With today’s hectic lifestyles, the bathroom is no longer just a place to brush your teeth and blow dry your hair. The bathroom is a retreat, a place to get away from it all for a few moments of well-deserved peace and quiet. Yet, when it comes to design, some tend to focus on functionality rather than atmosphere. The good news is that, with today’s innovative glass block shower designs, you can enjoy both!
Glass block showers give your bathroom an open, contemporary look, providing beauty as well as privacy – without a clingy shower curtain. When properly installed, glass block showers are virtually leakproof and easy to maintain. The blocks come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and patterns, and they can be arranged in distinctive ways, offering endless possibilities. Glass block showers also provide an effective sound barrier, keeping outside noises at bay as you rinse your stress away. And, unlike shower curtains, glass block enclosures infuse your bathing area with light and make cramped spaces seem more spacious. Not only do they add a touch of elegance to any bathroom; glass block showers are relatively easy to install.
There are many ways to use glass blocks to upgrade your bathroom. You can create a half wall around an existing tub, or you may want to put in a new walk-in shower, using a glass block wall to enclose it.
If you choose to put in a new shower, consider whether the water supply pipes and drain will need to be extended or moved. If so, consult a professional plumber, like our friends at Mr. Rooter, for assistance before moving forward.
- Measure and design your layout.
Determine the path of the glass block wall and how high it needs to be. You may want to sketch a design on paper first or lay some sample blocks along the base of the area to determine how many glass blocks you will need.
- Mix glass block mortar according to manufacturer instructions.
Mix only a small amount at a time, and be sure that the consistency is neither runny nor too thick. Gloves and eye protection are recommended when using mortar.
- Lay the mortar, applying enough to accommodate about three to four blocks at a time.
The bottom surface should be clean and dry before you begin. Start at the left corner where the glass block wall will be, spreading approximately a half inch of mortar on the shower sill or curb.
- Install the glass blocks.
- Use a trowel to apply a thin, even layer of mortar to the bottom, right and left sides of the glass block.
- Place the block on the sill, and attach it snugly to the existing wall, if applicable.
- Insert a vertical spacer on the open side of the block.
- Apply a thin layer of mortar on the bottom and one side of the next block, and place this one snugly next to the first block, with the mortared side out. Follow with another spacer.
- Follow this process until you have three or four blocks placed. Use a two-foot level to make sure that the blocks are properly aligned. (Tip: Place the level on a flat board, and place the board on top of the blocks.) If necessary, use a rubber mallet to gently tap blocks into place.
- Repeat these steps until the first row is complete, checking periodically for levelness.
- Place horizontal spacers across the top of the bottom row of blocks, and apply mortar.
- Beginning on the same side as before, again attach the first block in this row to the existing wall, if applicable.
- Start again at step 4a, remembering to use the level after every three to four blocks to check for evenness and adjust if necessary.
- For every second row, lay reinforcing wire on top before adding mortar. (For curved walls, cut out small lengths of the side leg of the panel bracing so that it can be bent easier.)
- Keep repeating this process for each row until the wall is at the desired height.
- Carefully examine the wall to ensure that it is straight. Adjust if needed, before the mortar sets.
- Clean the wall.
Gently wipe down the blocks with a damp cloth or sponge to remove excess mortar. Have a bucket with fresh water handy so you can frequently rinse the cloth or sponge, but don’t apply too much water to the blocks. Gently pat dry with a cloth when finished.
- Use finish blocks – typically, these have a rounded edge – to complete the top and outer side(s) of the wall, giving it a smooth, finished look. Attach these blocks using mortar in the same manner as before.
- Use mortar to fill in all joints, and again, gently sponge or wipe down the wall with a damp sponge or cloth.
- Allow the wall to set for 72 hours before you use the shower. (Hopefully, for the sake of your friends and family, you have another place to shower for a few days!)
If installing a glass block shower seems likely to leave you more frazzled than serene, call Glass Doctor at (833) 365-2927 for a quote. Our trained professionals can install a glass block shower for you, transforming your mundane bathroom into the sanctuary you deserve. Contact your local Glass Doctor or schedule an appointment online to learn about your future glass block shower.
Once you have a beautiful glass block shower, you’ll want to keep it clean! Check out these tips from Molly Maid: How to Remove Mold from Shower Caulk or Tile Grout. Like Glass Doctor, Molly Maid is part of the Neighborly family of trusted home service professionals.