For those of you who might want to do a tile installation of this type yourself, I’d like to share a few tips. First, if you put up transparent glass directly on the wall, it will look flat and lifeless. Since I was using a combination of transparent and opaque glass in my tile installation, I had to take this into consideration.
To allow the transparent glass to reflect and refract light, it helps to install mirror tiles behind the glass. This will pick up any ambient lighting in the room and create a way for light to bounce into and back out of the glass, giving it more depth and life. If your project is smaller than the size of the mirror tiles, you can easily cut them to the same size as your final project. Attach the mirror to the drywall with mirror mastic. Mirror mastic is available at your local hardware store.
After the mirror tiles have been applied to the wall and allowed plenty of time to dry, apply the glass tiles to the mirror tiles with silicon aquarium adhesive. To hold first the mirror tiles and then the glass tiles in place, I used painter’s tape at all of the corners and placed heavy bricks in front of the tiles to keep them from moving until the adhesive had set. Both the mirror mastic and the silicon adhesive took 24 hours to dry. Both adhesives were a bit smelly, so I had the bathroom fan going until I went to bed in order to vent the fumes. When the smell had completely dissipated the next afternoon, I took down the tape and removed the bricks.
Once the tile installation was complete and the adhesive cured, I ran a bead of the silicon aquarium adhesive around the back edge of the tiles. This will keep any splashing water from running down and pooling behind the tiles, and it will also help seal the mirror to keep it from degrading over time. The bead of silicon adhesive takes another 24 hours to dry, but it’s definitely worth the extra time and effort over the long run.
Have fun making and installing your own glass backsplash tiles for your home!
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