This post will describe the pros and cons of a frameless shower door, as well as tips on how you can choose the right one. We've compiled a list of tips from the top bathroom renovation professionals. Let's dive in and learn about frameless sliding shower doors.
What Is a Frameless Sliding Shower Door?
A frameless sliding shower door is a bathroom shower door without a frame that slides. It can give your bathroom a more modern look while making it easier to enter and exit the shower. A lot of homeowners also choose a frameless sliding shower door because it gives the bathroom a cleaner and more updated design aesthetic.
What Are the Advantages of a Frameless Shower Door?
There are many reasons to consider a frameless shower door, including:
- Minimal maintenance: Frameless shower doors have minimal maintenance needs. Cleaning is also usually easier as glass is not at risk of corrosion or rust.
- More space: Frameless showers can give you more space as they tend to utilize more of the shower area.
- Limited lifetime warranty: Many options come with a limited lifetime warranty, which can further protect your investment.
- Modern look: The use of a glass door can make your bathroom look more up-to-date, which may increase your resale value. You can further improve the look of your shower by using certain materials, like stainless steel or brushed nickel. A glass shower can also give your bathroom smooth and clean lines.
Frameless doors that swing open can also provide better access to those with mobility issues. It can make for a larger opening while maintaining the sleek look of the room.
How to Choose the Best Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Shower doors come in all different types and designs. It can feel overwhelming to choose the right one for your bathroom design. When choosing the best frameless shower door, it can be helpful to consider the following:
Type of Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Frameless sliding shower doors are frame-free. But, beyond that, you can choose a shower door of a few different types. The most common are sliding or hinged doors. In both options, the metal is not directly attached to the edge of the shower.
Here are a few types of frameless shower doors to consider:
- Single sliding shower door: A single sliding door comes with either one or two glass pieces, usually on one wall. However, only one of the pieces slides open. They are ideal for smaller bathrooms with only enough space to enter from one side of the shower. Homeowners with larger bathrooms may prefer a dual-sliding door.
- Dual-sliding shower door: A dual-sliding shower has two pieces of glass and allows you to enter or exit from both doors. They can come at a slightly higher price point than a single sliding door but are usually worth the investment if you have a larger bathroom area.
- Hinged, or pivot, sliding shower door: In a hinged, or pivot sliding shower door, the door swings open rather than sliding. Depending on the type of shower, the door either swings inward or outward, or in some cases, both.
- Tub frameless shower door: A tub frameless shower door attaches to an existing bathtub, giving you a more updated look than using a shower curtain. They are good for a smaller bathroom.
You also might choose a shower door with a reversible installation. This means that you can open it on either the left or right side of the shower, giving it an even more luxurious design.
Other Types of Frameless Showers to Consider
While those are the main types of frameless showers you will come across, there are a few custom options that you might consider depending on the current design of your area:
- In-line shower door: An in-line shower is any system in which a glass door is next to an already existing piece of glass.
- Right angle shower: A right angle shower is typically two pieces of glass that meet on an angle, forming an enclosure. The glass pieces take the place of a shower wall.
- Neo angle shower: A neo angle shower is in the corners of the shower. It consists of glass walls that meet at an angle with swinging doors.
- Steam shower: Steam showers help to hold the steam in, giving you a hotter shower. They have glass walls that run from the floor to the ceiling with no opening.
Knowing these phrases can also help when shopping for, and choosing the right shower door. These types of unique designs can also make the installation process more difficult, which may require the assistance of a professional.
Dimensions of Sliding Shower Doors
Whether you are designing a shower for your new home or installing a new shower in your existing bathroom, you want to double-check that the dimensions are accurate.
The most important dimension is the shower door. If your bathroom DIY includes moving plumbing or tile work, wait to measure the sliding door until all other work is complete. Adding an inch or two to the shower with thicker tiling can change the length or width of the door you need.
The average frameless shower is between 22-36″ wide and 72″ high. If your shower space doesn't fit these dimensions, you may need to have a custom door made. When measuring the height, begin at the top of the shower and measure to the bottom point.
When measuring the width, be sure to measure the top, middle, and bottom of the area. Depending on when the shower was designed, it may not be even. Measure both sides if you will have dual glass panels.
It is crucial that the shower opening is secure when closed. Otherwise, water from the shower will escape. This can lead to corrosion, as well as a slippery floor.
If you are installing a hinged door, you will also want to measure the exterior area in which the door swings. Be sure you have plenty of area to move the door freely.
The thickness of the Shower Door
A good-quality shower door is usually made with thick clear glass. Most sliding doors are between 3/8-1/2″ in width. Typically, the thicker the glass, the more expensive the shower door. However, doors that are made with thick glass and high-quality stainless steel materials tend to hold up better. They may also be less resistant to breaking.
Type of Hardware
The type of hardware that you choose can affect the overall look of the design. Because shower hardware is usually affordable, it can provide you with an elegant look when you match it to the shower. For elegant, clean lines, you might even match the hardware to the hardware of the other items, like your cabinets or sink.
The types of hardware that are usually available include:
- Stainless steel
There are pros and cons to all types of materials. Stainless steel tends to be one of the most popular options today, mostly due to its durability.
In addition to the materials, you can also usually choose between a variety of colors like silver, black, chrome, or nickel. You can also go with unique options like oil-rubbed bronze materials.
Types of Glass
Frameless shower doors are made with glass materials. However, you can choose between a few different types of glass. Depending on your style, you might choose:
- Clear glass
- Transparent glass
- Clear glass with a frame
- Textured glass
- Frosted glass
- Pattern glass
- Tinted glass
The width and quality of glass matter more than the type of glass. Additionally, you may choose to use glass in place of a wall for a smooth look. Finally, the type of glass can help you achieve your ideal bathroom design.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself While You Shop for the Best Doors
You can narrow down your options even further by asking yourself the following questions as you shop for the right shower door:
What Kind of Shower Do You Want?
Shop around and look at a few sample images of bathrooms with frameless doors. Take note of glass materials and colors. Look at the type, door height, and width to determine what will work with your area. It can also be helpful to pay close attention to materials. Do you prefer stainless steel or nickel hardware products? Do you want fully framed or semi-framed?
Do You Have/Need a Tub?
While it is possible to add things like fixed panel or frameless shower doors to an existing shower with a tub, it can be a more difficult and costlier process. For this reason, it is important to consider if the tub is important to you. If you plan to remove it, then you may have more control over the modern design of the shower, including which walls are made with glass.
How Much Space Do You Have?
Your current space will determine not only the type of shower but also the width of the glass wall. It is also important to consider the layout of the bathroom. Even if you have a larger bathroom, it can still be difficult to install a hinged door that opens outward if your toilet or your vanity are closely located to it.
What Features Are Most Important to You?
You can easily narrow down your options by considering the features that are most important to you when you shop around. Do you care more about the type of glass or the design of the room? Do you want a polished area with stainless steel materials? This is a good reason to consider a professional. They often have recommendations on ways to use your space you might not have considered.
How to Install a Frameless Sliding Shower Door
It is important to note that the installation of a frameless sliding shower can be trickier than installing a traditional shower door. The frameless design may also require a permit.
Depending on your dimensions, you may also need a customized door. This requires careful measurements to ensure the door fits properly. The better the installation, the less upkeep you will need.
Additionally, some frameless shower doors are easier to install than others. For example, if you choose a semi-frameless design with a thicker glass, it may be a more difficult installation. If you choose a reversible installation so you can enter and exit on both sides, accurate measurements and installation are even more important.
The installation of a glass shower door also often requires at least two people. You need someone to hold the glass door while someone fits and installs the hardware. Depending on the opening size of your bathroom, limited room can also make it difficult to correctly install the glass shower. Before beginning the process, determine if it makes sense to hire a professional.
There are DIY installation kits that can help with installing your glass door. But, before buying a kit and deciding to try it yourself, it is best to consider the difficultly of your bathroom. This includes the type and placement of walls, if your current shower is curved, and finally, your experience level when it comes to bathroom installations.
You always want to keep safety in mind. Safety should be a priority when installing any new fixtures or elements the bathroom. Additionally, if you have a tub, it can be more difficult to install.
How to Create an Updated Bathroom Design
Glass sliding doors can help you achieve an updated bathroom design. You also have a lot of options when it comes to the design of your space. For example, materials like stainless steel and brushed nickel give you clean lines, which help to achieve a luxurious look. Clear glass with chrome materials can also help the room look larger.
When shopping around, be sure to pay attention to accent colors which can help you choose the right materials. Whether you go with stainless steel or bronze, a cohesive look is crucial.
How to Clean Glass Shower Doors
One of the biggest advantages of frameless shower doors that are made with glass is that they can be a lot easier to clean. However, it may take additional work or products than what you are used to.
Some glass materials require very little maintenance. This is because some materials include a sealant that protects them from accumulated debris. You can also add a sealant after installation.
It is best to avoid scrubbing too hard or using harsh cleaning materials on your glass door. This is especially important if you have chrome or stainless steel materials as some materials can leave permanent scratches on them. Additionally, rough scrubbing pads can also cause damage to the glass doors.
Regardless of the type of materials you have, you can extend the value of your shower by creating a cleaning routine. One important step to take in maintaining its condition is to dry the doors after use. If water does splash outside of the shower, then dry off the exterior of the doors too.
You also want to take care to clean the hardware. The type of hardware you choose will determine what materials and how to best clean it. For example, brushed nickel requires a damp cloth for light dirt. You can also carefully scrub away hard water stains.
Stainless steel requires a lint-free cloth and a good cleaner mixed with polish. Stainless steel does tend to hold up, even with frequent use.
Polished stainless steel can be even easier to clean since it has a protective coating. This is why you will often find stainless steel materials in the bathroom.
Does a Frameless Shower Door Increase the Value of Your Home?
It is always a good idea to consider how any home improvements affect the value of your home. Even if you are not considering selling anytime soon, certain home improvements can maintain an increase in value for years to come.
A bathroom remodel is one of the biggest increases in value to your home. This means that installing a frameless shower can make a big difference when it comes to the resale value.
Whether you use stainless steel or chrome materials, the simple addition of a frameless shower, like a Dreamline Enigma, can make a big difference. Even if you choose a semi-frameless shower equipped with stainless steel materials, you are likely to notice some increase in value.
Regardless of which bathroom improvements you make, they tend to have a return on investment (ROI). This means that the increase in value of your home following the bathroom remodel can help you recoup some of the costs spent. This means that you can go all out and opt for the stainless steel materials or glass wall that you really want.
Common Questions About Frameless Glass Shower Doors
If you're considering having a frameless shower door installed, here are a few of the most common questions we have received:
How Do I Prevent My Frameless Shower From Leaking?
When installed correctly, frameless shower doors don't leak. However, it is important that you choose the right type and size of shower door. A good-quality shower door can make all the difference in the world. In addition to choosing the right door, it is also important to position the showerhead in the right location.
You don't want it to spray directly on the door. Shower doors should be placed adjacent to the showerhead to prevent water from escaping the area.
Are Frameless Showers Safe?
The safety of sliding shower doors depends on correct installation. As long as the door height and shower area are correctly measured and installed, frameless doors are safe.
The biggest concern that people have when it comes to how safe frameless showers are is if the glass suddenly breaks. This is because many people have recognized that heat can cause the glass to expand. We are also taught that a single crack in a windshield can suddenly worsen, leading to a dangerous situation. However, there is no increased risk of a shower glass wall breaking.
How Glass Doors are Made
It can be helpful to look at how glass doors are made when considering any concerns. The glass used in a shower wall or door is not the same glass that is used in other glass materials. It is actually a type of tempered glass that does not shatter in the same way. This type of glass is also more resistant to high heat.
During its manufacturing, shower doors undergo a lengthy process. In this process, the glass is heated and cooled numerous times, to ensure that it is flexible enough to withhold hot and steamy shower temperatures.
Finally, because the glass shower door is made with a different process, it does not shatter or break in the same way as traditional glass. Instead, if the glass wall shatters or does break, it actually diminishes into small pieces.
You might be surprised to learn that the same glass that is used in these showers is also used in coffee makers. Considering coffee makers undergo high heat temperatures, it may give you more trust.
How to Ensure Safety After Installing a Shower Door
If you are still concerned about the safety of your glass shower, there are things that you can do to ensure it:
- Avoid slamming the door
- Be gentle when opening and closing the door
- Choose the right supplier
- Choose the right dimensions for your shower
Minor opening and closing of your door, or normal wear and tear, should not affect the shower's structure and make it less than safe. However, the supplier and accurate dimensions are crucial.
Shop around and find the best supplier and shop for your needs. You can still save on costs by taking advantage of deals without sacrificing the quality.
How Do I Choose the Right Frameless Shower?
With safety and design concerns, some customers have questions about how to choose the best frameless shower.
With so many frameless doors in the market, it can feel overwhelming to choose the right one. As long as you pay close attention to your measurements, most people are satisfied with their shower.
You might also choose a frameless shower door design with a good reputation. One good option is the Dreamline Enigma. The Dreamline is fully frameless, offers an updated design, and is sure to improve your bathroom.
What Is the Biggest Difference Between a Framed and Frameless Shower Door?
As you begin your bathroom remodel, you might wonder if the differences between a framed and frameless shower are worth it.
The biggest difference between a framed and frameless shower door is the design. Frameless shower doors give you more room and whether you go with frosted or clear glass, they can significantly improve the look of your bathroom. Pair them with stainless steel hardware and you won't even recognize the bathroom.
Some homeowners may also choose a semi-frameless shower door. Both are a great choice, but the fully frameless door can make things like accessibility and cleaning easier. Shower curtains can easily accumulate rust from hard water and often have to be replaced.
A shower can also be semi frameless. A semi frameless shower has a fixed panel with a metal area that supports the glass wall. This is in comparison to a fully frameless shower which is made fully of glass materials. A framed door may also be easier when it comes to installation. You can usually expect the frameless shower to be a bit more expensive and timelier to finish, but it also tends to create a more modern and open design.
As you begin to shop for shower doors, you will find that most are fully frameless. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of a fully frameless shower is that it does not have the many nooks and crannies that allow water and debris to pool up in and lead to grime, that other types often have.
When a Semi-Frameless Shower May be Necessary
In some cases, it may be best to go with a semi-frameless shower. This offers a blended look that allows you to maintain the structure of your wall. It is ideal in bathrooms that require some amount of metal framing. A semi-frameless shower can also be a good option if you want to upgrade your bathroom but are on a limited budget.
How Long Does it Take to Install a Frameless Shower Door?
How long it takes to have your frameless shower door installed will vary, depending on many important factors. For one, the type of shower door and your current setup can determine how difficult installation is. If you are having your door professionally designed, you are subject to the companies availability and schedule also.
In some cases, you can have your door installed on a single day or weekend. Once your new shower is installed and the redesign is complete, you will have a bathroom that looks and feels brand new.
Is a Frameless Shower Door Worth the Investment?
In most cases, a frameless shower door is worth the investment. Not only can it increase the value of your home but it can also offer more accessibility to your bathroom.
With many of the top frameless options, like the Dreamline Engima, having a limited lifetime warranty, you have further confidence that your investment is protected.
What Are the Best Frameless Shower Doors?
The best frameless shower door is one that fits your space and style. You can easily achieve a sleek design with the bathroom's new design while also taking your showers to the next level.
Whether you're in the market for a fully frameless shower, or you just want to upgrade the design of your guest bathroom with a partially frameless shower, you have a lot of options. Either way, changing out your traditional shower and bathtub combination with a fully frameless shower with stainless steel hardware can make a big difference.