When discussing how to prevent glass tile installation mistakes, we thought it best to consult with the pros. Renowned as the leading installer of artistic mosaic tiles for pool interiors, Danilo Bonazza has been the installer for many elite builders across the country. Part of the Tributary Revelation group, a network of high-end builders and service providers; Bonazza is often called in for advice on some of the most complicated and elaborate tile settings. Bonazza has access to the same social media groups as us and often sees his fair share of posts on mosaic tile installation failures. Due to his profound knowledge of the products and methods used, he often receives an expert insight into why and how certain errors occurred.
Bonazza belongs to an elite class of high-end installers and is qualified to perform its mosaic art in a variety of settings. The pool is his canvas of choice; Bonazza has relied on traditional tried and true old-fashioned tiling methods. This while using the most innovative and reliable products available on the market.
Go-to products for glass tile installations
Bonazza insists that using the right products is essential for installing pool mosaic tiles. This, along with the use of inferior or inferior materials and the application of non-standard installation protocols, accounts for 90% of failures.
Working with The Tile Doctor, Curt Rapp, Bonazza uses one of their most popular product lines they distribute, the Litokol brand, on many projects in most of their mosaic glass tile installations. We recently had a chance to chat with the pair while Rapp consulted with Bonazza on another inground pool project that he was installing.
Rapp, who launched Tile Doctor in 2000 initially as an informational website that has gradually transformed to match his mantra of selling world-class products related to health, wellness and sustainability. “Litokol is exactly that,” says Rapp, “not only is it powerful, but it’s also incredibly eco-friendly.”
Litokol, an epoxy based grout system, is often the product of choice for many interior glass tile installations. The Tile Doctor is the exclusive US distributor for Litokol products.
As for The Tile Doctor, today’s end-users are often craftsmen and craftsmen alike looking for performance-based products that can help mitigate catastrophic failures and ensure successful applications.
Changing the perception of glass tile flaws
Rapp said he started attending pool shows years ago to better understand the pool industry. Noting a particular event he was attending in New Orleans, “I spoke to people and asked them if you make glass tile?” said Rapp, who explained that half of the builders he spoke to said they refused to touch glass tile projects.
He had met others who were doing glass tile projects and were eager to find better solutions. “A lot of them were involved in these educational programs,” Rapp said, “they would lean over and say, ‘Well, what do you have?’ Generally they were involved in some projects with problems and they were interested in learning how you put glass on tile without failures,” explains Rapp.
When word of Litokol products got around, Rapp suddenly became a very busy man. “We got a lot of calls from people in the pool industry saying, ‘I heard you have the Litokol products, how do we get them?'”
“I’ve met a lot of people who think they’re going to get bugs just because they make glass tile in pools,” and that’s just not true, Rapp said.
Researching best-in-class products for pool installations
Bonazza, who began researching pool tile installation products way back in the 90’s, has spent his career testing products in the field. “It’s great to have lab testing, but you also have to do research out there,” says Bonazza, who frequently dips different materials in different chemicals to test their adhesive properties while conducting his field trials when trying out a new product.
Bonazza, an expert in the field of mosaic tile design, gave a presentation on avoiding mistakes when installing glass tiles.
Subsequently, in early 2002, applying mosaic tile installations in Italy, he had acquired a very good knowledge of the use of Litokol products. When he moved to the United States, he could not find a suitable substitute for this product and had to regularly travel home and buy Litokol epoxy in Italy. He would then take as much of it home in his suitcase as he could fit. He occasionally recalls going back to Italy just to get his hands on the product. “Up until about 6 years ago it was a big fight. They gave me Curt’s name and said he was their US dealer,” said Bonazza, who seemed relieved that his days as a transcontinental mortar smuggler were finally behind him.
As an expert in his field, he says there are currently three main products that are his preferred solutions.
“Litoelastic, a bright white epoxy adhesive, has amazing properties. It doesn’t sag, easy to use and blend. It’s not too hard on your hands and sticks perfectly. The fact that it’s so bright white really enhances the mosaics, especially the translucent ones.” Bonazza said, “I use their grout line, which comes in bright colors.”
Bonazza relies on Litokol products when installing mosaic tile projects. Credit: Finnerty, LLC.
“There are special ones, like the crystal ones, which I use a lot. Whenever I combine many colors that I use to make my artistic pieces, it’s 20, 30, 50 colors combined with the shading and everything else. Choosing a grout color is almost impossible.” Bonazza explained: “If you choose a dark gray or a black, it shows up terribly in the lighter colors of the mosaics in the whites and yellows. When they started bringing out the crystal, that was the perfect solution. You can also mix it with what Curt calls “Jewels”, it’s a set of glitters that you can mix with this translucent grout that you can use to make your own custom colors, which is great.”
“I also use the Autoseal for the expansion joints. It’s a silicone grade pool grout, and its color matches all the other products they have, so it’s a perfect line for pool installation. There isn’t a single project I’ve made that doesn’t include these products. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pool or one of my artistic pieces like my Marilyn Monroe.”
Aside from stocking the tried and tested products Bonazza can rely on, Tile Doctor appreciates the customer service and support he receives from the company. This is what he values most in his relationship with US distributors for Litokol. “Curt stands behind their product,” Bonazza said.
Listen to our full interview with Curt Rapp and Danilo Bonazza on the Pool Magazine podcast.
Featured Photo Credit: Finnerty, LLC.
Preventing Glass Tile Installation Mistakes – What Do The Pros Use? appeared first on – Get the latest pool news.