Window in Shower. What would you do?

126 Replies

i'll be the one person who says they love a window in a shower.  My old pre war apt in NYC had one.  I loved getting the cold winter air come in dring a hot shower.  Also when you opened it a little and had a snowy view .  My window had a film over it for privacy- bt I nejoyed it more than modern day bathrooms with the fans

I'm with @Denise G. , my old NYC apartment had a shower window. 

As a tenant, I loved the feeling of cold winter air while taking a shower. 

As an Architect, I love the idea of light in the bathroom as long as the waterproofing is dealt with properly. 

As an investment property owner, I understand wanting to avoid any additional headaches that may come with potential water damage.

Lots of great solutions already listed here. Glass Block, swapping out for a tempered glass window, or adding the tempered film to the window are all good solutions. In my opinion though I would remove the window all together. It is a little bit of a pain because of the repair on the exterior, but removing all the liability of someone breaking the glass and getting hurt isn't worth the chance. 

Good Luck with whatever you decide. Thanks! Aaron

Originally posted by @Bryan H. :

I replaced an old aluminum window with glass block. I had no prior experience and it went well. HD sells everything you need. I also replace the wood trim with composite trim. That was you don't get the rottting. 

 Nice work, Bryan. I love the glass block. Have worked with it in the past and enjoyed it.

Thanks all for this thread.  I've already fixed one house by removing two windows in the bathroom and having the house resided.  I have a second house with a window in the bath and a tub surround in it. I actually didn't notice the window was still there until after I bought it.  I'm due to remodel it in 2019.  The height is high enough that glass block looks to be the best solution.

Mark

Thank you guys so much for this thread. Im just a new home buyer with a window in my shower. I don't mind keeping the window...but the tile needs to go lol it looks so dirty to me and so hard to clean. Ive never had tile before now and i hate it. Its 4x4 little off white blocks with white grout that has not been kept well and is stained and chipped in areas. When we bought it my plan was just to buy a cheap insert and replace the entire thing.  Now finding one with a window insert seems impossible. Is there another cheaper flat material i can use instead of fiberglass inserts? This white grout that is stained just isnt going to do it.. and im not the type to squeegee my shower with 2 teens and a husband or id just try to fix it. I dont want to deal with any grout to clean.  Any ideas? Weve had a lot of set backs from issues the seller didnt disclose or else id just have one customed made... instead putting in a french drain in and replacing our AC/heat came first. Any help would be great! Thanks!

Brittany

Windows in showers are not that uncommon.  Wood frames will not hold up.   The window really isn't the problem as much as the trim work.  Just putting in a glass block window will still require some finish work where you pull off the moldings. 

I'm doing my first SFH house hack and there's a 21" x 46" window in the shower that would be used by the tenants. My question is whether it would be more cost effective to remove and seal up the window or to replace it with a smaller glass block window? I appreciate any feedback or suggestions.

You can also get frosted windows. I put that in one of our bathrooms that has a window. It was the same cost as a normal window and I think it looked more "modern" than the glass block look. But that's just a personal taste question. For rentals I go for broad appeal and appeal towards younger crowds. 

The other idea might be one of those frosted adhesives. I don't know if they stand up well in humidity but they're SUPER cheap at HomeDepot, maybe $10 would be sufficient for that window size. Worth looking into though if you're considering replacing the whole window. 

@Bill Sargeson keep the window to meet code. Trim with tile or composite trim..remove the Rotted stuff or maybe three coats of primer then tile dpendingonwhat you’ve got. the window sill MUST slope into the shower. Spray can or sticky film glass frosting.

When I have run into this issue, it usually comes down to a code compliance issue.  Bathroom always need a source of ventilation for obvious reasons.  Humidity, odors evacuation.  You either need a window or an exhaust fan, not usually both.  In many cases the light source was an added bonus but today, unless the bathroom is really designed appropriately for having a window, it is most often is misplaced in a shower/tub set up.  Better to remove it, insulate and seal up the wall and install a good fan.  Less issues with mold, mildew and maintenance over the long haul.  I would get rid of it as long as you have the fan option available without a huge hassle. 

@Scott H. I realize your post was from a year ago, but I am dealing with a similar situation and liked your solution. Did the small window that you placed in middle of glass block allow you to meet the requirement for ventilation without having to add a fan?

The rental I have has a masonry exterior which is leading me to use glass block, but I was trying to avoid any more expense with a fan. Your solution looks great and gives you the option to get fresh air in there.

We had a window like this,  first couple of years we put a towel bar over it and  cut a little shower curtain to hang from it. Then when we replace the window we did it with a vinyl FROSTED glass window, interior trim was plastic molding. It was $6.00 extra to get the window with frosted glass. We got a regular shower surround and cut to fit around the window.

 The glass block is nice but we needed the ventilation. Window  is a crank out casement so we get lots of ventilation and we didn't spend a lot on it because the cost is cheaper then glass block.  There are a lot more water collection spots on a double hung then the casement.  We also have a fan.

We've seen this in a few of our remodels. I like to just frame in a smaller window that's higher. Here's a pic of an example finished product. Originally this window extended down far enough to collect water and even if it's well-maintained it's just a problem waiting to happen: rot, mold, etc. The new window can be opened for ventilation/air-flow, but there is a fan in this bathroom as well. 

If I'm being honest the window seems to provide some much needed light to the bathroom. Sealing it of would cut out that beautiful natural light from the rest of the house. Just repurpose the window to make it more modern and look cleaner. If privacy is an issue you could get a fogged window so no one can see in and you still retain the natural light which will make the place feel more open.

We got some plastic static stick on stuff for a few windows. Home Depot has it. It's inexpensive and makes it so you get light, but can't see right through it.

We did it to diffuse bright sunlight, but would work for this too. Also available in stained glass like patterns.

Originally posted by @Bill Sargeson :

I have a foreclosure that I am seriously considering buying for a rental. My concern is the bathroom has a window in the shower.  I was planning on gutting the bathroom and doing a complete remodel.  I thought I could put in a glass block window during the remodel.  You can see from the pic that there is water damage around the window(wood frame with a vinyl replacement window) plus who knows where else. I don't have any houses with a window in the shower so I am asking for input for those who have experience with these.

Thanks!

 Glass block with a vent opening is what i would do Or a typical bathroom privacy window that fits the opening. The room wasn't built with a vent exhaust system so an opening for fresh air is a must.