Window in Shower. What would you do?

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Originally posted by @Rob K. :

I too always go with glass block. It usually costs $175 for a glass block window with vent installed. 

 who do you use?

btw, pm me your number, i have email, but not a number to text u. 

I hate windows in showers. I'm an admitted over remodeler, working on that. For a rental I I'd take it out unless it was masonry siding, that way I never have to worry about it again. I like to set rentals up for lower maintenance long term as much as possible. For a rehab to sell Ive always taken them out, I may try leaving it on my current project. 

We had a coop once where there was water damage on the wood sill and the area beneath the sill.  We replaced the wood sill with a white corian wood sill and put a corian apron beneath the sill and waterproofed around it and it worked beautifully and looked great

Since this thread was brought back, I'll add my experience.

Just remember if the bathroom doesn't have a fan, it must have a window. There needs to be some sort of way to vent the bathroom.

I had a non-wood windowsill installed that slopes down so the water doesn't just sit there.

Also, no blinds. I bought some of that opaque window film and it seems to do the trick.

This whole thread this never came up one time.  "IF" this is inspected work the building inspector probably isnt going to allow ANY window in a tub shower period.  He said its a safety issue and even a very high window with no sill is still no no...He said the glass will get broke and tenant cut while bathing.  I never got a chance to ask about glass block but he said :NO: windows at all.  I hate dark bathrooms and using a light in the middle of the day.  He said tough,,,buy some light fixtures,,,and a vent fan ducted all the way outside.

Originally posted by @Don Meinke :

This whole thread this never came up one time.  "IF" this is inspected work the building inspector probably isnt going to allow ANY window in a tub shower period.  He said its a safety issue and even a very high window with no sill is still no no...He said the glass will get broke and tenant cut while bathing.  I never got a chance to ask about glass block but he said :NO: windows at all.  I hate dark bathrooms and using a light in the middle of the day.  He said tough,,,buy some light fixtures,,,and a vent fan ducted all the way outside.

 Building codes certainly vary by location, but in NJ, a window in a tub or shower is allowed as a replacement as long as it is tempered glass.  

Originally posted by @Rob K. :

I too always go with glass block. It usually costs $175 for a glass block window with vent installed. 

 Good.  Common codes for bathrooms is either a window which opens OR a vent with 90cfm.  If you're going to rehab the room, I'd go for the vent operated by the light switch and the issues re sealing the widow go away.

The reason why you are getting a water leak is that you may have a damaged caulk. Check the sealant between the window frame and the glass. If the sealant fails moisture may form between the two panes of glass. You may find that the sealant is loose and is not watertight. Seal the glass with a silicone caulk. Check the sill so that it is pitched to drain water to the exterior. I found these tips in an article online. I had a vinyl awning window installed by clera windows. They are pretty good. I had them for three years now. No problems so far.

I just had a window in the shower issue... new bath,  new glass block window,  and we had constant leak in the basement after they showered.  we went there 4 times and couldn't identify it. when we positioned the shower head towards the window, we noticed it was never caulked.  it was just. grout and that does not stick to glass.  after caulking, no more leaks. 

we just did a bath where we eliminated the window, but now have to side the exterior of the house. will post pics soon 

In next two weeks I will be starting the rehab project of a bathroom at a prewar building. I'm not a contractor. This is an investment property. The window is right in the shower tub area. There is wood trim, the big chunky beautiful style original to the property. I love it but the wood trim does need to be repaired or removed. 

Some have recommended PVC, Composite Trim, and tile. Another suggestion was removing the trim molding and replacing it with tile. Going to remove the shower liner and subway tile this entire shower area all the way up to the ceiling.

Any suggestions other suggestions?

Cheap-redo the interior sill and seal everything around the opening in and out. 

More $$$- install new window( needs to be tempered if you are pulling a permit) or glass block. Flash and seal everything correctly

Most$$$- Install tub surround fill in the opening and be done with the window. 

As you can see by your own pictures that a window installation in a bathroom is quite common and is meant to play a role is providing ventilation . However, your pictures aslo show why these installations must be done appropriately to prevent water build up and eventual damage that must be repaired. 

When you find water damage around a window this is indicative of a poor installation not that having windows in a bathroom will always lead to water damage , a good installation will never be installed is such a manner that water ever builds up. This is more a matter or technique and quality of workmanship than anything else. 

It is important to understand that a window is a shower area is meant mainly for ventilation , not egress, but a window over a toilet can serve two purposes, ventilation, and possibly egress but generally building codes do not require an egress window in a bathroom, such as in a bedroom would.  Of course this may depend on the size of the bathroom because I know there are some bathrooms that as as large as a typical bedroom if not larger. 

In either case it is not a bad idea to check with your local building department. If you propose any changes you will probably have to consult with your local building department anyway.

If you are renovating the bathroom anyway I would get rid of it altogether. For rental properties it is best to keep liability low. If you decide to make a flip instead then possibly convert the window to a transom, it allows for natural light but keeps the window up and away and out of danger. I would also make sure to use tempered glass if you decide to keep any window at all, anywhere in the bathroom. 

Good Luck! 

I saw this thread and laughed aloud as I had this very same issue. In my first 4-unit on the first floor the tenants bathroom has a typical tub with shower fixture. It's amazing the city inspector let the prior owner keep the window. The tenants literally had a shower curtain rod and curtain to cover the window so passer-byers couldn't see them showering. So, so bad.... 

And what made it even more humerous is they have two cats and the curtain was torn from the cats. 

Well, their bathroom as a whole was awful. Moldy and gross. And the pipes froze during the winter. And so I had my handyman redo the bathroom (repair the rotted floor, new toilet, removed tub surround, new fixtures) and remove the window. 

Fast forward to city inspection time where I learned I would need to add an exhaust fan due to there being no window. I had a year to do it and the deadline was this December.

And so I had it done last month (my electrician wanted me to be in town while the work was done - which was a good idea due to potential ceiling troubleshooting implications) - it went as well as it could have gone as there was enough space in the ceiling to run the duct-work/piping (whatever the proper term is) out to the north side of the property without major headaches. 

The cost wasn't bad - under $500 (for this job, supplies and to add a light above the coin-op dryer in the basement - I love my electrician). 

Although a pain in hindsight it's needed - proper ventilation... plus the fan has a nice bright light which adds a lot of light to the dim bathroom.

Use glass block! Also, install the glass block flush with the tile so there is no ledge on the inside...that will prevent water from getting into the wall ever again.

in the past i have found that older homes don't conform well to shower kits. tile is expensive as is the glass block window.  you can leave the window. I spray paint the inside white, then put a piece of thin plywood over the window to make it flush.  then get a couple sheets of FRP ( fiberglass reinforced panel) and glue it up on the walls all around. just make sure you use the right adhesive for FRP, if not it will eat the panel.  Who cares if you have a window outside

@Bill Sargeson I have an apartment building that has this in literally every bathroom. 

Easiest is to leave the window, but drywall in front........I hate that idea. 

Glass block is the 2nd easiest way to fix it, but then you have the whole venting issue so if you don't have a fan you'll need to install a pretty good one. 

The most involved is to put some drywall in there with a surround or tile covering and then brick or siding patch on the outside. Basically build out the wall again. I've done that before on a duplex. Still looks stupid from the outside because the brick will never match. But it was in the back of the house....so I didn't care. 

For many of the units we just plan to replace the windows and put in a vinyl frosted window. Right now they are wooden windows, but not rotted out because they have water resistant paint on them. Just need to angle the sill so that water doesn't go behind and into the wall.