Glass Tiles as Accents in Tile Installations

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Last week, we heard from Roger from about ways to minimize mold growth and excessive moisture collection in a tile shower installation.  To continue his discussion on the various ins and outs of tile,  talks here about glass tile, this time in terms of how glass tiles as accessories can really add flair to your space, including that waterproofed shower.


Have you ever found that perfect glass tile that would look absolutely fantastic in your kitchen or bathroom? Me too! Then, after a bit of quick math I started looking at the ceramic and porcelain section. Completely glass tile installations look great, unfortunately they do not fit into every budget. With a bit of planning, though, you can still have that perfect tile and be able to afford it.

I often install glass tile as simply an accent stripe, insert or even a small, main focal point of an otherwise plain tile installation. With only three or four square feet of that perfect glass tile you can have the look you want and not blow the budget out of the water.

Buying Glass Tile
Most glass tile is sold in one square foot sheets which are mounted on a backing for quick and easy installation. These sheets can be cut down to accommodate any size insert or row you want. By choosing a nice field tile as your main tile in the installation and using the glass as only an accent you get a great looking installation for a reasonable price.

Individual glass tile can be found in sizes ranging from 3/4″ X 3/4″ up to nearly any size you want. You can find many different sizes and styles on BuildDirect’s glass tile page. Choosing a glass tile that accentuates or contrasts your main field tile can turn a very ordinary installation into a unique space. There are also many glass mosaics which utilize travertine and other natural stones as well as metallic tiles into the mix.

For a normal bathtub surround, that is the three walls around a regular five-foot bathtub, there is normally eleven lineal feet of wall. With only three square feet of glass tile mosaics you can have a three-inch glass stripe running through the shower. With four square feet you can have a four-inch stripe.

If you would rather have the glass diamond inserts you only need two square feet to give you a total of eighteen inserts that are four-inches square or thirty-two inserts at three inches square. Either of which would be more than enough to scatter throughout your installation.

Glass Tile Backpslashes
You can also install a glass tile backsplash on the bathroom vanity with a simple three or four inch stripe and bullnose to match your field tile. Intersperse the glass throughout the entire installation to bring it all together. Depending on the size of your vanity top this usually only requires two or three additional feet of glass.

Glass Tile For Shower ‘Niches’
With a bit more of the mosaics you can line the back of a shower niche and really have the glass stand out as a focal point in your shower. You can have both an accent stripe and use the glass as diamond or square inserts as well. Run a vertical stripe, the possibilities literally are endless. Get creative!

Glass Tile As Floor Accents
With a bit (lot) more glass you can even tie the entire bathroom design together like the steam shower and master bathroom floor in the last two photos. The shower has glass one foot out of each corner as well as one large diamond insert on each shower wall. The floor contains four-inch square glass diamond inserts. It really turns an otherwise plain porcelain tile into a very unique tile installation.

Keep in mind that not all glass tile is approved nor recommended for installation on a floor. The glass must be rated for that particular application or it will not survive. The last thing you want are busted glass tiles on your bathroom floor. Please ensure, should you choose to do this, that the tile is rated for floors.

With a bit of planning and some creative ideas you can have that perfect glass tile in your kitchen or bathroom and still not break the bank. Sketch out your ideas on some graph paper and play around with it. When you find the perfect design, add up the amount of glass you will actually need – you may be a bit surprised that it isn’t as much as you thought.


Thanks again, Roger!

Remember to check our for more of Roger’s insights and tile expertise.  And you can follow FloorElf on Twitter, too.



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.