I would love to hear your opinions on the subject of a window in a shower,
over a tub actually.
When this home was built showers in tubs were not the style so it had a
32x48 window centered on the tub wall. Everyone wants a shower these days
so I am in the process of replacing the tub and adding one. Windows in
shower area are always a problem. I have yet to meet one that doesn't leak
sooner or later.
That said this small bath really needs some natural light so my initial plan
was to raise the window as high as possible inside the existing opening ( a
brick home so raising it even higher would be a major project, one that just
isn't going to happen). That would allow for a 32x15 awning style, crank
window to be installed. Raising it up like this will get the sill area above
the major splash area but the sill will still catch a little water from a
I intend to use 1/2' HardieBoard around the entire opening and cover the
framing with plastic before I do that. I will also tile the entire inside of
the opening and seal the corners with silicone. It will be a vinyl window
so sash rot will not be a problem.
I am inclined to slope the bottom of the opening towards the tub so that
stuff can not be stored in the window well, but I have not fully decided
Two opinions requested: Am I kidding myself? Is there any chance a taller
window prepared in this manner might work also?
All comments welcome and TIA
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I have had several homes with windows in the showers. Mind you, they were
placed so that vital parts could not be seen, and all were frosted glass or
some other type that would not show the whole ugly scene. I like them, and
the ones that can be opened for viewing (above shoulder height, of course)
provide something new to the shower experience. I have also seen long
horizontal frosted windows that let in a lot of light, and can be high
enough not to take on a lot of water. Just be careful on installation to
make it as water resistant as you can.
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I've always had bathrooms with no windows. About 15 or 20 years
ago, I replace the roof on the house, so I added 2'x2' skylights in
the tub/shower room and the shower only room. These units had a
vent flap for which I invested in the electric opener for each. It
was great to not have to turn on the lights. The vent was also
good, in that it acted like a chimney and provided good venting.
When I built my present house I tried to get the same kind of
skylights (Velux), however, the company had stopped making the ones
with the vent flap. So, I opted for units that had a full opening
2'x2' window. Presently, I use a stick to crank them open. I plan,
someday, to get electric motors.
I had one in my last house, and have one in this one.
As long as you hang a waterproof curtain on it it's not a problem.
Just hang the curtain high enough and make it wide enough that shower
water doesn't get behind it.
Sill shouldn't even get wet.
A common retrofit is glass block, with the jambs made out of that
rot-proof plastic faux wood. Looks okay from outside on a brick house,
not so much if sided. In pre-AC pre-exhaust fan days, sometimes 1 or 4
blocks were were replaced with a little crank-out jalousie vent thing,
but with modern HVAC that isn't needed. If wall thickness works out
correctly, you can even flush the block into a tiled wall, and not have
any exposed sills or complicated tile work like a recessed window would
require. Last time this came up on here, somebody even posted a link to
DIY kits that used plastic spacers and silicone grout instead of mortar,
to hold the whole thing together.
Note that SWMBO and daughters may freak a little, and fluted or frosted
(on the inside surfaces) block is called for. You'll have to show them
that they won't be putting on a show, or they will insist on hanging a
curtain in front of it. If it gets cold where you are, look for blocks
with a thermal break.
In a family house 20 years ago, when we redid the bath enclosure on the
cheap with plastic panels (funds were tight, but it couldn't be put
off), we carved out the rotted sill, and replaced it with weather-rated
trim, and epoxy-sealed the whole mess, including the inside faces of the
sashes and the casing. I put a slope on the top of the sill so water
would not puddle, and it held up okay for the 5-6 years until house was
sold. Knew it was not a proper solution, but it was better than it had
been, and sometimes all you can do is all you can do.
Yes, you are ABSOLUTELY kidding yourself. Just not about the
Windows in showers are no big deals. There are only a few caveats.
Code requires tempered glass if the glass is within IIRC 60" of the
floor of the tub. Your awning window should address that nicely. I
would strongly recommend a vinyl window, but you could go with wood if
you are meticulous about things. Sealing all wood on all sides,
edges, and removing the operating hardware and sash to do so. Seal
everything with an epoxy paint, and preferably use something like Git-
Rot to seal any end grain - by far the biggest problem area as it
wicks up water because it's stupid and doesn't know it's no longer a
tree. The interior finish can be any good quality exterior house
paint, and you should be on an inspection/maintenance schedule.
Approach the window finishing inside, like you would approach it from
outside. If you can make a watertight window one one side, it's the
same idea on the other. Don't fight the water - it wants to go
downhill, let it, and just guide it.
Use Schluter's expanded foam backer board Kerdi-Board.
And here's an installation video.
It's long and there's no talking, just doing. You'll see how
versatile the stuff is.
It ain't cheap, but it's a really great system. The board itself is
waterproof (use polyurethane construction adhesive between boards and
it's a waterproof installation - more on that later), light (you can
carry five boards up the stairs at a time with ease) and easy to
install (makes cutting any backer board seem like cutting stone),
takes thinset beautifully, and there's the not insubstantial benefit
of extra R-value in your shower. The board is available in a variety
of thicknesses, and the thick stuff can be structural. So if you want
an end wall for that shower, or a tiled built in vanity, a tiled niche
in the shower...piece of cake. Soft and moist cake with lots of gooey
goodness. Can you tell I like the stuff?
I would make the window rough opening 1" larger in each direction, and
line the rough opening with Kerdi-Board with caulked corners. All
seams and corners should be taped.
As someone else mentioned using expanded PVC trim and molding around
the window is a good idea.
You go that route and the biggest water problem you will have is a
shower drain clogged with hair.
Please note that I use a competing product, Wedi board, that is the
same thing, but gray with a blue foam core. Same properties. I've
had some difficulties with the price on the Wedi board going up in
price around here - more than doubling, so I'm recommending the new
one by Kerdi. Schluter doesn't make bad products, and I have total
faith in the company.
Sorry, I thought I'd included that in my original post.
If you have trouble biting the price bullet on the either foam backer
board, or the availability is limited in your area, Schluter makes
other waterproofing systems, and then there's always a trowelable/
rollerable waterproofing membrane, such as Redgard, which can be
applied to any backer board to waterproof completely right under neath
I have a window over the tub/shower and it works fine. I have a shower
curtain I pull across the window when showering. A clear curtain for day
showers and an opaque one for night showers. Yes, 2 shower curtain rods,
one against the window and one on the outside edge of the tub. Those
springy rods work well for that.
At least 2 posters have mentioned this oh so practical solution.
While it works well for you and I know it would work well for me, I have
photos of a completely rotted window and wall to prove that tenants are to
damn dumb to close or replace the second curtain. BTDT and like I said I
have proof. That was another house but a lesson learned is not soon
Thanks to all who replied.
I considered the glass blocks and found them to be the much more expensive
option. The would also have more potential leak points.
I went with my initial instincts and order a tempered, vinyl window, awning
style that is only 15" tall. I intend to try and find a full width slab of
marble or composite for the sill and give it at least 1/4" of slope on a
4-6" depth towards the tub.
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The main thing is to seal all surfaces before installing the window,
so use some Ice & Water Shield or equivalent, and flash inside as
well as out with the same details. Then when you attach whatever
backerboard, the fasteners aren't leak-short-circuits.
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