Bathroom Window and tile

8 Replies

There were several recent threads created discussing normal bathroom shower issues with tile and windows in them, in one I had briefly discussed some work I recently did in a remodel and figured I would start my own thread with a picture and discussion with what I did and maybe give others an idea or two to use on their own project.
The shower had several issues, including loose tile and rotted awning window. While I completely HATE windows in showers, sometimes they are a necessity and this bathroom was no different, without the window, you couldnt see your hand in front of your face on a bright sunny day and nothing beats natural light.
Windows should be used for lighting only though, ventilation should always be done via exhaust fan, opening a shower window just creates more moisture/steam etc and creates additional problems. Glass block is one option to fix this issue and while I dont mind it in basement windows, not a huge fan of the look in showers. With that I ended up designing and building my own custom window.

First I had a friend who owns a glass company build thermopane frosted glass to my dimensions, I then routed and built a complete frame out of PVC trim, if you notice, I made the inside ledge very slim so less water lays on it and people have no room to be storing bottles and other junk on it.

The entire shower was gutted and then covered in schluter kerdi membrane, this is the first I ever used this product and while it is expensive, its abilities are amazing, no tile backer needed, just regular drywall, then thinset the membrane directly to it. It is also adhered directly via a special caulk/glue to the window frame so even if water got behind the tiles, its all still water tight. If you look over their site, the possibilities are only limited to your own imagination and abilities.
I took the picture at night because the window is so bright and lets in so much light the pictures werent turning out, lol.

Sort of off subject but worth a mention, in this same bath we had hot water baseboard heat and decided to take it a step farther so we put a new cast iron tub back in, but before installation we added a heating element on the exterior wall behind the tub which turns what would be cold tub in the winter to a toasty heater, works great.

Nice work.

Nice work.

Is the glass tempered? In my area it is a requirement in a shower as it is easy to slip in a tub. Also, with a non-opening window like that, I'm required to have a bath fan. I agree about windows in showers, they're the worst. I mentioned in the other thread how I put in a glass block window, but that's usually in a cheap house (10-50K). What is on the inside of the window frame (between the glass and the tile)?

Is this in a flip or a high end rental? What was the total cost?

I've always received good feedback from perspective buyers from glass block windows in shower. They really do make all the difference in lighting.

The option you came up with David is very intriguing, however. What was the cost breakdown for the entire thing?

Heres a tile block window we did on my last rehab.

I like both your pics. However, also "concerned" about David's cost and curious.

I have mostly low end rentals and so far either used glass block, or, when I was lazy and it wasn't a major job, left the window and put up a shower curtain on the wall side of the tub. Not really an option for a tenant who has a decent paycheck, though.
But glass block versus a vinyl window, I was always wondering why glass block? One could gt a vinyl window, one pane (I think they call it picture window or something like that) with privacy glass. With both, window and glass block the inside has to be trimmed out somehow, which would likely happen with some PVC. So there isn't much of a difference in terms of water sitting anywhere, but the glass block is way more work to put in, I think.

Side note: Glenn, don't you need a GFCI outlet near the sink?

Haha yes and I knew I was going to be called out on that when I put up the pic. It was one of the items I had my electrician fix during the final, final walk through.

Originally posted by Uwe K.:

Side note: Glenn, don't you need a GFCI outlet near the sink?

Since Glenn already admitted this was changed, my point is only informational. It is possible that normal looking duplex receptacles are fed from the "slave" terminals of a remote GFCI. It is also possible to use a GFCI breaker (although those are expensive) when a normal looking duplex receptacle is desired.

Charles Perkins Thank you sir.

Rob K Thank you. The glass is tempered even though the window is slightly higher up in the shower then the picture suggest so you would have to really reach for it if you slipped. Bath fan is a must, along with sizing it to fit the sq ft of the bath, too many people and even re-modelers think one size fits all until the see their wet ceilings and walls after showers. I shouldnt really bash glass block or its use, I guess I just got a little sour on it after seeing it used improperly or hack install jobs in foreclosures I tour.
The white you see is the pvc which is part of the window, I built an entire window frame with exterior casing, sill and it is routered for the window glass to sit in the grove.
This was a flip but was a steal purchase so the profit margin was already set decent. The bathroom definitely needed the window though so after not finding anything that would work or fit my needs it was more of a challenge to see what I could come up with and build.
Cost was more labor then materials, glass set me back about $100, pvc stock was about $50. I really cant remember exactly the hours I had total as it was alot of build, glue/caulk leave it dry until next day, I would guess probably about $350 total, but seeing though I had never done one and was designing it from scratch, think it went pretty well. That picture is a year old now and I know the people who bought the home and its working great, no mildew or marks at all on the trim.

@Glenn Espinosa Thats looks awesome Glenn, is that a recessed light in the shower? I love lights in the shower.
As far as cost, see my reply to Rob, more time then materials.

@Uwe K. Ya probably not an option for low end units but I thought worked out well for something I've never done before. The vinyl non working units I had looked at before this were all either cheap garbage or got pretty expensive once you added tempering and privacy to the glass.

I also made exterior casing as part of the window frame and used pretty exact measurements when building so I could slide it into place like a replacement/insert but securing like a new build. This made life easy on the exterior as I had no messing around with the vinyl siding.

I recently closed on a duplex (2BR, 1BA, 1152 sq. ft. each) that needs some work done in each of the bathrooms. Similar to what David has, the bathrooms have windows in the shower/tub surround. Has anyone found a good solution to this? I am considering having glass block windows installed (after removing the rotted double hung windows) and finishing the tub surround with Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) panels over green sheetrock.

Any suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated!!

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