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Gloss vs. Matte Glass Tile: A Sheen Show Down

Kitchen Backsplash installation featuring our gloss color Juniper; Image: Malcolm Fearon, Bliss Images

Whether you are remodeling your bathroom or building a swimming pool, consider using glass tile for a unique look unlike any other surface material.  Luminescent, impervious and pillowy soft, our recycled glass tile is sure to steal the show, but you'll first have to make a few tough decisions, one being the finish – Gloss or Matte?  Seems so simple, right?  Not when you're the one making the decision!  Both glass finishes offer a very different aesthetic and have their own set of pros and cons.  To help you decide, we put together a list of all of the benefits and challenges of using a gloss vs. matte finish.

Pros of using a Gloss Finish

1. Gloss is reflective:  A gloss surface reflects light, so if you are looking to make your space feel lighter and brighter, this finish is the right choice for you.

2. Gloss is vibrant:  Our glass tile has through body color, which means rich pigmentation all the way through the glass tile body.  A gloss finish highlights the transparent color, making a strong visual statement.

3. Gloss is low maintenance: Being impervious to water, glass tile is one of the easiest tile types to keep clean, and a glossy, easy to wipe finish makes maintenance even less painful.

Bathroom shower installation featuring our gloss colors Forget Me Not, Icicle, Dusty Olive, Plankton, and Island Flower; Image: Malcolm Fearon, Bliss Images

Cons of using a Gloss Finish

1. Gloss is slippery:  A smooth, glossy surface will be slippery, especially when wet.  Therefore, we do not recommend using gloss finish on the floor.  If you do, make sure to choose a small size to help with slip resistance, the more grout the better!

2. Gloss highlights imperfections: fingerprints, footprints and water spots, all those pesky imperfections will be exaggerated on a gloss finish.  Gloss is also more transparent than matte finishes, so be aware of your tile backing, it will show underneath lighter gloss colors.

3. Gloss can be distracting:  The reflective quality of a gloss finish isn't for everyone.  If you're looking for a calm, serene aesthetic, gloss probably isn't the right fit.  The reflective quality will create more light, and make colors feel brighter.

Gloss Color shown is Plankton

Pros of using a Matte finish

1. Matte is soft: While gloss colors are often bold and vibrant, matte colors offer the opposite effect–a soft, muted hue, perfect for creating a calm and soothing space.  

2. Our Matte finish is etched: To create a highly durable finish, we etch the surface of our glass tile.  This technique creates a unique surface texture that will last you a lifetime, compared to other glass tiles that only have a thin "matte film" applied to the surface, which will chip and scratch off over time.

3. Matte is is more slip resistant:  If you are looking to put glass tile on a floor, a matte finish is your safest bet.  The etched surface provides slip resistance, to an otherwise smooth and slippery material.  So if you want a glass tile shower pan, go matte all the way!

Bathroom showerpan installation featuring our Matte Colors Morning Glory Matte, Forget Me Not Matte, Icicle Matte, Wallflower Matte, Lamb's Ear Matte, and Blueberry Matte; Image: Malcolm Fearon, Bliss Images

Cons of using a Matte finish

1. Matte finish costs a little more: Glass tile starts at $28/sf. Because we manually etch the surface for added durability, our Matte finish runs a few dollars more, starting at $34/sf.  

2. Matte can require maintenance: A matte finish can be a bit harder to maintain, it's possible for water spots to be more visible if you live in an area with hard water.

3. Matte is not translucent: A color with matte finish will not be as translucent as a gloss finish.  The matte finish creates a cloudy effect, so if you are looking for high translucency and reflection, matte may not be for you.

Color shown is Wallflower Matte

Can't decide between gloss and matte?  Try mixing both for a unique surface texture and custom look!

Want to learn more about Gloss and Matte finishes?  Simply fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you within 24 hours

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