Window in Shower. What would you do?

126 Replies

I rented a unit that had window in the shower. Aside from it feeling like your being watched. The water damage was massive and had completely rotted everything around the window. Get rid of it ASAP.

In our long term holds I prefer no window in the shower. I have rented out a home with a pre existing shower window. After about 7 years under my ownership the tile began to part from the horsehair plaster. I gutted the bathroom and removed the window, waterproofed the tub surround and subway tiled to the ceiling. This setup should last many years.

Granted the existing window was on 1930's horsehair plaster. A proper water proofing/tile job done today will last much longer. However in a rental I think it is best to eliminate repairs and much as possible and this is a great place to start. Ditch the window, patch the siding and put in a bright LED fan/light on a dimer. 

In our flips we occasionally install or leave the shower window. This window is always very short and it is placed high in the shower to help avoid water pooling up there. If your tiling yourself make sure to put some pitch on those sill tiles or use solid marble. 

Trying not to overthink this. I have dealt with many of these in the remodeling business. Windows are preferred by buyers and renters alike. An operable window or the vent in the glass block is required by code if no exhaust fan to the outside is present. A vinyl window with properly waterproofed frame is best here. Use the product "Red Guard" before tiling and be sure the returns and sills are prepped this way. All the material in the shower should be vinyl or tile. It the window is somewhat recessed used a solid piece or Corian and marble and not tile as the sill. Also be sure the exterior of the window is capped properly as well as caulking. 

I know this is an old thread but wanted to add in.    Having had a contractor install tile block windows in two showers - both of which have now failed with water in my walls.   Please pay attention to glass block windows installed in wet locations.   There are pre-made glass block windows intended for wet locations and there are those which are made for non-wet locations.   Make sure you know what you are installing or getting.

Remove the window. Block it in and stucco or side the exterior to match. I use caulk-less all in one tub/showers because they install easily, don't cost much, and look clean when done. Also the all in one is less expensive then tiling... 

I'm personally not a fan of glass block in showers, we use them for basement windows all the time though.  If you do use for shower, I would recommend using the silicone units not the grout.  We had a small bathroom that was going to be way too dark if we closed off the window, instead we built a custom frame out of pvc boards and had a friends glass company build me a thermopane glass panel that was frosted and tempered.  Turned out pretty good and no worry about rot.

I've been a property manager for over 20 years and all the units that have windows in the showers always develop dry rot issue in the wall; it's a problem waiting to happen. Whenever this happens we raise the window up outside of the shower and install a rectangular narrow window completely above the enclosure height and just below the ceiling so it lets in light and can be opened for ventilation to minimize mold issues. We never have to deal with it again. Don't be penny wise and pound don't belong in showers "period".

I've had the same problem myself. Make sure you take the old window out and remediate any mold problems before doing anything. You can replace it with a good quality vinyl window if you don't want to change the look of the exterior. Lowes sells good privacy glass films that you can apply. Make sure to use a pvc foam trim and seal it like crazy with caulk. 

@William Allen no need to use film,  if you will order a new window it is a very small upcharge for getting frosted glass.  If you have a non-private window in your bathroom the spray frosting works well. 

I have a similar window in my house. I live in the house and so what I did was put a heavy duty clear plastic shower curtain over the window. I trimmed the shower curtain to about 10 bigger than the window. Never had a problem with it since and it cost my just a few bucks. 

I have a similar rental property and it has a glass block window in it. The light still comes in which is nice, but you can't see anything through it, which still gives privacy. I would do that before dry walling over it and closing off the light.
Originally posted by @Andrew Cordle :

@Bill Sargeson

Replacing the window with glass block window with a vent maybe the easiest option for you. Like the other guys stated above. 

The other idea is to close off the window completely. I am not sure what your outside texture is some are easier than others. Such as Vinyl Siding or Hardiplank, of course brick is a lot more difficult to match. 

So at the end of the day there is really only two options:

1. Glassblock Window 

2. Close it off and redo the outside

Hope that helps.


PS If you want to see a full bathroom rehab with the SKUs from HD for a glasblock window you can search a old forum post of mine titled:

LOOK! Bathroom Rehab pics & SKUs! - Merriville, IN

 I'll second this as the two best actions.

Yikes! Experienced something similar with a property that had built-in wooden shelves in the shower with a light coat of paint over it. I would expect the worst and hope for the best -- the water has likely been seeping through that wood and into the wall for years, so budgeting for a whole gut job on there would be in your best interest.

I can't tell if the window is opaque or not, but if replacing it and gutting/repairing the water damage are not both in your budget then at least take care of the damage and get that sorted out. Figure out a way to prevent water from pooling around the window, and apply an adhesive opaque film (you can find rolls on Amazon for $5-10 that work just fine) in order to maintain privacy for anyone using the shower.

If you're trying to be cheap and don't have a lot of capital, I feel like just frosting the window or adding blinds/curtains would be a solid idea. Remodeling the shower and covering it with tile isn't a bad idea as long as it makes sense for the property so you don't over-improve and lose money. 

we have a window in our steam shower that we installed for ventilation after steaming. All you need to do is thoroughly waterproof, install some sloping metal at the outer edge so any water that does linger on the sill doesn't rot it. 

please, folks . . . glass blocks are DATED. and hard to clean