Designing Custom Glass Block Showers

Designing Your Own Custom Glass Blocks For Showers

Designing you own custom glass block shower with a base is not a simple process and then there is the co-ordination of the different contractors to consider. The builders, general contractors, tile setters and so on who themselves have likely only got a small amount of experience in specialty showers with blocks. It is important as the homeowner therefore to know what questions you need to be ready to ask and what steps need to be taken. Here is a look at approaching this project in a way that will ensure it is successful.


7 Things You Need To Consider For Your Custom Glass Block Shower

  1. What kind of shower walls do you want to see when the project is complete. Think about the shape you are looking for and then whether you can afford what your preference is. Straight walls are the most simple and affordable option. A corner stall might suit a design that is neo-angled. Or you might be thinking of having a roll in or walk in shower with something more rounded. The curved look is something that can be achieved using glass masonry units or can be done with tempered bent glass. The former being the more cost effective option. There are more walk in shower design ideas available at Stonehand. We especially like the rustic theme.
  2. Decide on whether you want partial walls or full sized ones. Full sized walls can be run all the way from floor to ceiling but it is best to allow some space at the top to allow steam to escape. Full sized block walls are usually 80 inches tall and then take into account the 4 to 5 inch tall shower base curb and that makes them 84 to 85 inches tall. Your other option is the knee or partial wall. They will be around 64 inches tall when on the tub deck, or they can be rested on a corner or rectangle shower seat.
  3. Look at the dimensions and work out how much room you will need to get in and out of the shower. Measure carefully where the shower base is going and then make sure that leaves you enough room. You can use graph paper to draw out your plans and measurements or you can use a computer program. In most showers the smallest entry should be 22 inches but the average tends to be larger between 24 inches and 32. If you are having a roll in, walk in and door less shower then you need an opening larger even than that.
  4. You should also think about any special accessibility needs there may be. Perhaps not now but there may be some in the future and it is a good idea to plan ahead for them. You can have things like a grab bar while still retaining an aesthetically pleasing look, you can have a roll in design or barrier free entry if stepping over the shower curb is a problem.
  5. glass-block-showers-curvedWhat kind of material do you want your completed shower floor to have? There are different advantages to different materials and each has their own costs of course and their own maintenance needs. Acrylic for custom glass block shower and base is not something you can have as they are used with bases where drain location and size is already pre-determined. Something customized like Corian can be done for a solid surface but that may cost more. Tile is a popular option and the base beneath it can be made using waterproof extruded polystyrene or a mud set pan base.
  6. glassblockshowerwallYou also need to decide whether you are trying to minimize your costs or whether you are willing to spend more in order to get less maintenance and a better quality shower. Of course most of us would prefer to pay less for the best but when it comes to designing your own glass block shower it is not a good idea to skimp on the foundation or base costs. It could cause you great regret later on. Custom bases that cost less are mortared mud set pans but these tend to have more issues with leaking. Should you have issues with your shower base and it needs replacing or redoing this would lead to having to rip out the whole shower. Best to get it right from the start. For less maintenance and a better quality base there are one piece polystyrene bases. They are light but still sturdy, can be matched to the glass block shower walls, are waterproof and can have the drain location placed where is best for you. They are also quick and easy to install. Glass block walls can be laid one by one but you can get better results if you use panel sections that are prefabricated for the walls. You can get more manageable sections for assembly with vinyl stack sections that are field grouted, anchored and siliconed.
  7. You are creating your own custom glass block shower so this is a chance to make it truly something unique. Design elements into the exterior and interior shower walls.  You can use patterns, frosting, etching, use colored glass blocks, angles and curves to add interest. Don’t forget practical additions like a shaving ledge, a seat, niches for soap and other items. Also think about lighting, something like a glass block window for example.

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