The Islandia glass line is made from 8mm high quality, heavy duty, construction-grade glass, which is usually used for commercial windows in high-rise office buildings and hotels.
The first step in the process of making glass tile is cutting down large sheets of glass into a 24”x24” size. Tiles are cut on a table using a large, multiple blade, automatic glass cutting machine, and some lubricating oils are used to help score the glass tile and snap it into a 24”x24” size. From the 24”x24” size, tiles are then cut into a specific field tile size. Once field tile sizes are cut, glass tiles are run through the kiln to soften the edges and give a pillowed effect atop each tile. From there, the raw glass field tiles are run through a vat of special set-temperature water to take off any oils or residue from the surface of the tile. This “cleaning step” after firing the glass is unique and essential because it ensures a pure and clean base for the process.
Next comes the coloring of the glass. The coloring is made up of color pigments which are applied on one side of the glass sheets using a screening process that applies an evenly distributed layer across the entire surface. What makes Islandia Glass different from some other painted-back glass tile is that Islandia Glass has 6 coats of the colored pigment versus 2-3 coats of pigments in other glass tile. Having these extra coats of pigment, the tiles are less apt to chip through the paint from the back, therefore creating a more durable material.
These pieces are then transferred to the appropriately sized kiln plates and fired at 1,472-1,580°F. The time for firing varies from 30-60 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the glass. The firing process bonds the color to the glass chemically with the heat, which makes it fade-proof. For glass tiles that are mesh mounted: after firing, the tiles are placed top-down in trays and then a special glue is applied with fiber or nylon mesh that is cut to the size of the tray (approximately 12”x12”). It then goes through a drying machine and on to the quality control process before being boxed and palletized.
When installing Islandia, you need to use a latex-modified white thinset that meets the standards for glass installations. Due to the transparent and/or light translucent nature of this product, visible effects may occur behind the glass. This is not considered a manufacturing problem or defect with the glass tile. To minimize the occurrence of these visible effects behind the glass, it is recommended to flatten the peaks of the thinset by using the smooth side of the trowel prior to installing the glass. When cutting the glass, the factory recommends cutting it with the painted side up and placing masking tape where the tile will be cut, prior to cutting. This will help to prevent the paint from being chipped during the cutting process. Additionally, the tile should be cut at a slow pace. This will help to make sure the cut is smooth and the paint does not chip. The installer should use a wet saw when cutting, and a glass blade, which is available from several blade manufacturers. One example is the Alpha WG1000 Blade. If they do not, chipping on both the front and the back of the glass can occur and will affect the final appearance of the product.
After properly using the aforementioned cutting techniques, there will be some sharp edges at the cut areas. These edges can be softened by lightly sanding the edges or by using a high quality rubbing stone. After installation, grout with any sanded grout using the manufacturer’s recommendations. When grouting, it is important to pack the grout joints to avoid seeing the mesh on the back of the sheet. After cleanup, your Islandia installation is ready to enjoy!