Quick Tips For Successful Glass Block Basement Window Installation


Basement window installation with glass blocks can create a beautiful look with added privacy and the benefit of low maintenance, too. Glass blocks can be easily purchased as either single blocks or as a completed window, with or without a frame.

Here are some tips that will help anyone successfully complete basement window installation of glass block windows without the help of a professional.

The first tip, especially when working with this heavy glass material, is to have a strong, capable person to assist you with carrying and securing the glass blocks safely.

Basement Window Installation With Single Glass Blocks

Using single glass blocks to “build” your own window is a handy choice for small openings. You can buy glass blocks in differing sizes and designs, like a wave pattern or ice pattern. It doesn’t take long to complete this type of basement window installation in small spaces one block at a time and the resulting effect is very attractive when done well.

Many glass block basement windows are installed using mortar, as suggested here. If you’ve never done glass block basement window installation with mortar before, you’ll want to make sure you understand how to use the mortar paste properly before beginning. Buy mortar designed specifically for use with glass and read the instructions carefully for mixing, drying, tooling and cleanup.

  • Remove the frame carefully with either a crowbar or claw hammer. Sometimes the frame has adhered solidly to the concrete, brick, or stone window opening. Slowly pry it loose by bending the middle of the frame pieces away from the window opening, then prying the pieces out. If you still struggle with a stuck old window frame, use a metal cutting saw to slice the frame into smaller pieces and then pull them out.
  • When working with single glass blocks for basement window installation, line the bottom of the window frame with wet mortar paste with a trowel, and then stack your first row of glass blocks on top. You can either pack the inside gaps between glass bricks with mortar before sliding them into place or push mortar paste into the gaps between glass blocks with your hand, while wearing a plastic glove.
  • To ensure that your basement window installation work is straight and fits well, double check the glass block placement with a level as you complete each row on top of the last.
  • For larger windows, you’ll want to be sure and install spacers, anchors and rods for reinforcement. Though for larger spaces, buying pre-made windows for basement window installation is a much faster way to ensure securely anchored glass.
  • Before caulking around the blocks for final sealing, install an expansion strip between the end blocks and the window opening or frame, all the way around, to allow for glass expansion as the weather goes from cold to hot and back again.

Basement Window Installation With A Premade Glass Block Window

When using a pre-made glass block window, the blocks will have already been professionally sealed together. This is certainly the easiest and quickest way to finish your basement window installation using these materials.

Buy a stock glass block window with frame to fit or order a custom glass block window if stock frames in the right size for your window opening aren’t available. You can also buy a pre-made glass block window with a small air vent that can be opened and closed from the top, like a casement window.

Be especially careful when using these for basement window installation, as pre-made glass block windows are exceptionally heavy. Though considered break-resistant, dropping one on the sidewalk would definitely risk chips and breakage or, even worse, a broken foot.

Basement window installation with a pre-made window is much quicker, as you need to simply set the window in place, make sure it’s level (possibly securing with shims) and sealing around the window frame with mortar paste and caulking.

Determine The Easiest Solution Before Beginning

Glass block basement window installation will be much more successful when you know what you’re getting into. Large spaces will require extra materials and skills to lock those blocks securely and permanently into place. Single block basement window installation is best for quick jobs in small spaces, especially if you’re a DIY beginner.