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Popular in Kitchens

Pros and Cons of a Glass Tile Backsplash

A beautiful glass-tile backsplash adds shimmer and sparkle to a kitchen. Before you invest in this popular material, however, check out our guide to the dos and don'ts of using glass tile.

A backsplash can inject style and personality into your kitchen, whether you're starting from scratch or remodeling your current space. There are many materials available for the wall above your countertops, including ceramic tile, metal, and stone, but none has more showstopping appeal than glass tile.

While this popular option is sure to transform the look of any kitchen, it's important to consider both its benefits and its drawbacks before your spend big dollars on boxes of tile.

Glass-Tile Pros

• Offers a custom look
Available in an endless array of attention-grabbing colors and transparencies, glass tiles are a perfect option for making a bold design statement in an otherwise utilitarian space. The look is truly customizable: You can choose the size and color of the tile, and you can pick a pattern used for installation. You can choose classic subway tiles, modern mosaics, or a glass-tile border or inset to complement a ceramic or stone backsplash. You can even paint a color on the wall behind translucent glass tiles for a completely different look. The options are endless -- perfect if you're looking to express your personality and create a completely unique look.

• Expands the space
Glass has the special ability to shimmer and sparkle, which bounces light around a room to visually expand the space. If your kitchen is small or dark, glass tile will reflect light to make the room appear larger and brighter. And unlike dull and flat ceramic, a glass-tile backsplash adds depth and interest to the walls.

• Is hygienic, clean, and green
Glass tiles are mildew-resistant, which is particularly helpful if your family suffers from allergies. They are also stain-resistant and easy to clean and maintain -- simply wipe them clean with a wet cloth and mild detergent. If you want to use eco-friendly materials in your kitchen, there are many recycled-glass options that are green and stylish.

Glass-Tile Cons

• Can be costly
Glass tile is often considerably more expensive than ceramic or stone tile. Depending on the type of glass used, the price can vary from $7 to $30 or more per square foot. If your budget is limited, consider adding a glass-tile accent border or inset to a ceramic or stone backsplash.

 

• Can be tricky to install
Although they are incredibly durable once installed, glass tiles are delicate in their raw form. A glass-tile backsplash is not a great candidate for a DIY installation for most homeowners. Cutting and grouting glass tile requires more precision than with other types of tile, and a less-than-perfect job will show. If you attempt the project yourself, be sure to buy at least 10 percent more tile than your measurements to account for breakage and other errors. If you turn to a pro for help, choose an installer who has experience with glass tile, and be prepared to pay more than you would for ceramic tile installation.

 

• Can be difficult to repair
Although easy to clean, shiny glass tiles will really show fingerprints and smudges. They are also difficult to damage, but they can get scratched if rubbed with a gritty material or gouged by a knife. Once scratches (or worse, cracks) appear, they are virtually impossible to fix without replacing a portion or all of the backsplash.

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