Saturday, May 5, 2012

Using Glass Tile in your no curb shower or walk in shower

Like many other builders I have found that we are working with more and more glass tile installations these past few years.  The quality of the glass and ease of installation head and tails above what it was years back.

We have not grouted this shower yet in the picture.  This is a wonderful look at a glass tile featuring the Cheviot pattern from the Sicis. Below is a slideshow showing more pictures of this install.

I spend a lot of time studying barrier free showers, no-curb showers and steam showers.  I love searching through European Magazines and Australian Desinger Blog Sites.  A common theme is glass tile.  Making sure you pick the right drain and right waterproofing system is critical.

The industry is developing a brand new specification for glass tile.  Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and its glass tile manufacturing members are leading the way in the creation of a glass tile standard, ANSI A137.2 American National Standard Specifications for Glass Tile. This new standard will become the benchmark or goto recommendation for installs.  Currently in every tile specification guide in the TCNA handbook it lists that if glass tile is to be used inquire from the manufacture (of the glass tile) what type of setting material needs to be used.

This is a very important step.  No all linear drains are designed to work with the setting materials required by the glass tile producer.  You don't want to have a membrane installed that limits your tile choices and setting material choices.  For this reason we always ask our clients for the tile list or tile sample so we can find out from the manufacture what their recommended setting material is.  Many of my showers are designed with Mapei's Aqua Defence or Noble Companies Noble Seal TS.  These two membranes offer up countless install options and do not limit your setting material options later.

Kerdi is a huge favourite online but Schluter does not allow the use of a modified thin-set so here you can be installing tile with a regular thin-set when the maker of your glass tile is asking for a modified.  If you find yourself in this pickle as many do then track down some setting materials from Ardex - they have been designed to work with Kerdi in Europe and Ardex will cover the warranty when you deviated from the Schluter procedure.  If you can't find Ardex then you are out of luck and have no way of satisfying the TCNA requirement of following the manufacture's recommended setting material.

This ideabook above is a new one of mine and shows just a few of the endless options there are.  When designing your next curbless shower regardless if you are planning a barrier free or curbed project set up an account at and add in your favourite pictures.

I have started contacting the top glass tile producers and will compile a list of their recommended setting materials.  Don't be surprised when you notice a trend - modified thinset only.

To read up more on the types of glass tiles this is a nice quick review I found on the Tile Magazine's online sight. It was written by Ryan Marino and can be found here  If your not only building a shower but also making it a steam shower then you should research more the temperature restrictions of your tile.  Steam showers can get quite hot and if your favourite steam setting is 113 degrees F you do not want a tile rated for 100 F!

Mapei makes a great glass tile thinset that many of the suppliers if not all will accept (make sure you double check) it's called Adesilex P10 Mosaic & Glass Tile.  No surprise from the name it's for installing glass tile and mosaic tile.

If you want to incorporate some soap dishes or grab bars drilling through glass tile can be problematic.  You can sneak in a few regular tiles where the glass tile will need drilling, skip the tile in this location or perhaps check out this clever hardware from TileWare.  I found this hardware in my current issue of TileLetter.  Take a peak.

Another great option in glass tile thin-set is a product called LATICRETE® Glass Tile Adhesive Mortar.  This product is a one-step, non-sag, polymer fortified adhesive mortar that is specifically formulated for use in glass tile applications. 

These thin-sets or mortars are designed to grab the glass and help it set up tough.  The additives give the thin-sets some flexibilty and these  thin sets hold up better in installations with great temperature changes, like your shower or installs near South and West Facing windows.

I like to find a grout colour that works well with the installation.  Finding the grout colour might be the deciding factor when picking a supplier for your project.  If you like the Mapei "Silver Grout" you should stick the the Mapei line right through, use their waterproofing membrane, thin sets and grout.  Likewise if Laticrete's grout is the best for your job go with their system.  You will find this approach will net you the longest warranty and better than a hodge podge approach to this waterproofing membrane, that company's thin set and another's grout.  Design a system that works together from A to Z.

June 17, 2012

Here is another example of the long linear drain set into a shower about 1/3 span.  The linear drain is an ACO Electropolish Stainless Steel drain with a tile insert top.

ACO Tile Insert Drain - Glass Tile Installation
1000mm Electropolished Stainless Steel




Remodeling and Home Design