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What is the Cost of Glass Block Windows?

Glass block windows have been around for a long time. They have always been popular for basements and other areas where privacy is essential but now, they have reinvented themselves as a trending architectural feature. But home much do they cost? Price can start from as little as $60 per block.

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What are the costs of glass block windows?

Homeowners are choosing glass block windows over a regular glazed window to add interest and uniqueness to their property. Glass block windows cost more than regular pane windows. This is because they are more complex in construction and also offer better insulation than standard glazing. Add to this extra security due to their unique structure plus all the advantages of natural light and you find yourself with a really unique design feature.

Single glass blocks average $15 each but can retail at up to $50 for frosted, colored, etched or irregular shaped blocks. The national average for one glass block window with installation is $500 with a price range of $400 to $1,100 depending on the size of the window and the choice of blocks.

Window Size Price Range
25”x25” $60-$300
31”x31” $65-$350
36”x36” $85-$475
48”x48” $155-$840

Average glass block window costs by location

Location Average Glass Block Window Cost
Boston $980
Chicago $788
Raleigh NC $832
Salt Lake City $710
Austin, TX $1,100
Los Angeles $990
Philadelphia $1,000
Indianapolis $720
New York $960

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What are the factors which affect the costs of glass block windows?

There are lots of different things which can impact the costs of glass block windows. Here are just some of them for you to think about when planning your project.

  • The size of the window
  • The number of glass blocks
  • The type of glass blocks
  • The brand or manufacturer of the blocks
  • If there is any remedial or repair work needed to the wall once the old window has been removed
  • Disposal costs of the previous window
  • Third party costs like scaffolding to access windows on the first floor
  • Permit charges
  • Your zip code – where you live in the States and whether you are city or rural will affect contractor charges

What are glass block windows?

Glass block windows are made up of glass blocks or bricks as they are known. Glass bricks are an architectural material constructed from glass that offers light and visual opacity. Glass blocks can be used for both wall and floor applications and first came into regular usage in the 1900s.

The original glass block windows were made from mouth-blown glass and used during the 1800s to provide light in underground cellars. They were also common on ships as they created a light source which is permeable to water.

The design in use today dates back to 1935 when a company called Corning Glassworks were able to improve the earlier manufacturing process and join together two equally sized glass pieces to create a double-sided hollow block called the Corning-Steuben block. Lighter in weight, able to let in more light and with better insulation, these glass blocks were also hurricane-proof. This design is still used as the template today to make glass block windows.

The glass blocks are laid in a grid with a reinforced steel mortar between each block. Commonplace in the 1980s, glass block windows have had a resurgence in popularity in the 21st century.

What are the different types of glass block windows available?

There are four different types of glass block window.

1.    Wavy Glass Block Window

These are the ones that are popular for basement windows, the wavy pattern allows in plenty of light but still provides privacy.

2.    Clarity Glass Blocks Window

Popular for kitchen windows, the clue is in the name. The glass is almost clear so offers little privacy but the maximum amount of light. Clarity glass blocks are often chosen as a feature rather than a plain clear window.

3.    Ice Glass Blocks Window

Ice glass blocks feature a frosted pattern so are popular for toilet windows allowing in enough light but still making sure the room is completely private.

4.    Diamond Glass Blocks Window

Diamond glass blocks contain a pattern actually inside the blocks. These are often use for internal glass walls as a feature.

Window sizing

Glass blocks are typically 2”-3” thick and come in a huge variety of styles, colors and designs. They can be used to create a regular window or something much more ornate.

Commonly, the glass block is 3” thick to fit most existing window openings.

Advantages of glass block windows

  • Glass blocks still allow the ingress of natural light, and some designs offer almost as much light as a clear glass pane
  • They offer privacy so are ideal for windows which may be overlooked or streetside
  • There are plenty of different types of glass block to suit different styles of property and interior design
  • Glass blocks offer sound insulation
  • Because of the way glass block windows are constructed, they offer more security than standard pane glazing
  • They have good thermal properties for energy efficiency

Disadvantages of glass block windows

Glass block windows can be brittle so the environment in particular the weather is an important consideration. They are not recommended for areas prone to earthquakes.

Finding the right window contractor

Glass block windows are not your regular, everyday choice of new window so you may need to look around a bit to find a good contractor.

The best route is to go word of mouth if you can. Ask a neighbor, friend or work colleague. Social media groups and hubs for your area can be a good source of recommendations but make sure you only ask for names that those people who are commenting have actually used. Lots of people just recommend a friend or family member.

There are lots of online trader platforms where you can find out about costs and also source window installers near you who are available to do your work and can give you a quote. These sites can be mixed with some little more than advertising directories. Choose who can supply free, no obligation quotes from reliable window fitters experienced in fitting glass block windows.

It is important to use a firm who are experienced with glass block windows as accurate measurements are essential.

 Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get help with the cost of my new glass block windows?

Ask your installer if there are any grants available locally or at state or federal level. Most contractors are keen to promote grants and subsidies if they are available as it can help persuade customers to make a commitment to their company. Otherwise, do your research online and see what you can find. Local community groups can be helpful in flagging up small and brief schemes that sometimes go under the radar. Some grants will have restrictions on the type of window they are prepared to subsidize. Most schemes are aimed at energy-efficient products or at people who are on low incomes or retired. There can also be terms and conditions which restrict the sale of the house for a certain period after the grant has been awarded so always read the small print. You may need to front up the cost of the windows first and then claim a subsidy once you have evidence of payment to the installer.

Do I need a specialist installer for glass block windows?

Glass blocks cannot be cut to size so the most critical step in creating a glass block window is to know the exact window size. It is recommended to always work with an installer who is experienced in glass block windows.

What is the formula for measuring glass block windows?

The standard formula is to take the glass block’s dimension and then add the joint width, made from a rod or from mortar, and then add one or more joint width to determine the window size and opening.

Can you buy pre-built glass block windows?

Pre-built glass block windows are an option, and they can save money on the cost of a custom-built window.

Are colored glass block windows expensive?

The main drawback with colored glass blocks is that they offer less visibility but that may not matter if the room you are installing them in already has good visibility and light from other windows. Choosing colored glass blocks can make a feature and if you choose an existing window which has a view you don’t like or you want to increase privacy, then colored glass blocks can be a good option. They average in price from around $20 to $35.

Will my new glass block windows be guaranteed?

Your contractor should offer a guarantee for his workmanship and installation. Always check your installer has the correct licenses and insurance. In addition, the window manufacturer will also offer a warranty for their product, but this does depend upon correct and professional installation. The warranty can be voided if you do not have the glass block window installed by a reputable professional.