"Understanding Your Home"   by  Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Glass block windows. Acrylic block windows. Architectural glass. Glass brick. Glass block
Glass blocks can be used for residential use, both for interior and exterior walls.
Glass blocks or acrylic block windows are ideal for providing natural light and security for such places as your garage or workshop.
Acrylic blocks, because of their light weight are ideal for making functional window units for areas that require privacy such as washrooms or kitchens. Glass or acrylic blocks can also be used, by those artistically inclined, to decorate the home. The blocks can be square, triangular, rectangular, tall and thin so ideas on what you can do with them are only limited by the scope of your imagination.

Glass block windows. Acrylic block windows. Architectural glass. Glass brick. Glass block

Acrylic block windows

The windows are installed like traditional windows. The block window is placed within the RSO (rough stud opening) and nailed into place.

Glass Block and Acrylic Block Windows
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Glass block windows. Acrylic block windows. Architectural glass. Glass brick. Glass block
If you need more natural light for a dark room or hallway and safety is an high priority than a glass block window may be the solution. Starting in the early 1900's glass block was  mainly used to provide natural light in factories and warehouses. Glass blocks also provide a high degree of security. Each individual glass block is made by "welding" together under high temperatures, two moulded glass haves. Unlike regular window panes, glass blocks can withstand high impacts without breaking.
Installation glass blocks
They are basically installed, like bricks, with a cement based mortar. Stainless steel or plastic spacers are embedded in the mortar and are not removed. The spacers cannot be seen once the mortar joints have been pointed. Sometimes the horizontal and vertical mortar joints are reinforced with stainless steel rods of 5-6 mm diameter for added strength.
Acrylic block windows
Acrylic blocks come in a variety of colours and patterns. Each pattern reflects light differently so do your homework when choosing the right pattern for your project. Acrylic blocks weigh up to 70% less than the traditional glass blocks. They are pre-assembled and come often as a complete window unit. You can choose from fixed, casement, awning and slider stock windows or have one made to order.

Acrylic block windows provide lots of light and privacy
Photo courtesy of Hy-Lite, a U.S. Block Windows Company

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