Can Bathroom Windows Be Clear? (We Asked a Few Builders)

Can Bathroom Windows Be Clear

Having your bathroom windows be clear will definitely allow in more sunlight but it also allows others to see in. It can be difficult to console your fear of bathroom window risks with the desire to have sunlight filtering into the room. So, considering that, can bathroom windows be clear?

Bathroom windows can be either clear or frosted. It is most common for bathroom windows to use some form of obscure glass (frosted, ribbed, opaque, or patterned in some way) since the bathroom is a very private room. Still, clear bathroom windows aren’t rare.

So, there’s really nothing wrong with having clear bathroom windows. For those of you with your hearts set on clear glass in the bathroom, you’ll soon learn that there are actually multiple options for keeping unwanted eyes out! 

But even if you think the clear glass is the best, you might be surprised that a lot of other obscure types of glass are just as good.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Clear bathroom windows are totally fine, but that doesn’t mean you have to either stick with clear windows or switch to expensive frosted glass. Between blinds, curtains, window films, and glass-etching cream, there are tons of ways to get the privacy you want from a clear glass window.

Here are some of the best ways to get a frosted effect on your windows:

1. Opaque Privacy Film – With 3 colors to choose from, there’s a film for everyone.

2. Translucent Glass Tint/Film – This unique pattern will keep your windows beautiful and private.

3. Glass-Etching Starter Kit – Time to dust off that DIY attitude!

The Best Types Of Glass For Bathroom Windows

With so many kinds of glass to choose from, it can be hard to know what is best for a bathroom window. Let’s discover which is best for your bathroom. 

Do Bathroom Windows Have To Be Obscured?

Bathroom windows don’t have to be obscure, but most people will want their windows to be at least somewhat obscure. Some specific neighborhoods or buildings could require bathroom windows to be obscure, especially if a neighbor complains.

Some people are fond of looking out of windows while they shower (we don’t blame them!), and they’re really aren’t any hard laws or building codes to stop you in the US.

Even without obscure glass, you can still protect your privacy by using extra add-ons like blinds.

Should You Have Frosted Glass In a Bathroom?

Whether or not you have frosted glass in your bathroom window is up to you. Most people choose to have frosted glass or another kind of obscure glass in order to maintain their privacy while using the toilet or showering/bathing. 

Clear glass is an acceptable option, though, if you’re not concerned about privacy.

There are more kinds of obscure glass than we can count, but some of the most popular include:

  • Frosted (AKA satin) glass
  • Translucent/opaque glass
  • Types of patterned glass
  • Smoked glass

When used in a window, any of these glasses will work for maintaining privacy.

You might also enjoy our post on If You Can Put a Mirror in the Shower

What Is The Difference Between Frosted Glass And Obscure Glass?

Obscure glass is a kind of glass that obscures your vision, and frosted glass is a specific kind of obscure glass. Essentially, any glass that makes it difficult to see through it is an obscure glass.

These kinds of glass are extremely common for windows that are only meant to let in light or be used as decoration.

For example, the glass in the porch and front doors of a house is often frosted or uses another type of obscure glass so that strangers can’t look inside.

Similarly, bathroom windows and showers use frosted glass all the time. 

Can You Have Clear Glass In Bathroom Windows?

You are allowed to have clear glass in a bathroom window. However, you might not want to because it could expose you to unwanted attention or make it easy for someone to look into your bathroom. 

Additionally, some specific areas might forbid it, especially at the request of neighbors. Having good positioning for your clear glass window is the best way to ensure nobody will be peeking in. 

After all, it would become quite obvious if someone had to get on a ladder just to look in. This is the reason why bathroom windows are often small and high up!

You can also use blinds or covers to make sure it’s not open when you don’t want it to be. 

What Type Of Glass Is Best For The Bathroom?

Some of the best glass for the bathroom are generally frosted glass and other types of patterned glass. Ultimately, what works best for your bathroom is dependent on personal preference and what you want your window to accomplish.

If you don’t care about looking out the window and you only want to use it to vent humidity, then there’s really no point in going for clear glass.

But less opaque glasses will let in more light and can make the room feel cheerful.

On top of that, an obscure glass will rob you of the ability to really look out the window of your bathroom in a meaningful way. All you’ll be able to see are moving blobs!

Are There Building Regulations For Bathroom Windows?

According to the IRC, windows that are exposed to water or humidity must be glazed. This is in accordance with Section R308.4.5 and includes shower windows and certain bathroom windows. 

Whether or not you need to use glazed windows depends on the exact windows you have in your bathroom, amongst other things.

It’s safe to assume that windows that are a part of a shower or are directly adjacent to the shower will need to be glazed.

But fundamentally, there’s no way to know which windows are affected by this regulation without checking yourself!

It’s worth noting that while bathroom windows aren’t generally required to be frosted or even covered with a blind, your neighbors could complain on the basis of you devaluing their property.

This is especially the case if you’re visibly seen regularly in your bathroom. 

You might also enjoy our post on If Your Bathtub Needs a Vent

Everything You Need To Know About Frosted Glass

Out of all the different kinds of obscure glass out there, frosted glass is the one to beat. It’s pretty, accessible, and does its job well- what’s not to like?

Can Clear Frosted Glass Be Changed?

If you want your frosted glass to become clear, you can change it back with the use of either vinegar or a lacquer thinner. Apply the lacquer thinner or vinegar to a delicate cloth and slowly work in circles to polish the window. At the end of the process, it should become clear again.

Changing clear frosted glass is surprisingly easy, despite how delicate and detailed the frosting effect looks!

Lacquer thinner is usually more suited for the job, so you’ll likely get better results when using it. Don’t be discouraged if using vinegar doesn’t work out. Just switch to lacquer thinner!

Clear glass can also be changed into frosted glass by using glass etching cream or a window film.

Can You See Through Frosted Glass In a Bathroom?

When looking through frosted glass, you will only be able to see fuzzy shapes and dramatic changes in lighting. This makes it the perfect glass to use for bathrooms because nobody looking in will be able to see through it.

Frosted glass is a hugely popular kind of obscure glass since it’s easy to apply and looks good. But most importantly, it’s also very effective at distorting images.

This is thanks to the way it scatters light as it travels through the glass.

No matter what the lighting levels are like, it’s impossible for a person to see through frosted glass beyond those fuzzy shapes.

Is Frosted Glass Private?

Frosted glass is a type of obscure glass, which means it offers privacy and obscures vision. The detailing on frosted glass scatters light. This results in a window that can’t be seen through but still lets in some light.

The only thing that people can see when looking through frosted glass are fuzzy blobs.

If you want windows that won’t infringe on your privacy (like in the case of bathroom windows, for example), frosted glass is a great option.

Some other types of obscure glass are also private, so don’t be afraid to look into different options if you’re feeling iffy on frosted glass.

Does Frosted Glass Provide Privacy At Night?

Frosted glass provides just as much privacy at night as it does during the daytime. This type of glass works by scattering light as it passes through, and our eyes need that light in order to see comprehensive images. 

Even in the dead of night, any light that is available will be scrambled by frosted glass.

On the contrary, mirrored window film is the only kind of obscure glass that might not provide privacy during the nighttime.

With mirrored films, there is always one side that is obscure and one side that can be seen through.

Unfortunately, this side switches depending on how much light there is! You’ll never have this problem when using frosted glass.

Does a Bathroom Window Have To Be Frosted?

There is no rule saying that a bathroom window has to be frosted, but you might want to for the sake of privacy. In some cases, a neighbor could complain that you’re devaluing their own property if you can regularly be seen using the toilet or showering. 

Frosting is one of the best ways to make a window obscure.

But if you want your window to feel more like an actual window, you can add a clear window even to your bathroom.

Just make sure it’s small enough and/or it’s in a location where nobody on the outside could look in.

Does Frosted Glass Cost More Than Clear Glass?

In general, frosted glass will be more expensive than clear glass. Frosted glass will cost you anywhere between $125 and $200 more than its clear counterpart. This is because frosted glass is an add-on to clear glass, and getting that treatment is always going to cost more.

You can cut down on the costs of getting frosted glass by applying a frosted film instead.

Not only does it skip the whole installation process, but it’s hundreds of dollars cheaper. This frosted glass film is one of our favorites.

It can easily be applied by hand within 5 minutes!

Frosted glass is gorgeous and unique, and you can’t really replicate the effect with frosted glass film. But using a window film is the second-best in the cases where you can’t get actual frosted glass!

Alternative Options For Privacy In The Bathroom

A frosted glass pane isn’t the only thing you can turn to when you need privacy in the bathroom. These other methods are just as effective!

How Do I Make My Clear Bathroom Window Private?

There are many options for making a clear bathroom window private, including adding blinds and applying a window film. Alternatively, adding frost to your clear glass can be achieved using a glass-etching cream.

Blinds are probably the easiest way to make a clear bathroom window private without actually changing the window itself.

But if you aren’t particularly attached to the transparency of your window, using films is a great second choice.

They’re even removable, so you can make your window clear again if you end up hating the fuzzy look. Glass-etching cream is the most permanent solution, but it does look good!

How Do I Treat My Clear Bathroom Window For Privacy?

To make your clear bathroom window private, you can use a product called glass-etching cream. When applied to a window in a large area, it will create an effect similar to frosted glass. 

Another option is to simply add a frosted glass window film. This requires less work, but it costs the same amount.

Window film isn’t a permanent solution, unlike glass-etching cream. This is either a downside or an upside, depending on your personal preferences.

Another thing to watch out for is that window films can technically peel off over time if they’re exposed to a lot of heat.

Make sure that any glass-etching cream you use can actually be applied to large areas. Some glass-etching creams are only designed to be used for art.

How Can I Cover My Bathroom Windows?

Bathroom windows can be covered using products like window films or by using blinds. Curtains are also an option for covering windows, but the wrong fabric used in the bathroom could retain moisture for longer than you’d like. 

Window films can even be used in a rental property since they have no permanent impact, although you should still check with your landlord before you make any changes. 

They’re cheap, easy to apply, and will make it impossible for people to see inside of your bathroom. And unlike blinds, they will still let light in.

The only potential downside is that window films will also make it impossible for you to see outside of your bathroom!

Should You Put Blinds In a Bathroom?

You should put blinds in a bathroom if you have a clear window and you would like to cover it. It’s okay to leave a clear window uncovered so long as it’s small and high up, so nobody can see inside. That being said, a blind will make it a lot easier to keep other eyes out.

The best part about using blinds to cover a bathroom window is that your window can be as big as you want it to be!

There’s no need to limit the size of your window because you don’t have to worry about onlookers whatsoever.

Even better, you’ll still be able to look out your window whenever you want. It’s really the best of both worlds.

What Blinds Are Suitable For The Bathroom?

The best blinds for the bathroom are ones made of faux wood, vinyl, or aluminum. These blinds are durable, moisture-resistant, and look good. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to be certain that the materials can withstand moisture and won’t break down.

Real wood can have some antibacterial properties which will stop the buildup of bacteria, but it can also degrade when exposed regularly to moisture. That’s the main reason why real wood isn’t usually recommended for bathroom blinds.

Related Questions

Are Vinyl Or Composite Windows Better?

Composite windows are often championed as better, but vinyl windows do have some advantages. They’re cheaper, look good, and are easier to maintain. Composite windows do have an advantage when it comes to energy efficiency. 

Which window material is right for you really depends on your personal situation and your personal preference.

Both vinyl and composite will be durable and will be reasonably energy efficient.

Which Windows Are Best For Your Home?

Deciding which windows are best for your home comes down to what you need, what your budget is, and how willing you are to spend time on upkeep. Wood-framed windows, for example, are the best for energy efficiency but require the most upkeep.

Between window brands, window styles, pane strengths, and types of frames, there are a lot of different decisions that need to be made.

Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut- the only way you can find out which windows are best for you is by researching these things one by one.

Do Vinyl Windows Decrease Home Value?

Adding vinyl windows won’t decrease home value. In fact, they will actually increase it. If you’re renovating a house to be sold, adding vinyl will do the job of increasing a home’s value without breaking the bank.

Vinyl windows are, for the most part, just as good as composite windows.

Although composite windows are more energy-efficient, vinyl windows still have energy efficiency benefits, are easy to maintain, and are significantly cheaper.

Final Thoughts

Clear bathroom windows might be a little frightening if you have a lot of neighbors, but there’s no need to worry.

Whether you choose frosted glass, clear glass, or another type, there are tons of ways that you can maintain your privacy in the bathroom while still having a beautiful window.

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