Glass block shower walls can be a pain in the butt to install.
Here’s 3 facts I know to back up this statement:
Fact #1 – It’s not the type of job you (or your contractor) do every day – Most people doing a glass block shower wall are embarking (sounds like we’re boarding a plane), on this journey for the first time. So, you’re a newbie. Doing any home improvement for the first time (let alone a unique niche like glass blocks) can be unnerving, scary and can painfully eat up your time and pocketbook, if you’re not careful.
Fact #2 – You (or your general contractor) are desperately trying to find a needle in a haystack– If you’re lucky enough to find a mason contractor to lay up the glass blocks piece by piece you’ll likely get an old ‘grizzled veteran’ who will look like the guy below, not some hot strapping guy with no shirt like Matthew McConaughey. This old-time mason contractor will know he’s got you by the ‘you-know-what’s’ (who else are you going to get to do this job?) and will price you (and treat you) accordingly. He is “THE MAN” and will carry himself on your job as such. No “Nordstrom’s style” customer service here.
You’ve lived through a shower which was falling apart at the seams. You said you would not get fooled again. You’ve made these proclamations (sounds very official, doesn’t it?).
I’m done with dingy and moldy grout joints.
I will not put up with a cracked shower base which caused a leak onto our dining room table below.
I will not buy or own a home which has wafer-thin plastic wall panels. The last one yellowed and looked nasty.
I won’t own another ‘brown-ish’ shower pan I can’t get clean no matter what toxic solvent I use.
I will not get stuck cleaning the bottom track of a flimsy and pitted aluminum framed shower door ever again.
I will spend less money on disinfectants and fighting back mold problems in my next shower.
I will have a shower which will last me for the next 20 years – or it better, because as Dad used to say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
You’ve heard the old saying, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”
When it comes to shower remodeling, I will tell you (and I talk to people about shower remodeling every day) I’ve seen many people get fooled again. They have the best intentions to eliminate the nightmare which was their last shower. However, they get fooled and fall into ‘traps’ like these.
They tell their remodeler they don’t want a cheap-plasticky fiberglass shower. Then their remodeler does what remodelers always do and offer them an upgraded beautiful tile shower. As time goes on they find out they’re scrubbing grout joints until their arms are soar. They ‘traded off’ the difficult to maintain dirty, yellow fiberglass shower pan for another difficult to maintain tile shower.
They say they want a shower which will last for 20 years. Then after a life event happens (for example, Mom’s mobility takes a turn for the worse and she needs to move in with you) your cool almost-brand-new 5-year-old shower is getting ripped out accommodate her.
They buy a brand-new home (with the industry-standard-oh-so-impressive – sarcasm intended- one-year warranty) and love, love, love the cool features like the quartz countertops and Shaker cabinetry in the kitchen. They pay no attention to the one-piece fiberglass tub/shower in the boy’s bathroom with framed glass doors (it looked so pretty when it was decorated in the model home). In a few short years the bottom of the fiberglass pan is scummy (you don’t expect your boys to clean up after themselves now, do you?), and the doors are practically falling off. It looks like it’s time to remodel already -and of course, replacing a nasty looking shower 5 years later is not covered under your builders fabulous one-year warranty.
The question is – whether you are remodeling or building a new home – how do you make sure you don’t get fooled again with a shower which fails?
If the title of this article reminds you of the song by The Who titled, “We Don’t Get Fooled Again” – you might be an ever-so-slightly graying 70’s rocker like me. And I’ll fess up and say I’m a guy in the late 70’s who sported a ‘quasi-mullet’ as well. But no, I’m not sharing a picture of my mullet here. While this Who song was not exactly written with shower remodeling in mind, I’ve still included a video below to get you in the spirit of the ‘new revolution’ of a new shower – so you won’t be fooled again.
In this article I’ll present 5 foolproof ideas to help you get a stylish shower which looks sharp and lasts, so you won’t be fooled again. My list is not comprehensive. At the end of the article add your ideas 6,7 and 8. Let’s learn from one another.
With many different glass block shower wall installation approaches available choosing the best method for your project can be tough. Watch the video below (and read these 5 1/2 tips) to learn how to make this shower installation easier to do using modular prefabricated wall sections.
Bathroom window with a vinyl framed and colored and frosted glass blocks
Den windows using lighter glass block vinyl framed window system
To many people glass block windows are just too heavy a product to use. The cool thing is they’ve gotten lighter now since that there are 2” thick glass blocks which are built inside vinyl frames. These windows are not only strong (since they are constructed with vinyl spacers between the blocks), but they also come in a wide variety of colors, frosted and etched patterns and are easy to install. Wondering where you can use these windows ….here’s 7 projects to choose from:
Is your bathroom ugly, outdated or just doesn’t work for you? Do you think climbing over the bathtub and stepping over the shower enclosure is an accident waiting to happen? Here’s a way to add a sleek contemporary bathroom with a high level of safety – add a European design inspired wet room walk in shower. Using an open design this system combines a shower pan which is set below the surrounding floor. Since the base is below the floor you end up with a curbless roll in or walk in fully accessible design. Here’s 5 steps to turn this concept into reality
Acrylic bathtub liner and wall surrounds lining over an old steel tub and tile walls
Tub removed and space converted into a glass block walk in shower
Are you just sick and tired of an old outdated color scheme in your 1960’s bathroom? Are you tiles cracked, or are the walls and grout joints deteriorated? Let’s face it – the 60’s color schemes are over and some of the materials used are not good enough to eliminate mold and mildew from your shower and bathroom space. How can you turn this eyesore into a shower or bathtub space that is functional, cool, and easy to maintain? Here’s 2 options to consider:
Glass block shower wall using colored & frosted glass blocks
Quite frankly – shower windows can be a pain in the back end. What type of window can you use that will be private, add to the looks of your bathroom and shower and will not rot, rust or deteriorate. This is exactly the problem that Todd and Austene faced in their bathroom remodeling project shown on the DIY Home Network Brick Bye Brick show. Here’s how they solved this challenge:
Let’s face it – the #1 place tile or glass block showers fail is in the grout joints. So you need to use the right material the first time around (and save the expensive cost of re-grouting). Follow these tips to save money, time and problems with a shower enclosure.
Glass block shower design with frameless door photo courtesy of M E Whittaker Builders
I’ve seen glass block showers get screwed up plenty of times. In most cases the culprit is poor planning or no planning. Since glass blocks cannot be cut – the shape, size and dimensions of the wall cannot be an afterthought. Follow these 5 ½ steps for a successful project.