Tub material and window questions

weedyacresMarch 3, 2013

We just bought ourselves a small (940 sf) fixer that needs a gut job (woo hoo! another project!). Bathroom will be first. Here's what we're starting with:

We're pulling out everything and replacing the rotted subfloor and 1920 plumbing, then putting it back together and making it pretty. Note that this is a house that when fixed will be worth $60K or so, so we want to make it look nice (I will be living here for a year or so) and stay period as much as possible, but we're not spending a fortune.

Question #1: Which is better for a tub: acrylic or enameled steel? Pros and cons of each?

Question #2: We could just cover up the window, but if we keep it, what's the best way to waterproof it? Mr. Weedy saw a made-for-shower window at Lowe's that's vinyl with glass blocks inset. Other things to consider?

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The window looks too big for the space, would probably look at a horizontal style window, and trim with PVC. I think they make them around 1' tall x 32".

An enameled steel tub will be stronger than a acrylic tub, if you buy a quality one, i.e. American Standard Cambridge.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Bumping for any other opinions/advice on the window....

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Windows are nice and all, but I don't like them in a shower area. . Personal preference.

Any chance you can rearrange the fixtures inexpensively? Maybe turn the tub so you can put the window above, say, the toilet (moved)?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Yes Kirkhall, weedy can do anything :) there was a mention that the plumbing was to be replaced.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:12PM
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No real opinion on the tub. For a flip, really the least expensive decent tub that you can find of either material. For rentals I always put in CI.

It's not so much the window, but that it's a double-hung. The flat top of the lower sash can collect water. In old houses where the double hung wood windows had to stay, I'll bevel the top of the sash for drainage.

The better bet in a shower is a vinyl window, and the way I prefer to waterproof them is to use a topical membrane. If it's a Kerdi Shower I'll use strips of Kerdi and Kerdi Fix, using the K-F to adhere the membrane to the window's vinyl jamb.

If a Hydroban Shower, I'll still usually use strips of Kerdi and K-F. I always have scraps around. I like the way the Kerdi sticks (stuck with K-F) to the vinyl window jamb, then transitions out and over the face of the cement board lining the shower wall. Then I'll HB the cement board, overlapping on to the Kerdi that's around the window jamb.

There are other ways. But that's what I prefer.

Your "shower window" at the box store might make things easier.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:41AM
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Rearranging isn't expensive since we're gutting it to the plaster and floor joists, but I'm not sure it's feasible. The room is 5' wide x 7' long. Shifting the tub down the RH side doesn't leave sufficient width for the toilet on the same wall, and produces a pretty narrow space in front of the vanity.

Tentative plan on the tub is Redguard and tile. Don't own any kerdi scraps, but maybe I can wheedle some from a local tile store.

I'm thinking if we keep the window, we at least need to make it half the size, so it doesn't start down so low. That just looks weird.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:25PM
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A glass bock window could be smaller, higher, and fit in with the tile.

Back to the original question - IMO, porcelain on steel feels and sounds tinny while quality acrylic or cast iron are both OK for tubs. However, you are selling it rather than living in it long-term, so cast iron is a safer bet to appeal to buyers.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 3:56PM
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If you need Kerdi scraps, let me know...me gots plenty.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:32PM
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I'm bumping this back up, because I still haven't made up my mind about what to do about the window. This is a design question more than anything. I've browsed Houzz for tub/shower windows and they tend to be higher up, long and horizontal. I can't find any worthwhile inspiration.

Our needs:
1. Can't be a water collector.
2. Needs to minimize work/cost involved so must be the size of the current window or smaller.
3. Has to look decent, and be period to the extent possible and inexpensive.

So what would you do:
1. Cover it up and be done with it (Mr. Weedy's vote)
2. Replace same size with glass block? stained glass? etched glass? openable or not? (don't know that I would ever open the window while showering)
3. Replace with something smaller (close up bottom half)
4. Leave as-is, and just perhaps etch the top half.

This post was edited by weedyacres on Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 20:10

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 7:38PM
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You could do a window like this one, above the showerhead, so it won't collect as much water.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:02PM
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sloyd: That configuration looks nice, but violates need #2.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 7:25AM
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If you can't turn it to have a higher horizontal one, I think I'd close up the bottom half or 2/3 and have a window that will open for ventilation by just tilting out. Seems like it would work with the age of the house, be simple, raise the window for less water issues and more privacy, but preserve the ventilation option. If you still need more privacy, use a textured or etched glass. Stained or leaded glass will be much more expensive unless you DIY or find an old piece that could work.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 8:56PM
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Keep the window!!! I hate not having a window in the bathroom - I like to be able to get fresh air and sun in there. A horizontal one would be fine but I think it would be a bad idea to remove it altogether. For privacy just use frosted window film or something.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 12:27AM
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Our bathrooms are very similar, we have been meeting with different contractors getting our quotes. I don't know if this is an option for you but we have a flat roof over ours so a solar tube was recommended for natural light. Another thought was glass block window, but all have said to loose the double hung lol.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 8:45AM
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OK, I think I've got a better concept for the bathroom window. What if we replaced it with a clear glass fixed 18"x18" window on the upper part, closed up the lower part, and then installed a stained glass panel over the front. It looks like installation consists of basically siliconing it into place in front of the existing glass, leaving a couple tiny weep holes in the bottom to avoid condensation accumulation.

I found some cool designs on etsy that I could probably get for around $100, that use vintage depression-era glass plates. Here are some examples:

What think you? Is that lead between the glass panels a liability in the shower? Or is there a way to make this work?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:01AM
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What about a cling type application on the window? I will link the site were I bought my cling for my bathroom window.

I needed privacy. The stainglass options you show would be beautiful, but this film may meet the need too, and be easy to install. I don't know how it would work in a very wet situation like a shower. The line I purchased was a vinyl cling that used the tension of water to hold it in place. There are some that use an adhesive. I was very pleased with the process of buying and receiving the product. The installation was easy and the product included good instructions and "tools" to install the film.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solyx Film for Windows

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 9:32AM
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We had this same issue.
Our window is maybe twice as big as yours⦠no joke.
We thought about removing it, raising it, making it smaller⦠all of it.
But in the end, kept itâ¦

We replaced with a vinyl interior, and pebbled privacy glass. Entire window is removable for cleaning.

Wedi board all around sill, edges⦠and then whatever else husband did⦠then subway tile all around edges⦠and very narrow marble sill.

Here is the window originally. You can see that the PO had built out a ledge to get away from the window, which we removed⦠plus, you can see the tub, which was my first introduction to a luxury edge⦠itâÂÂs only a few inches, but itâÂÂs surprising how much more roomy it feels to have those few inches between you and the wall⦠plus, puts room between you and window.

Here is a link that might be useful: Finished bathroom

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:44AM
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Do you have an "after" photo of your tub straight on, showing the full window in your new space? All of your photos in your blog just show part of the window. BTW, I have looked at your photos for inspiration, particularly the medicine cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Giant, eh?
I forgot to say that DH cut a piece of plexiglass to cover the lower half of the window... it's held in place with two dots of caulk... does a great job of keeping the water off the window, and is easy to remove for cleaning... kind of unusual, but I'm used to it by now.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 1:06PM
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