It’s me, Michelle, again. I promise not to drive you nuts with lots of questions, however, I have another bathroom with a window right next to the tub. I see this all the time in magazines.
What keeps the window from rotting out?
Surely water gets on the window when people take showers. Does one use an exterior paint on the window and caulk the heck out of it? I’ve seen where people put the surround shower curtain hanger so that it protects the surrounding area, including the window, but
I’ve also seen pictures where there is the tub/shower and a lovely wooden window just waiting to be poured on by many long showers (with no protection of a shower liner). ???
No problem! I love answering questions, just wish I was faster at getting to them!
My first thought in response to your question is: who says they don’t rot out? My guess is that windows with wood trim that get wet in showers do, eventually, rot. Almost invariably.
But, there are a number of things you can do that will make your window more resistant to water and might actually make it last for many years, if not decades.
Use waterproof materials for the trim – The best bet would be to go to something other than wood. Like a pvc material (I wrote a post on Azek) or something like a composite (sort of like Trex decking). These materials won’t ever rot and some can look just like wood when painted.
If wood, go with pressure treated – pressure treated lumber will withstand a serious amount of moisture, some is even rated for permanent use underground or underwater (think about dock pilings). Showers add in a factor of steam and heat that really pushes the envelope. Pressure treated is made for a wet environment.
Seal it all up extremely well – The thing you don’t want, is water getting between the gaps in the wood into the wall. Wood expands and contracts with fluctuations in temperature and moisture content. For this reason, you need a sealant that is very flexible. The same area where they stock caulking at the store, they usually have a selection of high-quality super-sealants. These can be a little tough to work with and make a nice smooth joint, but in a shower it needs to be good stuff.
Paint it with good quality paint, and paint it well.
Pay attention to your window itself – windows are made to shed water OUTSIDE, not inside, so you want to understand (by looking at the window) where the water that hits it is going and make sure it has an escape route. A small hole in the track at the bottom might be needed.
The bottom line is that they look you’re referring to isn’t what would be called maintenance free! But the look might just be worth the extra effort! The photo at the top is one of my favorites, so I’d be willing to go through some trouble to get a tub/shower area like that!