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Unique Characteristics of Glass Block

Selecting windows for your home or building project may seem like a minute detail; but in actuality, it is a very important decision. Not only are windows very important to the overall design of the project both on the interior and the exterior, but they play a major role in temperature control as well as interior lighting. There are some intriguing ways to bring style and sophistication, while meeting the practical requirements of the windows. One of these clever designs is the use of the glass block window.

What are glass blocks?

Glass block windows are literally glass blocks that can either stand alone as an accent window, or combined to form one large window. Typically frosted or with some form of thick, decorative glass, they work well as a privacy glass while still allowing light to pass through.

Where can they be used?

Block windows can be placed pretty much anywhere you desire; however, the most common locations are bathrooms, transoms, sidelights, or kitchens. They have even been incorporated into the walls of a shower or bathtub enclosure.

What are the characteristics of a glass block?

The actual blocks range in size from 4”-9”, and are normally around 3” thick. They can be made out of acrylic or glass, and many are glazed for additional energy efficiency. When encased in standard frames, installation is very similar to standard windows.

As illustrated in these pictures, there are many beautiful ways to incorporate glass block windows into your design. The windows come in many of the standard models, including casement, awning, single-hung, and sliders. The frames can consist of a range of decorative materials, and when paired with quality hardware, a very custom appearance is created. Request free estimates from prescreened window contractors in your area to incorporate glass blocks into your design.

Additional Resource:

Pacific Accent

Glass block windows are geometrically patterned squares of glass usually texturized for privacy. They can either stand alone as an accent window, or combine to form one large window. Many homeowners are drawn to glass block windows because they offer additional natural lighting without compromising privacy. Interested in them for your own home? Here’s what you need to know.

Costs

On average, a 32”x42” glass block window will cost around $500 after installation. For more specific cost estimates, talk to a local window contractor in your area.

Pros

Can be very energy efficient by sealing the home from outside air.

Extremely easy to maintain.

Work well as a privacy glass while still allowing light to pass through.

Cons

Distort light and images on the other side of the glass, resulting in a loss of visibility.

Unable to open and won’t help with ventilation.

Some homeowners believe that glass block windows look outdated.

Durability

Since glass block windows cannot be opened and are made from rather thick glass, they are an extremely durable window option.

Maintenance

In addition to be durability, glass block windows are also virtually maintenance-free. Occasionally wipe them down with soft cloth and a household glass cleaner—it’s really that easy.

Common Questions and Answers

Where can glass windows be used?

Glass block windows can be placed pretty much anywhere you desire. However, the most common locations are bathrooms, transoms, sidelights or kitchens. They have even been incorporated into the walls of a shower or bathtub enclosure.

What are the characteristics of a glass block window?

The actual blocks range in size from 4” to 9” and are normally around 3” thick. They can be made out of acrylic or glass, and many are glazed for additional energy effic

History

Glass blocks were first used in the early 1800s to provide additional lighting in cellars and ships. They became extremely popular in the 1950s and ‘60s during the art deco movement and are still used in many homes today.

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