Glass blocks are often used to create walls and partitions, both curved and straight, that strike a contemporary note and add natural light to a room. While glass blocks cannot be used in load-bearing walls, they can appear in many areas of the home. Walls exceeding 6 yards generally require reinforcement with steel rods. Straight walls are available in prefabricated forms, while curved walls typicall need to be be constructed on site.
2. Shower enclosures
Although costly, a glass block shower enclosure makes a dramatic statement in a contemporary bathroom. Glass block walk-in showers eliminate the need for a shower curtain or shower door system.
3. Kitchen islands
Islands featuring glass block bases become a striking focal point in the kitchen. Homeowners often top the bases with laminate, solid surface or granite because glass block itself does not make a good countertop surface.
Glass blocks are often a preferred choice for basement windows. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member William D.)
4. Basement windows
Basement windows present safety concerns because they are close to the ground, and glass block windows offer additional security. Because glass block windows are airtight, the window closest to fuel-burning furnaces and water heaters typically needs a vent to supply fresh air to the areas around these appliances. Homeowners should also note that local code officials may require an egress window if there are living areas in the basement.
5. House walls
When building a new house or making an addition, some homeowners use large expanses of glass blocks in exterior walls to make a unique style statement. These glass block areas admit natural light while maintaining energy efficiency. Installation of large quantities of glass blocks requires careful consideration of structural implications.
6. Deck privacy walls
Homeowners who enjoy spending time outside but want their privacy can use glass blocks as an attractive deck wall. Translucent panels prevent homeowners from feeling hemmed in and offer wind protection.
7. Water features
Glass, water and light combine beautifully in outdoor areas featuring glass block accessories. Glass blocks can be used in walls around pool areas to block views from the second stories of neighboring houses. Blocks are also attractive in the construction of koi ponds, water fountains and reflecting pools.