Glass blocks, or sometimes called glass bricks, are a building material similar in shape to brick, made from glass or acrylic, and used to create walls and windows. They are a great way to bring light into your home without sacrificing privacy. Light comes through them, but you cannot see through them.
You may worry that installing glass blocks or tiles may be beyond your budget, but the average homeowner spends only $751, with $1,500 being the highest reported cost. Here are a few things to consider that can affect the cost of glass block and tile installation.
Size of the Area
It stands to reason that the larger the area you need to have your glass block installation placed, the more expensive it will be. This will affect both the cost of materials and the cost of labor. With some installers and suppliers, the larger the area, the lower the cost per square foot, so if you have a number of areas in which you might want to install glass block or tile, you might consider doing all the jobs at one time. Although the total costs may be higher, the incremental costs may be a lot lower.
Glass blocks are installed in a similar way to bricks with grout or mortar placed between them and then laid and built upwards. If you are using acrylic "glass" blocks then alternate installation methods are sometimes used that involve interlocking PVC joint systems instead of mortar or grout. Acrylic block systems will often be less expensive than traditional glass block and mortar systems.
Location of Glass Blocks
Glass blocks are often used for walls, partitions, or in place of traditional glass windows. When using glass block for walls, keep in mind that they cannot be load bearing walls, as glass blocks are not strong enough for this. They are more commonly used for half walls, or as partitions to define spaces. As windows, glass brick is commonly use in the place of basement windows. Since basements are often more vulnerable and more easily broken into, glass brick which is thicker and harder to penetrate is often used instead of traditional window glass. If the place you are putting your glass blocks and tiles is difficult to access, and needs either a very tall ladder or climbing into a small crawl space, this may increase the costs of your installation.
Replacing Windows with Glass Blocks
If you live in a location where there is little privacy and yet you want the light of large widows consider replacing regular windows with glass blocks. The advantage of doing this is that you can allow light in through large expanses while keeping completely private. The disadvantage is that once you replace a standard window with glass block, the window becomes inoperable and can no longer be opened and closed. If you decide to replace current windows with glass blocks and tiles, then you will need to factor removal of the old window and preparing the area for glass blocks into your total costs.
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