How to build a glass block wall

Written by edwin thomas
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How to build a glass block wall
(Wikimedia Commons)

A glass block wall can make a nice divider for an existing room, or fit into any remodelling job. Whether you want to build a floor-to-ceiling wall, a partial barrier, or a decorative facade on a counter, glass block walls are easy to build and can be a tasteful addition to any home.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Mortar, plastic joining strips or caulk
  • Trowel or caulking gun
  • Level
  • Pocket knife
  • Tape measure
  • Structural channel siding kit
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Moulding (optional)
  • Plaster (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the dimensions of the glass block wall you're building. Your glass blocks are all a fixed size, and whether you use mortar or plastic joining strips, you can make a solid estimate of the wall's dimensions. If the dimensions of the wall do not match the space you're trying to fit, decide immediately whether or not to fill the extra space, and how.

    How to build a glass block wall
    An example of a decorative glass block counter with moulding.
  2. 2

    Build your frame. Most glass block walls will require a lumber base, which should be nailed into the floor. If your glass block wall is using adjoining studs as sides, hammer them in place as well. A floor-to-ceiling wall will need a side along the top, but a countertop facade (for example) will not.

  3. 3

    Drill and screw in the siding kit. This will conceal the edges of the glass block wall.

  4. 4

    Lay the block. Depending upon the look you're trying to achieve, you can use discrete plastic joining strips, mortar or even caulk. For mortar and caulk, only build up half-a-dozen rows per day. Let them dry before building further. If you are using caulk, each row will also need a siding channel laid on top of it, for extra rigidity.

  5. 5

    Finish your glass block wall. Consider adding moulding around the edges for a decorative touch. If there is a gap between the wall and the ceiling, it will need to be filled. The size of the gap will determine what to fill it with; use a sealed insert for a bag gap, or simple plaster for a small one. Prime and paint any wood studs that remain visible.

Tips and warnings

  • Glass block walls cannot bear weight, and should never be used for load bearing.

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