How to Install a Glass-Block Wall

Add some natural light to a room without sacrificing privacy with this project.


Tired of looking at the same four walls? Add a timeless touch to one of them. Here's how to fill an existing opening with glass blocks:

Materials and Tools:

two 8-foot 1-by-6-inch #2 pine boards
four 12-foot Colonial casings
25 8-by-8-inch glass blocks
10 4-by-8-inch glass blocks
painters' caulk
one gallon enamel latex trim paint
two tubes clear latex adhesive caulk
caulking gun
framing square
mortar trowel
mortar-smoothing tool
power miter box
speed square


1. Measure the opening for the glass wall and calculate the number of blocks needed. Glass blocks can't be cut, so work with full 8-inch increments.

2. Arrange the blocks on a table, using the spacers in the block kit, to get the actual size of the installation. Make a frame with 1-by-6s to enclose this group of blocks.

3. Cut 1-by-6 s to the length of the sides, and cut one to the length of the bottom plus 1½ inches. Assemble the frame with screws or nails.

4. Install the frame. Center the frame in the opening, blocking and shimming where necessary. Make sure the frame is square and level before attaching it to the opening.



5. Mix the glass-block mortar according to the directions on the package. Spread the mortar on the bottom and edge of the glass block, and then squeeze it into the corner using the spacers. Add blocks from left to right until the first course is finished.

6. Screw the metal retaining strips to the side frame and bend into place to fit between the rows of blocks. They're there to strengthen the wall and attach it to the structure.



7. Spread mortar on the entire first row of glass blocks, making sure the retaining strips are centered in the bed of mortar, and then push a reinforcing strip into the mortar. Hide the reinforcing strip so that it's not visible.



8. Lay the next course of glass block, and continue this process to the top.

9. Once the mortar has set up a bit, use a sponge and water to gently clean the block and shape the mortar with the mortar-shaping tool. The dust that dries on the block can be removed with a dry cloth.

10. After the mortar has hardened, run a clean bead of caulk around the perimeter of the block.



11. Install casing molding to cover the gap between the 1-by-6 frame and the original wall. Fill and paint the molding and frame.

Next Up

How To Install Paneled Walls

Paneled walls turned a bland home office into elegant, Old-English study.

Install Cork Wall Panels

Carter Oosterhouse shows how to use cork as wall paneling.

How to Install Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

The experts show how to install wall-to-wall carpeting.

How to Install Wall-to-Wall Carpet Yourself

Installing new carpet not only enhances the beauty of a room but provides insulation, sound control, and a comfortable surface to walk on.

How to Make a Steel Lily Wall Sconce

Weld and sculpt a steel lily to hang on your wall for instant industrial, modern style.

How to Paint a Glass Fish Bowl

Use stained glass paint to make a fish-themed candleholder.

How to Install Wainscoting to a Wall

Add an instant touch of class to a room with these step-by-step instructions.

How to Make Stained Glass Art

Create a distinctive stained glass design to dress up any window.

How to Create a Corked Wall

Creating a corked wall will yield years of convenience by providing a place to tack up notes and papers.

Installing a Tile Floor

A stone or ceramic tile floor in the kitchen is durable and adds visual drama.

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.