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Do heavy glass shower doors need to be installed by professionals or can I do it myself?


Obviously, the answer to this question hinges on one's talent and abilities. Some people buy these products and have their own general contractors install them. Planning and constructing the correct opening is paramount to a successful installation of the glass.

Submitting accurate dimensions is the only way you will get the correct fit. Today more than ever, homeowners are tackling more remodeling projects on their own and with a surprising rate of success. There is no reason that these shower door projects are any different than other bathroom products.

However, if you are truly a "mechanical novice", we highly suggest you hire a professional. Otherwise check out Shower Guide to Success™ for additional help.


What is considered a standard shower door size?


The shower door industry as a whole does not have a “standard size”, especially in frameless shower doors.

We carefully match hardware capacity with door size and weight to maximize both safety and value. To get the most for your money, choose a 28″ wide door and a height of either 72″ or 78″. If these sizes do not work within your overall design, we can easily build any size that you need.


How do I keep the metal parts clean and free from corrosion?


Keeping the aluminum framing clean and free from corrosion is a primary reason for the growing popularity of frameless or all glass showers. The metal parts of any shower door should be constructed of either solid brass or aluminum.

Solid brass components are usually plated in the finish you choose, while aluminum components are typically annodized in the finish you choose. The finishing technique is done to protect the metal from deterioration from water.

These components should only be cleaned with a mild soap (no glass cleaners with amonia) and a soft cloth. What destroys the finish and leads to the metal corroding is the cleaning agent. Any product designed to clean ceramic tile, grout, or most shower wall surfaces will destroy the metal finish if not rinsed away after coming in contact with the metal. Unfortunately, the manufacturers of these products do not tell us this on the package.

Lastly, painted (or powder coated) finish on the metal is another option. These finishes however are very susceptible to scratching.

Read more about the effect of various cleaners on shower door metal in our Care & Maintenance section.


What can I really expect from a “steam shower”?


In reality, a frameless “steam shower” will never contain 100% of the steam. There are various sized steam generators and their capacity should always be matched to the size of the shower. Putting an oversized steam generator in a small area provides no benefit to the user.

If you must have a frameless look for the shower door, the use of some additional vinyls and seals will help – but only in the same way they help to contain water. Steam is more difficult to contain than water and you should therefore expect some steam to escape. With adequate ventilation in the room, this should not cause a problem nor ruin the experience.


Are all sliding shower doors so flimsy and noisy?


The quality of many sliding shower doors is substandard. However, they fulfill a need for a larger market of people due to the price.

The concept of frameless sliding doors came to market in the last 20 years and introduced a whole new level of quality to the product. To get a sliding door that is solid, a glass size of 3/8″ or ½" needs to be used. Every component in these products needs to be “beefed up” to carry the weight of the heavier glass, especially the header at the top.

The thicker glass combined with the higher quality hardware will result in a product that is smoother, more substantial, and quieter. You can expect to pay around $1000 for an entry level product.


What's better to hold glass panels in place - glass clips or channel?


Some glass panels are held in place with a small channel while some are supported with a wall clamp or clip. Is one better than the other?

One is not really better than the other. It is purely a matter of preference and aesthetics. We prefer to use channel in the majority of our applications. Channel tends to be less expensive for the following reasons:

  • The fabrication costs of doing extra polishing and cutting additional holes and notches are eliminated when using channel.

  • The aluminum channel costs about 1/3 that of the solid brass clips.

Additionally, channel allows greater flexibility to obtain the perfect fit, especially important for the DIY customer. Lastly, if you want the best chance for your frameless shower to not leak, the channel will provide that insurance.


We have a large shower and I was thinking of simply having some glass panels near the shower heads but not having a door. Is this something people do?


Why yes, yes they do. Those glass panels are referred to as "splash" panels. Surprisingly, people do this often, and not necessarily always in large showers. The majority of these are sold for standard tub units about 30" wide.

The only drawback to not having a door is that you may discover that the shower area is cold due to heat escaping through the large doorless opening. Air flow patterns within the home will determine whether this happens. It's smart to plan the design so that a door may be added in the future if you experience the problem.


Is a "frameless" shower door truly frameless?


A single swing door in heavier glass (3/8" or 1/2" thick) is truly frameless and the only visible metal would be the two hinges and the handle. All four edges of the glass would be exposed.

However, when you begin to add secondary fixed glass panels combined with the door, these panels require some metal hardware so that they will remain in place securely. Unlike framed products, the hardware for frameless products (aluminum channels, headers, etc.) is more streamlined and has a smaller profile.

Since the framing is minimal compared with standard framed products, these products are called "frameless" while only the door is truly frameless in most cases.


Our designer told us to use obscure or frosted glass because clear glass is too hard to keep clean and to maintain. Is this true?


Today, clear glass can be kept cleaner than ever before. To begin with, the quality of your water will directly affect your maintenance. Hard water can be cured with the addition of a water softener.

Taking a few moments to squeegee the glass after showering will cut your maintenance some 80%, even without a water softener.

Additionally, there are many sealants available that will protect the glass from staining or buildup. One such product that we offer is Clearshield. Clearshield not only protects the glass but also makes it easier to clean. When you use Clearshield's Aftercare product (at least once a month), the warranty is extended to 10 years.

You've spent good money to make the shower beautiful - show it off and take the proper steps to insure your investment.


Is a header bar across the top of my shower really necessary?


The question as to whether one needs a header bar installed across the top of the glass panels in a frameless shower is purely one of safety and function. Unfortunately, our industry as a whole struggles with this issue and has failed to create a universal code or standard as to when a header is absolutely required.

Buyer Beware:
Most experienced glass companies (20+ years) will tell you to always have a header because we truly know the dangers of glass and because we've been building custom shower enclosures for a long time. More less experienced companies are popping up all the time that will sell you a heavy glass shower door at a cheaper price and will install it however you ask. Even though the glass is tempered safety glass, if not installed correctly it can cause serious damage to you and your bathroom.

Some configurations absolutely require a header while others may not. Every year, new hardware pieces are developed to better support glass panels without the need for a header. It's best to leave it to the experts to help you determine whether a header is needed for your particular situation. Silicon should never be considered as a sole means of support. By-pass or standard sliding type doors will have a header 99% of the time as it is the only support for the glass panels.

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