Glass Tile Quick Guide

Glass Tile Selection and Installation Guide – TCNA 2016 Handbook


The recommended substrates for glass tile installations are similar to ceramic tile installations, however, extra attention should be given to substrate stability, rigidity, and preparation. Substrates should be sufficiently flat to allow uniform coverage and avoid excessive mortar thickness. Glass tile is generally more vulnerable to crack propagation than ceramic tile. The glass manufacturer may recommend use of a crack isolation membrane for large format glass tiles.

Setting Materials

Mortars specifically formulated for glass tile must be used. When installed over an impervious substrate, setting materials may take longer to cure. Some manufacturers may require use of a specific mortar.


Grout recommendations for glass tile vary based on aesthetics and joint size. Most manufacturers recommend unsanded grout to prevent scratching. Because glass tile is impervious, additional setting time may be necessary to allow the grout to firm prior to cleaning.


Make sure to check your TCNA Handbook or ANSI standards when installing glass tile.


Color Trends for 2017

TCNA Color Trends 2017

According to Shelly Halbert, director of of Product Design Dal-Tile Corporation, the following are some of the color trends we can expect for 2017:
  • White – evokes a sense of crisp and clean, all white kitchens and bathrooms are still in style.
  • Black- classic pairing with white, staple of both modern and classic combinations- expect black and white marbles used in checkerboard patterns.
  • Greige- grays have reigned for more than five years and warmed-up grays will remain an important neutral.
  • Blue- came strongly into the tile market at Coverings 2016
  • Sensitive Blue- calming, soft blue, balanced, comfortable and casual like an old pair of faded jeans.
  • Relaxing Cloud- this color trend is restful and calming, with cool, minimalistic influences that are derived from nature. Found in Scandinavian design.
  • Metallic Taupe- medium brown undertones, taupe inspired metallic that is bold, rich, warm. Growing out of the popularity of rose gold.
  • Pottery- mid-range red-browns that bring warmth of nature and earth. Creates cozy, comfortables atmospheres and rooms.
  • Vintage Reserve- like deep red wine, this color is rich, bold, and pleasing to the palate, incorporating red/blue/brown hues.
  • Organic Olive- a color that evokes a hope for the future, green is growth. Balance between light and dark hues.
  • Victorian Plum- dark, strong, solid, a rich hue of velvet and pairs well with lace.
TCNA Trends Magazine 2017

Care and Maintenance of Cement Tiles

Cement tiles have become quite popular in the tile industry and customers are asking about the upkeep of cement tiles. Here is some important information from Sabine Hill — one of our main cement tile manufacturers:


Cement tile surfaces should be cleaned, free of grease, oil, dirt, wax or any other foreign matter including grout release material. Next, apply a high quality penetrating sealer for cement and concrete tiles and carefully follow the sealer manufacturer’s instructions. Sealing the cement tiles will insure the color and design will remain unstained and vibrant.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Do NOT use any acids or alkalines to clean tiles. Use a PH neutral cleaner and fine sandpaper to remove any stains or residues. Do not allow water or other liquids to spot, pond, or ring on the surface of the tiles. Regularly mop cement tiles with clean water. To improve the tiles natural sheen, a cap-full of liquid wax can be added to the water. Never use acids to clean the tiles because they will damage it.

Other Considerations

Cement tiles are manufactured using natural materials, so it possible that there could be color differences between the original order and tiles ordered at a later date. Carefully calculate how many pieces you will need and then order a few extra pieces.


Keep these guidelines in mind when planning to use cement tile in your home.

Current Trends

March 2017- Current Trends

Excerpts from TILE Magazine March/April 2017 Issue

While larger format tiles are seemingly taking over the tile market, manufacturers also expressed the trending looks, which just keep evolving over time, are popular. Wood and stone looks being the most popular trends. “The current neutrals [when it comes to colors] right now are grays and the whites. Beige is kind of coming back again as well.” Micah Hand- Brand marketing manager at Marazzi USA.

Senior brand marketing manager at Daltile Kim Albrecht is seeing more visual interest in textures and believes fabric-inspired looks are the next biggest trend. “Wood-look tile is not new; what’s new is that it is continuing to rise in sales and consumers are demanding more choices,” she said. “In regard to color, gray is the new neutral. The gray is changing; it’s getting a little bit warmer. It’s not that cold, concrete block gray. Beige is also around, but it’s not as yellow as it used to be.”

Be on the look out for these trends and more in the tile industry!

Popular Trends at the Beginning of a New Year

2017 Tile Trends

Natural materials are the main inspiration for tile patterns and designs for 2017. Tile trends including wood, stone, and cement tiles are only becoming more realistic and textured with time. Also, decorations, graphics, and textures are in high demand. A trend we are noticing is the textile look- patterns that look like linens, fabrics, carpets- something you could just reach out and touch. Metallic looks are also gaining popularity. Shown below is a new collection from AKDO called Textile Glass. Golds, silvers, and dark gray metallic colors make up this stand out collection.

akdo-twill-gold-silk akdo-3

Care & Maintenance Questions and Answers (NTCA Reference Manual 2016/2017)

Wondering how to care and maintain your tile, grout, or natural stone? Check these quick tips!

Q: Is vinegar a good cleaner for my tile or stone installation?

A: Vinegar is a mild acid. Acids do not degrease and primarily work by attacking the minerals in the grout and many stones thereby creating damage overtime. Vinegar can also compromise the sealer in the tile, stone, or grout. A neutral pH or specialty tile or stone cleaner should be used.

Q: Can I clean my tile or stone with lemon oil to bring it back to life?

A: Lemon oil or cleaners containing oil will darken and appear to rejuvenate the appearance of tile or stone. However this effect is temporary and often they leave behind residues that remain tacky and serve as a dirt and dust collector. A neutral pH or specialty tile or stone cleaner is recommended for routine cleaning. For certain tiles or stones, a color enhancing sealer can be used to darken and highlight the character.

Q: Does grout really need to be sealed?

A: All cementitious grout, unless otherwise stated in the technical data sheet, is porous and subject to staining if not properly sealed. Sealing also reduces the ongoing maintenance requirements and helps preserve the original look.

For more cleaning and maintenance questions feel free to contact TileCraft, Inc. We usually keep stock of sealers, cleaners, and enhancers that are specifically made to work with tile and stone products. All natural stone products need to be sealed to keep the integrity of the product. Poor cleaning and upkeep can ruin a beautiful tile installation!

TEC Ultimate Performance Grout- Power Grout

Wondering what type of grout to use?

TEC Power Grout is a breakthrough in grout technology. It maximizes performance while providing ease of use. Power Grout provides excellent performance in virtually any environment, including high traffic and wet conditions, and in residential and commerical applications.

  • Highly stain resistant, never needs sealing
  • Fast-setting; open to traffic in 4 hours
  • Color accurate and resistant to efflorescence
  • Universal formula for wall and floor applications
  • Crack and shrink resistant
  • Mold and mildew resistant
  • Exceeds ANSI A118.7 Specifications
  • Interior/Exterior Use
  • Zero VOC

With 32 colors available, TEC Power Grout is an amazing product for any installation!

The Benefits of a “Mud Set Shower” Versus a Durock Shower…..

Tile contractors vary greatly.  As they say, “Prep is the most important part of the job”.  Judging installation quality is relatively difficult for most homeowners since tile covers the prep work. Take the time to educate yourself about tile installation so that you can ask the right questions. A low price achieved through questionable shortcuts or installation methods may not be a good long-term solution.

Durock is a prefabricated cement board substrate. It comes in sheets which are nailed to the studs.  A mud set showers starts with metal lathe which is interwoven and stapled to the studs. It then receives two coats of cement by hand with the second coat being skimmed flat and plumb.  Durock showers are multiple pieces which have the possibility of shifting around causing leaks and cracked grout lines especially in new built homes which settle.

Here is the problem with prefabricated substrates which do not hold the same qualifications that the traditional mud set do. If your wall is out of plumb, or floor is out of level or has a hump in it, the Durock or any other prefabricated substrate will follow that hump or irregular contour. With mud set, this is not a problem because we have the ability to “float out” any inconsistencies while applying the cement.  If there is a flaw in the wall when using Durock, it will only be magnified by the tile being there.  This is why it is so important to make sure the substrate is exactly that, straight. With prefabricated substrates you have seams, with mud set you do not.  Prefabricated substrates are nailed to floor and wall studs directly with no water proof membrane allowing wall and floor deflection which can lead to tile cracking. Mud set is anchored everywhere and is evenly distributed for maximum bond to the floor or wall and every void is filled.  The same cannot be said for prefabricated substrates. With a well done mud set shower the substrate is literately a one piece waterproof shell. This method has stood the test of time and has been used for centuries. TileCraft’s mud set showers have a lifetime guarantee from leaking. Yes, lifetime…..

The bottom line is when it comes to traditional mud set, if this generation knew as must about it as their predecessors did, more people would demand this level of skill.  This is the only method preferred by our tile artisans.

For a worry free time tested method, mud set showers are the route to go.

Fall Trends in Stone and Tile

From shimmering and textured mosaics to porcelain tile with wood, stone or concrete looks, the latest introductions in stone and tile offer inspiration for one-of-a-kind designs. Below are just some of the numerous products available on today’s market.

Ann Sacks – Pyrite Collection

The carefully composed tiles in the “Pyrite” Collection by Ann Sacks are a tightly hand-fitted mosaic that resembles a puzzle-like jigsaw that have undergone careful polishing and antiquing techniques exclusive to Ann Sacks. These methods reveal the reflective, luminescent qualities of the stone, and the result is a distinctive combination of a refined and raw look. Available in 6″ x 6″, 6″ x 12″ and 12″ x 12″ tiles, “Pyrite” comes in several finishes, including gold or silver antiqued, gold or silver polished, and a mix of both.

Artistic Tile – Foliage Collection

Organic and intriguing, “Foliage” by Artistic Tile is hand crafted of stained glass manufactured in the U.S. “Foliage” is a new addition to the “Jazz Glass” Collection and adds a sense of movement to any room. The mosaic tile is available in 14.75″ x 14.25″ x .125″ pieces.

Original Style – Odyssey Collection

The designs for the “Odyssey” tiles and matching borders from Original Style have been inspired by places and styles from around the globe and throughout the ages, from a humble rug found in a Moroccan bazaar to majestic palaces, from rustic Turkish pottery to the lost civilization of the Incas. “Odyssey” tiles are hand-finished so each one is a small, unique work of art and they are not mass-produced, they are made specific to order in Original Style’s Devon Studio. Take “Odyssey” into your home for your own global adventure, around the world in 20 tile designs.

FROM THE PRO: Advice for designing a low-maintenance, family-friendly kitchen

Put your materials to the test. Take a sample of whatever countertop material you’re considering, and squeeze a lemon on it, spill some red wine, or dribble olive oil. Absorbent stones such as marble and limestone will stain, unlike a quartz like Cambria.

Stay away from leather. This goes for banquettes and barstools, which, like marble, will show every stain. Faux suedes and leathers (vinyls) have improved markedly in terms of appearance and durability. Indoor/outdoor fabrics, which are solution-dyed and can often be cleaned with bleach, are also very durable and come in a wide range of stylish patterns.

Choose finishes carefully. If you opt for stainless steel appliances, get a brushed finish, which won’t show streaks or fingerprints so easily. As for cabinets, painted finishes have become more durable, especially catalytic lacquers, like those used for painting cars, and you can opt for a low-sheen finish. And if wood gets gouged, it can be sanded down and refinished.

Match flooring to your lifestyle. Porcelain tile floors are the most practical flooring choice, and have come a long way in terms of styles and options. Hard species of wood floors, such as walnut, are also very forgiving, especially if they are hand-hewn, distressed, or reclaimed planks; however, the shinier the floor, the more scratches and dings will show. Designer Billy Beson recommends two coats of high-gloss polyurethane for a strong, hard finish, and then the final coat in a matte finish to reduce the sheen.