Removing or changing size/shape of windows?

Gina_WApril 19, 2012

Hi all,

I am planning a major remodel of a side of the house where there is a powder room, master bath, master closet in a row.

Currently there are two almost floor-to-ceiling type windows and one regular 3x4ish one (INSIDE the current master double closet!)

We are planning to steal space from the oversized powder room and reconfigure that, the master bath and master closet.

Those windows are a pain to design around, so I am wondering if removing them or reconfiguring them would be cost prohibitive.

Any ideas as to cost of closing up windows, cost of closing up windows and creating different shaped windows?

If it is too costly I can design around them but the end result will not be ideal. You can't really put a toilet, bath or shower in front of a long window, LOL!

If we can close off the windows, we plan to put a skylight in the master bathroom.

I will be interviewing contractors here soon, so I want to be prepared with some knowledge on this aspect of the remodel.

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My experience is it is easier and cheaper to leave the header above the window and close it up from the bottom. The header provides support, making the window shorter. Windows by tubs need to be tempered glass - more money.
If you do not want windows in the bathroom and your closet- board up the openings - save the cost of the windows and labor to install and get skylights. Buy the best skylights you can afford that open and have protective UV glazing for heat and sun. Make sure the "tunnel" is heavily insulated. We love our skylights, but a good install and good skylights are a must.
You did not ask, but don't skimp on the exhaust fan, and locate it in the correct place especially if you install a skylight. You do not want the steam to hit the skylight before it gets to the fan - well basically it won't get to the fan.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Bottom up is much cheaper and easier.

If they are doing other renovations and drywall is part of it, than it is not that big a deal but it will be more expensive.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Would need more information on your finances to determine what would be cost prohibited. Best to just price out all options and go from there.Windows by tubs typically don't need tempered glass, windows in tubs typically do.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:39PM
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I know exactly what you are going through trying to remodel around existing windows. When we bought this old 1957 ranch it was three bedrooms, 2 on one side with a full bath in-between and one on the other end of the house with a full bath off a small hallway. All the windows were the old wooden double hung with the diamond wood mullions.

We ended up closing off 4 windows on the 2 bedroom side making it one bedroom moved the bath to the front of the house leaving the old window. We did add a big 8 ft. window in the new bedroom. We eliminated the hallway between the kitchen and the other bedroom, moved the bathroom to the back of the house, so now that room is somewhat an extension of the kitchen mostly a pantry room off the garage. We did add a door into the garage. We remover a door and a window to the back yard so I could have the really big kitchen I always wanted.

This left us with the original windows across the front of the house, including a 12 footer that I didnâÂÂt want to replace. I took the diamond glass out of the bottom of the bathroom, pantry room windows and had them glue chipped. We used solar tubes for the back bathroom, bedroom and one in the kitchen that I really didnâÂÂt need. You can get them with lights and shades but I didnâÂÂt. We put heavy duty exhaust fans in both bathrooms.

So really the front of the house looks the same, we did replace the 2 windows in the kitchen that face the front but they had been replaced once before anyways. DH took out the windows, door and put new studding in put up plywood and called an old guy that came out and did his magic and put a new coat of stucco on the whole house. The house looks brand new from the outside. If I remember correctly he charged us $1200.00 for his time and material but then we live in the sticks and that was several years ago.

I donâÂÂt know about cost where you are but I do know when someone says no you canâÂÂt do that it really means they donâÂÂt want to. ItâÂÂs easier to remove a window that cut through to add a window and when the plumber says it canâÂÂt be done keep pushing and he will figure out a way. I have a drawer under my kitchen sinks along with trash pullouts and everyone said that canâÂÂt happen but it can if you can make them think in a different direction. Being a plumberâÂÂs daughter helped.

Good luck with your remodel IâÂÂm sure it wonâÂÂt take as long as mine did but get what you want not what someone say they can do. Post some pictures maybe you could just block off half of the window ending up with a high window with some interesting glass in it.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 2:19AM
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Gina give me a call and we can discuss some of my experience. I believe that you need a window in the bathroom that can be opened for ventilation. Even if you move the location. Additionally we have had solar tube skylights in our master closet room since '06 and we adore them.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 2:23AM
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Give Benchmark a call in Culver City. They are good people and know the window biz inside and out. I'm sure they can refer you to contractors who know what they're doing. ANYTHING can be moved. A window isn't that big a deal, we've done it twice. I may have name for you as well.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Thanks everyone! I will call you Ellen.

Here is a picture of the long window - there are two of these - one in the powder room and one in the master bathroom:

I was thinking bottom up as well, but these are narrow so I'm afraid the shortened windows wouldn't be very attractive.

You see the ceiling is exposed beams, so we will need to put in a couple of soffits for fans - there is one in the master now but will be moved.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Since the ceilings are beamed, the skylights would be window-type skylights, not tunnels. The houses here are close together, so there is a privacy issue as well - I wouldn't mind not having windows on that side, as long as I had a skylight to bring natural light into the master bathroom, and perhaps ventilation.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 4:41PM
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You can put a vent fan out a side wall, not as good, but we did that in our last house in a shower room and it worked well. It went between 2 studs up high on the wall. Flat on the inside with housing on the outside. Electrical for it went up though the attic with a switch just outside the shower room door. It could keep you from cutting into the beamed ceiling.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:02PM
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I would not call that window "narrow" by averages.

That is an odd placement and opening. I would shorten it up and allow for some more privacy as a result.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:35PM
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There is a drop ceiling portion housing the fan in my master bath now - we would still need that over the shower. But maybe the skylight can add more ventilation. In my current layout design, the shower is not going to be against the outer wall, so the side vent wouldn't work for that.

Thanks for the idea though!

Looking at the photo, the window doesn't look that narrow after all - I have a new perspective.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Some towns require Administrative Design review and approval for window changes.

Bathroom with no window may be classified as non-habitable. Bathroom renovation generally requires a permit.

Just an idea for a very nice window you have there. You may also save some money by engaging a stained glass maker to make something for the existing window, for privacy and insulation.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:42PM
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You could leave the header the same, the top of the window the same and bring the bottom of the window much higher. If it is a double hung frosted window, you can open the top part for ventilation and leave the half fixed most of the time for privacy.

Code will probably insist on an operating window as an escape route.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Here in California code has specification for area of windows in specific rooms but they allow bathroom without windows at least they did when we remodeled and the houses we have built. It may have changed in the last few years but your contractor will know, or should know, what code is for your county.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 12:34PM
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