How to Choose Glass Tiles for Backsplashes

White Tiles in bathroom

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Looking for a way to update your kitchen or bath but want something that stands out with style? Replace those worn-out ceramic tiles with a luminous and colorful recycled glass tile backsplash.

Glass Tile vs. Ceramic

Though ceramic is often the material of choice for backsplashes, it requires a lot of energy to produce. For this reason, recycled glass tiles are a much more environmentally friendly alternative to ceramic tiles and offer several benefits in terms of aesthetics and ease of maintenance. Glass tiles are often slightly transparent and reflect plenty of light, so they make your bathroom or kitchen appear larger than opaque ceramic tile would. They are also less porous than ceramic tiles, which helps to resist stains as well as dreaded mold and mildew.

However, glass tiles present a few drawbacks. They are typically more expensive than ceramics, and a shoddy grouting job may destroy the clean aesthetic that glass tiles provide. Though they are fairly durable, glass tiles are prone to scratches. Typically, glass tiles are more expensive than ceramics.

Colors, Shapes, and Sizes

Glass tiles for backsplashes are available in just about every color you can imagine. They are also made in interesting shapes beyond the typical four-inch by a four-inch format that "backsplash tile" calls to mind, or the popular subway tile pattern. Think long, slender tiles evocative of a luxurious spa, or vintage round and octagonal mosaic tiles. Glass tiles also come in more traditional configurations such as square shapes and decorative edge pieces. They are even available in larger sheets for a minimal, uncluttered look.

Colors of glass tiles for backsplashes range from white and black and everything in between, including natural beiges and greens to bright iridescent blues, purples, and reds. Some glass tiles feature intricate surface designs, others look crystal-clear or give off a mother-of-pearl sheen or a matte look. You may combine glass tiles with marble or other natural stones for limitless options for your backsplash design.

Designer Tips

If you think glass tiles might be right for your kitchen or bath design, consider these tips in selecting and installing them:

  • Choose the backsplash colors after you've selected your other room finishes (unless you plan to base the entire design around the tile). That way you can incorporate shades that compliment your wall color or countertop materials.
  • If you have a small kitchen or bath, opt for lighter and more transparent tiles, which reflect the most light and will make the space feel larger.
  • Mosaic glass tiles typically are mounted on a mesh backing, making them easier to install for do-it-yourselfers.
  • Buy extra tiles because a few may be broken in the installation process.
  • For those on a budget, incorporate a band of glass tiles as an accent among cheaper tiles such as ceramics.