Oceanside Glass & Tile fuses art with application, innovation, and sustainability to take any project to the next level.
Oceanside Glass & Tile started revolutionizing the art tile industry in 1992—when three artists and one entrepreneur decided to fuse art glass and sustainability to create a beautiful, functional product.
Since the founders first got together in Oceanside, California, the business has grown up and grown big, moving to a bigger headquarters, expanding product offerings, and taking on new glass competencies with business mergers all while building a reputation as the top art glass tile company in North America.
“I had never used glass tile before and was scared of it, but a customer wanted something no one else had,” says Jeromey Naugle, owner and president of Arizona-based pool contractor Premier Paradise. “Once I learned about Oceanside and saw how the process works, I was hooked. A key benefit is that they’re using recycled glass and putting out a quality product.”
Since its founding, Oceanside has prioritized the incorporation of recycled post-consumer glass in its product as well as the reuse of all scraps from its manufacturing process. Today Oceanside recycles more than 2 million pounds of post-consumer glass bottles each year. An Oceanside glass tile could consist of anywhere from 30 to 98% recycled content. “Sustainability is one of the things I’m most proud of about this company. It’s the norm for us,” says Oceanside President Vincent Moiso.
Beyond glass recycling, the company also reuses and recycles the water used in its manufacturing, its firing furnaces run on natural gas, and management works hard to ensure employee health. “We deal with pretty harsh chemicals, and it’s important to us that our health and environment is safe,” Moiso says. “Baghouse filters keep our internal environment healthy. If you come to visit our plant, you wouldn’t even know we’re working with these chemicals.”
Color & Innovation
Oceanside is one of the few North American companies that manufactures its glass with through-body color. The manufacturer bakes color directly into its glass using a variety of chemical mixes instead of relying on colored paint or back adhesives to add hues to a colorless glass tile. The technique offers consistent color and a reflective quality that rates high with designers and architects. “You can’t duplicate that look,” Moiso says.
When renovators at Hearst Castle, the former home of media tycoon William Randolph Hearst and current National Historic Landmark on the Central California Coast, needed to match an existing vibrant blue, they turned to Oceanside. In 1995 Oceanside was chosen for the difficult task of providing glass to restore the indoor Roman Pool, where water shimmers and reflects off thousands of 1-inch glass tiles. When light hits the water just right, the pool appears to glow from the bottom up.
The Hearst Castle contract was the first of Oceanside’s many commercial projects, and the challenge lit a fire for innovation within the company. “At the time, we were able to make a through-body cobalt colored tile that matched the existing Roman Pool, but we were only doing it in larger pieces,” Moiso says. “When we won the contract, we had to invent a way to make a rustic edge, 1-inch mosaic to match the original Italian glass as well as a way to sheet the mosaic.” Oceanside’s still-active Tessera Collection and its sustainably minded paper mounting method were born.
Today you’ll find Oceanside glass all over the continent. The tiles fully line restaurant walls and water features in New York and luxury pools at Cabo San Lucas resorts. Across such a vast geographic expanse, Oceanside must also make sure its glass can stand up to major differences in climates and weather.
How It’s Made
In Buffalo, New York, a glass water feature would freeze. Under an Arizona sun, poolside glass tiles might reach upwards of 200 degrees. Moments later, a splash of water could cool the tile to 60 or 70 degrees in seconds. “Most products can’t go into that environment because they can’t handle that kind of ambient temperature change,” Moiso says. “But our glass can.”
Oceanside’s annealing process gives its glass tiles the ability to withstand extreme temperature changes. The glass pieces are pulled slowly through a lehr, a giant furnace with multiple chambers that decrease in temperature. As the glass moves through the lehr, it’s slowly cooled, removing internal stresses created as glass is fired, cast, and cooled. Depending on the thickness of a piece, the annealing process can take two to four hours to complete. By the end, Oceanside has a glass tile product with a strength upwards of 2,500 pounds per square inch and an easy pass in a freeze/thaw test.
Naugle says it’s this deep knowledge of glassmaking and product manufacturing that keeps him coming back as a customer. “Because they sell what they’re manufacturing, they offer all the product support and documentation you want from a supplier,” he says. “It’s easy to use them when customer service is always there. They’re really looking out for you.”
BY THE NUMBERS
- An Oceanside glass tile could consist of anywhere from 30 to 98% recycled content.
- Oceanside recycles more than 2 million pounds of post-consumer glass bottles each year.
- Oceanside has a glass tile product with a strength upwards of 2,500 pounds per square inch.
FROM OUR JULY+AUGUST 2019 ISSUE