Monday, March 10, 2014

Cracked glass tile mosaics - Expert

There are a few factors that affect the quality of glass mosaic tiles.  Some manufacturers do not have control over their raw materials, while others exercise strict quality control measures.


Recycled glass is sorted and ground.  The resulting granular material is called cullet.  The best quality cullet is utilized for glass lenses and beverage containers.

Lesser qualities of cullet may contain impurities, such as incompatible glass (different colors of glass, pyrex & auto windshields), foreign materials (plastic, paper, metal) or debris (dirt, rocks, contaminates). 

Even the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) says,
"Glass containers for food and beverages are 100% recyclable, but not with other types of glass. Other kinds of glass, like windows, ovenware, Pyrex, crystal, etc. are manufactured through a different process. If these materials are introduced into the glass container manufacturing process, they can cause problems and defective containers."

The slightest bit of impurities can affect the performance of the finished glass tile mosaics.  Yet, this lesser quality cullet material is acceptable to many manufacturers.  The smallest bit of incompatible glass will wreak havoc on the finished glass tile mosaics.

Glass Recycling - Pass on Inferior Cullet

Manufacturers of glass tiles claim that their raw materials are of the utmost quality.  Yet the Glass Packaging Institute states:  "Some recycled glass containers are not able to be used in the manufacture of new glass bottles and jars or to make fiberglass. This may be because there is too much contamination or the recycled glass pieces are too small to meet manufacturing specifications.... This recovered glass is then used for non-container glass products. These "secondary" uses for recycled container glass can include tile, filtration, sand blasting, concrete pavements and parking lots."  

The glass recycling organizations are saying that contaminated cullet and glass are acceptable to pass onto the glass tile mosaic manufacturers.

Proper Processing

Even when utilizing the highest quality cullet, glass tile manufacturers must ensure that the cullet it thoroughly mixed.  Cullet from clear glass will have similar chemical compositions.  But the granuales are not exactly the same, as they originated from countless unknown different manufacturers.

To ensure that the finished glass tile mosaics are a homogeneous blend (no pockets of any dissimilar glass), they must follow one of two prescribed processes.

The first acceptable method is to melt the cullet into molten glass.  While molten the glass is mixed thoroughly.  Statistically this method should work, however, as statistics also prove there are margins of error.

The second method is to melt the cullet and then allow it to cool.  The cullet it reground into granules, mixed and remelted.  This process has a margin of error so small, that a homogeneous mix is guaranteed.

Guaranteed Performance

While using recycled materials provides warm fuzzies, the liability of installing recycled glass mosaic tiles into an environment where they may be subject to thermal shock is just too great.

Once glass tile mosaics are installed, the manufacturers will blame the installation process for the cracking.  The "blame game" starts with finger pointing and the deflection of responsibility.

The cost to remove and replace cracked glass tile mosaics is 5-7 times the cost to install them initially. 

Are you willing to put your faith and tens of thousands of dollars of money into a recycled glass product that may or may not perform as it is supposed to?  

First Quality Glass

How are first quality glass tile mosaics manufactured? Actually, there are a couple of methods.

The first method is to actually manufacture the glass from the raw materials.  This ensures absolute quality control over the chemical composition of the glass mosaic tiles.

The second method is to purchase first quality float glass (panes of glass) from a single manufacturer.  The float glass can be used to manufacture fused glass.  Or it can be broken into cullet and used to make glass tile mosaics.  Because the cullet is from a single source of new glass, the glass tile mosaics are also considered "first quality."

Guaranteed to be free of any contaminates, first quality glass mosaic tiles will ensure a lifetime of trouble free performance.

Why gamble, when there is so much at stake?

Contact the author, Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa at: or 408-776-8220. Visit his website at: 

All Contents © Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, 2013. 
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To contact the author, Paolo Benedetti of Aquatic Technology pool and Spa, email him at: or call 408-776-8220.
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