Your Guide to Using Glass for Your Next Project

Why should I avoid using glass tiles?

Avoid Using Glass Tiles For Anchoring Shower Doors

Oh no!  Not glass tiles!!!!  This is the first thought that runs through our estimators minds when they walk in a bathroom only to find the entire shower enclosure tiled with GLASS TILES.  

Although they may be clean, crisp and beautiful, they are a major concern when we are asked to drill and anchor into them.  The problem with using glass tiles is, they are not meant to bear weight.  They will crack.  It happens almost every time we try to anchor a door to a wall.  They can crack when we drill into them, but most likely not at this stage.  They can crack when we set our anchors in the hole as the pressure expands and cracks the tile.  Or they will crack when we run the screws in the anchors causing more pressure on the holes.  If for some miraculous reason they have not cracked yet, they are sure to crack when we set the heavy glass door and start to swing it open and closed.  

People think we are glass pros so we know how to cut glass.  This is true.  But we haven’t found the magical glass dust to sprinkle on glass tile walls to prevent them from cracking.  The nature of thin, non tempered, glass tiles are not strong enough to bear weight.  Plain and simple, using glass tiles is not recommended.

If you want to incorporate glass tiles in your shower enclosure, here are ways to work around this issue when it comes to installing a shower door:

  • Consider using glass tiles as an accent wall.  Typically this would be a back wall where the shower door does not come in contact.
  • A decorative boarder where the glass sits can be one material while the rest of the shower is all glass tile.  In some situations, we can design a shower door where the fixed panel is anchored to the ceiling and curb (not glass) and the door is hinged off the fixed panel.  There are ways to get creative if the space allows.
  • If the enclosure is already tiled and we are left with no options, there still is one more thing that can be done.  We can try and install the shower and see what cracks and what doesn’t.  We will be very upfront and have you sign a waiver that states we are not liable for cracking glass tiles.  Sometimes the cracks run to a grout line close to the anchor point and it is not too noticable.  You may be able to live with this.  If not (totally understandable), we will outline where all the hardware/anchor points will be.  We then remove the glass and the tile setter comes back to break out the tiles and add a solid anchor patch for us to mount our hardware to.  We then come back and reinstall.  This is pricey and painful, but possible. 

When we can be involved in the remodel process prior to tiling your bathroom, we can help avoid this situation altogether.