Bathroom remodels can be a lot of fun! There are so many aspects of bathroom renovations and endless options. Typical bathroom remodels involve updated flooring, wall finishes, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and vanities. According to recent data published by HGTV, bathroom remodels return as much as 100% of the money invested into them, making them a good place for homeowners and flippers to splurge on their budgets. If you are thinking about renovating the bathrooms in your home, don’t skip out on updating your shower by incorporating frameless shower doors into your design.
What is a frameless shower door?
There’s been a big buzz about frameless shower doors for several years now, but let’s discuss exactly what they are. Frameless showers are made using tempered glass in widths of three-eighths to one-half an inch thick. Because the glass is engineered to be heavier and sturdier than older versions of shower glass, it can stand alone without a frame to keep it in place. Instead of frames, professional installers use metal fasteners, hinges and tracks to give them the functionality they need.
These shower enclosures offer many benefits that make them an attractive feature in modern bathroom design. The unobstructed view allows for an easy gaze at tile work and tub & shower fixtures. They visually disappear into the room which makes it feel more open and airy. Additionally, frameless enclosures provide a sense of spaciousness for those inside of tubs and showers. They eliminate the feeling of being closed in by shower curtains and glass doors with heavy metal framing.
Choosing the Right Shower Door Design
Selecting the right shower door for your space is as much a factor of function as it is style. It’s important that when designing your shower enclosure, you choose a door that will look and work great in your bathroom.
Sliding Frameless Shower Doors
Sliding shower doors (also known as bypass doors) are an excellent choice for bathrooms of any size. Whether your bathroom is an extremely tight space or an expansive one, a sliding door design can work well for you. Sliding doors are especially common in narrow bathrooms and tub/shower combo designs due to their space-saving qualities. In traditional sliding shower door systems, two or more tempered glass panels are set inside of two aluminum tracks. One track is fixed at the top and the other at the bottom. The bottom track is the mechanism that allows the doors to slide past one another, hence the name bypass. However, with the latest innovations in frameless sliding shower door design, the glass is suspended from dual hangers the securely grip them while totally concealing the sliding mechanisms within the header. This allows for eliminating the bottom track in many designs.
Space and functionality are two of the most important considerations in bathroom design. Each door in the bathroom must have a proper door-swing area in which cabinet, entrance, closet and shower doors must be able to fully open without being obstructed by another object. Most homeowners and designers choose sliding doors because they either lack the proper door-swing space. However, many people simply choose them because they love the look of the new header design.
The Pros and Cons of Frameless Sliding Shower Doors
Let’s review the top benefits sliding shower doors provide:
- They are space-saving
- They work well for tub/shower combination units
- They can provide large openings for accessibility accommodations
- Towel bars may be installed directly on the outside doors
- Safer for use by children
While the benefits are great, there are still a few cons to consider:
- If there are bottom tracks, they tend to collect water and soap scum
- They require somewhat frequent cleaning
Standalone Frameless Shower Doors (Swinging & Pivot)
A standalone shower is more commonly referred to as a walk-in or freestanding shower. For all intents and purposes, the terms walk-in and freestanding shower serve to distinguish this type of unit from showers installed above a bathtub. Because this type of shower eliminates the need for a bathtub, they can be built in a variety of sizes and placed virtually anywhere within a bathroom. For the purpose of comparing and contrasting these showers from sliding shower doors, we will discuss swinging and pivot doors in standalone designs.
Swinging shower doors are doors that open outwards and are affixed by metal hinges to a wall or stationery piece of glass, eliminating the need for a top header. When a wall is nearby the standalone shower, the most common swinging door in frameless design is the side-mount hinge.
Pivot shower doors, like swinging, are attached to hinges, yet they are quite different. Pivot hinges are more popular when standalone showers are not bordered by a wall. In modern bathroom design, freestanding showers may be placed in the center of a room. For these types of frameless designs, pivot hinges must be mounted floor to ceiling, in order to give the standalone shower the structural support it needs. Pivot doors can open in or out.
The Pros and Cons of Frameless Standalone Shower Doors
Let’s review the top benefits standalone shower doors provide:
- They provide design flexibility
- They work best for walk-in com/freestanding shower units
- They can provide large openings for accessibility accommodations
- They require less cleaning than some sliding doors due to no bottom track
- They are wheelchair accessible due to minimal threshold
Here are a few cons you may want to consider:
- Towel bars may obscure the design
- They are more easily damaged by aggressive opening & closing
- They are not as kid-friendly as sliding doors
- They don’t work well in narrow bathrooms
4 Tips For Choosing a Shower Door Enclosure
To help with your decision-making process, here are a few tips to guide you in determining which type of frameless shower door will work best in your bathroom:
- Measure 30 inches of clearance for shower door-swing space.
- Use a level to determine whether or not your walls are plumb (straight). If the bubble is in the center, your walls are plumb.
- Consider the age and agility of individuals who will use your new shower.
- Even if you’re considering a DIY project, consult a professional.
Same Day Frameless Shower Doors of Houston provides all content for informational purposes only. Always consult a licensed, insured and reputable glass installation company that can accurately assess your specific needs. Choosing a licensed and bonded company ensures compliance with local building codes. Never attempt to cut or install glass without the help of professionals. For more information, contact us.