Replacing a rotten wood window in a shower stall

Answered by Brett ~ January 11, 2012 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

The wood window in our bathroom shower stall has water damage and is starting to mold. Can I refinish the frame or should I replace it?,

Michael Giles ~ Roanoke VA

Brett Kulina

Michael, thanks for your question. Unfortunately, most bathroom windows take a fare share of abuse because of high levels of moisture in the room caused by steamy showers or actual contact with spraying water. I am not surprised that your wood framed window has started to rot, as wood windows are the least durable type of window once they are exposed to constant moisture.

I would definitely replace the window as soon as possible so that you can prevent any mold or water damage from expanding into the wall cavity. Although there are some marine grade finishes available that could prevent future water damage to a new wood framed window, you may be better off replacing your old window with one made of vinyl or fiberglass. These composite materials can usually withstand a modest amount of exposure to moisture and will definitely outlast a wood framed window (in this wet location). You may also want to consider installing some wall tile around the vinyl window frame and along the window sill. Just remember to create a sloped sill that prevents water from pooling against the window frame. Remember to install a thick bead of high quality silicone sealant between the window frame and the wall tile.

Although some moisture is always present in a well-used bathroom, you can help prevent moisture damage by installing an exhaust fan in your bathroom. Locating an exhaust fan on the ceiling close to your shower stall will help move the moisture laden air out of your house and should reduce the amount of steam that condensates on your bathroom's walls and windows. If possible, make sure that your shower head is not spraying water directly on to the window. If this is not possible, then just make sure to towel off the window frame after every shower.

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