Steps To Size, Design & Install Glass Block Showers

Understanding how to develop the right size shower base and shower walls with glass blocks does not need to be some mysterious process. If youll follow the steps in this article youll have an easy to clean, structurally sound, and unique shower you can enjoy in your home or commercial property for years to come.

Step 1) What type of glass block shower do you want?

There are basically two types of showers you can use – a shower without a door, and a shower with a door. Heres an overview of where to use both:

A)Showers without a door (walk in and roll in showers) Door-less showers have become hot in bathroom design over the last 5 years. The two most popular types of these showers are walk in and roll in showers. The biggest advantage of walk in showers is you can eliminate the cost of the shower door and having to bend over to clean around the doors framing system. The roll in shower also does not have a door, but also eliminates the curb around the base that someone has to step over to get into the shower. This makes the shower much more accessible to those with special needs. The roll in shower base is gradually sloped in towards the drain. The biggest disadvantages of the doorless showers is their bases (or platforms) need to be sized larger.

B)Showers with a door (neo angle or corner showers) Most showers have doors to prevent water from splashing out. A popular type of shower enclosure is a neo angle variety that is placed in the corner of a bathroom to conserve space. The advantage of a shower enclosure system with a door is that it can fit into tighter spaces (these showers can be as small as 32 or 36).

Step 2) What type of glass block shower base do you want? How do you size this base and design it out at your project site?

There are two generic types of shower bases available for block (1) the preformed base and (2) the custom concrete base.

The preformed base is created and sized before it is brought to the job site and can be made out of acrylic, cultured marble, or other solid surface materials. It is generally thought to cost less than a custom base, which is often true, but not always. The biggest advantage of these types of systems is they are built as one solid unit to minimize the concern about water leakage through the base. The biggest disadvantage is their size cannot be adjusted at the job site. Pittsburgh Corning makes an acrylic right or left hand entry walk in glass block shower base measuring 72 x 51, a Neo Angle shower measuring 51 x 51, a Square corner shower measuring 48 x 48 and even an acrylic shower base 60 x 32 that can be used to convert a small existing tub space into a new contemporary shower!

The custom concrete or mud set pan base is sized at the new home, remodeling, or commercial building site. Since glass block cannot be cut like tile, youll need to use layout cards that correspond to the size of the block units to make sure the custom base youll make will match up with the specific block sizes for your design. Most of the layout cards are approximately 4 wide (3 7/8 is the exact size) to accommodate for the most common thickness of block used for showers. The other base thickness is 3 1/8 wide, although design options with this thickness series are more limited.

Step 3) Choosing the right sizes, shapes, and colors to make your glass block shower cool and unique.

There are a wide selection of block sizes, patterns, shapes, colors and even artistically designed murals available for your shower. Heres a brief overview of your options:

oSizes and thicknesses of glass blocks for showers Glass masonry units are made is both metric and American sizes. Most of the blocks available in the United States are American sized. The American sized blocks are available in 4 x 8, 6 x 6, 6 x 8, 8 x 8, and 12 x 12. Specialty shapes can help you turn corners, make 45 degree neo angle showers, create rounded or radius walls if youre looking to make a walk in or roll in shower, or finish off the end of the shower wall with a smooth bullnose look. The blocks have nominal sizes meaning the actual size of the block units is smaller allowing for a mortar joint to adhere the block to one another (an 8 x 8 block actually measures 7 x 7 ). The blocks for showers are 3 and 4 thick. Thinner block (3 1/8) are more cost effective, but shower design options are much more limited in this thickness of block.

oPatterns, designs and colored glass blocks Blocks come in a multitude of patterns providing different levels of privacy, style, and design options. The block are now available in standard and custom colors, tints, and artistically decorated murals to match any interior design style. Check out a comprehensive block web site to see the possibilities.

Step 4) How tall should you make your glass block shower? What do you need to do to make it structurally sound? Most block showers are built on a curb (with the exception of the roll in shower) which is 4 to 5 in height. Since many shower heads are placed 84 above the finished floor consider building your glass block wall 80 tall (this will make the size of your glass block wall + the size of your base equal to the height of your shower head). To make the glass shower walls structurally sound they should be tied into side walls with anchors every third coursing of block (usually this is every 24).

Step 5) Dont worry about any of the first 4 steps and call a glass block shower supplier and installation professional If you really dont want to figure out what size, shape, and shower base is best call a block specialty company who offers design, supply and installation services. This type of company will usually come to your home or business (without a charge), measure your shower space, figure out the possible types of bases and showers for you, and install it with a guarantee.