The key to a weatherproof, attractive glass block window both inside and out is to encase it in a custom-built wooden frame (Fig. A) with inside dimensions that are 1/2 in. taller and wider than the panel itself. That will give you room to adjust and shim the panel exactly and then inject expanding foam between the frame and the panel to lock it into the opening (Photos 3 and 4).

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Follow Fig. B, for the new drain/vent plan. The new shower drain is vented separately into the main stack (Photos 10, 12 and 13). Most bathrooms have the main stack positioned directly behind the toilet. The wall-mounted toilet shown here cannot be positioned directly behind the stack because there’s not room for the necessary elbows. If your stack is more than 12 in. to the side of the existing toilet, you can keep the same location for the wall-hung toilet. But if it’s directly behind it, you’ll need to swap the sink and toilet locations like we did.


After removing your shower head and handle, cover your shower floor with newspaper. Take your hammer and chisel and start from the bottom corner. Gently place the chisel on the side of tile and use your hammer to push the tile out. Start gently. As you move on, you may have to use some real elbow grease to get these tiles out. Once all tile has been removed, chisel off any remaining mortar as well.
The special-order fixtures, fittings, shower pan, tile and glass block panel can take weeks to get in hand, so do the necessary legwork and ordering well in advance. Before gutting the bathroom, check to make sure that there are shutoffs for all the fixtures or a master shutoff for the entire bathroom. If not, buy ball valve shutoffs sized to fit your pipes. Then turn off the main water supply line where it comes into the house from outside, cut the pipes feeding the bathroom and install the new shutoffs right away (see Photo 7).
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