Smalt – colored opaque glass in the form of cubes or plates, used for the manufacture of mosaics. (In Russia, the name of this decorative technique was transferred to the material itself, although this is not true). Smalt has a number of indisputable advantages over other facing materials. It is the most wear-resistant material and non-porous material, its water absorption coefficient is zero. These qualities make it possible to use smalt for lining swimming pools, bathrooms and other rooms with high humidity. In addition, this coating is very frost-resistant and heat-resistant; therefore, glass mosaics are widely used in the decoration of facades and fireplaces. Moreover, this material is surprisingly rich in artistic possibilities. Thanks to a wide selection of colors (more than 80) and an unlimited number of their combinations from smalt, you can create picturesque mosaic panels of absolutely extraordinary beauty.
Today, for the manufacture of mosaics, most often they use not pure smalt (since it is very expensive), but its combination with glass or only glass. Firm BISAZZA (Italy) – “heavyweight” in the field of mosaic production – prefers Venetian glass, slightly rough or smooth, transparent or opaque. In addition, the assortment of the company includes mosaics made of smalt, glass with the addition of aventurine and glass with gold leaf. The Italian company SICIS uses smalt and natural stones. Natural stones are also used by MEGARON (Italy), although its collection also contains glass with the addition of smalt – smooth and translucent. It is also worth paying attention to the French company OPIOCOLOR, whose mosaic is made of a special glass paste Opio, to the Spanish companies ZIRKONIO (glass mosaic), Wizanto, Vidrapur, to the Italian MARCHETTI FRANCESCO, which uses a variety of materials, up to gold leaf..
A newcomer to the mosaic market is CARTER from China. It offers glass products similar to those produced by BISAZZA, but much cheaper – from $ 15 per 1 m2. Russian smalt (a material more expensive than glass) is sold at the same price by the company “Smalta”.
The cost of imported glass one-color mosaic on the Russian market is from $ 24 per 1 m2. The use of more complex glass significantly increases the price of the product. The cost of 1 m2 of aventurine mosaic is from $ 101 (OPIOCOLOR firm), and each piece of gold mosaic is from $ 1.3. Smalt is also an expensive pleasure: the minimum price of 1 m2 is about $ 170.
Smalt tiles have standard sizes (from 1×1, 2×2 and 5×5 cm) and thickness from 3 to 12 mm. It is easy to install, especially on curved surfaces.