While there are many integral parts of the average bathroom, the shower is one of the most important. After all, showers help keep us clean, but they can also help raise property values and increase the functionality of your bathroom.
If you’re got a walk-in shower, chances are at some point you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to install some kind of shower door to complete your enclosure. If you go to a home improvement store, you’ll see all kinds of configurations of shower doors, but they generally come down to framed glass or frameless glass and both styles have their benefits.
If you’re in the market for shower doors, here are some things to look out for as you shop:
- Material: The doors for a framed shower and a frameless shower are usually made from easily cleaned tempered glass. If you opt for a framed glass shower, those doors are typically made of thinner glass in order for your door frame to support the door. In this case, the glass is usually sealed into the door frame for protection against leaks.
If you opt for a frameless shower, the doors used are thicker since you don’t have a frame there for support. Instead, hinges, door pulls and clips are set into the glass and silicone is caulked around the edges in order to seal it. To protect against leaks, doors for a frameless shower usually have a rubber sweep at the bottom.
- Costs: Regardless of which style you choose, both of them cost money. The price you pay is going to depend not only on which style you choose, but the height of the door, the glass type, the door’s size and whether or not your order is custom.
For comparison’s sake, a framed shower door that slides and fits a 60-inch standard shower will run about $300-$400, when you factor in the cost of the door and the installation cost.
A frameless shower glass door for a 60-inch shower is likely to be higher; somewhere around $600 or $800 for the door and possibly another $300 to $400 for installation.
- Installation: Once you’ve determined which kind of door you want, call a company that does glass and mirror installations. You don’t want to leave anything to chance. Professionals will come and take exact measurements of your shower and create a template before anything is installed.
Installing a door for a frameless glass shower is typically a bit more labor intensive, since there’s no frame to support it. As a result, your door needs to be installed perfectly level to avoid sagging. It needs to be caulked just right to prevent leaks as well. Overall, installation of a frameless shower door can take three to four hours.
Framed doors are easier to put up since the glass is thinner and door rests on a frame. Caulking is still required to secure the door frame and prevent leakage. Installation of a framed shower door usually takes an hour or two.
- Style: One benefit of both framed and frameless doors is that you have options for what can be installed in your shower. Framed systems and frameless systems are the two basic options for how showers and glass partition walls will be constructed, but with doors you can have them patterned or frosted or bronzed among other options.
For framed doors, the most common option is a sliding door and admittedly, the options here are more limited. For frameless doors, you can have panels that move off of stationary panels on hinges, allowing you to create a custom look for your shower.
- Maintenance: For both kinds of doors, there are things to watch out for. With framed doors on a track, you want to watch out for metal corrosion and mold growth. Frameless doors on the other hand typically don’t have mold and mildew problems since they don’t collect water. With proper upkeep, both styles of door can last 20-30 years.
If you’re in the market for shower doors, it pays to do your research. By taking time to consider space constraints, style, cost and installation factors, you’ll be able to find just what you need for your bathroom.