Replacing windows in your bathroom may seem like an afterthought to most homeowners getting new windows for the whole house.
But there are specific differences about bathroom windows and their installation, that requires a different approach.
Why bathroom windows aren’t the same as the rest of the house.
One of the biggest enemies of both new and used windows is moisture. And in most homes, bathrooms are areas with greater humidity and moisture levels than the rest of the house. It is crucial for bathroom windows to not only provide air flow but also prevent water from getting into your wall structure. Usually, this is a concern when talking about preventing moisture from the outside, but depending on the placement of your bathroom unit, preventing moisture from the inside may be just as important.
Another factor that is just as important as the efficiency of the windows in your bathroom is how well the ventilation system in that room works. Because in Canada it is sometimes impossible to open the window in the winter time, you are still left to rely on your HVAC system to balance the humidity in your bathroom.
Quality windows and a properly functioning ventilation system will help prevent condensation and freezing up of the windows in the short-term, and help you avoid mold problems in the long run.
Which bathroom windows should you get?
Although many Canadian manufacturers today specialize in vinyl windows, there is still some debate as to how well the material compares to traditional wood and aluminum windows. The same is not true about bathrooms, where vinyl is the unanimous go-to material of choice. The reason is simple: wood is not suitable because it absorbs moisture, and aluminum conducts energy much better than vinyl, resulting in serious freezing problems in the colder months.
Consider vinyl as the material of choice for your bathroom windows.
Another thing to remember is that vinyl windows in bathrooms also have to have vinyl casing (trim) around them. Whereas with most windows in your home you have the option to get a custom wood trim, it is again not a suitable material for this application. During the installation casings in bathrooms get sealed against the wall to prevent water seepage past trim and into the wall structure. This is not done with other windows in the house, and as a homeowner you can often manually remove those casings for painting or cleaning of your windows.
The next decision you will need to make is whether the windows in your bathroom will be operable or not, or simply put, whether you want them to open. While your ventilation system may be powerful and efficient enough, it is still advisable that the windows you get are operable. This will help you naturally balance the humidity in the bathroom, as well as provide it with fresh air. If you have several windows, having at least one that you are able to open can make a lot of difference in preventing mold and reducing moisture levels in the bathroom.
Even after you decided on operable windows, there are still choices to be made when it comes to the window style. All operable windows fall into two categories: crank and slider. Crank windows, such as a casement or an awning, are more efficient of the two kinds, as they usually have a compression seal that makes the window an airtight unit once it’s closed. This comes with a its own pitfall: crank windows are more expensive than slider. Sliding and hung windows generally have weather stripping around the operable part and are therefore not as efficient. Furthermore, moisture from the shower can collect on the bristles of the weather stripping and cause even vinyl windows to freeze up in the cold.
Another benefit of crank windows is their ease of operation. Because windows in the bathroom can sometimes be difficult to reach and open, having a hand crank takes the work out of operating the unit.
Should you get privacy glass for your bathroom windows?
Privacy is another big concern that is specific to bathroom windows. Privacy glass, tinted or patterned, is an easy solution for windows of most sizes. The problem with privacy glass is that it can’t always be manufactured for oversize windows and that once it’s in, you don’t really have an option if you want a clear view again.
If you are considering blinds for your bathroom windows, make sure to look into a vinyl option. Just like with windows, aluminum or fabric blinds are not suitable for these replacements.
Whether to go with privacy glass or blinds, depends on the placement of your windows in the bathroom, how many windows there are, and, of course, your own personal preference.
It’s true that bathroom windows require a different approach from other windows in your home, but as you can see it isn’t rocket science. You should consider getting operable crank vinyl windows for best performance and efficiency. Also, remember that the health and efficiency of your ventilation system is just as important in your bathroom. Along with a good HVAC system, quality windows will balance the humidity in your bathroom, reduce condensation and freezing on the glass, and prevent mold growth in the long term.
At Ecoline Windows, we offer a variety of sliding and crank windows to match any budget for a bathroom replacement. We also have several choices for privacy glass to match the design ideas you have in mind. Our window specialists ensure your new units are properly installed and are sealed off from moisture or water seepage, both from the inside and the exterior of your bathroom.
Learn more about replacement windows:
Find out how much new windows should cost
See our full line of vinyl window styles
Why you can purchase with confidence when you choose Ecoline Windows