Glass Block Window In Kitchen And Roof Deck Door

The past week has been somewhat unproductive. This is a holiday-jam-packed time in Panama; we just had two, three-day weekends back to back so Armando and Aramis have taken a lot of days off. They even took an additional day off before the holidays to prepare for the festivities! Additionally, Cynthia and I filled a couple days with trips to the city. Even our local petty thief seems to be taking time off!

One of our trips to the city was to purchase glass blocks. We tried everywhere locally, but no one had the 88 blocks that we needed. We finally found them at Casa de Materiales. They recommended to use jamo, (pronounced HA-mo — acrylic-fortified mortar, same as is used for floor tile) so I bought a bag of that, too.

The next day I mixed some jamo and started laying block. I got the first row done and started work on the second row. But the jamo showed little sign of setting up. On a concrete floor, the concrete will absorb the water in the jamo, but apparently with the glass block there was no where for the moisture to go. The slow drying made it very difficult (impossible) to tool the grout line smooth. The jamo puckered and pulled and made an overall general mess. All of this took way too long and I could see a dim future for this process.

I consulted with Armando and Aramis, my panel of local experts, and they made a lot of guttural mouth sounds that made me know that I had a mess on my hands. We decided that the best way to proceed was to tear the whole mess out, wash the glass blocks, and start again the next day, only this time with regular cement/sand mortar. I took another hour and cleaned the blocks.

The next day I enrolled Armando to help me. I worked on the outside of the wall and Armando worked inside. In about six hours we had a really nice wall of glass, all polished and looking really good. We still have one more row of glass blocks to do, but it started to rain really hard making my outside work difficult. Here are some photos of the glass block window:


By the way, using 3/8″ mortar joints, eleven glass blocks perfectly filled the width between the two open shipping container doors. Couldn’t have worked out any better!


We’ll have a window seat below the glass blocks, a nice place to read a cookbook or take a cat nap.

Another day, Aramis and I installed the door from the loft to the roof deck. It is the same style as the windows, with the security bars openable for window washing and trim painting. We still need to order the glass panel and install it:


Aramis is still working on installing angle iron in the windows, and Armando has finished the repello work in the bathroom off the kitchen. But other than that, we are in what we call the November/December holiday doldrums.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by, and thank you Zach for the site-loading performance boost!

6 thoughts on “Glass Block Window In Kitchen And Roof Deck Door

  1. Merry Christmas Cynthia & Fred,

    You are making great progress on your new home and it is beautiful!

    Still looking for a location for my venture in El Valle. I’ve gone through 3 realtors so far…and counting 🙁

    Have a terrific Holiday Season!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.