For new shower installations, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is the style or type of shower door. One popular option is the frameless glass shower door.
Learn the pros and cons of choosing this style of shower door.
The only hardware frameless shower doors use is that which attaches it to the shower.
Pro: Frameless shower doors can be customized
Most frameless models are custom glass shower doors, which means you aren’t limited to mass-produced shower doors at a standard size. This adds more flexibility to your shower installation. In fact, customization is one of the important factors in purchasing a frameless shower door.
“The crucial thing [when choosing a frameless shower door] is the measure and install,” says Bill Smith, owner of Dr. Shower Door & Mirrors in Indianapolis. “Typically, in the [frameless] doors we do, the glass is not square. When you go to measure, if you show up with square glass, it won’t fit. We order glass to one-sixteenth of an inch of the measurement.”
Keep in mind, though, that since it is custom-made, it could be costly to change your mind halfway through the bathroom remodel.
Con: Frameless shower doors cost more
Frameless shower doors often require the use of thicker glass in order to stay in place without the sturdiness of a frame. Because they can weigh 80 to 100 pounds, according to Smith, frameless shower doors also require sturdier hardware, such as solid brass, to hold them in place.
Frameless shower doors have an aesthetic appeal.
Pro: Frameless glass shower doors look better
Framed shower doors tend to look bulky because the edges are covered in rubber, metal or some other form of a seal.
Frameless shower doors don’t have those eyesore additions, giving the shower a clean, fresh look.
“It’s a beautiful solution,” says Chris Dearborn, marketing specialist with Oasis Shower Doors in Avon, Connecticut. “It’s minimal. It’s pure glass. It’s almost like a fish tank, instead of having any kind of heavy frame or gasketing that you see with semi-frameless or fully framed.”
If your bathroom remodel includes a beautiful, intricate shower tile design, the frameless glass shower door can also help to showcase it.
Con: Frameless shower doors may sacrifice function
Where frameless shower doors excel in aesthetics, they can sometimes lack in performance.
Framed shower doors typically include rubber or seals around the edges to bind the door with the shower wall and floor, preventing leaks. Frameless doors, however, don’t have these protective seals around them.
This means that unless the door is cut to fit perfectly, there could be gaps between the door and other areas of the shower, which may allow water to splash onto your bathroom floor. Experts say shower design is important when considering a frameless shower door.
“Most people who have a problem with a shower leaking is with the shower design,” Dearborn says. “They have shower heads aimed at the door instead of putting them at the opposite wall to stay away from the door.”
Dearborn adds that his company tries to get involved as early as possible in the shower installation process to prevent a homeowner from picking a design that won’t work. It’s also important to hire a professional to custom-make your door instead of buying one from a hardware store.
“They expect it to be like a fish tank, but it’s a door. It opens. It’s got to have some gapping,” Dearborn says. “But when they try to do the gapping, they try to do only 1/16 or 1/32 of an inch to avoid using gaskets.”
Pro: Frameless shower doors minimize mold risks
Frameless shower doors minimize the number of places water can collect and mold can grow in your shower.
With framed shower doors, you run the risk of water build-up underneath the door’s seals, allowing mold and mildew to form. Frameless shower doors don’t have these risky areas. They also are easier to keep clean.
“It’s the easiest door and the easiest enclosure to clean,” Dearborn says. “You only need a squeegee. You don’t scrub the glass. You do a simple wip and squeegee. Once it’s wiped, it’s crystal clear again.”
This article was originally published at Angie’s List.