Window in Shower. What would you do?

126 Replies

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.


I have a house that someone previously just drywalled over the window then tiled. Probably not the greatest idea.

Other house put 12"x12" (cut to fit) granite tiles on top of old tiles, they now have a good slope so water does not sit below window.

Both are just band aides, if you gut it then just pull window out, glass blocks sounds good too. Dont think you need a window there.

Not sure if I helped just my ideas..

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. 

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Forget the surround, what is a dehumidifier doing operating on top of the toilet:) Then they stuffed some tiny cabinet and tiled on top of it and put it directly in front of the already small space in front of the toilet? So many things wrong here:)!

I have a bathroom with same situation. Wood frames/windows in the shower area is ripe for water damage issues... It too is a rental. Ripping out a bathroom for 5-10k depending on your contractor connections or personal skills doesn't seem like a good pay off for a rental so I look for creative solutions for working with what we have...

There is prob no exhaust fan system so you either need to keep the window or install exhaust fan system. The least expensive path is to keep the window. Have your contractor rip out the rotting window trim and install PVC trim instead. its paintable and will resist future moisture. Then have him paint the trim with semigloss and then use waterproof caulk to seal the trim against the tile surround to make sure water doesnt seep into the surround. That tile is cracked because water intrusion is messing with the drywall and causing it to expand. I'd also use that tub/tile caulk to reseal that tile surround against the tub. Finally I'd pay a professional tub reglazer 200-250 to reglaze the tub white and maybe have him also reglaze the entire surround while he is at it to cover up the cracks and imperfections. most reglazing jobs by guys who know what they are doing last 3-5 years. I use a guy where reglazing tubs is all he does. Ask around in your neighborhood who is good at this. This way you have a working and clean bathroom without the thousands in gutting a bathroom. You can gut it when you are ready to sell.. that's my take... others might do it differently if this was a flip of course..

Here is what I did with my situation. This is post rehab with PVC window trim, sealed, and tub reglazed. Looks all new...:

Original state. Plenty of other stuff wrong here, but note the rotted windows and stained tub:

@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

Here is what I did recently. The original wood window was replaced with a vinyl replacement. The wall tile as well as the return between the wall and window is all ceramic tile.

Originally posted by @Gary Hert:

Here is what I did recently. The original wood window was replaced with a vinyl replacement. The wall tile as well as the return between the wall and window is all ceramic tile.

 Gary: I like the tile work in this bathroom.  Was it for a rental?  If so, did you install the curved shower rod for the benefit of your tenants?  Or is that just the picture?

Glass block, looks much better and it doesn't mess up the exterior siding. Install 1x6 lumber over sash building an inner box then fill with blocks, you can build the block unit then install the whole unit, makes it easier to line up your blocks on a table then trying to work in the window. Caulk, trim, done.

Nice job Andrew!   

Originally posted by @K. Marie Poe:

 Gary: I like the tile work in this bathroom.  Was it for a rental?  If so, did you install the curved shower rod for the benefit of your tenants?  Or is that just the picture?

Thanks. It was for a house I rehabbed to sell - I did leave the shower rod. It is available at Lowes - Link 

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@Bill Sargeson  If you do go with glass block make sure you put in a good exhaust fan like @Jeff Bridges  mentioned or you'll end up with mold issues down the line. Personally I do like having a window in the shower but that one comes down too low and makes it prone to water on the sill. I would go with a small slider like this one:

as far up as you can go. I hope this helps. 

A really cheap and easy fix is to fix the existing trim and add a small (trimmed) shower curtain over the window. It seems most of my tenants want every windows completely covered anyway, so you can expect them to just leave the curtain pulled over the window most of the time.

Here is an example I found online, but I put my rod higher up:

Some really nice looking solutions.  

I had the same thing going on in my most recent rental remodel.  The cheapest/simplest solution I found was just removing the old wood window.  Exterior was the wavy pattern fiber cement siding and was easy to match.  

We just went back with simple fiberglass wall panels and problem solved.  The old window was painted shut and never opened so I'm guessing there won't be any moisture issues. 

In one of my houses I put in glass block window.  In the house I am fixing to flip I just removed the window completely since I had to have new siding.  I hate hate hate windows in the shower.  These old damn houses 

Remove and install surround . It's sucks to pay $450 but never have to deal with it again. As for the outside remove some siding from less visible area and replace with best matching siding.

Cheap fix: Install a plastic surround (Or whatever kind of surround makes you happy) and cover the outside penetration with shutters so it looks like a closed window. Cheap, easy, and completely maintenance-free. From the outside, this has a great covering effect. Accept the fact that your renovation is imperfect and move on to a more productive issue in life.

More expensive fix: Install a plastic surround (or whatever kind of surround that makes you happy) and spend the bucks to fix the siding so that it looks like the window was never there.

Most awesomest fix: Alter and/or move the header and install a 4' x 15" tempered glass transom window with a PVC frame and tile or granite trim above the point where water can reasonably enter the framing. Maintain 'light and air' feeling. Spend the bucks to fix the siding to perfection. Stare at the beauty of the work with a sense of wonderment and congratulate yourself on implementing the most awesomesauce window solution possible.

We never install glass block windows, but instead install a custom acrylic block window that is factory made, higher R value, replacement window installation, no mortar to ever maintain. Proper water proofing is essential for installation in a wet area, all interior surfaces of the window are DensShielded and Hydrobanned prior to tile. This installation is bullet proof as it will get.

I'm going through this right now and we are going with sandblasted storm windows.  We removed the window that left the metal storm window.  Sandblasted the storm windows > foam backer > insulation > then cement board right over it for tiling.  Sandblasting was $50 and it eliminates the need to do something to the exterior.  We are also rewiring the whole house and adding an exhaust fan.

Glass block is very nice, but the framing and perimeter sealing is not bullet proof.  IMO