How To Use Glass Blocks Throughout Your House

In the 1920s and '30s, glass blocks were mostly used beside front doors and in bathrooms. Today we use them in many other places, too.

Glass is one of our oldest and most useful products. It dates back to about 4000 B.C. In ancient times, formed pieces of colored glass were thought of as precious stone.

Since the center of the block is hollow, it provides air space that insulates. Light coming through is diverted and distributed in odd patterns, giving an added decorative effect in a room. Some blocks are clear, while others are translucent.

The typical size of a block is 4 inches square, which allows many uses, and blocks come in larger sizes. They can be stepped or set straight with an opening in the middle or to the side. They can form various geometric shapes. A bit of imagination and creativity will inspire countless ways of using them.

Installation isn't too difficult. The blocks have a rough coating around the edges that bonds with mortar. One part Portland cement, one part lime and three parts sand make a mortar mix. Expansion strips and reinforcing strips are available to add strength and flexibility.

For the do-it-yourselfer, these products are available at home improvement and hardware stores.

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