How to Install Glass Blocks

Written by josienita borlongan
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Glass blocks can add instant beauty and brightness to any room. A bathroom, a window facing a bad view or a room divider can benefit from the functionality that glass bocks offer. They provide privacy and light into a room that is otherwise dark or exposed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Glass blocks
  • Spacers
  • Frames (2" x 4")
  • Panel anchors (shipped in 24" length can be cut into two pieces in 12" length)
  • Power drill and screw driver
  • Screws
  • Mortar pre-mixed (white Portland cement)
  • Trowel
  • Silicone caulk and caulk gun
  • Level
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Sealer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the opening where you will install the glass blocks. If you are opening a wall, or have an open wall, adjust the size to fit all of the glass blocks without cutting them. This allows for better and even distribution of glass blocks.

  2. 2

    Install the frames by using drill and screws. These frames will be for jambs and head.

  3. 3

    Install panel anchors along the jambs and head, securing the jamb by screwing the short arms of the anchors to the jambs and head. Use two screws per anchor. Use screw plugs if you are attaching to tile or masonry,

  4. 4

    Prepare your pre-mixed mortar by adding cool water until the mixture reaches a consistency of frosting. Test consistency of the mortar by applying samples on a glass block and checking to see if it sticks to the edge. Add a bit or mortar or cool water as needed until you reach the desired stickiness and consistency. You should be able to spread the mortar mix easily without being too thin or too dry or crumbly.

  5. 5

    Start installing glass blocks by applying mortar on the sill using a trowel. Apply a full mortar bed on the sill.

  6. 6

    Apply one block at a time and position it so that it is straight. Then follow by the next block and succeeding blocks.

  7. 7

    Use a level to check that the blocks are aligned and level.

  8. 8

    Apply mortar in between the blocks. Use a sponge to clean anything that will ooze or squeeze out of the joints. Make sure that the space is filled in with enough mortar for stability. Continue until you have placed a straight row of blocks. Put spacers in between each block.

  9. 9

    Add blocks on top of the first row of blocks. Apply mortar on top of the first row of glass blocks then add your second row of glass blocks. Use sponge to push in the mortar as the blocks squeeze it out. Add spacers in between blocks. Continue this process until you reach the very top. Make sure to place anchors every second or third course, depending on the glass block size you are using.

  10. 10

    Clean smudges of mortars as soon as you see them. If you clean the surface right away, you can avoid scratching the dried mortar off the glass surface.

  11. 11

    Let mortar set for an hour. Then, using a striking tool, remove excess mortar and smooth the joints to give a clean look.

  12. 12

    Wipe with a wet sponge one more time to remove remaining dirt or smudges. Dry with a clean cloth and buff the glass for a shinier look.

  13. 13

    Apply silicone on the sides and corners.

  14. 14

    Add sealer to protect from mildew.

  15. 15

    Paint the frame to finish the look.

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