5 New Glass Block Wall Ideas to Add Impact to Your House
Updated March 23, 2019
Glass block walls are so 80’s.
Glass block walls are a pain in the *** to install.
Glass block walls only fit in art-deco designs.
These comments USED TO BE true. This product has evolved from the clunky, wavy, monotonous 8” x 8” x 4” block stacked on top another. The architectural community is taking notice.
Proof positive of this re-invigoration is a recent article in Architectural Digest titled – Glass Blocks are Cool Again. Here’s Why You Should Take Notice.
If you’re still a sceptic – I get it. You may be asking, “Mike, why should I give a hoot about glass blocks? Why shouldn’t I listen to my builder who says they went out with mullets and big hair in the 80’s?” (BTW – if you think about it, how fashion-forward is your contractor anyway? They may be well versed in their ‘sticks and bricks,’ but I’ll bet money they aren’t hopping out of their mud-infested pickup trucks wearing Gucci loafers either).
In this article we’ll look at 5 glass block wall ideas which will blow the lid off your opinion of this product as a stuck in the mud (‘er mortar) building material. At the end let me know if you think I’m smokin’ something funny out of my glass block pipe – or if I’m on to something. A good debate never hurt anyone.
Glass block wall idea #1 – Build excitement and a fashionable look with eclectic patterns
Why settle for a plain glass partition, conference room or shower wall which looks like what everyone else has? You’re unique. Why shouldn’t your block wall also be unique?
With 21 patterns the fashionable glass block ‘diversity’ series embraces your individuality and interests. It doesn’t pigeon-hole you into a single wavy style. There are even series of blocks in a beach theme, modern art theme and a lines and angles theme to choose from. Mix up sizes, patterns and colors. Have fun designing your wall.
If you want understated elegance – yet high privacy, consider turning a 4” block on its side, add an obscure satin finish (like you’ll see below). You’ll get a fashionable light transmitting hallway, window or wall with a soft glow.
As the amazingly deep and insightful Paris Hilton (sarcasm intended) once said, “The only rule of fashion is don’t be boring. Dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.”
Glass block wall idea #2 – Throw out plain. Add color.
Clear glass is everywhere.
On one hand clear glass is timeless. On another hand, it’s boring.
Inspire your inner ‘fashionista’ with a colored glass block wall. You can brighten up a less-than-inspired conference room wall, create a fashion statement in a loft, or add pop to a lifeless shower.
Leave bland to others. Live out loud with color.
Glass block wall idea #3 – ‘Steal’ from your high-end Coach store or chic boutique hotel.
No – I’m not talking about ‘lifting’ the Coach 1941 Dreamer 27 color leather bag you’ve had your eye. OK, at $495, it’s a lot of money, but you shouldn’t take it. I’m also not talking about taking those fluffy bath towels you saw at The Siren boutique hotel in Detroit Michigan.
What I am talking about is ‘borrowing’ the fashion-forward design ideas using the ‘circular focus block’ (part of the diversity series) you’ll see in the front entrance and shower walls in these fun and stylish retail stores and hotel rooms.
Let’s face it – some of our best interior design ideas are ‘stolen from’ (just like what used to be written on bowling balls) from our visits at cool hotels and expensive high-end retail stores.
“Borrowing” (it sounds a lot better than stealing) from these places will give you a cool modern-minimalist look without busting your budget.
Glass block wall idea #4 – Dump ‘old school.’ Use ‘new school’ prefabricated installation techniques.
Picture this scene.
You’re practically begging the old-time grizzled 65-year-old Pasquale Primadonna, the owner of Primadonna & Sons Masonry. Although he smells like a bad blend of Folgers coffee and Marlboro cigarettes, you’re desperate to get on his schedule to do your glass block shower project. You can’t find anyone else and you’re hoping he’ll agree to ‘squeeze you in.’
With the lack of skilled contractors today, this scene is playing out everywhere. When you have a specialty product like glass blocks – finding a qualified person to install them can be a pain in the rear.
Here’s what cool. You can get a designer styled glass block wall (with ultra-thin grout joints) which is sturdier than mortar construction, without putting up with “Pasquale.” You won’t have to grovel at the feet of this cigarette and bad coffee-smelling contractor who acts like he’s a ‘construction rock star’. You may be asking, ‘how is this impossible dream possible?” Think prefab.
Use the same strategies as new home builders do. For example, they use premade trusses to support the roofs in their homes. Get glass block walls made in premade sections just like the roof trusses. Using the protect-all glass block prefabricated system – a DIY homeowner or handyman (or handywoman) can install these walls.
Dump the old school installation techniques and the cocky, grizzled-way-too-expensive mason. Get with today’s program and buy your wall premade.
Glass block wall idea #5 – Light reflection on steroids. Metallized reflective glass blocks kick up luminosity.
You’ve invested in a fun downtown loft, but it has fewer windows than you’d wish.
You’ve bought a way-too-expensive apartment in the city and had to settle for a much-too-small shower with no window.
You want to maximize light (natural light or otherwise). But how?
One idea is to get reflective. No, not going off to a spa and meditate kind of reflective. The type of reflective I’m talking about are reflective metalized glass blocks.
These units are manufactured with a mirrored sheen in the block which ‘multiplies’ light and adds wow factor. What’s fun is they are not only available in clear wavy glass – but 15 fun colors as well.
So, here’s my questions for you. In your humble opinion give me your input on the following:
Question 1) Have glass blocks escaped from the rolled jeans, rat-tail, big-hair dominated look of the 80’s to become a progressive material you’d use today?
Question 2) Do you see how glass blocks can now be installed without having to beg a cigarette-smelling Italian mason contractor named Pasquale to do your job?
Question 3) Are glass block walls evolving from their association with old seedy bars, warehouses and elementary schools?
Add your comments below – or call me and let me know if you think I’ve been smoking something wacky out of my glass block pipe one time too often.
How can I (or my team) help you with this project?
If you’d like help with the design, installation or supply of prefabricated glass block wall sections we’d like to be there for you. Call Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888 for nationwide factory-direct supply. If you’re in Cleveland or Columbus call Cleveland Glass Block at 216-531-6363 or Columbus Glass Block at 614-252-5888.
If you’re a remodeler or builder and want practical advice on remodeling products, industry trends, marketing and sales tips to grow your business (and cut day to day hassles), start reading my newest blog – Innovate Builders Blog. It’s packed with ideas you can use now. Click here to Sign Up for the Innovate Builders Blog.
If you’re not ready to call, but would like more information on glass block and remodeling follow me on Twitter @Mike_Foti or my companies @InnovateBuild or @InnovateHomeOrg. I’ll warn you – you may have to put up with some wacky humor along the way.
Jim – there are some different ways to customize a NEO design with glass blocks. One way is to use a block called a ‘tridron’ to turn the angle. Another is to frame the center of the NEO angler shower with a door and put ‘non-finished’ glass blocks on the side. NEO showers are a bit more complicated than walk in showers. Feel free to call us and/or send us an image of your shower and we’d be glad to help you. Mike (our phone number is 877-668-5888).
Well, is there a glass block design that would work for a 41 inch neo angle shower pan?
Gregg – I’m not sure what an ‘original’ idea really is. We basically all learn and ‘borrow’ from one another along the way. Mike
Mike, your “borrowing” statement made me laugh
For years, I have called my layout ideas for both my magazines, “creatively borrowing” other great looking layouts in other magazines.