Glass block windows are the embodiment of attractiveness, durability, and practicality. Also known as glass brick window, glass block windows are getting increasingly popular as a bathroom and basement staple.
A glass block window can be easily recognized by its thick square shape, textured surface, and translucent design. Think of a stained glass but without the illustrations. This type of window is also considered energy-efficient because it can reduce heat transfer.
Apart from its aesthetic appeal, glass block windows come with numerous advantages that other types of window do not offer. But how much does a glass block window cost?
Average Cost of Glass Block Window
On the average, most homeowners spend about $600 to $1,000 for one glass block window, including materials and labor. If you’re installing one in your basement, overall glass block window cost will only be about $175 to $200. To know how these costs are estimated, here is a breakdown of glass brick prices and labor fees:
Glass Block Price
Considering its unique properties and benefits, glass brick prices are very affordable. Prefabricated glass blocks with Energy Star label are almost twice as efficient in lowering heat transfer. Yet, they are still cheaper than thermal and double pane windows.
Regular factory-built glass blocks can be bought individually for $5 each. Meanwhile, specialty and high-end blocks such as those with shatterproof properties are available up to $50 each.
Glass bricks are also available in packs of 4, 8, and 12. These packs are usually priced between $20 to $1,000 depending on the thickness, design, and color of the glass. In fact, Home Depot offers a pack of 8 standard quality blocks for just $100.
If you want fast and easy setup, ready-to-install glass blocks are also available. These pre-mortared blocks are made to fit regular-sized windows and comes in sizes like 12” by 18” and 14” by 24”. Depending on the texture and thickness of glass used, you can expect pre-assembled glass brick prices to be around $150 to $500.
Labor fees usually vary across cities and states. Average cost of low-end installation jobs is estimated at $200 while upscale installation services may charge an average of $1,500. If the contractor is on an hourly basis, expect to pay around $50 to $60 per hour.
Cost estimates for labor will also depend on the window size and number of windows to be fitted. A single two by two feet window may cost between $100 and $300 while a three by four feet window will cost about $600. In the case of glass blocks used as a room or shower divider, a large four by six feet glass block wall could run as high as $2,000 to $3,000. You may also add a ventilation opening for an extra $25.
If you want to save on labor fees, you may opt to DIY instead. When done properly, a DIY glass block installation is estimated to save you up to 60% in labor costs. However, you must possess basic carpentry and some masonry skills before undertaking this project on your own. Proper tools are also required.
Cost Factors for Glass Block Window
The rule of thumb before making any major home improvement project is to always compare price quotes from several references. But if you want to become even more money-savvy, you could learn how to make your own cost estimate. To do that, here are a few things to consider when calculating overall glass block window cost and labor fees:
As the window size increases, so does labor for the installation. However, if you have several windows to be fitted, economies of scale could lower the labor fee for each window. In other words, more windows would mean cheaper installation cost for each window.
Type of glass block
Glass blocks can be categorized into prefabricated and custom-made. Prefabricated blocks can be further classified into three types based on their assembly material: silicone, mortar, and “Protect All”.
Silicone glass blocks are the cheapest because it’s essentially two glass slabs pushed together with silicone. On the other hand, mortar is the traditional fabrication technique and uses sand and cement to stick two blocks together. Lastly, the “Protect All” system uses vinyl spacers between the glass blocks. “Protect All” glass blocks are the most expensive among the three but also the strongest and most energy-efficient.
Meanwhile, custom blocks can either be made prior to the installation (off-site) or assembled during the installation (on-site). Customized blocks cost more but it allows you to choose your own surface texture, thickness, and color. Examples of textures are wavy, frosted, diamond, and plain.
Labor for installing a glass block window involves setting the glass panels, putting mortar (for non-prefabricated blocks), caulking, and waste disposal. If it’s a replacement job, removing the old window frame may also be included. This could add a few dollars to your total labor cost.
Advantages of Glass Block Windows
Compared with glass tiles, glass block windows permit light to come inside the room without compromising your privacy. This window type allows natural lighting to be maximized and decreases your electric light usage.
Glass block windows can also increase your home’s security. Unlike single-pane windows which are very vulnerable to break-ins, glass blocks are at least 3 inches thick. The thickness of the glass makes it almost burglar-proof, that’s why glass blocks are recommended for basement windows.
In terms of energy efficiency, glass block windows can provide insulation comparable to thermal and double-paned windows. You can further increase your total energy savings if you install “Protect All” glass block window.
There are several advantages of having a glass block window installed but you must also learn about its drawbacks. Glass blocks have the tendency to condense moisture and its impenetrability limits its installation to rooms with alternative exit routes. Weighing the pros and cons carefully will assist you in making an informed decision and help avoid buyer’s remorse later.