Avoiding Visible Trowel Lines Behind Glass Tile Installations

Glass tile has become exceedingly popular as not only decorative elements in a design but also full wall applications. Used often in both commercial and residential applications, installing glass tile requires a little extra effort to ensure that trowel lines don't show behind the tile. Thanks to the CTEF, we have some answers to how you can deliver the best glass tile installation possible. The most important factor is to install the glass tile with the proper materials and procedure the first time around. As the CTEF stats, "These steps will help achieve uniform mortar coverage and ensure no mortar ridges are visible through the tile: 1 - Select a bright white thin set designed to bond glass tile. 2 - Mix the thin set per the manufacturer’s instructions. 3 - Select the proper notched trowel to achieve minimum coverage (100% coverage preferred) under translucent glass tile. 4 - Apply the mortar in a straight line with the notched side of the trowel. 5 - After applying a small amount of mortar on the flat side of the trowel, move the trowel across the mortar ridges to create a smooth flat surface. 6 - Install the tile by beating it into place with a beating block or grout float." CTEF even has a video you can watch to learn about flattening mortar ridges for glass tile. Of course, sometimes mistakes happen and even if the best of us follow the proper protocols - blemishes can occur. So what do you do if you've installed glass tile and visible mistakes happened? According to the CTEF, there are two main things you can do to remedy the situation: "1. Match the color of the grout to the mortar Since the installation hasn't yet been grouted, he suggests that it might be possible to lessen the effects of the visible ridges by using a grout that closely matches the color of the mortar. Some grout manufacturers make mortar colorants that may be mixed with the mortar prior to installing the tile to ensure that the mortar color will match the grout color. 2. Carefully remove the visible ridges In addition, it might be possible to lessen the effects of the ridges in the grout joints by using a dulled putty knife or grout saw to remove the visible ridges. It is extremely important that the installer be very careful not to chip the glass tiles or create other divots or scratches in the mortar which could remain visible through the glass." As always, our team is always happy to help answer any of your questions. We're here to support you with all your tile projects from start to finish. Just swing by or call any of our nine locations. And remember, D&B Tile also offers continuing education and certifications.