Glass Fixing Guide

Glass Fixing Guide


This guide is not intended to be a definitive guide to fixing glass tiles. If you are uncertain about anything having read this guide, you should consult a professional tile installer who is experienced with the installation of glass tiles.

It is the responsibility of the purchaser/installer to adhere to the following guidelines and install them in accordance with the current British Standards Institute Standards of Installing Wall and Floor Tiles and Mosaics: BS 5385



County Tile's glass tiles and splashbacks are available in a wide range of colours, sizes and finishes, to suit every taste.

Using this guide will help you to:

• Understand the limitations and difficulties that may be experienced with glass tiles

• Calculate how many tiles you require

• Prepare and plan for the installation

• Mark out the work area

• Successfully cut and drill

• Fix and grout the glass tiles

• Clean and maintain your finished installation


Selecting your tiles

This is the most important and enjoyable task. With such a large range of glass tiles to choose from, you may like to order some samples to see how they fit in with the rest of your furnishings and decorations.

Tiles differ in size and thickness and choosing the right size is just as important as choosing which type. Small glass tiles are often better suited to covering small areas, whereas larger areas look better with larger glass tiles.

Suitability of your chosen tiles is also an important factor.



Glass tiles and splashbacks are suitable for internal walls in both wet and dry areas. They are not suitable for: use as worktops, as they are susceptible to scratching. They are also not suitable for floors, external use, for installation in submerged conditions such as swimming pools or fish tanks, installing over substrates that are subject to movement such as wood or fibreglass.

If installed in direct sunlight the colours may fade.

Do not fix to wooden substrates. All wooden substrates should be over boarded with cementitious tile backer boards in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If in doubt consult a professional before proceeding.


Wet areas

When fixing glass tiles in wet areas the walls must be fully waterproofed (tanked) prior to tiling.


Heat sources

Always ensure that the tiles are a minimum of 3cm from any heat source and if behind a hob do not let hot pans touch the tile surface. This is to avoid cracking.

Do not fix to wooden substrates. Fix tile backer boards or cement sheets securely (in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions) over the wooden wall prior to tiling.


How many tiles will you need?

Once you have decided on a type and size of tile, calculate how many you will need by measuring the area to be tiled. 

How to calculate the square metre/square foot measurement of the area to be tiled:

Measure the height of your room or the height you will require the tiling to end and multiply by the width.

The result will be the square metre measurement of the area to be tiled.

How to calculate the number of tiles required:

If the shape of the area to be tiled is a simple square or rectangle you can simply calculate the area of each tile and divide it into the area of the wall or room. This assumes that the area being tiled is square at the edges, if not you will need to allow some extra for part tiles.

An alternative method is to make a scale drawing of the walls on a piece of graph paper, draw the outline of each tile and add them up. 

We recommend that you allow for part tiles, wastage and any imperfections by adding 10 per cent to your order. It can be a false economy to only order the exact quantity. You may break some tiles when cutting or you may end up with awkward shapes that take more tiles than anticipated. It can be frustrating to get near the end of the job only to find that you are short of one or two tiles, especially as shade can vary between different batches. Keeping spare tiles in case of issues in the future (such as breakages and damage) is good practice.

If you have any problems calculating the number of tiles required please do not hesitate to **contact us**



Glass tiles are subject to scratching and only super fine or un-sanded grouts should be used.

Always test an inconspicuous area first.


Glass Splashbacks

Care must be taken when handling Splashbacks before and during installation. Most of our Splashbacks are made from toughened (also known as tempered) glass, which is a type of safety glass.

Toughened glass should receive the same care as annealed (ordinary) glass. Careless handling and improper installation sometimes causes edge damage, and delayed breakage can occur when edge-damaged tempered glass is subjected to mechanical stress, as in installation.

Further, if cut, knocked or dropped, this material will produce instantaneous total fragmentation.

Splashbacks must be a minimum of 3cm / 11/8 “ from any direct heat source and radiant heat sources such as hobs, heated towel rails or radiators. Hot pans must not come into direct contact with glass splashbacks. When cooking on hobs hot pans must be kept from splashbacks by a minimum of 3cm / 11/8” to avoid scorching.


Colour and shade variation

Lay out and mix the glass tiles prior to fixing to evenly distribute small variations in shade. Do not fix the glass tiles if you are unhappy with the shade variation or any other quality aspect. No liability for shading issues can be accepted after installation. As most tiles are individually coloured, there may be distinctive yet subtle variations in shade. This is an inherent feature of our tiles. You may wish, therefore, to spend some time to achieve the most pleasing distribution of shades before fixing.

When planning designs it is important to dry lay the tiles prior to fixing. We strongly recommend that you buy all the tiles you need for your project at one time. Decorative tiles are made individually and therefore unique.

Due to the different density, different thicknesses of tile will vary in tone, even if they are the same colour.

Some tiles vary in appearance with different lighting conditions.


Cutting Glass tiles and Splashbacks

Glass tiles are brittle and need special tools for cutting.

Scribe and snap method (For straight cuts on painted back glass tiles only).

Use a scribe and snap tool fitted with an 18mm scribing tool. Scribe the painted back and then firmly snap the tile. Always snap the tile at one end or the other of the scribe line Take care to wear gloves and eye goggles when cutting glass tiles. Not suitable for vinyl backed tiles, double pressed tiles or Splashbacks.

Water fed disc cutter (Recommended for all glass tiles, including vinyl backed and double pressed types but not all Splashbacks – see list below).

Always use a water fed disc specially designed for glass tiles. The disc is coated around the circumference with small, fine industrial diamonds and is made specifically for cutting glass tiles under wet conditions.

The disc must be fed with plenty of clean water and the cutting rpm needs to be lower than normal at approximately 1200 rpm. Cut slowly with a low pressure on the glass tile.

For L-shaped cuts, drill a small hole and use a disc cutter as above to cut to the hole. This reduces the stress on the tile and the possibility of cracking during the cutting process. Drill the hole (approx. 10mm/5/16”) at the 90 degree turn, ie at the intersection of the two straight cuts. The glass cutting discs must be in good condition. Cut at a low rpm with minimum pressure on the glass tile.

Take extra care when cutting around sockets. Mark or trace the cut size on the back of the tile. Drill a small hole (approx. 10mm/5/16”) at each corner. This will prevent stress transferring through the tile. Carefully cut out the shape using a small disc designed for cutting glass tiles fixed to a small hand held angle grinder fed with plenty of water to cut between the holes.

When drilling use hollow tipped, water fed, diamond coated drill bits. Drill at a low rpm with minimum pressure.


If any difficulty cutting or drilling the glass tiles is experienced the tiles may be cut at a water jet cutting facility. Check online for local facilities. DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to cut or drill a Splashback.


Planning Wet rooms and showers

Glass tiles can be used in showers provided you take certain precautions in preparing the surfaces and use the correct adhesive and grout. It is vitally important to prepare all substrates in any area subject to frequent water (such as around a bath, basin or shower) carefully to protect them from water reaching the back of the glass tile. The best substrates are normally water resistant boards such as Wedi or Marmox.

The underlying surface must be waterproofed first, using a waterproofing kit known as a tanking system (see below), to prevent the ingress of water into the substrate. There must also be sufficient falls for water to drain away.


Tile weights

Always check the tile weight is suitable for your substrate adding 3.5kg/m² or 6.4lb/yd2 for adhesive and grout to the tile weight per m2 or yd2. The weight of each tile is given in the specification box on the product page.



Please store all tiles and any fixing materials such as grouts and adhesives in a cool and dry storage area. All tiles must be dry before installation. County Tile cannot guarantee that any products will be delivered completely dry. 

All surfaces must be allowed to dry out completely before tiling. Failure to do this can result in moisture being trapped behind the tiles which can react with some tiles causing them to deteriorate over a period of time. 


Successful tiling 

The key to success is to: 

• Gather together all the tools, tiles and materials you need before you start 

• Plan the installation 

• Thoroughly prepare the surfaces to be tiled; time spent on this will save time later 

• Keep the work area clear and clean as you go along 

• Work methodically and avoid mistakes by allowing sufficient time for each task. 

Please Note: It is the responsibility of the purchaser/installer to adhere to the following guidelines in accordance with the British Standards Institute Wall and Tiling Codes of Practice: 

BS 5385-1 Code of Practice Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of ceramic, natural stone and mosaic wall tiling in normal internal conditions. 

BS 5385-3 Code of Practice Wall and floor tiling. Design and installation of internal and external ceramic and mosaic floor tiling in normal conditions. 

To check the tiles by laying them out and viewing them prior to installation. Please be advised that installation constitutes acceptance of the quality, colour, texture, shade and size of the tiles. This applies even if the home owner is not present during the installation process. 

To store products in an adequate, clean, dry and secure space that is free from frost and moisture. 

To ensure that installation is carried out in adequate artificial lighting conditions. 

To ensure that work is adequately protected during and after fixing. 



Marking out the work area first, make a tiling gauge. Use approximately 1m/39” length of straight, planed, wooden batten approximately 30 x 20mm / 11/8” x 3/4” in cross-section. Use a pencil to mark off the length of your tiles, plus the space between them. For instance, if you are fixing tiles that measure 300 x 300mm /1113/16” x 1113/16” and have gaps between each tile of 2mm /1/16” you will mark every 302mm /117/8”. Mark out the work area.

You must always check to see whether the ceiling is level first. Aim to position the tiles so that they fit either at the top or at the bottom. This way you will be cutting one edge. This can only be achieved if the floor or ceiling is level. The first row you fix is the most important. If this is sloping or uneven, then all the other rows will be uneven too. If the skirting board looks even you may be tempted to start tiling directly up to it. Don’t! Very few properties, old or new, have walls and floors that are perfectly square so you will need to set the level for the first row.

Here’s how: take a straight length of timber batten (dimensions as above). Using a spirit level, make sure the top of the wooden batten is perfectly level then lightly nail it horizontally along the area to be tiled. NB. Check for concealed plumbing or electrical wiring before nailing into any walls. Place your homemade gauge vertically against the wall, its end on the top edge of the fixed wooden batten. Work up the wall making pencil marks as you go, making sure that you won’t have to cut lots of fiddly small tiles at the top.

Now use a measure to find the horizontal mid-point of the wall. Put your gauge against this point and work horizontally to determine the location of the last whole tile, and mark the batten. Again, make sure you are not left with small slivers of tiles at each end and, if necessary, adjust the ‘mid-point’ slightly to avoid this. Next hang the plumb line so that the line hangs directly over the batten mark. Alternatively, you can use a laser level, a long set-square or an upright spirit level to produce a vertical line.

Once you have the precise starting point for your first tile you can begin tiling.


Grout Gaps

Grout gaps are dependent on the size of the individual tiles.

• Tile facial area <0.1m2 min of 2mm grout gap as long as the tile has no side over 599mm.

• Tile facial area 0.1m2 to 1m2 min 3mm grout gap as long as tile has no side over 1200mm.

• Joints for panels should be increased pro rata (e.g. for 3m long ceramic panels the recommended min grout gap is 5mm) 

Make sure your tiles are all from the same batch, this will be marked on each box.

All installations MUST have a grout gap and the tiles must NOT be butted up against one another. 

Spacers that have been used during the fixing process must be removed from the joints before the adhesive setting time is reached.



For fixing glass tiles we recommend a thin-set white cement based, latex modified adhesive

type such as Mapei Keraquick with Latex Plus (C2 S2) or an epoxy (R2) type in white such as

Mapei Kerapoxy or Kerapoxy Design.

We do not recommend the use of cement based adhesives mixed with water as this forms alkalis which may attack some of the glass tile backings.

For steam rooms and saunas use an epoxy adhesive and grout.

For splashbacks use a silicone mirror adhesive or silicone MS polymer adhesive. These are applied in strips in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions on the silicone tube.

Do not seal around the splashback for 24 hours to allow the silicone to fully air cure.

Suitable silicone mirror adhesives/MS silicone adhesives are Bostik, Geocel, Graft, Kingfisher

and Soudal.

Be careful when selecting modified cement based adhesives for fixing glass tiles as they may form very strong alkalis when mixed with water. The alkalis may attack some of the glass tile backings. If you mix appropriate cement based adhesives with latex instead of water alkali formation is limited and the likely hood of attacking the glass backing is minimised.

Spread an even layer about 4 to 6 mm (1/4’’) thick using a notched trowel to form parallel lines. Work to the lines you have drawn on the walls for centre points and level lines and then begin to apply the tiles. Back butter the glass tiles with 1 to 2 mm of adhesive before placing into the ribbed adhesive on the wall.

This will improve adhesion and reduce the possibility of the ribs in the adhesive on the wall showing through the glass tiles.

Place the first whole tile into the ribbed adhesive on the wall and press down firmly. Check the first tile is straight and level. Now lay the adjacent tiles in the same way, using spacers to create an even joint between them.


Tanking Systems

We recommend using a tanking system for power showers, shower cubicles, steam rooms and wet rooms in hotels, guest houses, leisure centres, fitness centres and in domestic homes. These normally consist of a primer, a liquid waterproofing membrane that you brush onto the wall and a tape for reinforcing all internal corners. Please refer to specific manufacturer instructions or, preferably, get a professional to do this job. Tanking a previously painted surface is not recommended. You can usually apply the tile adhesive 24 hours after the wall is waterproofed. For steam rooms and saunas use epoxy adhesives and grouts. We recommend that all waterproofing processes are carried out by a professional.


Expansion & Movement Joints

Where tiles meet another surface or change plane, the joint is filled with silicone sealant, not grout, to allow for minor expansion and contraction. Movement joints should be placed over existing joints, changes of substrate, as well as around areas no greater than 40m2 and no length should be greater than 8m without a movement joint. Movement joints eliminate stress transferring from the substrate. 

Internal: Please refer to BS5385-1

External: Please refer to BS5385-3



Owing to variations in studio lighting the tile colours shown on the County Tile website may differ slightly from those of the actual tiles. Before making your choice it is always advisable to order samples and view the samples in the area the tiles will be installed.



Not all cleaners are equally suitable for all types of tiles. Wash down glass tile surfaces with either clean water or a neutral (i.e. not acidic or alkaline) detergent. Dry off and polish with a dry, clean cloth. A neutral (pH7) window cleaning spray is suitable. Do not use anything abrasive such as cleaners or pads as they will scratch the surface of the glass tiles.

Certain acid based cleaning products may cause some of the tiles to react and change in character.

Do not use bleach to clean the tiles.


Limits of liability

County Tile accepts no liability for the faulty installation of its tiles. In the case of any claim relating to the tiles themselves, County Tile’s liability, to the extent permitted by law, is limited to either the replacement of the product or a refund of the cost of the product, and does not extend to cover any consequential loss.

Claims must be reported within seven working days from receipt of the tiles.

Tiles must be inspected prior to installation and claims cannot be considered after the tiles have been installed.

Please be advised that installation constitutes acceptance of the quality, colour, texture, shade and size of tiles.

County Tile warrants that its tiles conform to their description and are fit for their purpose. County Tile makes no other express or implied warranty as to fitness or suitability of the products for particular installations.

We extend no guarantees, express or implied, as to wear resistance or maintenance procedures.

Please note, the use of certain acid based cleaning products may cause some tiles to react and change in character.

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