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Question DetailsAsked on 1/17/2017

Can I install a doorless glass block shower in a space as small as 40" x 48""

I want to replace my current shower with one that has 2 glass block walls and no door

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1 Answer


First, check with your local building department on local code requirements regarding minimum shower size - general building code says minimum 30x30 inch AND a 30 inch disc would have to fit inside it everywhere to head height, meaning generally for small showers that the faucets/fixtures except high-mounted shower heads cannot be centered on the wall - they have to be tucked more toward a corner to provide that 30" disc clearance requirement. Also, a 30x30 shower requires a rectangular shower door/enclosure to work - a neo-angled shower (angled door) will infringe on the 30" disc clearance requirement. (I know you are talking doorless, but best to have it built so a shower door can easily be added later on the open side - might make it easier come resale time.)

However, some areas require 32x32 or 36x36 minimum dimensions for showers - and some that do require more allow smaller than that if doorless, so check local code.

Now - that is finish inside dimensions - so depending on whether your 40x48 dimension (presumably rogh opening size) calls forputting in 3, 4, 6, or 8 inch thick glass block the answer would be yes or no depending on thickness.

For a 40" minimum dimension (Assuming that is depth) a backer boarded opening (so presumably to the back of your existing block), using 3 inch glass block on the back would leave about 36 inches minimum dimension - legal in most areas. If your existing glass block (assuming it is coming out) is installed as a decor surround item (not as light-transwmitting window), and is over a concrete scratch coat, you might gain an inch or two by removing that down to studs and replacing with water barrier and concrete backer board, then adhering the glass block to that - and of course using the thinnest glass block like from Corning can help too.

If the 40" dimension is side to side (deep, narrow space) and coming off a wall on each side, then with 3" glass block that would leave about 32-33" clear - probably good in many areas but not all.

If the 48" is side to side, with free-standing glass block side divider walls, then the 48" dimension would leave 42" free shower width (with 3" block) down to 32" roughly with 8 inch block, so again might or might not be a problem depending on local code. (Generally free-standing walls have to be 6 or 8 inch block for certain unless solid metal framed-in like a glass pane).

Also consider usability of the shower - and resale issues - because a 30" shower is pretty small. Course, if using free-standing side walls, you can reduce the thickness some by suing a supporting wall backing or metal frame to get down to 3-4" block thickness on each side.

I would say you need to talk to a couple of experienced glass block shower installers - a specialty shower and bath firm (not an Angies List category), or a Remodeliung - Ktichen and Bath contractor with such experience, because if the existing glass block walls are free-standing divider type walls, the building code has been upgraded regarding how much lateral load they have to be able to handle, so pure glass block walls are pretty much out in most cases - almost all require solid metal framing to provide that falling resistance.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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