Glass Block Window Installations Made Easier With Lighter Blocks
Are you considering doing a glass block window installation project but are worried about the weight of the blocks? Worry no more – there is a solution for you. With the introduction of the 2″ thick series of blocks fabricated into vinyl frames this window installation has been made easier to install a lighter and safer window assembly. In this article you’ll learn 5 tips on where and how to use a vinyl framed block window.
Tip 1 – Identify where you want to use the window – Glass block windows have many uses beyond what most people think about. Here are a few common (and more unique) uses to consider:
Bathroom and Shower- With this type of window you can get rid of the expensive blinds and window treatments in the bathroom while still getting maximum light transmission. Use this window in the shower to provide a low maintenance light source in this wet area.
Basements – This cost effective use is popular to provide maximum security for a cost effective price.
Den- position these windows underneath cabinetry to let natural light flow in while maintaining privacy.
Closets- Do you have problems seeing well in your closet with only a small light fixture overhead? A solution is to install a fixed block transom window near the top of the closet walls. This will even help colorblind people to distinguish between blue and black socks.
Garage – If you like to use your garage for projects natural lighting is a big benefit and the block window provides high security for any valuable items you may be storing as well.
Kitchen – A block window between your kitchen countertops and cabinetry can let light stream in and provide a natural backsplash that’s easy to clean.
Step 2 – Determine if a framed or frameless window is better – The lighter 2″ thick glass block windows are only available in a vinyl framed system. Although it’s easier to work with the lighter window, the vinyl framed system is not the best solution for all projects. Here’s where to use both the framed and frameless systems:
Vinyl framed windows- use in wood framed (rough openings) where the size of the opening will work with the dimensions of the 2″ thick blocks (note: the 2″ thick blocks come in 8″ x 8″ x 2″ size so the rough openings need to work in 8″ increments). These windows (which are available with easy to install nailing fins) are used frequently in new construction, room additions, or in upper floor framed and stucco openings where the window openings can be adjusted to fit the window.
Unframed block windows- this window is (which are available in the heavier 3″ and 4″ thick blocks) generally more cost effective than the framed system and are best used in masonry openings where the block windows can be mortared into place. The other advantage of the unframed windows is they are available in more blocks sizes (the most common are 4″ x 8″, 6″ x 6″, 6″ x 8″ and 8″ x 8″) which allow these window building panels to be designed in 2″ size increments. Most basement windows are completed with the unframed system.
Step 3 – Make sure this window is built for strength – Not all vinyl framed glass block windows are created alike. Make sure you choose a window that is manufactured to withstand extreme weather conditions. The best made windows use a vinyl stacking spacing system in between the blocks which provides superior impact strength, minimizes the chance of water infiltration, and offers higher wind load capabilities.
Step 4 – Add style with colored, frosted, and etched blocks – You no longer need to make your window decision based on a one size fits all approach. You can select from a wide variety of colored, frosted, etched glass blocks. In the lighter 2″ series blocks (which are manufactured by Mulia Inc.) you can choose between two privacy patterns called Wave and Iceberg. There are also white and almond frames available.
Step 5 – If the window’s not a fit you must acquit- A block window is not the right solution for all projects. If you’re looking for full operability (but you like the looks and privacy of blocks) you may want to consider using an acrylic block window. This type of window is available in several opening styles including single hungs, sliders, casements, awnings and hoppers.
Now that you’re equipped with these 5 tips you’re ready to get started with ordering your lighter vinyl framed glass block window.