Glass tiles

Glass was used as a material in tile building as early as 2500 BC. It was first used in mosaics and glass mosaic tiles are still used today. It was around 300 BC when glass was first used to produce tiles. It happened in Greece, Persia and India. They were first to create glass tiles.

Clay or ceramic tiles started their story as early as 8000 BC but it was a little different for glass tiles, because of the temperature necessary to melt glass. Not to mention how hard it is to create curves and shape glass into tile form. It’s much easier to achieve that with ceramics.

Glass tiles are not as durable as ceramic tiles but they have great potential to impart intense color and reflect light. Technology is also enabling us to do things we couldn’t do few years ago and that sure increases reasons to why to use glass tiles.

One of the bad sides of using glass tiles is complexity of installation. Glass tiles are much more fragile and therefore break more easily under duress of substrate shifts.

Another term used in connection with glass tiles is Smalti tile, sometimes also referred to as Byzantine glass mosaic tile. These are typically opaque glass tiles that were originally developed for use in mosaics. They were first created during the time of the Byzantine empire and therefore we still refer to them as Byzantine glass mosaic tile.

Smalti tiles are slightly different from regular glass tiles. They are made by mixing molten glass and metal oxides for color. What you get by doing that is a cloudy mixture that is then pours into models. Once the mixture cools down, it is broken into smaller pieces. The mixture can also be enriched with gold figures and later on covered with thin glass film to protect it.

Smalti tiles are still found in many churches across Europe and the method is still used as a form of art in some places.

According to the eco trend, glass tiles are becoming more and more popular since 1990s. Ceramic tiles cannot be “reused” while glass can be melted again and reformed. As a result “green” tiles are now common to see in kitchens, bathrooms and spas.

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