Dear Pat: I have always liked the appearance and openness of indoor glass-block walls. I would like to build several curved walls, particularly for the shower. How do I go about creating these walls? — Darlene G.
Dear Darlene: Interior glass block walls are very popular and functional because they provide light through the wall without sacrificing privacy. There are many patterns of glass blocks that provide various degrees of privacy. Some are even available with tints and tiny LED lights in the joints between the blocks.
A curved shower stall made with glass blocks can be very attractive. The openness of glass blocks can make even a relatively small shower stall feel much larger. It is easier to make the walls straight instead of curved, but straight ones take up more floor space for the same amount of usable room inside the shower stall.
Up until about a decade ago, unless you were experienced laying curved glass-block walls, I guarantee you would have been disappointed with your first job. It takes quite a bit of skill to make glass walls level and even. This was particularly true for shower stalls where one end is open and the top does not meet the ceiling. With only one support side, it could feel unstable.
The do-it-yourself kits available today make it easy for someone with very little glass-block experience to lay very even, properly spaced walls. These kits include glass block spacers that position the glass blocks relative to one another. This results in a strong, level wall with very consistent mortar joints.
When selecting the glass blocks at your home center store, stack several together to determine if they will provide adequate privacy. Once you have selected the type and size of glass blocks you desire, purchase the spacers to match the blocks. Even though glass blocks are hollow, they can get quite heavy, so have someone help you carry them.
The first step is to design the curb from concrete landscaping bricks to support the glass blocks. Don't start placing the glass block wall directly on the floor, or you will surely have leaks. Temporarily place the first row of glass blocks on the floor to determine the number and shape of concrete bricks you need.
Set the concrete bricks in a layer of Thin-Set. Next, lay a film-water barrier on the floor and bricks, and flow a layer of mortar across the shower stall floor over to the bricks. For a more decorative look, cap the top and sides of the concrete bricks with a thin marble veneer or just start the glass block wall over the bare bricks.
Laying the first course of glass blocks properly is most important because it is the foundation for the rest of the wall. Make sure to use special mortar formulated for glass blocks and place the glass blocks in a heavy layer of it. Use a good level to make sure they level in both directions.
Place plastic glass block spacers on top of the first course, apply mortar and lay the second course. Repeat this up the wall. Install metal reinforcement in the mortar joints to tie the glass blocks to the bathroom wall. As the mortar sets up, break off the ends of spacers and finish the joints with grout.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.