Alexander Imports Intl.’s


Tile Installation Guide

Glass tile will last the lifetime of your home if it is installed properly, and if not cleaned with any abrasives, or used in a very high traffic floor area, or abused or installed improperly. Hire an experienced licensed tile contractor is the best advice we can offer, but if your a do-it-yourselfer and looking to install tile, below is an detailed installation guide that can help.

Facts about Tile
Glass Tile
No matter what the type, iridescent, matte or translucent, glass tile always brings a luster that won’t go unnoticed. Many of our tiles are green glass, no not the green color, they are made from recycled glass. You can have a green tile bathroom that is actually blue in color! Although more difficult to cut than ceramic tiles some varieties can be scratched which is why glass tile is more often used for wall and backsplashes than floors. The best way to cut glass tile is with tile nippers, or very carefully and slowly with a diamond studded, commercial tile saw. Always wear safety goggles. Do not clean glass tile with abrasives.Ceramic Tile/Porcelain Tile
As they are very durable, ceramic and porcelain tile are popular choices for kitchens and bathrooms. They are easy to clean, won’t absorb water and are hypoallergenic. Porcelain tiles have more density and are fired at higher temperatures and therefore are more durable than ceramic tiles. Ceramic tile’s clay body or bisque, it darker in color that porcelain and are most always glazed. Check the PEI rating of the tile, it should be either a 4 or s 5 for high traffic areas.Stone Tile
Our stone tile collection consists of slate, travertine, marble and granite. The sheer and timeless beauty of these surfaces is undeniable, and we offer them at reasonable prices. There are different finishes, polished or glossy, to honed which is smooth and matte finish. We recommend that all stone tile be sealed annually.Metal Tile
Our metal tile collection has some of the very newest and most modern varieties available anywhere. We also have them in mosaic patterns. Easy to clean and highly durable they are recommended for high traffic areas in bathrooms and kitchens.
Tile Design OptionsIn creating the perfect tile design, to make the best use of the available space, one should visualize your personal look and feel, the potential mood of the room. It is important to consider the many different styles: modern, contemporary, traditional, or transitional between the three, and then explore the many exquisite types of tile products available. Do you want your kitchen or bathroom to be bright and fresh or fun and colorful? Will it be more masculine or feminine? A key consideration is color palette of the space, warm or cold? To help determine your tile project’s design we suggest visiting our Tile Design Center on our website. It has lots of design references: from ultra modern – with the use of black metal and polished black Basalt stone and crystal grey glass tile, or more traditional – with the use of gold, brown and beige slate tile, perhaps luxurious – with the use of Italian white and grey marble, retro – with the use of glass mosaics, perhaps an elegant Travertine kitchen or bathroom, rock inspired – with the use of flat white stone pebbles pattern or Asian inspired – with the use of Fountainebleau Glass Collection Random Interlock Pattern in Toffee Beige, Chestnut Brown, Sage Green Polish Crystal Glass Tile…Planning The Project

Surface Preparation
Before installing any type of tile, you need to prepare the surface on which it will go. It should be watertight and smooth. Paying attention to this phase of the project will increase the lifespan of the new tile. It will also make installation of the tile much more easy. Make sure the existing surface is clean, structurally sound, dry and free from all bond-inhibiting materials. Waxes, sealers, curing compounds, old adhesives, cutback, paint, dirt, grease and oil, are all bond-inhibiting materials and need to be removed or properly prepared before installing tile or stone finishes. In most cases it’s necessary to install and underlayment, backer board, also known as masonry board. This is also necessary for all tile installations where the tile will be getting wet such as in showers. We recommend the half inch thickness. It will help to provide an optimal and smooth surface to apply the tiles to. For floors, The subfloor must be sound enough to support tile. Tile can be heavy and must be installed on a flat, rigid surface. Subfloors under tile should be no less than 1 inch thick. A flexing floor will cause cracks to show up in the grout later and may cause tiles to break. If your floor bounces when you walk over it, try adding rigidity by re-nailing the subfloor to the floor joists. Add bridging between the joists, and/or shim the subfloor with wooden shims driven between the top edge of the joists and the bottom face of the subfloor.

Familiarize yourself with the different tile types, shapes and configurations for corners, edges, countertop copings, curved and specialty tiles for around fixtures, etc. and consider and plan for the specifics of the installation. For floors, there are two ways to plan a layout for floor tile. The first is to measure and start in the middle of the floor, snap a chalk line, and for reference, another perpendicular and then work outward. The second method is to align the tiles from a corner of the room of the most prominent wall at right angles to the doorway, and work from one side of the room to the other. It’s best to measure and snap chalk lines Sometimes the walls of a room are not square to each other. It’s best it identify this situation now to figure out how to minimize the possible poor aesthetics of having to cut the tile on a diagonal along the least prominent edge of the room…

Tile Patterns

An integral part of both the design process and the layout process is determining which tile pattern to use. There are many different interesting tile patterns to consider: (this is only a sample of the patterns available on the market today)

Horizontal Interlock Pattern
Horizontal Interlock Pattern
Brick Pattern
Brick Pattern Tile
Harlequin Pattern
Harlequin Pattern Tile
1×1 Glass Pattern
1x1 Glass Pattern Tile
Basketweave Pattern
Chateau Marble Basketweave Pattern Polish with Polo Brown Marble Dots
Elevations Pattern
Gold Beige Polished Elevations
Pinwheel Pattern
Black Basalt Pinwheel Pattern with Silver Metal Tile dots
Split Face Pattern
Basalt Black Grey Stone Large Split Face Tile
Multisize Pattern
Crystal Glass Tile Polish Mocha Cream Blend Multi Size Pattern
Pebble Pattern
White Flat Stone Tile Pebbles Outdoor Landscape

Please refer to our website to view our collections of tile with a vast selection of fun and interesting tile patterns… http://www.glasstilehome.comTools and Materials You’ll Need:

Installation Tools

  • Tile
  • Polymer-Modified Thinset Mortar
  • Buckets
  • Drill and Mixing Paddle
  • Notched Trowel
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Square
  • Tile Spacers
  • Level
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Tile Cutter or Tile Saw
  • Tile Nippers
  • Rubber Work Gloves
  • Knee Pads
  • Safety Glasses
  • Transitions
  • Moulding
  • Tile Edging Metal Strips
Finishing Tools

  • Grout
  • Rubber Grout Float
  • Buckets
  • Sponges
  • Grout Haze Remover
  • Grout Additive
  • Grout Sealer

Instructions for setting a floor tile project

Step 1: Dry fitting the Tiles
Once the tile pattern and floor plan has established and the reference chalk lines are snapped onto the floor, dry-fit a row of tiles down both lines to the width and length of the room. Leave equal spacing for the grout joints by using the plastic tile spacers. By laying out the tiles in this way, you can get an idea of any adjustments that need to be made to your original reference lines. The goal is to work with as many full tiles as possible. Also, you should end up with at least half-a-tile width in the areas where the tiles meet the walls. A slight adjustment at the center point may save you lots of time and money. Adjust the reference lines as necessary to achieve a layout you’re satisfied with.

Step 2: Cutting and fitting the tiles
Nearly every tiling job requires trimming tiles to fit around borders or obstructions such as window frames, electrical fixtures, pipes, basins, toilets or countertops. For small jobs, use a glass cutter or a simple tile cutter. Larger projects may warrant using a wet saw. Straight cuts are relatively simple. Shaping tiles to fit curves is more difficult and requires practice and patience. Apply even pressure when using tools designed to score, cut and drill tiles. Pressing too hard can cause tiles to crack and break. Drilling tile requires a special bit. To make cuts at a true right angle, use a combination square as your straightedge when scoring with a glass cutter. When using a glass cutter or tile cutter, score the tile in one stroke to achieve smooth and even breaks. Repeated scoring will cause the tile to chip or crack. Always wear safety glasses when working with tiles.

Step 3: It’s time for the Thinset Mortar
Use a drill with mixer bit to mix thinset tile adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The adhesive should be about the same consistency as toothpaste. Spread the thinset on the floor using a 1/4″ x 1/4″ square-notched trowel over an area of two to three tiles up to the marked lines on the floor (Image 1). Don’t cover the lines or it will be difficult to keep the tiles lined up properly. Also, don’t allow the thinset to begin to dry before applying the tiles. Thinset should be sticky to the touch If not, it is too dry and a new batch should be mixed.

Step 4: Setting the Tiles!
Set the first whole tile along the marks by slightly twisting it in place and pushing down hard on the tile. Fill in the corner tiles next. Use tile spacers to ensure even grout lines. After setting two or three tiles place a straight board that spans the tiles on top and gently tap it with a mallet to ensure the faces of tiles are all at the same height. Continue setting tiles, making sure to correctly place the tiles along the marks. Remove any thinset that oozes up between tiles. Allow the thinset to cure beneath the tiles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not walk on the tile until the thinset is cured. After the thinset has completely set, remove the tile spacers. Clean up any debris.

Step 5: Finishing up – mixing and applying the Grout
Mix the grout in small batches that can be applied in 20 minutes or so. Using a grout float, spread the grout over the tiles and holding the float at an angle force the grout into the grout lines. Use the float to clean most of the grout from the face of the tiles. As the grout on top of the tile dries and turns powdery, it can be sponged away. Use clean water in a bucket and a sponge to clean the tiles. Replace the water frequently to keep it clean for rinsing the sponge. Being careful not to disturb grouted areas. Use towels to buff away any grout film after sponging. The grout in the grout lines may not be dry at this point so be careful not to disturb it. Follow the recommended steps provided by the grout manufacturer to cure the grout. Some types of grout require that you dampen the grout over the course of several days so that it cures slowly, or apply the grout sealer as specified…

Additional facts to know for wall tile installations

The techniques for installing wall tile is mostly the same as for installing floor tile except for a differences outlined here. If you are installing tile that will be wet like on a kitchen backsplash or shower wall a water barrier must be installed behind the wall tile. As previously stated, we suggest using masonry backer board. For wall you can use the 1/4” thickness. When applying the thinset mortar to the wall First apply mortar using the flat side of the trowel to promote substrate contact. Then, using the recommended notch at a 45-degree angle, spread the mortar uniformly in a ridged pattern. Continue applying mortar in a straight pattern. Using a level to make sure the tiles are straight and level, set the tile from the bottom first to the top by pressing the tile into the mortar with a slight twisting motion. To prevent any voids or air pockets under the tile, use a grout float or rubber mallet and carefully tap the top of each tile to ensure complete contact with the mortar. Grout the will using the same techniques as the floor tile…

Final Details

Accessories and finish details must be chosen carefully and installed straight and true so the enhance, rather than distract from the overall effect. Towel bars, grab bars, soap dishes, toilet paper holders, etc., all need to be secured to the wall with screws. Use silicone caulk on the edges of sinks, tubs or where there will be running water nearby. For more information, of if you have any questions, please contact our customer service department at (877) 341-0622 or email us at