Do it yourself glass block installation can be an effective way to provide excellent insulation for an exterior window or add a touch of style and some unexpected sparkle to your interior décor.
Supplies for a Do It Yourself Glass Block Installation
Glass blocks can be installed anywhere they won't be subjected to a lot of weight. Although load bearing walls and posts are out, that still leaves many options for both functional and decorative glass block projects.
To complete a glass block install, it will be useful to have the following tools and materials on-hand.
- Tape measure
- Caulking gun
- Silicone caulk
- Lumber for a curb or frame
Installing Glass Blocks
Verify that your planned installation won't impact your home's structural integrity. If you're planning a large installation, like a wall, glass blocks can get heavy, so check with a contractor to make sure that your floor joists will support the extra weight.
Glass blocks are available in a number of sizes and styles. Try auditioning your installation by stacking a few sample bricks in the area you'll be working with. Consider this a dry run. Because glass can refract light in a number of different ways depending on its finish, it will help you to get a real feel for how your final project will look. If you need to make changes, it's better to know that before you start work.
Walls, Counters, and Islands
Plan on placing a curb or bumper along the floor under your project. This will make a solid base for you to work on and provide some additional support and protection for the glass. Running the vacuum cleaner into your finished glass project could lead to disaster if you don't have a sturdy bumper at floor level. This is a good idea even if you're just planning on making a simple glass block base for a coffee table.Glass blocks are easier to install these days because they are supported with a network of anchors and spacers held together with silicone caulk. Older mortar based installation methods were messier and harder to get right for the first timer. When working with these newer strategies for using glass block, you still need to be careful to keep your project straight and level, but the process is much easier than it used to be.
For window installations, you can purchase pre-made glass block panels in a number of sizes. There are even custom fabricators that will create panels according to your specifications. Prefabricated panels are ready to install and come complete with reinforcing metal bands. Be sure to measure carefully when installing individual glass blocks in windows. You won't be cutting any of the blocks, so your installation will have to fit the available space. To make this work, you'll probably have to make a frame to modify the dimensions of the window opening to suit your block layout. When installing individual glass blocks in exterior windows, you will also want to include reinforcing bars for security purposes. The configuration you decide on will impact the measurements and supplies you'll need.
Even though newer methods of working with glass blocks are making the job easier than standard brick and mortar construction, there is still precise measuring and attention to detail involved. To help you complete a professional looking installation, be sure to read the manufacturer's directions thoroughly before you begin, and don't forget to make sure you have all the spacers, anchors, and caulk you'll need for the project before you start work.
Do it yourself glass block installation is a great way to add a unique decorative element to a room, insulate a drafty spot, or add privacy to a bathroom without losing light, and new styles, like colored glass and illuminated blocks, can transform even your simple projects into dramatic works of art.