Glass Blocks?

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thetoolman14

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So I am setting up a project to put a glass block wall in my bathroom. I haven't started yet but i have been searching the internet for helpful advice on my project. I have a little experience with remodeling but i am still new to the area. I saw a video on homremodeldeo.com that was helpful. But i would really appreciate advice from anyone with any experience in this area.
-Joe
 

ISUzj

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well, I can't help the OP out much, I am looking for the same, I am going to install a 3 x 3 window in the bathroom above shower height to let natural light in. Does anyone know if those plastic spacers that can be caulked in with silicone are worth a hoot?

And where I can pick them up....I am assuming most home improvement stores might have something along the line of that???

Other wise I have heard you need to have it planed out, and have strips for every layer to attach it to the walls adjacent. Beyond that it does not seem like it is rocket science.
 

budro

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i built a million dollar house a few years ago and we had a six foot round diameter shower with glass blocks on the plans. after research, we opted for the acrylic (plastic) blocks. we laid them just like they were glass and they did fine. the only place we could find glass block was a brick supply house and they were getting out of the glass block business. i'm not sure whether they wanted out or suppliers were shifting toward cost issues. the plastic blocks were easy to work with and i haven't heard anything back on them. no news is good news! probably five or six years ago. thanks, budro
 

ISUzj

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also on a side note, is there a good way to polish older glass blocks, we have the blocks already and they are in some need of cleaning.

I was thinking 3m rubbing compound and a buffer.. would that work, kind Like wet sanding?
 

ISUzj

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ok, so I found the strips and caulk at Menards, Home depot used to carry them I was told but does not anymore.

All it takes is some plastic spacers, a couple of moisture resistant screws and a tube or two of silicone caulk.

I think that I may try to do a quick write-up so people on here can see how they are to be put in. I am pretty much going to be building a window and then picking it up and placing it in an fabbed opening.... that seems to be the most legit way to do what I want to accomplish.
 
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havasu

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I like the look of glass block and even incorporated them to let light in on the counter of my kitchen, but just a bit of warning from realtors I have been speaking to recently. They advise glass block is already outdated, and could possibly give your house a dated look. Just something to chew on.......
 

ISUzj

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I like the look of glass block and even incorporated them to let light in on the counter of my kitchen, but just a bit of warning from realtors I have been speaking to recently. They advise glass block is already outdated, and could possibly give your house a dated look. Just something to chew on.......
One thing to note... your in Cali, I am in Iowa, trends don't change as quick out here. As well as ppl aren't buying houses left and right and "updating" and then selling..

Thanks for the thoughts though
 

HD_Newf

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also on a side note, is there a good way to polish older glass blocks, we have the blocks already and they are in some need of cleaning.

I was thinking 3m rubbing compound and a buffer.. would that work, kind Like wet sanding?
Hi ISUzj. I work for Home Depot in the Chicago area and have a couple of thoughts on cleaning up old glass blocks…
Rubbing compound is quite abrasive. Its purpose is to remove a layer of oxidized paint so that the underlying color becomes visible.

I would use a much finer grit polish instead, after first removing any dirt off them with soapy water and a scrub brush. I know a guy who uses low abrasion toothpaste to polish glass, but I think something like automotive glass polish should work well if the surface is weathered.

Hope this helps.
 

ISUzj

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Hi ISUzj. I work for Home Depot in the Chicago area and have a couple of thoughts on cleaning up old glass blocks…
Rubbing compound is quite abrasive. Its purpose is to remove a layer of oxidized paint so that the underlying color becomes visible.

I would use a much finer grit polish instead, after first removing any dirt off them with soapy water and a scrub brush. I know a guy who uses low abrasion toothpaste to polish glass, but I think something like automotive glass polish should work well if the surface is weathered.

Hope this helps.
toothpaste...huh? would you know what kind, I think i want to try this.. then use like a automotive buffer to polish it out?
 

HD_Newf

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toothpaste...huh? would you know what kind, I think i want to try this.. then use like a automotive buffer to polish it out?
This was years ago, but I think he used Ultrabrite.

As I said though, I would go to an auto parts store and buy window glass polish. You can use it with a buffer to clear up the glass.
 
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havasu

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Flipping homes are a thing of the past. So are olive refrigerators, pink toilets, and accoustic sprayed ceilings. I just try to think out my remodeling and try to avoid fads, if at all possible. I personally hate the thought of my "oak" room being outdated. With the time and love invested, I just hope this fad comes back in the future!
 

rnddude

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I installed glass blocks as exterior windows in both my bathrooms. They are installed from 6' off the floor to the ceiling. The effect is fourfold: It is an effective noise barrior compared to pane windows, it is a superior thermal insulator compared to pane windows, it is high enough and rippled enough to be private and yet not need any curtains, thus allowing maximum light in, and lastly, to a person, everyone who has seen it loves it. As to glass block walls....I have seen some I like and some I hate, it depends on the design. I personally don't care for free-standing glass block walls, they seem faddish. However, I have seen walls with some or most of the surface done in glass blocks, almost like a way-oversized window, that looked great.
 

mudmixer

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They have been used for decades as a design accent or for privacy or to provide indirect light.

You can buy glass block panels that can be combined. Google for glass block panel dealers. - Also plastic block may be satisfactory for some uses.

Dick
 

ISUzj

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So did the project over the weekend. and I actually was pretty impressed with how easy it was, me and a friend built a frame from good 1x5's and then proceeded to place the glass blocks in with the spacers.

The only downside is that the silicone got hard quickly and we had to scrape it off one block becasue it took a little while to get it all set up. as well as the screwas that they gave us to secure the metal clips down on the sides of the frame were 1/8 inch too tall and actually moved the glass block over a little, so we had to find some screws that better fit (ended up using old cabinet hinge screws)

Then we built a frame in the current old opening, and then slid it in and secured it in with 4 screws on the side with the extra 1" lip.

I will try to get some photos up soon.
 

rnddude

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ISUzj, you did an approach to glass blocks that is worth highlighting....which is building a frame in the opening, and then building another frame that is a slip-fit into the opening frame, and then mounting the glass blocks into the working frame. Then when the glass blocks are all installed, the entire frame can be slipped into the opening. This is something I wish I had done on my install, because I used mortar, not silicone, to set the blocks, which is difficult when setting the final course of blocks. Had I done the frame-in-frame method, I could have left the top of the frame open until after setting the final course, and then mortared and attached the frame top rail. As my blocks were in an outside wall, getting a good mortar fill between the blocks was necessary, and difficult, as I was sliding them into place with mortar. Live and learn.
 

ISUzj

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ISUzj, you did an approach to glass blocks that is worth highlighting....which is building a frame in the opening, and then building another frame that is a slip-fit into the opening frame, and then mounting the glass blocks into the working frame. Then when the glass blocks are all installed, the entire frame can be slipped into the opening. This is something I wish I had done on my install,
Ya it made it sooooo easy, and the way that I did it was it was a 5" frame and it was really handy when we decided to put the flush side of the window in the bathroom and the 1" lip outside. (Especially since that meant we had to take it out and flip it around) Then to secure it in, all i did was pre-drill 4 holes from the outside lip and then ran 4 torques into the 2x4 window frame, and then I am planning on doing a 2-3" trimboard arount it on the outside... worked pretty well.
 

rnddude

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photos of glass block windows in our master bathroom.

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rnddude

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DW1....the photos I posted are of one of two bathrooms, both have similar glass block windows. The question of cleaning is more relevant in the other bathroom, in which the shower resides under the block window. Cleaning has not been a big issue at all, in fact I find that I only need to clean it once every month or so, if even that. Usually I just wait until just after a shower session when the blocks have condensation on them, and then just wipe them with a dry towel and voila....clean window!
 

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