View Full Version : window in shower: remove frame or not (advice needed ASAP)

07-03-2005, 07:45 PM
Hello all...
Working on a bathroom remodel, and need advice ASAP (before tomorrow morning).

Just finished installing the tile (protective paper still on), but haven't started grout yet. We have a big window in the wall of the shower... but we couldn't get out of that.

My question is based on this photo:
http://photos.yahoo.com/sonyahutton (in bathroom remodel folder)

Should we leave the white wooden window frame in and seal it off to protect the wood? Or is it better to remove the frame, and put up dry wall and tile around it?

My thinking is that removing the wood frame completely will be better to avoid wood rot, but that it might look ugly to not have a frame and to just have a drop off from glass tile to the window.

So, what do you think? If this were your bathroom, what would you do?


07-03-2005, 08:02 PM
First, I'm not a pro...you're asking for big problems with the window as it is now in the shower. It will be impossible to keep spray from keeping things wet,and likely rotting. Water will be able to get into the wall and mess things up there, too. Your best bet woudl be to tear the window out and put in glass block; then you'd be able to keep the light, but make it waterproof. Hassle is, you can't cut glass block, so you'd be lucky to make an exact fit with the opening you have - you might have to modify the opening slightly. I suggest you post this over on www.johnbridge.com you may get some other suggestions. That site specializes almost exclusively on tiling. It's very worthwhile.

07-03-2005, 08:13 PM
Thanks, Jim... I posted at John Bridge just before posting here. So far, no replies.

If we leave the wooden frame in, we'll definitely seal it up well (I've read up a bit on how to do this right)... but I'm still wondering how it looks overall. Better with or without frame?

thanks again,

07-03-2005, 10:23 PM
In that case, I prefer to get a "tempered" glass vinyl window and tile right up to the window.

Windows that are not tempered are not code legal in the shower or tub area.

07-04-2005, 05:36 AM
My Two Cents in the "For What It's Worth" Department:

I would, if it were MY bathroom and shower, definitely keep the window. Natural light is wonderful no matter where it is in the house. You can keep the wood frame as long as it is sealed FOR NOW. I would personally use a composite material that is easily machined but is water resistant and pretend that it is wood. I have been involved in boat maintenance, service and manufacturing for many years and have no understanding why the home centers and hardware stores sell an inferior (though adequate by all means) product for wet environments such as baths and showers when you can get a significantly superior product for a bit more at a Marine Supply Store.

If you decide to keep the wood, seal it with a quality Epoxy Fiberglass Resin, Then caulk it with either a polysulfide (3M 5200) or combination polysulfide/silicone type sealant such as "boatLife." These products are very much superior to anything you find in a home center or hardware store.

For a few dollars more, you are guaranteeing yourself a long lasting shower. these products are designed to waterproof a boat crossing the ocean, so you can be assured that they will handle a shower quite effectively. After all these years, I get the feeling that home products are designed to perform as minimally as possible to make things look good until you sell your home. Go with a product that has more in mind than that. You will be pleased.

07-04-2005, 07:48 AM
The above post pretty well summed it up.

Although generally a window in the shower is a bad idea, for aesthetic reasons and possibly code reasons regarding ventilation, taking it out is probably not an option. We can already see mold growing in the picture!

If the sashes are not already vinyl, that would be a good move. There are waterproof composite materials available for the jambs and casings which would reduce maintenance. If you stay with wood, you just need the best finish you can get on it, and constant attention.

07-04-2005, 09:01 AM
Thank you everyone, especially Wally for the detailed response.

As for the photo, it's not mold (there was no shower there before, so it never got wet).. the photo was taken with a cameraphone, so the quality is poor. It's actually the screws and some small tools from the window frame.

We just tried to tug at the frame a bit, and it seems like it would rip out the whole wall. So we're leaving it in for now, and possibly sanding the area down and using Wally's recommendations for sealing products.

On the upside, the tile looks great... and stripping/painting/sealing the frame will be the solution for now.

thanks again,

07-04-2005, 12:45 PM
No matter what you do, you will probably never get a good seal no matter how you terminate the tile to the window. The wood is going to expand and contract depending on the moisture present and that will break any seal between the wood and tile, allowing water to enter the wall. A "glass" block window would be preferable, and since they make acrylic glass blocks that can be cut, or you can order a complete window that just sets in place, it is not a big deal to install one.

master plumber mark
07-04-2005, 08:50 PM
have you considered installing a marble sill for the bottom
lip of the window and leaving the framebasically intact???

their is no pretty way to do this job...

no amount of paint or water proofing is going to make that
totally ok

but usually tileing up to the frame looks best..

now I got a stupid question here for you ....

I didnt read anything about it, but surely you have
considered or are planning on putting up a small
water proof shower curtain over that window sill????

A "designer" plastic shower curtain hanging down
below the wood sill 3 to 5 inches
that can be left open when not in use and
pulled shut when showering for privacy ,
would certanly be the dead sure way to keep that wood dry
and the tile looking good around that sill
for years and years to come.....

we have had to resort to this strategy many many times
with no complaints ...it just extra cheap protection

as hi mentioned , you will never, ever keep water out
of that window sill and going into the wall behind the tile....

was that in the plan already??

Bob's HandyGuy
07-05-2005, 03:16 PM
My shower has a window smack in the middle of the long wall. They used to sell shower curtains with matching window treatment. Couldn't find one last time I shopped so I bought an extra curtain and had one made from that. Even so, the curtain gets grungy and the window still gets wet. My solution is to pull the vinyl shade over the sill for each shower and also drape a sheet of poly over the curtain rod so as to cover everything.

07-05-2005, 03:26 PM
I couldn't see your photo, the link took me to the Yahoo photo page but said that it wasn't available to me.
My mom has a shower w/ a window, it's aluminum w/ a tile sill and with some vertical blinds made of plastic that appear to be designed for use in a shower/wet location. But I'd lean toward Terry's advice on the vinyl window or if it fits the glass block would be really cool (assuming you have a vent fan in the bathroom).

07-18-2005, 06:17 PM
couldn,t load pix . i agree with terry,say you have a 3'wide x3' high window
[wood] if you install a 3'x 1'6' window [fill in the bottom] , you'l have more privacy, and less shower water hitting it. white vinyl temp. is the way to go. the tile should return into it all edges.
order your window [2-3 week lead time] grout tomorrow. slow down and make some changes when window comes in .good luck

07-18-2005, 08:39 PM
I've read that fiberglass windows are suitable for showers. Anyone have any comments?

07-19-2005, 05:58 AM
i install many windows in my remodeling buss. i like vinyl in the shower

08-21-2011, 08:40 AM
The subject of waterproofing a window in a shower is one that comes up just about every month I find and on my last project here in North Vancouver I had my camera with me. I took a few pictures to show how I approached the challenge of waterproofing a shower window.

First off there are many different ways to approach this and the process I'm showing is not my preferred method but one I'm sure will stand the test of time.

The shower I'm working on is part of a whole home renovation in North Vancouver and the drywall crew had all ready installed 1/2" Hardi Board when I showed up on site.

The first thing I did was install a small section of Nobel TS to cover the window sill and bring it down the wall a few inches. There was a sliver cut and the Hardi Board had not been taped when I arrived. This step I did the same day I did the pre-slope in the Master Bathroom shower.

Over two later visits I waterproofed the entire tub surround and window sills with Hydro Ban. I used the optional reinforcement mesh on all corners and change of planes and installed this product on the second visit.

While checking the flood test results in the master bathroom I went back and added a bead of Kerdi Fix to the window and tub deck connection points. Kerdi Fix is an outstanding product from Schluter and great for all those hard to waterproof connections.

Here are a few pictures of the step by step;





The window sill is pre-sloped!

This is critical in the design. Make sure your waterpoofing for any niche, bench, shower pan or window sill has a pre-slope. This way any water that gets under the tile through the grout or failed silicone has a chance to drain away. Often you will see nothing in the way of waterproofing or pre-slope. Over time this can cause the window's framing to swell and I have repaired two windows now in the past five years because of just this problem. One so bad that the window could not even open.

Kerdi Fix runs about $26.00 per tube here in Vancouver and often one tube can help me out with almost four shower's. This little bit of added expense is so worth it for the most critical connection points.

Had this window been a wood window the complete window should have been repainted with the highest quality marine paint and regular maintence and inspections would be required to keep the installation free from defects.

08-21-2011, 08:41 AM
A look at the tub deck connection to the wall board.



10-09-2011, 05:07 PM
Showers with Windows - Designing with Natural Light

I have started a new Ideabook for Showers with Windows and I have a link to it here (http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/778363/thumbs/Showers-with-Windows---Designing-with-Natural-Light).

I feel the extra waterproofing efforts are worth it if you can bring in the natural sunlight into your shower space. Maybe not so much if it is a short distance from your neighbors window or back deck.

Lets see some more window inspiration.

Glass blocks are always a nice touch as well.