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Glass Blocks

Glass blocks, a popular building material in the mid-20th century, have become very fashionable again, especially in buildings designed in a contemporary style. They are being used in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, home offices, bedrooms, and on stairways -- anywhere there is a need to admit light while maintaining privacy. They can be used to form straight or curved windows and walls on the interior or exterior of any structure. Because glass blocks are impact resistant, they will increase a building’s security over traditional windows.

If you are thinking of installing glass blocks in your building project, consider the following:

  • Glass blocks come in a variety of styles that include frosted, bubbled, scored, and wavy patterns. The glass can be clear, lightly tinted, or colored. Varying the style and pattern selection of the blocks can control the level of privacy in any room.
  • Walls of glass blocks are self-supporting but not load bearing. For best integral strength, they need to be installed in square and perpendicular four sided openings constructed from wood, brick, steel or concrete.
  • Temperature changes will cause glass blocks to expand and contract, so expansion material that allows for this must be incorporated into the perimeter opening.

Glass blocks cannot be cut like bricks or tile, so become familiar with the available sizes in the style you are considering and then build your plans around them.

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