help: builder says unable to get 8 ft. tall glass for bathroom

Skyangel23March 1, 2014

We are building with a semi-custom builder. We choose one of their plans and modified it. One of their options was upgrading from 8 ft. ceilings to 10 ft. ceilings, which we did. The master bathroom in their model home has the tub in front of the walk in shower, with one big 60" by 72" pane of glass from the back of the tub to the ceiling, which is 8 ft. over the shower and then vaulted. I attached a picture of the model home bathroom, which looks much better in real life.

With our upgraded taller ceilings, the ceiling over the shower is 10 ft. with the rest vaulted starting at 10 ft. With the taller ceiling, the glass wall must be 60" wide by 96" tall.

We finalized the contract and engineered the plans in October. Now, suddenly five months later during our framing walk through, the super says they can't do glass taller than 72". So we have to choose either build up a tiled wall two more feet on the back of the tub, OR lower the 10 ft. ceiling to 8 ft. over the shower, with the rest of the ceiling vaulted starting at 10 ft. The lowered 8 ft. ceiling would also be only two inches above the top of the shower window, which would look weird, I think.

We do not like either of these choices. Has anyone used tall, 8ft. glass like this before? The builder made it sound like this is not even an option. Thanks for your help.

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The picture is right side up on my computer. I don't know how to fix it on GW. Sorry!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:21PM
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I don't know about the limitations of glass... but can you split the difference? With the ceiling already be flat v the vault, I don't think it will look bad to be an 8' ceiling, but I could see how you'd be worried about the proximity to the window. Can you bring the ceiling down 1' and the tub wall up 1'?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:45PM
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You can definitely get glass larger than 72", your GC needs to call another glass shop as he has been given bad info.

This post was edited by millworkman on Sun, Mar 2, 14 at 10:39

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:05AM
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(Or, it is possible he doesn't want to pay the upcharge for a larger sheet of glass...)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 11:52AM
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...or he doesn't feel comfortable handling/transporting it. They make much larger glass than that.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 3:30PM
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That is what I was thinking, that possibly he didn't want to pay for the upcharge. The manager said it was a safety issue--that glass that tall can't be used in bathrooms. I thought it if it was tempered glass that it would it would be safe. I am no expert though, so I wanted to check here.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:11PM
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Picture now right side up.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 4:44PM
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Aso, what is the floor plan of your house? How easy is it going to be to carry a 60x96 piece of glass through the house and into the bathroom?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:44PM
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robo (z6a)

Cool looking bathroom!

I had two thoughts:

1) it's going to be hard to clean the glass if it extends up past 8 feet. Although I guess that's what extendable squeegees are for!

2) The bigger the volume of the shower area, the harder it is going to be to warm it up when you turn the water on. And all the heat is going to escape up to the ceiling. This thought is brought to you by Canadian winter.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:52PM
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Sophie Wheeler

I wouldnt want a 10' ceiling in a shower area. Too cold. Frame it down shorter. And NOT with that impossible to clean ledge for fake plants either.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 11:45PM
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I like a hot, steamy shower - so the idea of dropping the ceiling in the shower sounds like a good plan regardless of the availability of the glass. And if you do the rainfall shower head, that would bring it down a little closer to you as well.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 12:40AM
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Thank you, aries, for fixing my picture!
kirkhall, it is an idea to split the difference. And a 1' lowered ceiling would not be right on top of the window, which would be good. I'm just not sure how it all would look, and if there is larger glass available, I do think we should get it since it was the builder's mistake in the first place AND he didn't notice for five months.

We have double front doors and high ceilings, so I would think it would not be that difficult to carry 8 ft. glass in--as long as it can be carried sideways.

Thank you. It looks really nice in person, and we do get to choose our own tile and accents. The kids love it. :-) I'm not too worried about cleaning the glass. In this case I am definitely form over function!
Yes, I have thought about it being not as warm as an enclosed bathroom, but I am hoping it won't be too bad. We are in Florida though! I'm pretty sure I would not be doing a a walk-in shower in a colder climate without heated floors/walls/towels/ect.! :-)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:38AM
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robo (z6a)

I'm envious! And heading to Florida in t-5 days.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:45AM
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you should have good weather. It was gorgeous today! Where are you headed? I'm in the Tampa area. I grew up in Michigan though, so I've experienced plenty of freezing winters. :-)

Hollysprings, that plant ledge is deleted in our plan. My thoughts were similar to yours.

JenBL, I would not have been against lowering the ceiling if this could have been incorporated in the planning stages. Now, to lower the ceiling to 8 ft. means the ceiling is within 2 inches of the window, which seems to me like it would look low and weird. But maybe I'm wrong? And then how should the rest of the ceiling be framed? Still cathedral starting at 10 ft? Or cathedral but start it at 8 ft? It is really frustrating having this sprung on us last minute. Plus it is hard for me to visualize what it would look like.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:37PM
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robo (z6a)

Sarasota! Well, Lakewood Ranch. Pool and beach for two solid weeks.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:30PM
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My choice would have been to lower the ceiling.

But, since you feel the window would be too high, is it an option to build a 2' wall, hanging from the ceiling? Same idea as the 2' wall on the back of the tub, but on top of the glass instead of under it.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Thank you Kirkhall, for your idea to split the difference with the 2 ft.
We did find out we could get 7 ft glass, though not 8 ft, but the glass company refused to warranty it. This made us nervous, so we have decided to split the difference and lower the ceiling 1 ft, and build up the back of the tub deck 1 ft. This will also allow us to have a niche on the shower side of the tub deck.
I will post pics when we are finished. Thank you for the help.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Here are a couple of photos of stacked tubs/showers to give you an idea of what it will look like with the raised wall behind the tub.

The first one is very similar to yours. The second one is only open on one end but has the decorative tile on the raised wall as well as inside the shower to add a little more interest.

I will say I don't mind the privacy that a partial wall gives. :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:10AM
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Are the valves to the shower off to the left and right? If so, wouldn't it be a little annoying to have to open the door and reach out to adjust the temperature?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 6:14AM
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When we renovated our last home, we added a large glassed in shower to the guest bath. And yes, the glass was 8', and the frameless door was also 8' x 30". The glass was 3/8" thick if I remember correctly. I find it odd that they say they can't get glass that tall, unless there's something I'm not seeing. I ordered the glass directly through a glass company, not cheap. I think just the door alone was over $1500 (13 yrs ago), not including install and the nickel hardware.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 6:05PM
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I said it originally that he was wrong. I a in the glass business and it is sold everyday 8' of larger.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:41PM
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sundownr, thanks for the pics. :-) Ours will be much like the first one.
Shicksal, yes, the valves are off to the sides. There is no door though.
Joyce and Millworkman, yes, I do think they could've gotten the bigger glass if we'd made enough of a stink. There are other issues where we are putting our foot down that are more important, we decided. And we really don't want to create any kind of riff with the builder. We just decided to accept it, and we are getting the shampoo niche on the back side of the built up section of the tub, so that will be nice.
Thanks for all the help and advice. I will post a pic when it's done.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:13PM
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A couple of thoughts...

Often when you see glass going all the way to the ceiling, it's because it's a steam shower.

If you do go with glass to the top be careful that your ceiling is both waterproofed and tiled. In the photos it looks like just sheetrock. With that much steam being concentrated at your ceiling, you'll need tile and a vapor barrier.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:59PM
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