Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block

 
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:58 PM   #1
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Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Hey guys, I do 3-4 bathrooms a year. I sub out the glass block windows. Most of the older homes in my area have a 28x48 DBL hung in the tub area and I love putting in a glass block window as a replacement and tiling them in.
About half the subs I have met use silicone and half use mortar. None do both :-)
I like silicone because there is no mortar joint and it has a clean look. I like Mortar because it's old school and it is a time tested method. The last guy I got a price from swore up and down how great silicone is. I can understand it's faster to put together with silicone but I have heard if the silicone fails, there can be major problems.
Silicone has it's place and one of those is on smooth surfaces like glass so it makes sense.
What's your opinion? What's your experience?
I read in the glass block 411 post guys think silicone is weak. Makes sense for a freestanding wall but a window is a different application. My personal opinion is that they both probably work if done well.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:08 PM   #2
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


how about a hyliter acrylic block window you could open?

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Old 01-17-2009, 05:16 PM   #3
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


I have done probably 20 jobs over the years where we removed a window and installed glass block (in tub area).
I used to install the block in place but about 7-8 years ago, I pre-built the panel in the shop and installed in on site. Obviously it depends on how big the window is, but I think I have done up to about 36x36. I used fibreglass mesh - interwoven and wrapped around the entire panel (embedded in mortar) with great success.

I know the thread wasn't exactly about pre-building and I apologize, but I thought I would throw it out there.

P.S. I have never tried silicone - always done mortar
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


hyliter acrylic block? I will look that up. Thanks.

I have built them in place but having a block guy drop one off on site or install it for me seems to save me a lot of headaches.

The company I was using just switched vendors and they have a terrible selection of privacy block.
The guy before that quit doing the installs himself and his employees thought it was a good idea to use their finger to tool the silicone.
The guy before that went out of business. He was great.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


We've installed dozen of Hyliters, love em. Would never install glass block in a window again.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:55 PM   #6
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


It looks like they install from the exterior. Are they light? Do they look cheap or is it hard to tell the difference between them and glass?
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


I've installed a couple of them and they look good and the biggest thing is you can open them if you choose. I have done glass block walls with mortar, and tried one with silicone and ended up tearing it down and re doing with mortar for strength reasons. For windows the silicone will work good but I find it easier to just order the Hyliter window and install it.
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:09 PM   #8
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


We have a couple glass block windows in our master bathroom. They leaked bad everytime we had blowing rain due to the moisture being transfered from the outside to the inside via the mortar joints. I have had to seal up the joints with silicone. No more problems.
I personaly like glass block with mortar. I recently modified our glass block shower that I built with ' white silicone' interior side apx 3/4 to 1 inch of the joints the first couple of courses where the moisture hits most.

Once you waterproof the side that gets the moisture they are good to go. I would never silicone the whole thing, just to "amateur like" type of work"
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:34 PM   #9
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Thanks for that. I agree on the "amateur-like" aspect but these guys that like the silicone have been at it a long time.
I would think a guy would offer both styles.
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:53 PM   #10
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


I only offer what I'm comfortable with be it for warranty reasons or many others.

Silicone isn't forever, silicone has a rather short lifespan before it starts to look like sh*t.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:45 PM   #11
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


True, Especially if it isn't tooled properly. I use it in all my inside corners of tiled walls and around the toilet, etc. I use a lot of tape and spit and a little denatured alcohol if needed.

I think it's great for smooth surfaces and using it as a "suction" adhesive under a corian shelf or some other flat smooth surface. It beats water based caulks any day.

What's your take on muriatic acid for cleaning grout joints?
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:47 PM   #12
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


I just wanted qiuckly explain the silicone of the glass block windows .
When I caulked the outside joints it wasnt some big bead straight out of the gun. The silkicone bead was very small and then tooled smooth with my finger. Just enough silicone to spread very thin and just cover the joint . You cant realy tell its there actualy.
Didnt want you guys thinking im leaving some big ole string of silicone on the windows.
I hardly ever used silicone until I started in our bathroom. If you have good adhesion then its okay. I did use it to adhere the curtain rod between the shower opening. Its still up and looks good after 5-6 years

I have used muriatic acid after I have rebuilt chimneys, to clean them. It seems to 'brighten' everthing up.
I cannot offer how it works with grout. I would imagine it would work well if you control the strength.
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:27 PM   #13
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


I used silicone glass with a vent (code in Minnesota), and I use the plastic (acrylic) in my bath remodels.
When I did my own place I went with glass and silicone for the window.
All good in my opinion.
I had a 5X5 acrylic in my shop, I thought it was great there. You could bounce a piece of wood off it when the saw kicked back and all you had to do was duck for the rebound.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:13 PM   #14
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


I'm not referring to tooling of silicone joints looking bad, I said a short life span before it starts to look like sh*t. Silicone get dirty and ugly looking over time. Silicone isn't forever. I've never seen a silicone anything, be it a tub joint a regular window joint or a glass block joint that didn't look nasty if it was 5 years old or more.
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:15 AM   #15
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Yup. Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:04 PM   #16
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Quote:
Originally Posted by carterarce View Post
What's your take on muriatic acid for cleaning grout joints?

Just a quick note on the above - I would strongly recommend against using muriatic acid. It can etch the tile (and if enamel) the tub.

A good grout cleaner (sorry, no specific types) would probably be a lot safer
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:14 PM   #17
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Quote:
Originally Posted by silvertree View Post
I used silicone glass with a vent (code in Minnesota), and I use the plastic (acrylic) in my bath remodels.
When I did my own place I went with glass and silicone for the window.
All good in my opinion.
I had a 5X5 acrylic in my shop, I thought it was great there. You could bounce a piece of wood off it when the saw kicked back and all you had to do was duck for the rebound.
i just subbed out a 14' x 8' wall of glass block. The sub used the silicone and did not clean as he went. It looks horrible. I'm not sure if they will ever be able to clean them. Needless to say they haven't got a penny yet from me.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:14 PM   #18
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Have you had it etch tile before?
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:40 PM   #19
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


Denatured alcohol will clean that up. My plumber carries a 5 gallon pail of the stuff :-)
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:15 AM   #20
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Re: Silicone Vs Mortar Glass Block


What does the Client prefer? I'd explain the difference between the two, discuss pros and cons and ask the client whether they want a grout line or not.

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