By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Dividing a room with glass block provides privacy and brings light and visual interest to the space, to say nothing of its high-tech look and appeal. No longer reserved exclusively for designers and contractors, newer acrylic glass block systems are well suited for do-it-yourselfers to install. The versatility of this material is limited only by your imagination. Use a glass block wall to separate a tub or shower in a bathroom. In a kitchen with an outside wall, use it as a backsplash to bring lightness into the room. Or use it to define the space in a front entry.
A contractor will charge $638 to build a curved glass block walk-in a shower wall enclosure approximately 4-feet-by-6-feet. This includes labor and materials. You can buy the materials for $378 and build it yourself and save 27 percent. The materials include glass blocks, caps, and corner blocks, spacers, mortar, anchor panels and expansion and reinforcing strips. It will cost more to hire a plumber to install a new shower valve or move an existing one, and to install the shower pan.
To plan the project, take a rough estimate of the dimensions of the wall or partition you want to build. Then make a scouting trip to a home center, where the systems are sold and pick up a brochure to help determine the materials you'll need.
Watch a video from Inovate Building Solutions about Glass Block Designs for Shower, Walls and Windows.
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Tip: When planning a large wall partition, remember that glass blocks are heavy. Check with your local building department to make sure the floor can support the extra weight.
Now you know the average cost to build a glass block wall, which includes the labor and material, and what’s involved, so you can decide to do it yourself or hire a contractor. Don’t forget to adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020