Can I put a vinyl double hung window in a shower?

Answered by Brett ~ November 15, 2010 ~ No Comments

I had a garden tub with a window over it. I am replacing that area (48X 60) with a shower. The window was an aluminum clad wood window. Will I have any regrets installing a vinyl double hung vs glass block?

Debbie N. ~ Cleveland, Ohio

Brett Kulina

Debbie, if your bathroom window is going to get wet every time the shower is turned on, then it might be best to rethink your options. Although a vinyl window would certainly outlast a wood window in this type of wet location, neither window is going to perform as designed if it is in the path of running water. Another problem with installing windows in wet locations is that mold and mildew tend to grow quickly on them, especially if water is able to pool in the tracks of the window sill.

Glass blocks are definitely a viable alternative to an operable window, and when installed correctly glass blocks are as durable and as waterproof as ceramic wall tiles. While glass blocks do offer the benefits of bringing sunlight into the room, you will still need some way to access the fresh air from the outside. If your bathroom does not have another operable window, then you will have to rely on a ceiling exhaust fan for needed air circulation and as a way to get the moist air out of the bathroom. When purchasing a ceiling exhaust fan, be sure to select one that is adequately sized for your bathroom and is as quiet as possible.

If a window in your shower is the only reasonable option for accessing fresh air and sunlight for your bathroom, then you should consider installing a narrow transom window high on the shower wall. You can select a vinyl or fiberglass window that is specifically built for wet locations, and it should be installed with a tile casement that is sloped enough to prevent water from pooling next to the window. It would also be a wise idea to seal the window using a high quality silicone caulk.

Good luck with your bathroom remodel and I hope you enjoy your new shower!

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