Tub Surround with Window

15 Replies

I seam to always have rentals with windows over the tub, and am conflicted every time I go to remodel because I can never find a tub surround that looks decent and I hate cleaning grout. All I have found in the past is to Tile, or use something like FRP panels that looks like a gas station bathroom.  What have you guys done for your rental properties with windows over the tub. Are there off the shelf tub surrounds that can be cut for window openings? If so, could you point me in the right direction. Thanks

Here is a picture of the current bathroom I'm working on. Thin plastic panels were glued to the wall initially.

@Dan Hoehn

Last year I tiled my rental tub, same configuration with 6x24 tiles vertically.  Came out really nice.  You won't find anything really off the shelf with a window due to the size variation.  Some can create a custom surround with a window but haven't looked into this.  Another material you can use is phenolic resin "solid surface material" like Corian.  It comes in sheets. Same concept as frp panels but with better color options.  A counter top shop can fab this for you.

I like Avonite for color section over the house hold name of Corian. Same quality, different color palette.

http://www.avonite.com/

Other mfrs...

http://www.4specs.com/s/06/06-6140.html?zoom_highlight=solid+surface

I have bought surrounds from menards or home depot that come with trim for this very issue. I usually skip the trim but the surround is flat on the back so you can cut around the window and caulk very well.  I also supply a shower curtain that goes against the wall to keep water from rotting the window. The kit I bought had all the shelves in the ends or corners so it does not get in the way during the shower.

Have you thought about taking out the window?

we just cut the surround, replaced the window with a vinyl one with frosted glass and used plastic trim pieces for the window. you can do glass block too but opening is the reason for our window. Tile and tile trim works but is pricier.

Frost the window, insulate and cover it over with your new surround. No more window in the shower, problem solved.

Be very careful about removing or covering up the window.  Most building codes require an exhaust vent or operable window in the bathroom.  @Thomas S. in Canada you may be able to get away with it but not in the US. @Dan Hoehn never said if he had an exhaust fan.  Assuming no fan which is very common for a bathroom set up of this configuration.

Excerpt from 2009 International Residential Code (IRC)

R303.3 Bathrooms. Bathrooms, water closet compartments and other similar rooms shall be provided with aggregate glazing area in windows of not less than 3 square feet (0.3 m2), one-half of which must be openable.

Exception: The glazed areas shall not be required where artificial light and a mechanical ventilation system are provided. The minimum ventilation rates shall be 50 cubic feet per minute (24 L/s) for intermittent ventilation or 20 cubic feet per minute (10 L/s) for continuous ventilation. Ventilation air from the space shall be exhausted directly to the outside.

Window Films...

I have used the Solex brand  SX-C300 Dusted Etch, SX-1309 Fine Crystal Frost, or SX-324 Frosted Sparkle for the bottom lite of the window.  I had a free scrap from a glass shop so not sure which I got but it wasn't obscure enough for me.  This is due to being within 12" of the window when taking a shower.  There are other films by them that would work better.

https://www.decorativefilm.com/plain-frosted-light-diffusing-etch-films

Originally posted by @Jim Adrian :

Be very careful about removing or covering up the window.  Most building codes require an exhaust vent or operable window in the bathroom.  @Thomas S. in Canada you may be able to get away with it but not in the US. @Dan Hoehn never said if he had an exhaust fan.  Assuming no fan which is very common for a bathroom set up of this configuration.

Jim:

It's not about getting away with anything - in Canada or elsewhere.   Even if you have an operable window, you should have - and in some places are required to have - an exhaust vent.   Here folks seldom open the window when it is -30C outside ... and, if they are inclined to open the window in the dead of winter, you really do not want them so doing.  

Having a window in a shower - particularly when you have tenants - is never a good idea from a maintenance point of view.  We remove them all the time and install ventilation, it is by far the best long-term option.

Now, if you have a bathroom without a shower, then a window over the tub is less of an issue.

1(506) 471-4126

All thanks for your input! The bathroom does have an exhaust fan, but I am actually replacing all of the windows in the house right now, including the bathroom so I am a little too far along to eliminate it. 

I stopped by HD last night and found their selection of their glue-in surround that are flat on the back that I could cut for the window. I'm leaning towards that solution with a solid (marble, etc) window ledge that is well sealed.

@Roy N.

Totally agree with you! 

I have both in my house and hardly open the window or use the exhaust fan.  When people use the exhaust fan they never let it run long enough, typically needs 10 mins of run time.   My point is most people don't realize you need a fan or an operable window.  They think they can remove the window and no issues and that's not true.

@Dan Hoehn

Marble sill is great.  For belt and suspenders I would add liquid applied waterproofing to the sill.  Like Red Gard.  I would hit all the corners and edge of tub conditions. 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Custom-Building-Products-RedGard-1-Gal-Waterproofing-and-Crack-Prevention-Membrane-LQWAF1/100169081

I have used AZAK or generic brand plastic trim with a vinyl window and lots of caulking.  Make sure to slant the trim away from the window so water flows back into the shower (you knew that).  I had the surround tiled, but there's no way I'll do that again since it went over budget.

a little late to the party but I'd have just shrunk it. Keep it high like in a 2x2 or 4 x2 slider. Since replacing windows anyhow. Perfect time. Then it is functional and out of way. Too low to keep it and tile it. Some tenant will inevitably let the grout crack and water will destroy your investment. Water will be in that sill at every showertime. Good luck

Very easy to cut & caulk the back panel.

Originally posted by :

Totally agree with you! 

I have both in my house and hardly open the window or use the exhaust fan.  When people use the exhaust fan they never let it run long enough, typically needs 10 mins of run time.   My point is most people don't realize you need a fan or an operable window.  They think they can remove the window and no issues and that's not true.

Jim:

All our fans are wired with both a humidistat and a timer (generally set to 20-minutes), in addition to the manual switch.  Once the tenant turns on the fan or light, the fan will run until the humidity drops below threshold or the timer has elapsed.

In those instances where the washroom is vented with the HRV, we use the same set-up to activate "boost" mode to clear the humidity.

1(506) 471-4126
Originally posted by @Amy A. :

Make sure to slant the trim away from the window so water flows back into the shower (you knew that). 

 But the moron that tiled my bath didn't! By the time I noticed it was improperly pitched they were paid and gone. Horrible job, now I have to rip out the tile sil and the bottom of the inset and pitch them properly, probably with a piece of granite, marble is just too damn porous and soaks up soap etc no matter how much you seal it. 

I do like a window in a bathroom, it can make a small one seem brighter and nicer. The bath below was the same contractor, but a different more competent worker. BTW the ceiling is plastic tiles so a leak above is not a drywall job.  When this was done a family of 6 was above, with kids who would flood the bathroom regularly.

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