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Unread 12-07-2019, 08:22 PM   #1
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Shower Riser Pipe Added to Glass Block Wall Mortar Joint

This is my first and likely only post. I recently upgraded my main floor shower and redid the failing glass block mortar wall I installed in 1996 right after purchasing the used house built in 1957.

The old lady pulled a Houdini, dumping me after purchasing our home and briefly threatened to return if I would install a main floor shower rather than a bathtub as was the case and what she was accustomed to.

So in a great haste, I added the glass block to the tub knee wall, created a cheap aluminum frame from 1" square tube from the hardware store, and went about concealing a 1/2" soldered copper shower riser pipe in the center glass block mortar joint.

Again, that was in 1996. A few months ago, nearly a quarter century later, the glass block mortar deteriorated into such a state of chaos, it was close to allowing the wall to collapse. So I removed it and started over.

This was my first and only glass block mortar project. Not a stranger to cement, block mortar, tuck pointing, etc. but not a professional by far, I realized after I built the thing in 1996 the mortar was flaking away shortly after curing. It continued for twenty plus years, ten roommates, ten more old ladies, and countless charity cases using my shower until needing replaced.

I had added some enhancer of some kind to the mortar when mixing it originally. The instructions seems wrong to me, I had my buddy read them to be certain, we agreed they were screwed up, then I went ahead and followed them, anyway.

That was the cause of the mortar flaking away for all those years a few grains of sand at a time.

So I tore it all down a few months ago and redid it. Outdid myself, unable to find any info or pics online for much reference. Reading a question about installing the riser pipe or plumbing in the block led me to share my success with anyone interested.

This time, no additive, same glass mortar from Menards. Same glass blocks salvaged from the previous install. Instructions even say on the bag don't add anything to the mortar mix. I listened to them once again and this time it worked well. The joints are strong, cured well, and I sealed them with a product called impregnator which for some reason make my buddy nervous.

I tried polishing the aluminum frame I made, but knew from experience with Harley Shovel Head engines that task and myself do not work well together. So I gave up before getting frustrated and went with the aluminum as it had been for the quarter century since I made the frame for the block.

Pics tell it all.

I previously took reinforcing the mortar joints as an after thought. So I used wire, anchor screws, etc. all steel and they rusted through in places. This time, stainless steel glass block mortar anchors between every coarse of block. Stainless steel screws, stainless everything, something I learned to respect from years as a maintenance mechanic in the meat packing industry.

I even added the latest rebar product, a fiberglass 7/16" product in the three vertical joints including the one for the shower riser. The riser is attached well inside the wall to that pipe. I had to smash it flatter to fit back when I first did it. It never leaked once and I used the same pipe as is for the latest incarnation.

I had to use a glass or tile hole saw with diamond pieces as a rotary file on my drill press to make way for the 1/2" female connector that leaves the block wall and attaches the shower head pipe. Piece of cake, just keep it sprayed with water and take your time.

It's solid as a rock. I mean solid as a rock. The mortar joints are done right, sealed, etc. and I started using it again months ago. While working six and seven days a week at a slaughter plant in Omaha, I wore knee high rubber boots daily.

Doing so led my toes to look like they starved to death from lack of oxygen. So I began bathing as a result instead of showering exclusively as before. To take care of my feet. But I still end every bath with a rinse down from the shower, even though I no longer help kill 2500 head of cattle a day and clean up the mess that follows.

The shower wall was replaced with tile backer board. I had little money back then in 1996 when employed and even less now that I am permanently unemployed without being on disability of any kind.

That's the motivation behind DIY projects to me. It's necessity, the mother of invention. And someday you might see my other creation, the world's only headlight assembly for a gas powered, walk behind lawn mower.

For those of us with too much to do and not enough daylight to get it done. Some firemen was stealing the idea from my last year. So he'll probably add to his pile of loot using my idea.



Hells Angel, today.
Hells Angel, tomorrow.
Hells Angel, FOREVER!
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