How to Install Glass Tile

colorful glass tile backsplash
  • 5-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-5,000
What You'll Need
Tile thinset
Wet tile saw with carbide tip

Installing some glass tile in your kitchen or bathroom can add an instant dramatic change to the overall decor of the room. Without major expense or renovation you can change the overall look of your room with the use of glass tile.

Backsplashes and countertops are a great place to install glass tile for a clean, polished look. There are some cleaning and maintenance care guidelines to follow, but you should be able to enjoy a long lasting countertop of glass tile for many years.

Step 1 - Remove Old Tile and Clean

Remove any tile that is on your countertops now. Use a small chisel and work along the grout pattern. This will take some time, but will make the clean up much easier. Pry each tile off and dispose of it. Using a scraper or sander, scrape off the remaining mortar and grout. Clean the entire area and remove any debris or dust.

Step 2 - Dry Fit Tile

blue and tan glass tile

The best way to make sure you are going to like the glass tile pattern, and confirm you have enough to use, is to dry fit the tile where it is going to go. Work with the spacing, and make measurements for any pieces that will need to be cut. If you can do this from the outset, then the actual installation goes very quickly.

Step 3 - Mix Thinset

Mix the thinset according to the directions on the package. Each manufacturer has a slightly different method for mixing their tile thinset. Mix the thinset in a bucket with a mixing paddle attached to a drill. Mix to a mud like consistency.

Step 4 - Set in Tile

spreading thinset with a trowel

Apply a thin coating of thinset to the surface area of where you are going to tile, using the trowel. This will take some practice if you have never done it before. Work in small sections so it does not dry out. Spread it out over the length of the area and then use the notched end to create grooves in the thinset.

Set the first tile into place with equal pressure on all four sides. Work it into the thinset and apply pressure for a few seconds. Continue setting in the tile working steadily so the thinset does not dry out. Keep each row even and use spacers in between each tile. Take care not to push any of the thinset up over the tile. You can press firmly, but not enough to dislodge any of the thinset.

Step 5 - Apply Grout

Mix the tile grout according to the instructions on the package. Using a grout spreader, spread the grout across the glass tile. Work it into the seams until it is level all across the countertop. The important point is to fill in all the seams as much as possible with the grout. Using a grout smoother, go through all grout lines leaving a finished look. A nice beveled look is nice and will not let water sit in the grout lines. After grout has dried, wipe off the rest of the tile with a sponge and warm water.