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Window in shower

Posted by karle13 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 7:37

We are doing a total renovation , and the master shower is 8 feet by 4 , on one of the 4feet walls there is already a window! If we leave it, do we need a special kind of window in there? My contractor said to get rid of it ! That it can be a problem with moisture and keeping the window clean? We would put the shower heads on the other 2 walls?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Window in shower

Get rid of it unless you want to completely rebuild the wall and buy a new window and still worry nights about whether or not it's actually waterproofed correctly. Windows are HOLES in your waterproofing and building structure.


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RE: Window in shower

Is there really no way to have a waterproof window? My parents home has had a window in the shower (admittedly just a standard shower/tub combo) for 30 years without any water issues. Depending on cost, I personally might like to keep it if possible.


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RE: Window in shower

We had the same reaction from our builder. And I had a similar reaction to it, since I've lived in two houses with windows in the shower and it certainly didn't keep me up at night! And, I looked online and found lots of photos of showers with windows, including big, low, double-hung windows. Somehow, lots of houses have lasted a long time with windows in the shower without developing problems, and that was mostly without vent fans to get the moisture out of the bathroom.

We were going back and forth between just replacing the old wood window with vinyl and getting a plastic curtain (to our builder's chagrin), or replacing the old window with a wide transom up high, which is what many people do. Then other potential problems appeared with moving the tub/shower, and we opted just to leave them where they were.


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RE: Window in shower

When we did ours, we put in a glass block window. Waterproof, but lets in light. Very pretty


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RE: Window in shower

We are also doing a glass block window in our master bath shower. It's a walk in shower and the window will be 5 feet wide and 2 feet high, and be about shoulder height with a ledge for "stuff".


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RE: Window in shower

The traditional solution is to replace the window with glass block, but this can be tricky since often the opening needs to be either enlarged or reduced to accommodate the fixed dimensions of the block.

Our solution is to replace any wood or steel window with a good (emphasis on the "good" -- most vinyl windows are not so good) vinyl window. We match the look of the original windows, so the substitution is not obvious. Vinyl is not affected by moisture, and windows are designed so that any water that gets behind the sash will just drain outside.

It is important that the window opening be completely waterproofed before the window is installed. We use kerdi cloth, a product made for waterproofing showers as a water barrier. It works well. Other manufacturers now make a similar product. Using this method, the chance of water getting any place it should not be is very minimal. You will need to add a little wood to the bottom of your window opening to slope it slightly into the shower. This prevents water from just sitting on the window sill where it might cause problems.

Once the tile is installed, the juncture between the tile and window is caulked with a good polyurethane caulk for maximum flexibility at the joint. This should be inspected yearly and replaced every 3-5 years.

We have been doing this for 10 years, and have never had a problem.


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RE: Window in shower

We're doing the glass block solution, and yes, we may have to pay more for the install, as the blocks are not the same size as the opening. OldTimeCarpenter1, thanks for that idea. I may mention that as an option - though I do love the look of the glass blocks.


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RE: Window in shower

We are about to begin a remodel, including an addition, on our master bath. When our architect did the plans, he designed a window in the bathroom. I was concerned about this, so I asked our contractor what his thoughts were. He said he's seen lots of problems over the years with shower windows and recommended against it. So I had our architect move the window outside of the shower, which I actually like better anyway.


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RE: Window in shower

We built our home nine years ago and two of the bathrooms have windows in the showers. Our contractor was careful about waterproofing and slope, we special ordered vinyl (we have Lowen double hung wood windows everywhere else) and continued the shower tile all the way around the windows. I love them! They let in fresh air and it's very relaxing taking a shower with a view. They also serve as the niche to set shampoo and such, we haven't had any problems with them.


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RE: Window in shower

I have windows in both of my showers, built 22 years ago. They're the long, narrow kind that are high up. They look like mere slits from the outside but actually let in abundant light and a view of the sky. I don't have fans in my bathrooms but leave the windows open year-round (I'm in No. Calif.). Fresh air, no problems at all. They're vinyl windows and this is a builder's grade home. :)


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RE: Window in shower

Both our showers have windows are similar to linelle's. We have 24 year old builder grade, I think they are aluminum - same as the rest of the house. They are 16" tall by 44 or 45" - high up from the tub ledge by over 5 feet. They have wooden sills which I have repainted from time to time, using bathroom type paint. I have a bigger problem with the sun peeling the sill every few years than any water damage, which has never occurred. I just strip it down, sand it, primer and paint. No fans in bathrooms and windows opened occasionally. I'm in Hawaii. Perhaps the heating of homes in colder climates coupled with the steam causes more issues.


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RE: Window in shower

Both our showers have windows are similar to linelle's. We have 24 year old builder grade, I think they are aluminum - same as the rest of the house. They are 16" tall by 44 or 45" - high up from the tub ledge by over 5 feet. They have wooden sills which I have repainted from time to time, using bathroom type paint. I have a bigger problem with the sun peeling the sill every few years than any water damage, which has never occurred. I just strip it down, sand it, primer and paint. No fans in bathrooms and windows opened occasionally. I'm in Hawaii. Perhaps the heating of homes in colder climates coupled with the steam causes more issues.


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RE: Window in shower

Our 1960 home has a window in the master shower. We keep it open most of the year for fresh air, light and a view of the tropical plantings in the side yard (So. Cal.). We remodeled down to the studs, and there was no water damage in the walls around the window.


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RE: Window in shower

To remove a bathroom completely i would not advise it. However, there are placement of the window that can help. If its directly inside the shower then yes i would not recommend it. But if its outside of the shower or some where that does not get direct water, then it should be fine. Light inslulation and patch it up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathroom Remodeling


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RE: Window in shower

My windows are approx. 44" x 10" and start 6 ft. up the wall. The tile goes all the way up and slightly past the bottom of the window and the sill is tiled. The only water that lands on the sill is occasional rain when the window is open and the wind is blowing that way. My tub and shower alcoves span the entire exterior wall, so there is no other place for a window. I wouldn't give up my bathroom windows for anything, even if the room was being built from scratch.


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