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Unread 12-12-2007, 09:53 AM   #1
superdave
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Glass block help

I have never had the joy of learning glass block. One of my builders would like me to install some in a custom shower I will be doing for them.

The glass will be the top half of 2 walls that come off the shower and make an L. They also want the actual mortar method install of 8x8 block.

1. Does anyone have a good write up or link with some good directions on how to do this job. I dont want to turn down the job.

2. Also how do you go about doing the L/corner of the wall


3. What is a reasonable price for the install. I know this varies by region but if I could get an idea that would be great



Thanks everyone.
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Unread 12-12-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
Dan Kramer
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http://johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=46272

Here's a thread from a little while back. It's a starting point.
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Unread 12-12-2007, 12:21 PM   #3
JTG
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Dave
Look up "Seattle Glass Block" I think they have some good instruction on their site.
Installation of Glass Block is pretty straight forward. Spacers are bigger that is about it.
Make sure and wear gloves. First time we did them my helper and I didn't and we lost all the skin on the ends of our fingers and were in pain for about a week.
You are going to have 1 1/2 to two days into doing it. I would for the first time figure two days with the research you will do etc.
Good Luck
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Unread 12-12-2007, 12:42 PM   #4
guitarsman
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Dave: Jerry's right about the gloves. I've done one job with glass block and the glass block mortar will eat your skin. I did use gloves (latex) thank god. One thing to remember that the site doesn't tell you is you can only set 3-4 rows a day or they will lean over. At least that is what a friend told me. Wash as you go the mortar dries fast to the glass making it difficult to clean. Smooth your joints with a spoon or something, every other row anchors to the wall, Oh by the way don't do the silicon method unless it is framed in on all sides, it's just too weak. Good luck.
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Unread 12-12-2007, 05:18 PM   #5
John Bridge
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Yep, my experience with glass blocks is that it takes twice as long as I think it will, even with the plastic spacers. Like everything else, the blocks aren't perfect, and you have to fiddle with them a little. I strike the mud back and keep the edges clean. Next day I grout both sides with sanded tile grout. Careful not to push too hard and scratch the glass.
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Unread 12-12-2007, 06:06 PM   #6
bctile601
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It's kinna like a 3D tile install. It's got the extra element that regular floor and wall tile work doesn't have, and unless you do it on a regular basis, it ill be slow. I also have always struck my joints low, and grouted with matching color sanded grout to the rest of the room. One time the lady couldn't decide, and had us grout it white

Had the most fun, and enjoyed the looks of a 12 x 12 decora block we did a couple yeers ago, 8 x 8 is good too.
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Unread 12-12-2007, 10:39 PM   #7
ChasR
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Hey Dave

I've done a couple of glass block walls and they really can make a shower look great. The only supplier I found locally was Lowes. They had all of the different size blocks and wire reinforcement. Between the Lowes PPG instructions and their web site I got all the info I needed (with the exception of John Bridges comments). I found I could only lay 3 courses and then had to let it cure overnight because it became a little unstable. Otherwise it's pretty much like laying masonry block.
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Unread 12-12-2007, 11:35 PM   #8
muskymike
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Hi Dave, pretty much what these guys said. The gloves especially. All I can say is start level and plumb and like Chas said only do a couple rows a day. Make sure the blocks are clean of the mortar before you go home. I mean CLEAN. HD carries Pittsburg Corning glass block.

Looks awesome Chas!
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Unread 12-13-2007, 12:19 AM   #9
superdave
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Thanks everyone. You guys are awesome.

So for 30 sf, you figure it will take 2 days of labor or 1 day labor spread over 2 days.

I have not seen the job in person yet but it sounds like its about 3.5' tall and 4' for each leg of the L wall.


Also, should I anchor the blocks to the ceiling also since this is an L wall and wont have much to anchor to.

Do you set the block directly on your tile knee wall or add an expansion joint.

Last edited by superdave; 12-13-2007 at 12:32 AM.
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Unread 12-13-2007, 01:16 AM   #10
ChasR
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Dave, I anchored to the ceiling with the same metal straps used to anchor to the walls. I was lucky the walls ran perpendicular to the joists. You have to measure to the ceiling constantly when laying so you can fudge a little on each course with the idea that the last block leaves a constant grout joint at the top. It can be a nightmare with trusses because of the crown.
Good luck.
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Unread 12-13-2007, 05:16 PM   #11
John Bridge
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Great looking job, Chas.

Dave,

Anchor to walls and ceiling if you can. And as Chas said, hitting the ceiling is a chore, and sometimes it just can't be done. Make sure you gauge the courses before you start. Might need so modification up at the ceiling.
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Unread 12-13-2007, 05:36 PM   #12
scuttlebuttrp
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Glass Block is easy. Get the first two rows perfect, let them set till the next day or a few hours. There's two walls? Then do the first two rows on the other wall. After that, go to town. Do your best to keep the mortar off the spacers and it makes them easy to deal with. Smack them around with a rubber mallet to keep them tight and straight. Just don't hit them as hard as you would your helper. Check level and plumb now and then. The fact that your wall does a 90 means when they set up the next day, they're not going anywhere. It will be stable. Connect to the wall every other row. Same row also use the rebar stuff. Expansion foam is for when your up against wood. You can stick to the tile just put spacers under there to maintain your joint. They sell corner blocks for doing the 90 degree thing, and tridons for a 45 degree corner. Make sure the wall was built well though. Most pony walls weren't built for glass block. The carpenters never get the measurements right for the block to correctly sit there. Dry lay some first to make sure it will fit. Or simply measure. They also usually have no clue what 90 degrees is. At least the ones here in Florida don't.
Last tip: Denatured alchohol is a great cleaner after everything's set. You can grout with the glass block mortar with your float. It won't scratch.
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Unread 12-13-2007, 08:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Glass Block is easy.
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
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Unread 12-14-2007, 07:18 AM   #14
scuttlebuttrp
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I would do it constantly if I could find more work. Pay's good. Your mostly not on your knees. Most homeowners wince at the price though. Especially when you explain you have to rebuild their wall.
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Unread 12-14-2007, 08:07 AM   #15
bctile601
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There's something else thatt comes to mind when you guys were talking about carpenters' walls. I had to have a builder install a load bearing wall UNDERNEATH one of shower walls. It was just too big and heavy for the structure. That is something to consider when you get into larger installations say above 50sf. The nice thing is that PittsburghCorning has a great architectural .pdf that covers weight per block / sf.
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