My Glass Tile Changed Color. How can I adjust the color back?


My Glass Tile Changed Color. How can I adjust the color back? - I had a glass tile kitchen backsplash installed and the installers used a white grout. The glass tile was pale aqua, pale blue, pale water ripples, now it is dark teal, dark blue and dark grey and the white grout is the first thing that you notice. I have search everywhere for a grout colorant that will restore the color and characteristics of the tile. I just tried adding acrylic turqoise from Ben Franklin to Aqua Mix Buff and applied it on a test piece of tile. It looks very subtle with the tile and the tile colors have returned to their original state I'm wondering if it is ok to go ahead and do this with the whole backsplash. The backsplash has no sealer on it and I talked with Aqua Mix and they said they didn't recommend it but couldn't give me a reason why.


ANSWER - Normally it is due to the color of the thin-set adhesive that affects the color of the glass tile.  I suppose the grout color can to, but generally speaking white grout doesn't distract from the color and is the color you normally want to use.

If you have tested this out and verified that if you change the grout color you will get the look that you want then go for it.  No manufacturer is going to approve of you to alter their product.  They have no way of knowing if your alteration will be a problem or not, so if you do it then it is experimental and at your own risk.  Aqua Mix in the past would match most any color, so you can ask if they will match the color you want.  Good Luck.

33 thoughts on “My Glass Tile Changed Color. How can I adjust the color back?

  1. MB Grabon says:

    I have the same problem. Backsplash of recycled glass tile installed about a month ago, with white unsanded grout. The tiles are small hexagons with each little piece colored either pale aqua, light grey, and a darker aqua in a random pattern. Now, a month or so later, the pale aqua and light grey pieces seem to be washed out, and the darker aqua has darkened, so it stands out in a cartoonish way, rather than blending in as in the original tile. Can anything be done?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      if the glass tile color is changing that is odd, particularly if the adhesive you used did not affect the color.

      Some glass tiles come with a white coating on the back so that the adhesive will not show through as many glass tile products are translucent to some degree. and I think it could be considered a defect.

      If in fact the color of the glass is fading or changing and if the manufacturer of the glass tile did not disclose that could happen, then I would see that as a defect and I would file claim with the glass tile manufacturer.

      From a forensic point of view, for us to investigate the problem to determine what caused the change in color, we would have to remove some of the tiles, and obtain some tiles of the same that were not installed, and then we would have our testing laboratory per form a petrography to evaluate the differences.

        • Donato Pompo says:

          The white coating on the back of glass tiles is normally applied for a couple of reasons. First that it helps ensure a better bond between the adhesive and the back of the tile. Second that it blocks the thinset color or application from showing through transparent glass tiles. So I would not try to remove it.

  2. Steve Patrick says:

    My contractor put polyethylene over the glass tile and it has yellowed. Is there any want to get it looking good again other than removing the polyethylene? And what would be the best way to do that without harming the tile?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Polyethylene is usually a plastic film like in a painter drop cloth. I’m assuming you mean that there was some sort of coating applied over the glass tile and the coating has turned yellow. Epoxy coatings are known for turning yellow unless they are specially designed not to. The best thing to do is to remove the coating. Find out who the manufacturer is of the coating and find out what to use to strip it off. Glass tile does not need any type of coating to put over it.

  3. Kay says:

    Maybe you can help me. I have a vision in which crafted glass tile would indeed make this project amazingly beautiful. However, my dilema is trying to remove the white receptive coating on the back. Would you know what I could use to remove the coating?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      It may be a ceramic coating on the back of the glass tiles, but I’m not sure. There are not standards dictating what that coating has to be made of, but if they are applying it when the glass tile is hot, then it is probably a ceramic material called engobe. Probably the best way to remove it is to grind it off with a grinding wheel brush.

      • Kevin Whitford says:

        Is anybody found a quicker way to do this? I have a lot of tiles that are just the wrong colour. But the exact right size. I’m curious as to a quicker method of removing this backing. I do have a glass water grinder thingy which is Handy but extremely slow. When I spray painted the back of the one that I did do for a sample it came out gorgeous. The problem is I’m doing it for wall in the Mosaic and I need different colours. So far the cost to acquire the different colours of prohibitive. Yada yada yada thank you in advance

        • Donato Pompo says:

          Be careful what you apply to the back of the tile as it may not be compatible to the adhesive you are using. Also it may degrade over time and cause the tiles to debond.

  4. Donna says:

    hello i purchased white glass tiles and the store rec-amended me to use light gray grout not telling me my white tiles would turn gray is there any way to remove this grout and put white grout to bring back my white tiles in the kitchen

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Probably not. There are grout colorants where you can change the color of the surface of the grout, but with the translucent glass tile it is picking up the color of the grout below the surface. Plus it may be more likely that the installer used a gray thin-set adhesive that has caused the glass tiles to pick up that color. Normally translucent glass tiles should only be installed with white thin-set mortar. Or you can always add color to the thin-set mortar to make it any color you want to affect the appearance of the tile installation.

  5. Tom says:

    I just had a new glass tile backsplash installed. The countertops are a modern style… cream and gray granite. I didn’t realize it but the glass backsplash has a green tint to it and it doesn’t look so great with the cream and gray countertops. I used a gray grout to try and connect the colors…but the green tint on the glass backsplash is kind of distracting. Is there anything I can do to alter the green tint a little? I’m thinking about using a translucent spray paint (Krylon stained glass aerosol paint in smoky gray) and lightly misting the backsplash with it…in hopes of slightly altering the green tint color to a grayish tint color. I would also have to spray a light coat of clear coat on it to ensure that it won’t easily scratch. Does this sound like a good idea? Has anyone ever tried this? I will practice on a few of the left over tiles before I do the actual backsplash. Thanks for any feedback and comments.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      It would not be recommended to spray anything over the glass tile as it is very dense and likely whatever you put on would eventually peal.

      What can make a difference is if you change the grout color. If you grout the same tile with different colors it can dramatically change the appearance of the tile. You could grind out the existing grout but it is tedious and you could chip tiles. Or you can use an epoxy grout colorant of your choice of color and it might alter the color to some degree. Of course you do need to experiment to see what will work.

  6. Karen says:

    I have frosted glass pale seafoam and pale blue tiles to make border in shower. Will this color change after install? Seems like most comments are about the clear white glass that changes.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the glass tile is translucent in any way then the color the thin-set adhesive and/or the color of the grout can affect the appearance of the glass tile after it is installed. That is why normally a Glass Tile white thin-set mortar adhesive is used to adhere the tile. You should take a section of the glass tile that you are going to use and adhere it to something with the thin-set and grout color that you want to use to make sure it is acceptable before doing the entire installation.

  7. Heather says:

    Hello, we just installed a bluish gray glass tile backsplash in our kitchen. The problem is some tiles are lighter then others. We have not applied grout yet. Is it possible to stain the glass darker with a glass stain?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      It is not unusual to have shade variation in glass tile. Because glass tile is normally translucent to some degree, if the installers did not apply uniform thin-set adhesive when installing the glass tiles that can affect the color and appearance.

      Glass tile is impervious so they cannot be stained.

      You can significantly affect the color or appearance of the glass tile depending on what color grout you use. You should experiment with some samples to see what looks best to you. White grout is often used in order to accentuate the tile shapes and colors. You can use a blue or green color grout that would then give the tile a respective different appearance.

      Although you can substantially

  8. Alicja Dresch says:

    My new shower has an accent strip made up of an assortment of silver, gray and goldish colored tiles. After about 2 mos I started to notice that in a few areas, the lighter silver tiles were getting spots on them from the backside that look like the coating on the back is allowing the thin set to show through and in some cases it looks like the mesh backing is coming through. My installer thinks it’s defective backing on the tile. Does that sound

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Per the industry standards for the installation of glass tile, the thin-set mortar is not to have any voids behind it or it will show through translucent glass tile.

      Normally the glass tile will have a coating on the back of it so it can achieve a better bond and avoid seeing the backing of translucent glass tile. So it seems odd that the mesh holding the mosaic glass tiles together can be seen.

      I have seen cases where microbial growth can occur behind the glass tile due to the type of backing on the glass and if it is being subjected to excessive moisture.

      Only way to tell for sure is to remove a tile and have it evaluated in a testing laboratory, which might not be practical considering the costs involved.

  9. sam says:

    I have a subway glass tile and it seems like the contractor used the wrong adhesive. the color has gone from a silver glass looking tile to a more copper looking tile. Is there anyway to fix this?
    Or are the tiles damaged and we need to rip them out and use new tiles?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      If the problem is that the installer did not use a white thin-set adhesive and didn’t make sure there was 100% contact without any trowel ridges showing through, then there isn’t anything you can do about changing the appearance other than replace the tile.

  10. debras says:

    I have white glass subway tile backsplash and the installer used dark adhesive. The tiles look gray and not white. Would white adhesive made a difference? If so, i may rip it out and start over with white adhesive. These tiles do have a white coating on the back, so not sure if it will matter.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Yes using a white thin-set mortar adhesive will dramatically change the appearance. If you color coated the thin-set blue then the tile will appear bluish.

      Make sure the adhesive is covering the entire back of the tile with not voids or otherwise it will show through.

  11. Stefan Robert says:

    I have a metro glass tile and it seems like the project worker utilized some unacceptable cement. the tone has gone from a silver glass-looking tile to a more copper-looking tile. Is there any approach to fix this?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      I have worked with a lot of glass tile installations in pools, spas and domes and I have not seen the glass tile fade.

      In pools it is not uncommon to get a haze over the glass tile that is a calcium building up. If you remove it timely it does come off.

      Sometimes you can scrub the glass tile too hard with the wrong abrasive and maybe you can scratch the surface that can give it a faded look.

      You can etch the glass tile with an acidic cleaner that is too corrosive and that can give the glass tile a faded look.

  12. Pamela says:

    Hello. I purchased a soft ivory beige mosaic glass tile. The contractor put in all up and then moved to another project. I loved it as it looked the correct color. Once he came back and grouted, it now looks grey and I hate it. So it couldn’t be the mortar because it continued to look beige after the install. It only turned grey looking after grout. The grout color seems to match the tiles, but they look grey now. Any suggestions to give the tiles a more beige look? What color grout stain might achieve this, if at all?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      In this case, the fact that the empty grout joints were filled with a grout, the material block the light from entering along the edges of the translucent glass tile. On top of that, the color of the grout you used further affects the appearance of the glass tile installation. Maybe if you had used a white grout it would have help to maintain the ivory beige look or maybe not…

      As I recommended above, you should always do a mockup using the thinset and grout of choice and maybe doing additional mockups with different color thinset and grout so you know what the outcome will likely be.

      I don’t think by you painting the top of the grout with a grout colorant will change the color reflected through the glass tile. You can experiment on a small mockup and see if it will make a difference.

  13. Teresa says:

    We have black glossy tiles as our backsplash, I have now noticed a reddish color appearing around the edges of the time, what would be the cause of this? Our home is brand new.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      I am assuming your tile is not a glass black tile as the heading of this section is regarding glass tiles.

      Whether it is a glass tile or not, I assume the reddish staining is at the grout joints. That isn’t normal, but to verify what is causing it you would have to remove the tile. If they used a red color waterproof membrane behind the tile, the possibly if it didn’t fully dry before they installed tile maybe it is emulsifying and leaching out. Or maybe some of the membrane got trapped in the grout joint. Also maybe the grout got contaminated and something with in the grout has leached out when it gets damp.

  14. Barb says:

    hi I have picked an indigo glass subway tile for my backsplash.
    what are the pro and cons on installing glass subway backsplash without grout? My installer said he could do this , I think i may like the look of it but could not find any images of ungrouted backsplash’s and would like to know if there are problems not using grout.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Industry standards recommends a minimum of 1/8″ wide grout joint, but never less than 1/16″. You cannot butt the tiles together because they do expand from heat and if there is no space to mitigate the stress then the tiles could crack.

      On a wall you could not fill the joints with grout. If it is an area not subject to moisture then it should not be a problem. If it were in a shower then residual water could tend to collect in the joints and with skin cells and other organic materials it could develop microbial growth.

      The good thing about open grout joints is that every joint becomes a movement joint to further mitigate potential stresses.

      The appearance of glass tile can change dramatically depending on what color thin-set mortar adhesive is used and depending on what color grout is used. You should create small mockups of the tile combination you want to use so you can visualize what they will look like installed, so you can pick which you prefer. That way you won’t have any false expectations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *