Suggestions for Covering Glass Block Windows

Glass blocks range from transparent to opaque, providing varying degrees of light and privacy, but often shadows and movement can be seen through the each type to some extent. Such windows are elegant and practical, and coverings can offset any disadvantages. Window covering options range from simple do-it-yourself projects to custom installations.

Glass bricks, full frame
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Glass paint offers privacy and light control, but is permanent and a major design changer.

DIY Blackout Coverings

A temporary solution for blocking light and improving privacy is blackout fabric. Blackout fabric's foam backing stops light filtration. It comes in many colors and textures. Cut and hem a blackout panel to cover the window. Attach it to the glass block window or adjacent wall with industrial self-stick hook-and-loop fasteners. The fasteners allow you to remove or hang the fabric as needed.

DIY Theme Coverings

Choose decorative vinyl wall banners and door panels for fast and inexpensive window coverings. Available at party and discount stores, these lightweight coverings come in many themes and designs. Some are party specific, such as for birthdays, while others portray beach scenes or landscapes. Attach them directly to the glass block windows with removable tape. Tape several together as a mural for larger window areas.

DIY Film Coverings

Apply removable sun-tint film to the glass block window. The film provides privacy and reduces sunlight filtering through the glass. Such film comes in various colors and shades, and is easily to cut to size with scissors. It's automatically held in place by static, so you can apply and remove it, as needed. Do not use tint film held in place by adhesive since it leaves a residue when removed. For a decorative effect, apply holiday, seasonal or theme window clings over the film.

Traditional Coverings

You can use certain traditional window coverings and hardware on glass block windows. Lightweight curtains filter light and offer privacy. Hang curtains on a ceiling-mounted curtain rod just far enough out so that they don't touch the glass, causing it to sweat. Hang curtains to cover just the window or hang to the floor for a drapery effect. Install tiebacks so that you can pull the curtains to the side when you desire more light or openness. Roller shades and Roman blinds allow easy window exposure when you want it. Shutters are another option for covering glass-block windows, while allowing some airflow to any vents.

Cautions and Considerations

Covering glass-block windows permanently is usually not practical because the windows provide light and ventilation. Many glass block windows have ventilation panes that must be accessible. Heavy and permanent covers can cause glass blocks to sweat. When the moisture collects around the window or wall, it often causes mold and can result in paint damage and wood rot. Be sure adequate ventilation prevents damage and retains the benefits of the glass block window. Custom-window-covering installation may be costlier, but can guarantee a suitable or glass-block-safe and stylish look that's ideal for your space.