How to use glass block sizes and shapes for a creative walk-in shower
Your glass shower walls today aren’t attractive. Ok, that’s the ‘politically correct’ term for saying they’re disgusting. Your shower doors are a pain to clean and hard to operate. And with your spouse’s limited mobility you’re worried about the tall step over curb being a trip hazard. You’ve come to the conclusion you need a different shower. You need a better designed shower. You’re exploring a walk-in shower as an option.
And while you’ve heard of glass block walk in showers, you may NOT think of them as a creative way to get a functional shower which makes your space work better. Or you may not see how they can be a fashionable shower you’ll love using every day. And as a guy who leads a nationwide glass block shower supply and regional installation business for more years than I care to admit (OK – I’ll fess up and tell you I’ve been at it for 35 years – and WOW that makes me sound O-L-D!), I totally get it.
Some people think glass blocks are an ‘old school’ building material. They’re just one block stacked upon another. They’re functional. They’re durable. Some would say they’re a bit ……shall I say it…. boring.
I’m here to tell you while a glass block shower IS functional and durable, it’s anything but boring. Of course, that’s IF (and only if) you know how to design your glass block wall using the right shapes, sizes and color blocks you may not even know about today.
In this article my goal is simple. It’s to show you how designing with uniquely shaped and sized glass blocks you’ll get a shower which is SO unique it will blow away your friends and family. They’ll wonder where all your creativity came from.
In part 1, I’ll show you how shaped glass blocks add distinction AND function to create a walk-in shower which will have others saying, “Wow, that’s SO cool.”
In part 2, I’ll show you how glass block sizes can create one-of-a-kind looks (and a light-filled shower) which CANNOT be copied by any other building material on the market today. So…
Why settle for a boring shower?
Why settle for only a ‘functional’ or ‘durable’ shower?
Why not get excited about your bathroom remodel or new home build? Read on to learn how glass block shapes and sizes will add fun and function to your remodel or new home build.
Part 1) How to use glass block shapes for an exciting walk-in shower
Shape #1 – Curved glass blocks for simple tub to shower conversions or fancy serpentine glass walls
Adding curvature to a glass block walk in shower wall (or any glass wall for that matter) is a design decision which not only add ‘style points,’ but also allows you to build a walk in shower in a space so small you didn’t even think it was possible.
You see the curved glass wall directs water back to the shower drain. This is critical if you want to create a walk-in shower in a space as small as where your 60” wide tub used to live.
And I know the ability to cost-effectively create a curved glass wall without breaking the bank and emptying your kid’s college funds can be a daunting proposition. What’s neat about glass blocks is there’s a ‘pre-curved’ block called a radial. This unit makes a smooth curve at a COST-EFFECTIVE PRICE! And for most people the alternative (curved and bent glass) comes at a price which just ‘ain’t happenin’.
So, you may be wondering how you can use curved glass blocks for your shower. Here’s how.
How would this serpentine glass block wall look in your home.
How would these gently curved custom walk-in showers make you feel?
The curved glass block is an important shape to help you ditch your shower doors (and the nasty metal track and cleaning which comes with it). Now, let’s check out the next shape.
Shape #2– Corner glass blocks for 90 degree turns with grace
So today you have an outdated NEO angle corner shower with a rusty metal framed pivoting glass door. It’s seen its better days…. years ago (as your spouse reminds you CONSTANTLY!). You’d like a fun corner shower. You also want one which is easy to clean and won’t show spotting. You’re wondering if glass blocks are an option.
Well using a 6” wide x 8” tall x 3” thick corner glass block you can make the sharp turn you need for a corner shower and do it with style.
Check out how a different patterned corner block creates a dramatic look in this Columbus Ohio home.
Or how the use of the corner block (along with colored glass blocks) adds styles to this classic, yet modernized shower.
Corner glass blocks open fun possibilities for your bathroom.
Shape #3– End glass blocks with a gently honed edge
In the old days there was no smart way to finish off the end of a glass block shower wall because the sides of standard glass blocks are unfinished. This was a MAJOR roadblock for glass blocks in showers.
Well – this negative has turned into a positive with the introduction of the finished 8” x 8” x 3” glass block end. It gracefully finishes your wall. It allows you to create a doorless walk in shower without using expensive edge trim products like granite or marble to give your wall a finished look, at a cost-effective price.
Now, let’s look at two fun examples of rounded glass block end units.
The first is a glass block shower in a 1920’s ‘Gatsby-esque’ themed guest bathroom in the Bank of East Aurora boutique hotel. And if you love this prohibition chic décor, check out this article titled Project Spotlight: Restoring a Historic Bank Into a Boutique Hotel and Event Center.)
The second is a simple glass block shower wall in a basement small bathroom remodel. It’s graceful. It’s uncomplicated.
Shape #4– The double end glass block
Although a full-height (generally 80” tall) glass block wall can be sharp, it can also feel bulky in a tiny bathroom. And this is where the 8” x 8” x 3” double end (it has 2 finished ends per block) makes sense. This unit crafts a beautiful step-down glass wall which add style – and reduces the mass of a full-height wall. Do you like this step down glass block wall?
And now that we’ve examined glass block shapes let’s see how sizes will give you a one-of-a-kind shower which CANNOT BE REPLICATED with any other building material on the market today.
Part 2) How to use glass block sizes for an exciting walk-in shower
When you buy a standard glass shower, you’re buying sheets of glass. Plain, simple sheets. And while you can dress them up with designs or obscure glass patterns, they’re still flat sheets of glass.
However, with glass blocks you can mix and match sizes. You can mix and match patterns. You can create show-stopping mosaics you only thought was possible with stained glass (which you wouldn’t dare use in a shower). Here’s three glass block size ideas to add fun to your next shower remodel.
Size idea #1 – Mix up sizes for a one-of-a-kind mosaic (using 6” x 6”, 6” x 8” and 8” x 8” sizes together)
Imagine a building material which can be built with a visual ‘tapestry’ as unique as you. Combining sizes (and patterns) of glass blocks creates a look which is as fun as it is functional. In the designs below, 6” x 6” x 3”, 6” x 8” x 3” and 8” x 8” x 3” blocks were mashed up to put ‘fun’ into these ‘functional’ shower walls.
And you know what makes this even more special? This tapestry of glass is prebuilt by a glass block fabrication expert (his name is Kevin Kretzer of Innovate Building Solutions, the builder behind the glass block wall artistry found in this article). All you (or your contractor) need to do is to stack the sections one on top another like LEGO blocks. It’s a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not moment when you realize this patterned glass block wall is actually a simple (and cost-effective) installation!
Size idea #2 – Let’s get ‘vertical, vertical’ (using 4” x 8” glass blocks to create ‘visual volume’ in a shorter bathroom)
If your bathroom ceiling is shorter than you’d like, I get it. And just like with tile patterns installed vertically, glass block sizes can be used to visually ‘stretch’ the height of your room. Consider using the 4” x 8” x 3” glass block to build ‘visual volume’ where actual volume doesn’t exist. Combine it with a vertical tile pattern for a stylish look. It’s an idea few people have used, but more should.
Size idea #3 – Combine full blocks (8” x 8” or metric sized 7 ½” x 7 ½”) with half blocks (4” x 8” or 3 ½” x 7 ½”) to add pizzazz
As you can see from ‘size idea #1,’ one of the fun things about a glass block shower is you aren’t limited to one block size in building your wall. Your looks are only limited by your imagination (and by the sizes the blocks are manufactured in). And as you can see from the 2 projects below, combining full blocks with half blocks provides a wall with punch.
So, here’s my challenge to you …
Leave boring behind.
Have fun with sizes.
Don’t settle for a generic glass shower wall.
So, where can you go from here? Do you need help?
My hope with this article is it helped ‘prime the pump’ of your creativity. I hope it’s allowed you to see how a glass block shower can not only give you a functional walk-in shower (and ditch the evil shower door you hate to clean), but also create a fun wall you’ll ooh and aah over when walking into your bathroom each day.
However, with this being said, I understand you may not know how to make one (or more) of these fun ideas work in your bathroom. You may think a glass block walk in shower won’t fit into your teeny, tiny (are ‘deeny, dinee as Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say) bathroom.
Well – don’t worry.
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE THE PERSON TO FIGURE YOUR GLASS BLOCK SHOWER DESIGN OUT!
Let a glass block shower specialist do the engineering for you. Our team will help with the design. In addition, we can fabricate a simple to install (and unique) glass block shower. And for the cherry on top, we’ll design and supply a solid stone shower pan and stylish grout free shower wall panels to go with your block wall.
Reach out for help. For nationwide design and supply call 877-668-5888 or click here for a Free Glass Block Shower Design Consultation. And if you live in Cleveland or Columbus Ohio and want professional installation service, call 216-531-6363 (Cleveland Glass Block) or 614-252-5888 (Columbus Glass Block).
So, what are you waiting for?
Thanks for reading,