Introduction: How to Create Your Own Glass Tile Listello!
So You've graduated to getting exotic with wall, floor and counter tiling?
Fair enough, here's how to C.Y.O. Listello instead of spending insane amounts of money with the big box home improvement stores or even rediculously higher than that, specialty tile shops.
It's really simple, it allows YOU to design EXACTLY what You want, and for often less than 1/6th of what You could easily spend on similar 'custom' items at those Home Improvement Stores that are simply Never Exactly what You're Looking for!
Step 1: OK, Now Let's Get Started!
So You Like What You See?
Excellent....Here's a List of the items You're going to need:
1-Mastic (that's Tile "Glue"...it's water based and easily worked with)
2-Margin Trowel (they have a comfortable handle & are shaped like a dollar bill...retangular)
3-Your selected tile (sold normally in 12"x12" sheets)
4-Shower Pan Liner (usually sold in plumbing departments, get at least 20 mil thickness), sold in 1' x 48" or 60" widths
6-Straight Edge (level, square, ruler or quailty peice of straight lumber that's easy to handle like a 1" x 2" x-3 or 4 feet in length)
7-Safe cutting surface (plywood's great, what's shown is scrap OSB[oriented strand board])
8-Large Carpenters Square (not required, but it You already have one, they make Your cut corners Awesome)
Step 2: Cut & Square Up the Shower Pan Liner
Once You have all Your goodies in a pile, You will want to cut the shower pan liner in to 12" x whatever the width for the appropriate number of tiles...eg: IF You have 4-12" tiles...4 feet (if You're making the listello 3" wide, as pictured in the example...if 4" wide You'll get 3 feet of listello out of each tile)
The folks at the plumbing supply will 'whack' the Shower Pan Liner off it's roll, because time is money to them...they're about getting it off the roll and money out of Your pocket/You out the door, asap. As long as they're including an extra inch or 2, don't worry...that's that Your straight edge is for.
The Large carpenter's square comes in handy for cleaning up Your corners and always be exceptionally careful...utility knives are RAZORS with a handle, aka dangerous. There's also NOTHING That takes their place for a detailed cut on this Thick Rubberized Plastic. Forget any type of shears...nothing else matches the accuracy You're going to get out of Your Utility knife. Just (again, can't say it enough) BE CAREFUL!
Step 3: Glue! (mastic....same Thing)
I've been doing this for decades and taught it (this trick) to many...some choose, if they're skilled with the margin trowel to do the entire sheet of shower curtain liner at one time, applying, spreading and leveling the mastic can be a challenge. It needs to be exactly 1/8th inch thick and I prefer to work with strips the width of my planned (in the picture 3") listello.
Whether You pick 2-3-4 inch, You're going to wind up with an even number of glass tile cuts out of the 12" tile to create Your listello.
I prefer working with the shower pan liner already cut in to the appropriate finish size before applying my mastic. don't worry about running over the edge...and don't worry about making a mess; it comes with the territory (and it washes off!).
Cutting the glass tile is a cinch...much easier than the pan liner;
You simply run the utility knife down the mesh backing from the FRONT, between the small glass tiles from 1 end to the other along the appropriate seam, and again...BE CAREFUL!
NOTE: (Not Pictured, although this has been requested by more than 1 customer in the past) IF You wish to add a "3 Dimensional Feature and "Raise" the glass tiles above Your field tiles...simply ADD a second layer of Shower pan liner and mastic (and be sure to allow IT to DRY Throughly; usually 1 full DAY in a climate controlled environment will have the deed done)...tapering Your grout up to the finished edge is so easy snoopy could do it if he could hold a grout sponge! (he's still quite upset about not getting those 'thumbs'!)
Step 4: A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words, Right?
Some more pictures of both the process and the finished result.
Few more tips...let it DRY at least 2 Days before You slap it on the wall or in the floor and You MUST put mastic or thinset in the case of floor applications on the back side of the shower pan liner backing before inserting where You need.
IF You're trying to accomplish the "3D" effect with the glass tile raised above the adjacent field tile...as a rule You'll need to repeat the process with 2 layers of shower pan liner, glue between each. Seems like a lot of work but it's not...it's the waiting, that's the hardest part (as Tom Petty Sings it...& he's Right!)
If You're working with glass tile, You're Grouting with polymer enhanced UNSANDED Grout, period. No Glass Tile I've ever worked with has a grout line wider than 3/16th's of an inch so UNSANDED it is! Make sure You really PACK IT IN GOOD, from every angle possible and start sponging quickly!
Whether Your listello's going in a bathroom wall, shower/tub enclosure wall or a kitchen's backsplash and Regardless of the grout color...SEAL IT, then SEAL It Again, then SEAL It a THIRD TIME (at bare minimum, thrice)...it's critically important, if not THE Most Important finishing touch that guarantees Your listello will survive and thrive in a moist environment without the grout fading, mildewing or allowing all that 'wet' behind all Your spectacular work. I welcome Your critiques for any detail I may have left out.....But it You aren't a fellow 'guru' whos' been doing this for decades, here's the bst thing I can tell Ya....Follow the directions, don't be afraid, Don't CUT CORNERS on the quality of materials You select, be sure You're working over Concrete Backerboard (Durarock, Wonder/Hardieboard or Permabase) because it's worth every penny...Green Board (wax treated water RESISTANT Sheetrock/Gypsum Wall Board) Is NOT the SAME, IT's NOT Even CLOSE. Start Right and You'll Finish STRONG with a completed Project that does far more than LQQK AweSome...It IS Awesome and will OUTLIVE Your Children!
Now go git started (& yes, You Can Do This Job while listening to the Black Eyed Peas!)!!!
Step 5: Ahh, More Pictures of the Finished "Product"!
And this was BEFORE the Fixtures, faceplates and final detailing items were installed!
You Bet Your Bippy it is!
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