Shower in Style. Install a Block Glass Shower

by Matt Goering

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One of the more cutting edge building materials on the market today is glass block. And one of the most attractive showers you can install in your home is a glass block shower. A block glass shower is basically a shower whose walls and windows are constructed of glass "bricks," creating a shower experience that gives you a feeling of privacy, space, and light.

Sounds Too Good to Be True . . . But It's Not!
Because glass blocks are thick (4 to 6 inches in some cases), they are opaque and give a hint of only the slightest silhouette behind the glass. But because they are made out of glass, they still let in the light from the rest of bathroom, any outdoor windows, sun-lights, and the like. The end result is a light and open feeling shower (unlike oppressive stone walls and dark shower curtains), but one that still gives you the privacy you desire.

Design Possibilities for Your Glass Block Shower
Of course, no shower is better than its overall design, and block glass showers offer a wealth of possibilities that you should consider before you install. If you don't want to stray too far from the traditional, there isn't anything wrong with glass block walls and a standard glass shower door. If you're looking for something with a little more originality, and you have the space to accommodate it, consider making a walk-in shower. Walk in designs feature a curved main wall that you walk around and into, removing the necessity for a traditional door. This design takes advantage of the open and transparent qualities of glass block building.

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Don't Stop with the Shower
While glass block is perfect for building attractive, original showers, it's also well-suited for other applications. Installing glass block windows adds to the feeling of openness in a room without sacrificing privacy. And the combination of a block glass wall or interior window, illuminated with soft, colored light, transforms any space into a breathtaking, colorful display.

Glass Block for the Do-It-Yourselfer
Many homeowners ask how practical glass block construction is as a DIY home improvement. It's definitely possible if you do your homework. Working with glass block is surprisingly similar to working with masonry materials, and you can purchase pre-built glass block sections that simply need to be stacked and "mortared" together. Keep in mind, however, that any time you're working in an area where water is prevalent, there's no room for mistakes. An improperly built, and poorly sealed, shower means water damage and the possibility of major structural repairs and mold problems down the road. For this reason, many homeowners choose to leave bathroom renovations to the professionals.

If you're looking to install a glass block shower, or are curious about other applications of glass block in your home, talk to a glass block dealer, installer, or a contractor—experienced in working with this material— about getting your glass block project underway.

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If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Bathroom Remodeling Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.