Glass blocks let the light shine through
In the 1920s and '30s, the use of glass block was more or less limited to the side of the front door and in bathrooms. We still use glass block in those places. But today they are used almost everywhere else, too.
Glass is one of the oldest and most useful products we have. It dates back to about 4000 B.C. In ancient times, formed pieces of colored glass were thought of as precious stone.
But that was then. This is now.
Since the center of the block is hollow and void, it provides dead air space which is good for insulation. Also, due to the movement of the shape of the glass, light coming through it is diverted and distributed in odd patterns, giving the deflected light an added decorative effect in the room.
Some blocks are clear while others are more obscure, allowing the light coming through to vary according to the style of block.
With the typical size of a block approximating 4 inches square, the use of them is almost limitless. And while the 4-inch square size is typical, squares do come in larger sizes as well. The blocks can be placed in a stepped up or down pattern.
They can be set straight with an opening in the middle or off to the side. They can be positioned in various geometric shapes. And the list goes on, a bit of imagination and creativity will inspire countless ways of using these blocks.
Installation isn't too difficult. The blocks have a rough coating around the edges that acts as a bond between the block and the mortar. One part Portland cement, with one part lime and three parts sand, will make a great mortar mix.
There are expansion strips and reinforcing strips available for use on the blocks to add further strength and flexibility. For the do-it-yourselfer, all these products are available at the mega-home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's.
Maintenance is easy. Dirt on the face of the block may be easily removed with water. It's as simple as that.
Here are some ideas on where to use the block:
n In the kitchen as a half wall between the eating space and the working space.
n As a furniture base for a cocktail table.
n As a divider between living and dining room if the space is otherwise not separated.
n In the bathroom at the base of the tub with a fluorescent light behind it.
n As a shower wall instead of a plain glass wall.
n In the foyer or living room in a stepped up pattern with each ‘step' to be used as a display base for artifacts.
The possibilities are many. Just get a little creative.