Glass or mirror tile can transform an ordinary room into something special, and it's not hard to do. Best of all, it's not expensive to install glass wall tile. There are several types of glass tile, and some require special installation methods. The method to install glass wall tile described here works for the regular glass or mirror tiles most do-it-yourselfers use. Keep safety foremost in mind. Always wear heavy gloves and safety glasses when working with glass.
Things You'll Need
- Glass/mirror tiles
- Double-backed mounting tape
- Safety glasses
- Heavy gloves
- Glass tile cutter
- Hand glass cutter
- Measuring tape
- Chalk line or plumb line and pencil
- Putty knife
- Straight edge
- Tools for removing baseboards and outlets
Measure the wall's length and height, then multiply the figures to find the square footage. To determine how many tiles you need to purchase, add 10 percent to allow for cutting tiles to fit around the edges.
Remove any electric outlet covers, baseboards and other obstructions. Inspect the wall carefully for any holes or cracks. Use a putty knife to fill holes in with spackle. Sand any uneven spots smooth and then wash the wall so you have a smooth, clean surface to install glass wall tile.
Find the vertical in one corner using a plumb line. You can use a chalk line or simply a weighted piece of string and mark the line using a straight edge and pencil. If the corner of the wall is perfectly vertical you can install glass wall tile flush with the corner. Otherwise, adjust this line so you leave a gap at each end of the wall of approximately equal size.
Place double-backed mounting tape on the back of a tile and mount it at floor level in the corner. Align the tile with your vertical line. At this point, it's a good idea to take another tile (without the tape) and practice placing it against the wall flush with the first tile. That way, when you proceed, you'll be less likely to accidentally misalign tiles as you install them. Take special care with the first row to make sure it's exactly vertical. The remaining rows will "key off" the first and also be vertical.
Cut a hole in some tiles if you need to allow access to wall outlets. Put the tile up against the wall and mark the point on the tile that needs to be cut out. Make sure the hole you cut is small enough to be concealed by the outlet cover plate. Use a hand cutter (the type hobbyists use for stained glass works well) to score the tile, and then gently tap out the cut piece.
Measure each gap in the corners and at the top of the wall and cut tiles to fit. When using a tile glass cutter, score the front, then turn the tile over and place it on a block of wood or book with the score at the edge to snap it in two. Do not use the edge of the table since you might accidentally drop a piece and break it. Install these trimmed pieces just as you did the whole tiles.
Replace baseboards or cove molding using double-backed mounting tape or glue rather than nails or screws. Do the same for the electrical outlet cover plates, except use lighter-weight tape so you can remove the cover if need be.
Tips & Warnings
- Because glass is so versatile, you can create patterns when you install glass wall tile by using multiple colors, "diamond" tiles inserted at a 45-degree angle and so on. An alternative way to install glass wall tile is to use mastic (adhesive) applied with a notched trowel. However, unless the wall combines ceramic and glass tile, there's little advantage in this, and in most cases you cannot remove tiles applied this way without replacing the underlying wall surface.
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