How to Select Glass Shower Doors
Filed under Quick Reference Guides
Don’t you think the prettiest bathrooms look even prettier with frameless glass shower doors? They make the space appear bigger and brighter and they let more light in when you are showering away. When you go to select a shower door, there are not only a ton of options you didn’t even know you had to select, but also options that you should have thought about BEFORE you even built that bathroom!
Before You Start
Before I begin a bathroom or shower remodel, I always talk about the shower door. If you want a glass shower door, you need to add extra support to the walls to accommodate the weight of the glass. If you are doing a steam shower, you should also add extra support to the ceiling. Even if you haven’t decided which way the door will swing, and before you commit to a steam shower, you need to have a conversation with your contractor. I have extra support added regardless, so that my clients don’t run into trouble later when they change their mind (often due to budget constraints!)
Your glass shower configuration will be determined by where your walls are and where the shower head is. If you have three walls, like the photo above, your option is pretty clear. You have a Single Door with or without a glass panel depending on the width of the opening. The side of the panel is determined by the swing of the door.
If you have shower with two walls, then one wall should be a glass panel and the other will have the door. Make sure you can open the door and turn on the shower without getting sprayed in your face:) If you only have one wall, then the glass is on three sides (like the photo below.)
If you don’t add the additional support in the walls before they are tiled, you will not be able to do many of the glass door options, so don’t forget!
Next, I like to talk about glass thickness. The strongest glass for frameless showers is 1/2″ architectural glass. The other frameless shower option is 3/8″ thick glass. For me, thicker glass is better. It looks and feels luxurious and doesn’t wobble when you open the door. It does cost more, though. If you didn’t add the proper support, that is when you find out that you may not be able to have the 1/2″ glass because of the shower door weight.
Yes, there are a lot of glass styles out there- colored or patterned. If you select one of these, then you may not have a choice of glass thickness. Just go for clear!!
The thing you want to know is that you don’t want to see hinges. You want to see glass (so you can really see the tile!) In the shower above, we actually created a channel in the tile for the shower glass to fit in so we could eliminate metal. We did end up with 2 pivot clips for each door, which is nothing!! If you don’t have a channel in your tile, then you will have to have wall mount clamps on the dam, which you can see in the first shower. Not bad, either!
OK, I will admit. I like a clean and open bathroom door for the kids’ baths, too! However, this is often where you draw the line on the budget. I would rather my client put more money in the master bath than the kids’ baths, so I tend to put a sliding glass door with a metal header. Yes, this isn’t a frameless look, but it is a good runner up. I don’t use the flimsy shower doors from Home Depot, but rather upgrade to a thicker glass. For me, it is all about the glass thickness!
Yep. There are still many things to talk about…
- If you want a steam shower, glass has to go up to the ceiling. If the ceilings are really high, you may need a transom panel over your door. You can even use a pivot hinge with this, so you can open the transom up when you finish your steam.
- Vinyl Seals and Shower Sweeps are those clear plastic things that you put on the bottom or sides of the door to seal the opening. I use them for steam rooms and I may remove on non-steam showers when they get dirty!
- Handles vary in shape and finish. I match the shower faucet finish. I looooove a gorgeous handle but my go-to is a square 8″ pull set. Check out some favorites from Doorware (below.)
4. Hinges also vary. Again, I match the finish of the shower faucet and I prefer a square cut hinge or a square cut with a slightly rounded point.
I hope this helps you on your next bathroom project! To download some Tips for Selecting Shower Doors click here. Get ready for the next post…How to Keep Your Glass Shower Doors Clean!!