options, they are also used as decoration to enhance the beauty and value of the house. They can also be applied into intricate patterns that will help provide a modern and stylish accent to the space. 

Two Ways of Cutting a Glass Tile 

Glass tiles tend to shatter more easily than stone or ceramic tiles, and it might be challenging and intimidating to try cutting the glass tiles, but there are different simple yet comprehensive methods you can try, depending on your preference and the instrument you want to use.

Before cutting the glass tile, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment for this procedure, including the cutter of your choice: nipper, two tile bar cutter, wet saw, tile pliers, or scoring knives, not to mention cutting wheel, diamond, or carbide blade.

Don’t forget to wear safety gear to protect yourself from injuries.

Here are two of the most common methods you can follow on how to cut a glass tile according to the instrument being used.

Wet Saw

A wet saw is an equipment with a circular blade, hose, mounted table, and a water pump that consistently sprays water onto the tile and cutting zone. The water keeps the blade cool, helps reduce wear and dust, and prevents cracks while cutting the tiles.

The first thing to do is to prepare the wet saw by placing it on a sturdy and leveled surface where you can also get messy since the wet saw will spray water while it’s running.

Ensure that the placement of the wet saw is set at a comfortable level for your height so you can control it with ease. Once positioned, open and fill the reservoir with water. 

After prepping the wet saw, measure and mark the glass tile with the desired cut using a washable or non-permanent marker so you can have some guidelines you can follow while cutting. Next is to adjust until the blade is aligned with the marks on your glass tile.

Place the glass tile face-up with the drawn marks under the saw blade and the widest part between the blade and the fence. Doing this will help protect your hand by avoiding contact with the saw blade. After this, press the protector and turn on the saw and the water.

Let the blade get wet and wait until it reaches full speed. Also, don’t forget to ensure the water is spraying onto the blade before continuing. 

The next step is to cut the glass tile as desired by slowly feeding the tile into the blade but make sure to support the glass tile using both hands. Carefully push the glass tile with light pressure into the blade, and don’t force it too hard toward the end of the cut because it could cause the glass tile to break or fracture. 

After cutting, turn off the water stream and wait until the saw has come to a full stop before removing any pieces left. Don’t forget to smoothen and tidy up the edges of the glass tile if necessary.

Two Bar Tile Cutter

For a two-bar tile cutter, it’s best to use a carbide blade, which will be the one to roll and score on top of your glass tile. Make sure you have already marked your glass tile with the desired cuts using a marker beforehand.

To cut the glass tile, you have to place the glass tile up against the guide and align the cutting wheel against the drawn marks of the tile. Next is to position the carbide wheel on the starting point of the glass tile where you want to cut.

Push down the handle with enough pressure to allow the carbide wheel to mark the top of the glass tile and slide the manual cutter from edge to edge across the tile. After that, lift the handle and move the cutter so that the pressure foot can rest flat on top of the glass tile.

Push down on the handle again with enough pressure to score the glass tile. The glass tile should break cleanly down the marked line. If there are small bumps, you can smoothen the surface or edge with a rubbing stone.

Final Thoughts

Glass tiles are an excellent choice to add a modern twist to your space as they are versatile and can be installed relatively in any area of your house, such as bathrooms, kitchens, swimming pools, and even onto walls and floors. 

They are available in a wide selection of designs, shapes, colors, and patterns, which can be arranged to make unique styles suitable to your taste. 

And if you plan on installing glass tiles inside your house by yourself, you can use the two most common methods that we have provided for you on how to cut glass tiles.

You can either use a wet saw or a two-bar tile cutter. Choose among the two, depending on which is a more convenient way for you.

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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