I’m doing some remodeling and putting in a 3/4 bath that only had a WC before. I wanted to make the shower surround out of glass blocks, after seeing some pictures of other bathrooms (this is instead of a regular glass wall or tile wall.
The shower is in a corner of the room, so two of the shower walls are tile walls. The glass block would be one 4-foot wall, a rounded corner, and a 2-foot wall (leaving room for the entrance). The height would be about 78 inches.
The only outfit in town that apparently does this kind of work is asking $1700 for the labor. It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult, but there is the factor of having all the right bits and putting them together correctly.
Anyone ever tried anything like this? Tips or tricks I should watch out for? Resources you could recommend?
I haven’t, but my father-in-law has done it in his bathroom. It sounds pretty similar to yours - 2 straight wall segments with a 90-degree curved segment connecting them.
He’s a master carpenter with 30+ years experience. He’s done everything from straight up building houses (including 3 of his own), to finish carpentry in the luxury suites at Gillette Stadium. He says that “f*cking glass wall” is the most pain in the ass job he’s ever done. It took him months to get it right. So that $1700 might just be in line with the skills/experience required.
I rented a flat with a glass brick shower. Worst shower I have ever had, if you don’t squeegee the water off, it leaves watermarks like you would not believe, and let someone borrow the place for a week come back to mildew stains on the rubbery stuff that is the grout used. Blech. You practically have to clean between the blocks with a toothbrush after that.
I know a couple of people who did glass block. One put them in doorway surround for the front door, mounting the door in the middle. The other just replaced a section of exterior wall. Both were your basic DIY types, and they didn’t have any mention any real problems. But there were no corners, and both walls were pretty well protected from the weather under long overhangs and eaves, so there was no great test or water penetration. I don’t remember them mentioning any problems making them airtight. They both had the luxury of fitting things as desired and covering up the edges with plenty of molding, maybe not an option in a tub surround.
I don’t know about the cost (it was probably the cheapest part of my bathroom renovation), but my shower has acrylic blocks (looks like frsted glass) on a 4 foot by 8 foot window. Its been two years and i don’t have any problems with mold or mildew. The blocks are as good at insulating as my windows are (despite being much thicker) so it probably cost me a bit more in energy costs.
ETA: I think they used two different compounds, one to stick the blocks together and the other to coat and seal the seams.
Ouch! I don’t have that kind of DIY experience; I hope I have an easier time of it, somehow.
I think there must be coatings you can put on them as on a regular glass shower wall to keep the water from spotting and stuff like that.
My alternatives, as I mentioned, would be either a glass wall surround (around $1600 including installation) or build a regular wall (not full height) and tile it like the other walls. I think the second option would be way too bulky and confining for the space. A glass wall surround would probably be the easiest to take care of, but they can’t do a curve, they have to do do a 45 degree cutoff (a 90 degree corner wouldn’t work well, also due to space limitations).
This is sort of a mid-century modern (although light on the “modern”) house and I thought a curved glass block wall would sort of fit in. I know it would be physically almost as bulky as a regular wall, but being semi-opaque should make it less overwhelming.
My husband is very skilled at the building trades and he absolutely hated the glass blocks he installed. I think he would have paid twice the estimate you got to have had someone else do it. I think you should hire it done. (I didn’t even know he knew all those words!) (ETA: he said one word: Slippery!)