Has anybody done this recently? I want to have a go but I don't really like
the look of the white mortar that wickes recommend you use. I saw a guy on
the TV laying them and he seemed to use a glue/sealant to stick them
together which meant there was no visible join between the blocks as with
the mortar. Any ideas as to what the best thing to use is?
Seen it done in a pub before, the passage from the front to back had
sections in it that mirrored the windows on the other side of the
passgaeway, it passed quite a bit of light through to the inner room.
I've done two similar jobs with them recently.
-I built a partition wall across a garage and used a row of 13 glass blocks
along the top (in a frame) to send light through and for effect. I bought
some of the soft filler material (in rolls) that comes with the blocks and
cut about 10mm off the side so that the blocks would just straddle the
stuff. This I laid (stapled down), double thickness, in the centre of the
lower part of the frame and up the one end of the frame. Fitted a short
piece of the same stuff in the top of the frame before inserting the first
block and sliding it into place. Then installed a vertical piece of wood,
about 35mm x 10 mm if I recall, bedded in white mastic. Repeated for next
block etc. It's a bit tricky on the last block but that's why it's
important to measure out the layout with packing before laying any.
The filled most of joint with white mastic and when this was off I 'grouted'
the joints with Decorator's caulk.
Finished off with some simple architrave to put a square and straight edge
round the blocks. The gaps could be as tight or as big as you want, but
it's not good practise to work to no joint. The blocks are quite accurate
in dimension but not accurate enough for glass to glass. You need to allow
for movement/expansion and I think a sensible and uniform gap looks
Easier to do than to explain, so if you're anywhere near Yeovil you can take
a look at it.
-other job was 4 blocks in a square, again fitted into a partition
surrounding a stairway to a new attic extension. Objective was to borrow
some light from the adjacent window without compromising privacy, noise and
heat insulation. This time I made a frame, in MDF planed down to about 35 x
10, square on the outside, with a cross in the middle and all fixed with
screws. With the cross only, I assembled the four block bedding them in
white mastic, then fitted the square frame around them, more mastic and
screwed it up. When off, the 4 block window assembly was inserted into the
hole cut into the stairs partition wall and architrave front and back
secured it. Grouting again with Decorator's caulking (fantastic and cheap
stuff!) and this time I painted the joint to suit the decor. This one is in
Wolverhampton if you want to take a look.
In both cases the mortar joint was not appropriate, and I don't care for the
spacers sold with the blocks for any unusual applications. I'm delighted
with the blocks though, and wish I had used them before in other situations.
Interesting projects got any piccies?
I have considered making something with used beer bottles. They throw
them away by the skipload at popular clubs. I just wondered what the
stress factors might be. I remember reading an article decades ago
about a man who built his house out of Coke bottles. Mind you that was
in the USA I think where building regs vary a lot from ours. I wonder
if it is still up.
With glass blocks it is imortant to allow for their movement and
expansion or else they will crack.
This is why you need a joint between them. This can be weak mortar, or
plastic spacers, foam strip and pointed in mastic or white grout.
I have seen many of these crack when laid without means of expansion -
especially if the room either side of the blocks have differing
To build them in a stud partition, you need to make a suitable timber
frame within the partition to hold the blocks, and perhaps put in a
vertical strut to support the load off the floor beneath.
The ones you saw stuck with sealant, may well have been plastic ones,
as the glass manufacturers would not recommend nor guaranteee this
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