Glass Tile Installation, Care & Maintenance Instructions

Recommended Installation, products, & tools


Recommended Adhesives

Thin-sets specifically formulated or recommended for stone must be used. White mortar is commonly recommended.

Stone products should be adhered to the substrate by use of a white premium latex modified thin-set mortar. If the stone is mesh-reinforced or water sensitive, a white epoxy adhesive must be used.

Recommended Grouts

Non-sanded grout is highly recommended for polished marble, limestone, travertine, and onyx to prevent scratching.

Recommended Adhesives

Premium modified thinsets specifically formulated or recommended for glass tile must be used. Setting material color consistency and full mortar coverage are essential, especially for translucent glass tiles. White mortar is commonly recommended. Avoid using setting materials from different production batches and check for bag-to-bag color consistency.

Recommended Grouts

Non-sanded grout is highly recommended to prevent scratching of the glass.

Preparation and Installation Instructions


Pursuant to the TCNA, for glass tile installations, special attention should be given to substrate stability, rigidity and preparation. Substrates should be sufficiently flat to allow uniform coverage and avoid excessive mortar thickness. Clean the surface well to remove all dirt and residue and remediate all cracks or unlevel areas in the substrate to ensure it is smooth and flat prior to installation. Glass tiles should not be installed on single-float (one coat) mortar bed walls framed with wood or metal, and glass tile should never be bonded directly to wood substrates. For above-ground slabs, reinforced mortar beds may be required, especially for large-format glass tiles. Mortar bed substrates should be cured a minimum of 7 days prior to glass tile installation.

Use of a crack isolation membrane is recommended for large format glass tile.


Please see the latest edition of the TCNA Handbook for further instruction.

  • Installer must conduct a dry mock layout under proper lighting conditions prior to installation by placing glass tiles on the floor for quality and color inspection. It is imperative that the end user inspect the product prior to installation. Once installed, the product is deemed accepted.
  • Installer must blend/mix tiles from several different boxes to achieve an even distribution of color range.
  • Mark out grid lines on the surface to be tiled.
  • Key in thin-set over the substrate with the flat side of a trowel.
  • For small format glass tiles, use a ¼” x ¼” (or 6mm x 6mm) square-notch trowel at a 45° angle to spread the adhesive evenly over the substrate in straight lines. Use the flat side of the trowel to smooth or flatten out the ridges in the thin-set.
  • For large format glass tiles, use a 3/8” x 3/8” square-notch trowel at a 45° angle to spread the adhesive evenly over the substrate in straight lines. Then use the flat side of the trowel to back-butter the tile.
  • Set the tiles into the adhesive according to the marked gridlines, starting from one end and continuing to the other. If the tiles are faced-mounted, set them into the adhesive with the plastic side facing up.
  • When setting mosaics, lightly tap the surface of the tiles with a soft beating block to level out the face of the tiles and firmly embed them into the thin-set. Tiles are fully embedded when the thin-set is 1/3 the depth of the tile. Wait the thin-set manufacturer’s instructed time before grouting.
  • For plastic face-mounted glass tiles, wait a minimum of 72 hours or until the thin-set has completely dried before removing the plastic film from the tiles by pulling diagonally from the corner. For paper face-mounted glass tiles, remove the paper within 30 minutes of installation. If any glue residue remains on the tiles, remove it by wetting the surface with water, waiting 2-5 minutes, and then wiping the residue off.
  • If installing matte glass or mosaics with natural stone, use a penetrating-type sealer prior to grouting.
  • Once the thinset has cured, spread non-sanded grout with a rubber float, completely filling the joints.
  • Following the grout manufacturer’s instructions, use a damp sponge to wipe off excess grout from the tile’s surface and rub all joints to ensure even levels of grout within each joint. Repeat with a clean sponge. Before the grout dries, remove any liquid residue with a clean dry cloth.

Movement Joints

Since glass tile has a high expansion and contraction rate, a 100% silicon caulking is recommended in all corners where the glass tile meets the floor or wherever there is a change of plane. In addition, all glass tile installations require a minimum 1/16” grout joint. Large format glass tiles (any edge greater than 15”), generally require 1/8” to 3/16” grout joint.

Care and Maintenance Instructions

Routine Cleaning

Specific cleaning and maintenance requirements vary depending on the tile’s surface and texture and any present contaminants. Below are some general cleaning and maintenance guidelines.

  • Generally, water and a soft sponge or soft lint-free cloth will remove most contaminants from your tile.
  • If a cleaning solution other than water is utilized, use only a neutral, non-abrasive and non-acidic cleaner. It is important that the cleaner is a non-oil, non-soap and non-animal fat based product. These products act like a magnet, attracting dirt and dust.
  • To remove soap scum or water deposits, a minimally abrasive cleanser and a soft bristle brush can be used.
  • Always test cleaning solutions on a small inconspicuous area before proceeding to clean the entire surface area.