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How to Design a Curved Glass Block Shower or Partition Wall

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Curved glass block shower wall using curved blocks

Curved glass block shower wall using curved blocks

The process to design a curved glass block wall is not rocket science! Yes – you heard that right. Many people want the benefits of a curved glass block wall (which can be less costly and sturdier than custom curved and bent flat glass) but they are unfamiliar with the design, fabrication and installation approaches required to create a curved glass block wall.

 In the article you’ll learn where to use this type of wall, how the product, fabrication and installation approaches in “tight curves” vary from “sweeping curves,” and  also identify unique ways to personalize your wall.

 Where to use a curved glass block wall

 

  • Showers – The number one use of a curved glass block wall is for shower enclosures. What makes glass blocks particularly appealing in showers is there are curved blocks (the shapes are named “radial” and “arque”) which allow for a tight 12” inside radius. This allows for projects as small as tub to shower conversions which can create door-less glass block walk in showers.  

 

Curved Arque Glass Block provide a tight radius for this shower

Curved Arque Glass Block provide a tight radius for this shower

  • Conference rooms – Glass blocks have been a favorite for corporate offices to create privacy (by using obscure type patterns) but also let natural light to stream into a space. For additional style “sweeping” curved walls (sweeping curved walls are those which have slight curvature and a large inside radius) are popular.

 

Sweeping curved conference room glass block wall

Sweeping curved conference room glass block wall

  • Partition walls in homes, lofts and businesses – Wherever it’s desired to create a separation between rooms but simultaneously have the ability to allow light transmission glass blocks are a sound option. These walls can be curved or straight in their design.

 

How products, fabrication and installation approaches vary with “tight curves” vs. “sweeping curves”

 

  • Tight curves – A wall with a tight curve (i.e. a wall with a 38” radius or less) can be made using glass block shapes (called “radial” and “arque” blocks) where the blocks are pre-shaped (the curvature is actually manufactured into the block). Each block creates a 22 ½ degree radius (combining 4 of these blocks makes a full 90 degree turn).

 

Thinner series curved radial glass block for tight curves

Thinner series curved radial glass block for tight curves

The advantage of using these pre-curved blocks is the wall can be prefabricated into sections to improve the finished quality, keep a consistent and small joint size (1/8”) on both the inside and outside, and make it possible for anyone from a DIY consumer to a professional contractor unfamiliar with the glass blocks to install. These tightly curved walls are especially popular in showers. The shower walls can be made with any number of curved glass blocks to make them work with shower bases that are as small as 34” in depth.  

 

  • Sweeping curves – Sweeping curves can be defined as those where the inside radius is larger than 38”. These curves usually have to be made with “standard” non-shaped glass blocks of either a square or rectangular design. To make the curvature work the mortar of the hand laid glass blocks must be varied on the inside vs. the outside (for example a 65” radius can be created using 8” x 8” blocks where the joint on the inside will be 1/8” and the joint on the outside will be 5/8”). These types of projects have the drawback that they require a skilled glass block or mason contractor to install.

 

Glass block commercial window wall on the front of a building

Glass block commercial window wall on the front of a building

Unique ways to personalize your wall

 

There is no need to have a boring clear glass block wall anymore. Consider some of the following options:

 

  • Colored & frosted glass blocks
Glass block walk in shower with curved and colored glass blocks

Glass block walk in shower with curved and colored glass blocks

  • Etched or colored glass block murals
  • Glass tile blocks
Serpentine glass block wall with glass tile blocks

Serpentine glass block wall with glass tile blocks

 

What questions do you have about curved glass block walls? Please comment below or call the following numbers for help or a price quotation.

 

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To learn more about curved glass block walls or get a free estimate on a glass block project visit or call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis (877-668-5888) or for a local project their divisions including Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363), West Side Glass Block (216-398-1020) or Mid America Glass Block (513-742-5900) of Cincinnati or Dayton and Akron (330-633-2900).

 

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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

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