Want to make a row of glass bricks - what's the best way to secure them?
September 19, 2016 10:49 AM   Subscribe

(see attached image) The previous owner of our house finished the attic and included an, uh, "open bathroom." My kids are moving into that room, and want some privacy. A wall is out, because it would block light from the only window (which is why, I suspect, the previous owner chose the design.) I piled up six 12" glass blocks to see how that worked...

... and I'm considering either a one-level stack (total of five blocks in a corner configuration) or a two level stack (two rows of five). But I need it - either way - to be secure so that the blocks can't be knocked down or fall down during an earthquake.

Any smart ideas on quick-and-easy ways to accomplish that?

Here's a picture, if it helps.
posted by soulbarn to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: also, the ledge the bricks are sitting on leaves about 1/4" clearance on either side (the brickes are 3" wide, the ledge is 3.5").
posted by soulbarn at 10:50 AM on September 19, 2016

This is glass brick mortar mix. I think it's what you're supposed to use.
posted by FallowKing at 10:59 AM on September 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Glass block anchors are used to attach glass brick to an existing wall.
posted by LoveHam at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here is a video that describes a "quick and easy" way to do what it looks like you want. Looks like you would need some of the horizontal and/or vertical spacers and some silicone caulk to seal it all together. Not sure where you are, but based on their website, Home Depot seems to have all that stuff. You might need to get matching ones for them to set together properly, though.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2016

I would also frame out the wall from the ceiling down with studs & insulation, leaving space two rows of five glass blocks, and then use the glass brick mortar, anchors, and reinforcing rods already mentioned in the thread.

If you want to get fancy, you could get corner glass blocks for the 90 degree angle.
posted by suedehead at 11:09 AM on September 19, 2016

Beyond the earthquake safety issue, you should also be aware that many building codes mandate that every bedroom have an emergency egress window, and that every habitable room have a minimum amount of exterior window area for light and ventilation. See here for the codes for the city of LA, for example. If a full wall would block light and/or ventilation from flowing between these rooms, then putting anything on top of that partition might violate these codes.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

If you end up going to the work to frame out the wall from the ceiling down with studs, etc., why not put in a regular frosted window rather than glass bricks? No mortar to mess around with.
posted by purple_bird at 11:19 AM on September 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'd go two high. Do you have the blocks already? If not I'd use a bullnose brick along the top and far exposed edge, corner blocks in the corner and a double bullnose at the corner. I'd also step down from two two one row at the far edge. Similar to how this partition is done. Those bullnose shapes are only 8" so if those sample blocks are 12 you'd need three rows.

If you do have the blocks then construct as you've shown but cap the edges with a 1x3 or 1x4 depending on block width. Otherwise the exposed block edges are a bitch to clean.

If there is no door on the toilet area you generally don't run afoul of ventilation or light regulations (assuming the original space meets them) as it is still considered one room.

Glass blocks can be just siliconed together (a clear looks the best IMO) when used for interior applications. I've done several coffee/end tables using this method and it is very strong.
posted by Mitheral at 3:37 PM on September 19, 2016

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