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Adding a Tile Border to a Glass Block Shower Wall

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Close up of decorative tile border in a curved glass block shower wall

Close up of decorative tile border in a curved glass block shower wall

In the past when you saw a glass block shower wall it used the basic wave pattern block and was built unit by unit at the job site. Fortunately product and installation innovations have taken glass block shower walls to another level. Learn below how using premade expanded polystyrene sections (and premade glass block sections) inside the glass block courses can make it possible to add a unique decorative tile border and create a high quality project (no matter how complex the shape of the wall).

premade glass block sections and tile backer border

Glass block premade sections with a curved expanded polystyrene tile backer border

What is expanded polystyrene? Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a waterproof closed cell material that has grown dramatically. It is used for shower bases, curbs and walls. The material can be cost effectively made into different shapes to work with any type of shaped glass block wall. It is also light and easy to cut in the field (if required).


close up of tile backer border for a glass block project

Close of up expanded polystyrene tile backer border for a glass block wall

How can expanded polystyrene be used to create a decorative tile border? Once the shape and size of the glass block wall has been determined a template is used to make the EPS tile backing section into the shape of the wall. The EPS section is usually made 1” thinner than the block wall to allow room for thin set and tile on each side of the wall.


How are tiles applied to the waterproof EPS backer board section? Use a modified latex thin set mortar to apply the tiles to the EPS.


What shapes and sizes can the EPS be made into? The EPS sections can be straight, curved, angled – you name it! The thickness of the borders can be sized to work with both 3 1/8” (thin line) and 3 7/8” (regular series) glass blocks. The height can be customized but the most common sizes are 4” and 8” tall (most glass block shower walls use 8” tall glass blocks).


Can a glass block shower wall kit be purchased to match up the wall sections with the tile border section? Absolutely – prefab glass block walls can be made using a vinyl stacking system and shipped across the country along with the decorative tile borders to make the installation easy, save on field labor costs, ensure a longer lasting project and reduce the size of the joints between the blocks.


premade glass block sections and tile backer border

Premade glass block sections and tile backer border with anchoring materials

Is it possible to add other decorative accents to the glass blocks? Yes – popular choices included colored, frosted, etched and even glass tile blocks.


Glass tile blocks used for a shower wall

Decorative glass tile blocks in an angled shower wall

What do you think about the decorative tile borders for the glass block shower walls? Please comment below.




To learn more about decorative tile borders and glass block shower wall kits or get a free estimate 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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