window in shower

schnauzerluvrSeptember 20, 2006

We moved into our small ranch home (1000 sqft) about two months ago. The house was built in 1948 with a main bathroom on the first floor and a small 3/4 bathroom in the basement. The bathroom has a window right above the tub. It's obvious that when the house was first built, there wasn't meant to be a shower in this bathroom. However, the PO's have put a surround around the tub and cut out for the window. The tub has another shower curtain rod along the window side with a shower curtain that hangs in front of the window so water won't get on it (the curtain is cut down so it's just a little bigger than the actual window).

We're wondering if it's in our best interest to take out the window so it doesn't look so "weird", or will losing all natural light be a bigger detriment, especially if we eventually sell to a bath-only person who might miss the window. We've thought about a skylight tube, but the actual size of the ceiling is small and I don't know if there is room to squeeze in a skylight along with the overhead light.

Is this a common thing in smaller houses where showers have been retrofitted into bathrooms that were built with just a bathtub in mind? Has anyone else dealt with this?

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Take out the window. They are a huge source of moisture problems with showers. You have no idea how much ceramic tile I sold because of moisture getting around the window sills and rotting the drywall and worse, the studs.

Yes -- it was very common. We used to be a nation of bathers -- now, everyone showers. That's why so many of your friends have whirlpools that they dust -- not scrub! They are never used!!!


    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 4:01PM
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Yes, my old house has a window in the shower. No problems so far (fingers crossed.) I like having the window to let out the steam - and the view is nice, too!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 6:34PM
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Both of my bathrooms have windows in the bath/shower. I love them. They both have obscure glass and a cafe curtain. My new windows are vinyl the old windows were aluminum. Just about all of the houses in our neighborhood have windows in the shower.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:04PM
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I just paid to have a window put in my windowless bathroom. Despite the fact that I have a fan that vents to outside, my ceiling was getting mold spots due to the lack of ventilation The window is a slider and it's easy to open it while taking a shower. My previous house also had a window over the shower and we had no problems in the 6 yrs. we were there (and neither did the previous owners). I will be painting the unfinished frame around the window...maybe with marine paint???....for extra protection.
You may want to post this in the bathroom forum for further guidance.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 8:13PM
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Schnauzerlover - We have exactly the same setup and make sure that the window is completely covered while showering, then open the curtain afterward to expose the window and for ventilation. The window is always open a little, weather permitting (it's a crank out that opens from the bottom).

I lived in a brand new house years ago. Neither bathroom had a window and I hated it. I couldn't stand not having natural light in the bathroom instead of a dark hole. When we had the surround around shower installed here, the plumber wanted to cover up the window to make his installation easier and not have to cut out for the opening, and I made it clear that the window stays.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 9:51AM
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We also have an awning window in the bathroom. The surround goes up to the trim and we have not had a problem with moisture. The trim is wood and it never gets moist because the window is set very high.
I really like it. It is so bright. In the summer it is very nice to be able to open it and enjoy the warmth.

Is your window set high also? If it is then moisture will have less of a chance to get in there.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 10:11AM
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We have the same set-up too. My Grannie chuckled when she first saw it, saying it reminded her of a house that she and her siblings grew up in. When she and her sister were bathing in nice weather, the window was open -- and her brother would throw a bucket of cold water on them, from the backyard - through the window! ;-)

I do think that an old window over a tub can be a maintenance nightmare. We've already had to deal with a leak in ours. But I do like the light that filters through (although I have a large stained glass window hanging in front of it, for privacy). When/if we ever get around to a bathroom remodel, I think I'd like to keep the window, but use glass blocks instead.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 11:27AM
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I have a horizontal blind in front of my window, which deflects most of the water spraying toward the window. I am thinking of changing that to a shower curtain as described by the original poster, but I worry about trapping moisture between it and the window. The blinds seem to air out more quickly.
When I moved in, I had to remove some mildew but there seems to be no leaks (the bottom of tub is actually accessible from the basement!). I cleaned, repainted, and caulked. After each shower, the frame gets wiped down to remove beads of water and to speed up the drying time. The window is double-hung and usually open a bit at the top.
I think it's worth this little effort if the alternative is having no daylight in the room.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 1:16PM
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My house was built in 1959, and had the same setup. When I remodeled, I took out the window, and put a recessed light over the tub, closer to the shower head. I think it worked out well. I had always felt a little weird with the window there in terms of privacy, even though there was a curtain in front of the window. And some of the wood had rotted as well.

So, I would vote for taking out the window.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 1:16PM
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I love the idea of having a window in the bathroom, but actually having it in the shower with me sounds weird to me (although I love auntjen's idea of putting stained glass in front of it).

But I wanted to mention that with a solartube skylight you can have the overhead light put inside the tube, so there's not another fixture (this is how ours is). You can also get it with a fan in it - I'm not sure exactly how that works because we don't have one, but then there would be only opening on the entire ceiling. Oh, and the standard solartube is only 10", so it's not very big.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 2:29PM
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We had that same thing when we bought our first house, and NO_ONE ever took more or longer showers than my DH. He varnished the brand new oak window frame with Marine Varnish. We lived there 13 and 1/2 years with no problems.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 8:42PM
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We have a window in the tub of our house. To prevent moisture damage we use a full-size rod and shower curtain across the window. Initially we thought about having glass block put in but decided to keep the window because it lets a lot of moisture out when it is open.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 9:30AM
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Funny, I have a circa 1950s ranch with a hexagonal stained glass window above the bathtub/shower. I open it when I'm showering just a bit for ventilation. The shower is one of those prefab kind but the back must have been cut out with some molding around it for the window. I like it cause it faces south and allows light in during the day so I can shower without using the lights and it ventilates and the heigh of it, nobody can see anything anyway. They might hear me singing or so, but that's another thread.. :-)


    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 10:13AM
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Hi :) I'm new here, but this post caught my eye because when I bought my home, built in 1950, it had a window over the bathtub with no shower. Since it was the only bathroom, I immediately set about putting in a shower. I was told by many to get rid of the window. I love that window!

I used the shower curtain rod solution and found one that blends in and I use a clear curtain and clear rings. It is pulled over only when I shower and pulled to the corner when not in use. It's not very noticeable at all. The window draws your focus and not the curtain hanging against the wall.

I do have a cellular blind there for those mornings when the sun is too bright, but I also got those window clings and applied those on the particular panes where I wanted some privacy. After checking to make sure they were actually privacy blocking, I was quite happy. I've had no problem with moisture, and that may be because the shower curtain I use against the wall is full-size. It's also one of those 2.99 liners that I don't feel guilting about throwing away every 3 months because it is getting water spot build up.

I think I have a pic around here somewhere...if I can find it, I'll share it with you.

~ Elizabeth

And, ps ~ this seems like a very nice place to hang out :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 9:05PM
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Our house was built in 1957, with a window over the tub,which also has a shower. All four family members take a daily shower. We remodeled this January, left the window, but code required a fan to remove steam, and we had two spot lights installed in the bathtub area ceiling, plus an overhead light fixture in the middle of the room, plus lights all around the mirror. I like having all that light, especially when I'm shaving in the shower.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 10:49PM
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Don't know where I saw this, but in a bath remodel they used plexiglass going from the bathtub up to the top of a window. It was sealed all around the edges. Looked great and allowed light/view in. Window was located at the same area as you describe.

I too remember a window in shower/bath when a kid, don't remember if it was a problem, but there wasn't anything hanging over it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 7:59AM
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I also moved into a home with a window in the shower/bath. I actually replaced it with a larger picture window (doesn't open). I tiled completely around the window (no wood molding) and the walls. Then I installed a clawfoot tub and a circular shower curtain beneath the window. I didn't want the victorian style, so I used an in-ceiling curtain track and built a faux pedestal for the tub to conceal the claw feet. Now the tiny bathroom looks spacious because of the huge picture window, and I can look out when I'm taking a bath. For privacy you can install a curtain, but I just pull my shower curtain out a little when I want to. Only the slightest moisture reaches the window, because the 360-degree shower curtain protects it from spray. (A window sustains a lot of moisture from the outside--no reason why it can sustain it from inside) I haven't taken the time to figure out how to upload photos, but if you can send an email via my link I'll send you a picture. It is an extremely tiny bathroom, but it came out spectacular, if I do say so myself.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 10:12PM
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We also have a window in our shower. I LOVE it! Ours is the same situation with it originally being an older home with previously just a tub. The difference though is we do not have a surround. our shower is completely tiled with the rest of the bathroom tiled about 3/4 up. the window is a pebbled glass so it is very private when closed. there is no shower curtain in front of the window, I think this would keep in moisure. We also have shower doors instead of a curtain in the front. We have lived in this house for 20 years and there has never been a problem with moisure and rotting wood. our window frame is wood and is painted. It is ithe only window in the bath.When my husband re-caulked the window he used a marine caulk and when we changed the color of our wood trim we used a paint specifically for heavy water use. Just to be proactive not because there were any problems. I am very lucky as the house additions over the years created a little courtyard effect so my shower window is open to our little side yard patio which has a very large old maple in the center of it. There are a couple of neighbors backyards that are visible to me but everything is a goodly distance and with the foliage it is really very private. My favorite thing is opening the window while I take my showers in the summer when there are plenty of leaves etc. to shield me and it is warm and breezy! I feel like I'm showering under a waterfall outside in a forest! To enhance this effect I had my husband install coated wire corner shelves in the shower, high above my head. they are out of the way and I have humid loving pants flowing down above me. This is a very unused place in the bath and alot of my friends have done the same to their baths when they sw it. It also helps that our tile is a soft green and I have decorated in an uncluttered but natural outdoorsy theme.Ahh what perfection! I vote to keep the window, find a way to make it an asset!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 9:34AM
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I have tile around the window in mine, and wouldn't consider closing off the window. But the building codes now require tempered or safety glass, and most of the homes with these windows are pre-code and have regular glass. Also, I have obscured glass so there is no privacy issue. I tried a plastic curtain to keep water out, but found that the tile surround was the best solution. And make sure the tile slopes down so the water runs off.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 6:44PM
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I am really happy to see that the window in the shower situation is not uncommon. I am going to put a shower in a tub that has a window right over the middle of it. Like jillofall I am going to tile around it. If anyone else has experience with this it would be great to get any advice on how to avoid potential pitfalls.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 8:39PM
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I love the window in my shower. The view of the forest is beautiful and the shower spray is angled so that the spray doesn't hit the window. However, I wipe down the window and sill after every shower, as well as sqeegying (spelling?) the glass shower surround.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 1:29PM
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When I bought my investment house in town, the previous owners put in one of those tub/shower surrounds and just butted it up against an existing window. It looked bad from inside and hideous from outside. The room is small and we wanted the natural light to come in so it wouldn't be claustrophobic and were trying to think of ways to cut out the surround.

We just ended up biting the bullet and removing the glass door, the entire surround, and having a good friend install ceramic tile.

We put in a marble sill and slanted it imperceivably so that water would not stand on it, and did a careful caulk job around it. I'm very satisfied with keeping that window.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 1:25AM
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I have the same situation, except that my window is twice as tall, so the sill is of course much lower (about at waist height) and lots of water gets into the window while showering. I also have tiles the way shown above.

I was worried about all that water and so I simply got another shower curtain rod and put it in front of the window. Then I cut a pretty plastic shower curtain to fit the window. It has a pattern because of privacy issues but enough clear plastic to allow daylight into the room.

Because of the rod, the curtain is far enough out from the window so that steam and humidity doesn't stick around too long. I guess I could have just as well used a curtain rod but the shower rod requires no installation or more holes in my ancient plaster walls :)

The whole thing works like a charm.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 12:14PM
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Fori is not pleased

I just moved into a house with a window over the tub. I don't know if it originally had a shower or not (mid-50s) but the window is glass block and doesn't open. It's amusing though--the window looks right onto the front porch by the door. Other homes in the tract don't have the glass block. I guess our POs were shy.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 6:48PM
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Having a window in the bathroon is really nice so one doesn't feel so closed in. HOWEVER, in my previous life..before being retired... there were many days when I left the house before it was light outside. I found to my dismay that one can see the outline of people through glass blocks...through curtained windows as they were taking their morning showers. Before moving to my retirement digs, I looked at over 100 homes and would not even consider a home with the bathroom window facing the front or facing another house. I wanted so bad to tell my neighbor across the street from me that I could see her and her husband every morning over my breakfast table...but naw..that might have been even more embarrassing to them. Yes, I did avert my eyes, but I know.. Just be careful out there folks...have someone check you out when it is dark.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 10:53AM
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I would love a window in my bathrooms so much. I miss having natural light in the bathroom.s If money was unlimited and I was building a home, I would love a cathedral ceiling with a skylight in my Master Bathroom to give lots of natural light.

I also would love one small window in my other bathrooms with a light filtering honeycome to allow privacy but still lettnig natural sunlight filter in. I live in an interior townhouse so none of my bathrooms have windows, my kitchen has no window, my laundry room has no window and all my rooms only have windows on one side of the room.

I miss being able to air out my bathroom with fresh air.

I love my townhouse but now I wish I held out for an end unit with more windows since I like natural light.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 12:37AM
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We too have a double-hung window in the shower of our 50's built home.

When we had new vinyl windows & siding put on the house, we had the company trim the inside woodwork around this window in aluminum just like they did the windows outside.

We also have a small metal tension rod on the inside with a cut-to-fit shower curtain that hangs just below the window sill. It all looks good and works great although I am not sure we really need the inside curtain (except for more privacy).

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 11:13PM
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When we started our renovation, we planned on removing a window in our bathroom and having the area used as a shower. We then had to replace the window. The original window was fine. When we replaced the window, I was concerned about the moisture on the window. The window salesman advised us to have a small custom "door" made for the window when the glass shower doors were installed. He said that he had sold several windows that were placed in showers and had never heard of any rotting problems if the window frame was properly tiled and caulked and a shower-type door placed in front of the window.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 9:51PM
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I agree about covering the window while showering. Our home was 13 yrs old when we moved in and painted the outside. The area around that window just wouldn't hold the paint! We finally realised it was moisture damage from the shower. DH replaced a section of that wall from the inside out--tile, drywall, and clapboards. Damage probably wouldn't have been noticed if we had siding.

Now we hang a cut-off plastic shower curtain liner on a regular curtain rod (slit up the middle to open) and only cover it while showering.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 9:45PM
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Our 1960 ranch also had a window in the shower. We were advised to take it out due to rot and water accumulation behind the surround. We put in a tub surround and it is bright and white and we love it. We were advised to put in a vented overhead fan light to remove moisture from the space to prevent mold build up. We did so and it works great. My husband is not particularly handy and did his himself while we removed the window. Consult with folks at local hardware stores and I think you will hear the same. Removed it and no regrets. Liz

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 8:52AM
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I always wished my bathrooms had windows in them but it is nice to know that I am not missing much after all. I live in an interior townhouse unit so none of my bathrooms have windows, my kitchen does not have a window (wish it did), and my laundry room does not have a window (wish it did). But all my other rooms have a wall of windows, all on one wall. I love my townhouse but one day I would like a house or a townhouse that is an end unit with windows on more than one wall for cross ventilation and better lighting.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 4:41PM
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Have lived in two houses with windows 'in the shower'. Both have been above boob height, so no worries about 'lookie-loos'. The houses with regular windows in the bathrooms have been about waist height. Must have curtains and blinds to prevent the peepers. Give me the in shower windows any day of the week! They let the light in, the moisture out and the privacy controlled.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 11:14PM
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Had to comment on this topic. When we bought our house, the POs had built the master bath with a large glass block (vertical) window right up the wall in the middle of the ceramic tile. Being the paranoid type, I asked my husband to stand in the shower and went downstairs and out on our patio. Looking up, I could read the college logo on his sweatshirt privacy! This was fine in the summer when there were trees leafed out in the yard. But in winter when the trees all drop (we live on a bluff on a small river), the house across the river was very visible. And then I realized in the dark of a winter morning that a school bus stopped just across the river at about the time I normally showered. The final straw was telling a co-worker that we bought this house, and having him say, "We looked at that house! Have you used the shower yet?" I used the guest room shower for the first winter, then had the blocks replaced with an opaque version. It's glorious to feel you're showering in a sunny treehouse in summer, but not so great to fear you are flashing the neighbors in the dark of winter. :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 11:08PM
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Help me please!

I've moved into a house that does not have a window in the shower! What can I do?!?

LOL... you all make the window in the shower sound so appealing, you've made me want one! The natural light, and a view of a courtyard or forest, just sounds so nice.

I *do* have a low window over the tub that has a nice view of the trees at the edge of my back yard, but who uses a tub?? Poor me.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 10:35PM
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I have this same problem in the house I'm renting the window trim is totally rotted out and hollow and falling apart into the tub every time I take shower. There is also cold air that comes in the hole where it is rotted. What is the best way to fix this as it is now winter time so I do not want the landlord having someone come put a big hole in the wall. I wondered if I can temporarily fill the hole with silicone to waterproof it until it can be fixed. I like the light and it is nice in the summertime to be able to open window when shower is not in use, but now that bathroom is closed up it is rotting.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 12:05PM
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We too were faced with this same problem when we remodeled our 1957 ranch bathroom. We liked the window and the light that it brought in so we installed a new vinyl window. DH was concerned about moisture so for awhile we hung two showers curtains-- which I HATED. Then DH found ordered a custom shutter to go over the widow. So now we have the best of both worlds!

Here is a link that might be useful: The Shutter Store.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 11:48PM
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Wow this thread was started a long time ago! We have a window in our shower and I love love love it! I think though that any shower window needs to be vinyl, I would do outdoor pvc trim or vinyl also around the window. We have pcv (or some outdoor material) plantation shutters in front too...could be a good privacy idea, sounds like that's what newbieremodeler's done too!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:30PM
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Enigmaquandry- Yes..mine are pretty much plantation shutters. It is nice because they still let in the light which really helps in a small bathroom. We have had them in for about 1.5 years now and they still look brand new.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Hi everyone, My new home has glass wall's in the master bedroom and the master bath, and I loved the way they let all the natural light in. The windows are tinted and at night and early morning when I'm getting up and getting ready for work, they are like large mirrors. When I get up and go into the bathroom and shower I can stand anywhere while drying my hair and see myself, I love it. A lot of my new neighbors, have came by to welcome me to the neighborhood, and when I show them my house, and they see the bedroom, and the bath they all tell me they love my windows, and not to cover them, because it's so nice, it's like taking a shower, or bath, and sleeping outside it feels so good. On the weekend's I get up at 5am and run, and I can't wait to get back and shower, most of my neighbors are out walking their dogs and they all smile and say hi, as I'm going in to the house. All the women in the neighborhood, are telling me their husbands are getting up early to walk their dogs, and they think it's because they like seeing me run. I really love my new home, and all my neighbors.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 3:24PM
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