Using Pre-made Glass Block Panels For a Shower Wall Or Partition


Creating a beautiful glass block wall for a shower or partition in a home or commercial building no longer requires being a veteran mason contractor or tile setter. Starting with common-sense design steps and prefabricated glass panels the process has been simplified dramatically for those who don't tackle this type of project on a daily basis.

Learn 5 1/2 practical steps to move you from an initial design concept through a successfully completed glass block wall installation.

Step 1 - Determine where you want to use the wall - One benefit of a block wall is it's durability, strength, and thickness. Since the blocks for wall projects range from 3 1/8" to 3 7/8" thicknesses they can be used on both the inside and the outside for a wide variety of applications. Some of the more popular uses inside include shower enclosures and stalls, conference room walls, and partitions to separate work and living spaces. Externally these glass block walls can be used as a straight or rounded part of the home or building's structure or as free standing separations for privacy walls between yards or to create a private outdoor living space with unique style.

Step 2 - Design and determine the size and shape of the wall - Although there is virtually no limit to the size of a block wall, the size and shape will often drive the preferred construction method. Here are a few decisions to make regarding your wall:

How wide and tall do you want the walls? When the walls are greater than approximately 15 feet wide or tall there can be the need for wall supports within the structure. Also the size of the structure will be needed to figure the correct amount of anchors and wall reinforcement material required.

Will the wall have a special shape or be straight in design? There are now specially shaped blocks to make rounded walls, angled walls, or even assemblies that stair-step down in 8" size increments.

Step 3 - Identify special features you want for your glass block wall - You want the wall to function for your specific needs and application. The good thing is the blocks are not a "one size fits all" product. Listed below are special feature blocks you may want to consider for your project:

Enhanced security blocks - Some block units come with thicker inside walls that make them extremely difficult to knock out. A standard block has a face thickness of 3/8", but there are specialty units that are ¾" thick and also one block that is a 3" solid glass brick.

Increased privacy blocks - Whether you're building a home or commercial building there are some spaces where you may want to have the combination of excellent light transmission and high privacy - for these uses there are high privacy blocks.

Extended fire ratings - Standard blocks provide a 45 minute fire rating. For increased safety there are also 60 and 90 minute block assemblies that can be used for tight spaces between buildings and homes.

Combining accessibility and safety - A glass block shower or partition wall is durable because of it's thickness and safe for increased accessibility situations because of it's smooth glass faces.

Step 4 - Add unique pattern, color, etched or lighting feature for a one of kind design - Why have a generic wall when you can add features that will make your design distinctive and customized with your specific interests, tastes, and decorating in mind. In the beginning blocks came in one pattern and size - fortunately this no longer the case. Here are some design options to consider:

Colored glass blocks for a wall - whether you want a vibrant or more muted earth tone color, standard and custom colors can now be added to any size, pattern, or shaped block.

Etched glass wall - Personalization has never been more attainable or cost effective than with the computerized laser etching process available today. Add a custom image or standard etched design into one block, or combine a group of blocks to create a distinctive mural. It's possible to etch your hobby, family picture, nature scene or any image into blocks - very cool and affordable and available in smaller order quantities as well.

Pattern - Using multiple block patterns (note: the patterns are on the inside of block for easy cleaning) you can create stripes, borders, or individual block accents within an entire wall structure.

Lighting - Move light through the glass block wall with either simple rope type lighting behind the wall to sophisticated fiber optic or even lighting systems that can be hidden inside the glass block shower curb like was done by a remodeling contractor in Minnesota.

Step 5 - Have the walls prefabricated to save time, money, and improve your finished quality - In the old days blocks were installed in a painstaking and time consuming process with a mason laying one block with mortar, leveling it, laying another block, leveling it etc. Since these block units are made of glass vs. standard cement-based masonry materials like bricks or blocks they do not dry as fast and are generally considered more difficult to install than a traditional brick or block. With the invention of spacers and prefabricated glass block wall sections the process has come out of the stone ages and into the 21st century. Using a vinyl stack spacer system you can now install these glass block prefabricated wall sections and anchor them to adjoining walls for support bypassing the need for the long and difficult block by block method. Here are the steps for the pre-made wall section process:

Compute the overall size of the wall (width x height).

Contact a glass block panel fabricating company to help you determine how big to have them make the wall sections. Some considerations for the size of the wall sections are where the wall is located, if one or more people will be installing the sections, and the actual design and shape of the wall. (Note: Since these sections are made with the vinyl spacers and specialized silicone to join them together they can be shipped safely).

Set the first vinyl stack premade wall section in a bed of mortar to the base. Level and plumb the section and anchor it to an adjoining wall. Apply specialized glass block silicone wall sealant to the top of the horizontal vinyl strips.

Set your next wall section on top of the first section. Repeat the additional steps above.

Finish off the spaces (joints) between the blocks with either mortar, tile grout, or a glass block silicone sealant.

Step 5 1/2 - How to coordinate this wall or shower project if you don't want to do the work yourself - if don't have the time or want to have a professional contractors installation warranty on the block work, you can either order the wall sections directly from a qualified vinyl stack glass block wall manufacturing company or have your contractor work directly with the wall supplier. Try to make sure the premade wall supplier has installation expertise so they can guide you and your contractor on both the design and structural considerations of your custom wall.

There are also some companies that can actually provide a custom or standard shower base that can match up exactly with your prefabricated glass block shower wall as well (some of these bases come ready for the tile floor and other bases are made of acrylic and don't require any additional finishing material to go over them).

Now that you're equipped with these 5 1/2 steps you're ready to order your glass block wall for a shower or partition in your home or business.

Tag : wall,wall decor,bathroom wall,shower wall,wall design



©2009 Wall Decor | Template Blue by TNB