It is no secret that vandals tend to attempt to break into homes and businesses through basement windows. Usually, these are less conspicuous locations on the building, and the windows are at “ground level,” which makes them far more accessible to break and enter. Furthermore, owners may not notice a broken basement window has been damaged as quickly as other windows in the building.
Replacing standard glass basement windows with high-quality glass block is a good idea for other reasons. In some climate zones, ground level basement windows may be exposed to significant snow buildup, flooding, and other weather-related stresses. And, when children and adults are engaged in ball games and other activities involving flying objects, standard glass basement windows can be shattered very easily.
Advantages of Installing Glass Block Windows
Glass block is becoming a significant architectural feature of homes and commercial buildings around the world. Stunning and award-winning structures in the United States and nearly every continent are becoming preferred over buildings created by more conventional construction methods for specific reasons. These are:
● Sustainability: The transparency or translucence of glass block permits natural light to permeate the building, thereby substantially reducing energy costs for both light and heat.
● Beauty: Glass block buildings reflect and diffuse light in interesting, ever-changing ways.
● Durability: Glass block is highly durable and resistant to forces of nature.
● Fireproof: Glass block will not burn.
● Soundproof: While glass block is an excellent energy insulator, the material also insulates individual rooms from sound penetration.
● Secure: Properly installed glass block is resistant to breakage and will discourage vandals from trying to break in.
While glass block windows are far more secure than conventional glass, the material can be equally transparent. However, certain textures and styles can still admit plenty of light while preventing others from seeing what is inside. The interior will seem as bright as before during the day.
And the glass block windows are excellent insulators, keeping heat inside in the winter and cool temperatures inside during the summer.
These practical attributes make glass block ideal for basement windows in homes and businesses.
How to Install Glass Block Basement Windows
Because glass block windows will be an integral part of your home or business security, you must ensure that these are correctly installed. Since any inappropriately mounted basement windows can still be kicked in, following the instructions for proper installation is essential.
If you are unsure about installing glass block yourself, you should seek a professional to make sure the job is completed correctly. GBA Architectural Products + Services, a leader in glass block technology in North America, can offer assistance all over the United States.
The installation process consists of the following steps:
- Completely remove the existing window frame without damaging the surrounding substrates. Cut the bottom of the frame, whether wooden or metal, and pry it from the bottom with a bar. Next, loosen the sides of the existing window and pry the top of the frame away from the opening.
- Clean the opening, sills, and jambs and make as smooth as possible, chiseling away all old adhesives, caulk, and mortar. Brush the now cleared window perimeter to prepare for adding the glass block.
- From the exterior, determine where the block should rest. It is a good idea to set the block into the opening, possibly one or two inches, to allow space for efficient sealing of the new window.
- Mask the sill to protect it from the mortar as you proceed. If the reveal or jamb of the window is to be 2” inside the outer edge of the sill, only two inches of masking is required.
- Lay the bed joint or the horizontal layer of mortar upon which the block will rest. The height of the bed joint should match the head joint above the glass block.
- Set the new glass block window carefully on top of the bed joint. Square the block so that the reveal spacing is the same on both sides. Plumb the window with a small torpedo level to ensure that it is entirely vertical. Insert a wooden shim wedge at the head to temporarily hold the glass block window in place.
- Use a grout bag or pointing tool to fill the jambs and the head with a full mortar joint. Remove excess material with the pointing trowel and smooth the mortar. Remove the masking tape.
- Allow the grout to set, usually about 15-20 minutes, until the window is stabilized. Remove the shim wedge from the head joint and fill the wedge hole. Smooth the space with a trowel.
- Remove any excess mortar from the glass with a rag or steel wool. Don’t scar the mortar since it has not yet fully cured.
- Finally, use a soft brush to clean the sill and area around the glass block window completely.
You are finished. Congratulations on installing a new, secure, and energy efficient glass block window. The added value of enhanced security, beauty, efficiency, and low maintenance will last throughout the life of the home.
Contact GBA Architectural Systems + Services
GBA Architectural Systems + Services has been a provider of high-quality glass block and glass brick materials for interior and exterior applications for over 30 years. GBA supplies and installs structural glass products, glass block, and LightWise systems for homes, businesses, and other commercial buildings.
The company serves North America by partnering with the global producers of the world’s most elegant glass architectural products. GBA is a highly collaborative trendsetter in the home, businesses and construction industries.
Check out the GBA website for ideas and new applications for glass block products, like glass block pavement lights. In addition to accenting beautifully designed homes, GBA products have been used for commercial building exteriors, hotels, subway stations, and even a secure correctional institute. Glass block can be used for windows, walls, partitions, flooring, custom glass stairs, and more.
Phone the professionals at GBA Architectural Products at one of the three numbers below:
Or, complete the simple form on the GBA Contact Us page, and one of the GBA experts will contact you promptly.
Glass Block Installation FAQs
Can I install glass block windows myself?
With the right tools, equipment, and information at your fingertips, you can effortlessly install glass blocks on your own.
Is glass block hard to install?
Glass block installation may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance and expertise, it can be a smooth and rewarding process. While it does require some careful planning and attention to detail, the end result is well worth the effort.