Ideas for Picking the Right Shower Door

If your shower door has been dropped or damaged, you can still repair it  But if you’re tired of your old shower door, if you’re remodeling your bathroom, or if you’re installing a new shower – shopping for a shower door should be the next to-do on your list. And with the many options you can find on the market; you might get overwhelmed.

Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right shower door:

1. Set a standard with the shower door that you want.

Because all bathrooms are different, you have to establish some clear expectations and standards when shopping for a shower door. If you are simply replacing a shower door for an existing bathroom, take a look around your bathroom and decide where you want the door’s hardware and track to be, and match it with the finishes already there. For instance, if you have silver faucets and silver toilet flushes, you may want to go for a shower door with silver hardware.

If you’re having a fresh start, make sure it coordinates with other items in your bathroom. Set up a plan for a design theme and aesthetic you want to achieve, as well as the color scheme you want for your new bathroom.

Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • How much space do I have?
  • How much privacy do I need with the shower?
  • How accessible does my shower need to be?
  • What aesthetic am I going for?
  • How much is my budget?
  • Answer these simple questions to simplify your search.

2. Measure your space.

Take careful measurements of your space to make sure it will fit your space. Write it down on a notebook or your phone’s notepad app, so you can get back to it when you’re shopping. No matter how lovely and perfect a shower door is – if it doesn’t fit your space, it will do you no good.

Measure both the height and the width of your current shower door or planned door space. Measure it to the nearest 1/16th of an inch at the widest point. It’s also advisable to measure in several different places – the width at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom of the shower door. Hopefully, all three would match up, but if not, always go with the biggest measurement.

3. Choose from framed or frameless doors.

Frameless doors are all the rage when it comes to bathroom trends today. For one, they look nice because the seamless design looks minimalistic and modern. It allows you to show off your shower interiors, especially if you installed gorgeous tile walls and a sleek showerhead.

Besides the aesthetics, frameless doors also benefit a homeowner by being easier to clean. They are resistant to molds because they have fewer crevices for molds to sneak into. The lack of frames also means there are fewer areas for soap scum to build upon. Scrubbing the frameless shower door is rarely needed – all you need is to wipe it down regularly.

But for a door to last long without a frame, it must be made of thicker, higher-quality glass like tempered glass, so expect frameless doors to be costlier. Also, there is no room for error when installing this type of door properly – even the slightest gaps in the panels increase the risk of water leaking out of the shower and for the draft to enter. So, when choosing a frameless door, you need the help of a professional to install it, which adds to the already high cost. Generally, a frameless shower costs twice as much as a basic, metal-enclosed shower door.

Meanwhile, a framed shower door is made of glass, with an aluminum frame installed as an additional barrier to protect the rest of the bathroom from being splashed on. You will need extra diligence to clean a shower door frame because it can accumulate soap and scum buildup. Plus, a framed door gives a more traditional and old-fashioned look.

The plus side of having a framed door is that you will have a smaller chance of leaks than getting a frameless door. You also get the opportunity to match the metal with other hardware in the bathroom to create a more cohesive style. Also, framed doors have versatile installation methods that can fit over any existing shower design.

Framed shower doors are also more affordable, and you can choose from designs that can be as eye-catching as their frameless counterparts.

If you can’t make up your mind, semi-frameless doors are also available. It’s a great choice if you like the contemporary look of a frameless one, but the layout of your bathroom or your budget won’t allow it.

4. Decide if a hinged or a sliding door is suitable for your shower.

Sliding doors are great whether your bathroom has a bathtub/shower combination or is lacking space. Because the slider is built into the frame of the shower, there’s no need to consider the space for the shower door to open. It’s the perfect option if space is an issue, but if your shower or bathtub is on the smaller side, it might not be an option. Usually, sliding glass doors are designed for stalls that are at least 60 inches wide.

If you have a narrower stall, you may have difficulty finding a sliding door model that will fit. If this is your case, then a hinged door is the best option. Hinged doors are also great in bathrooms, with sufficient space for the door to open.

Hinged shower doors work like any household door – they open either inward or outward. A popular design is a fixed panel with a hinged door attached. The panel protects a portion of the shower, while a door offers access from inside and out.

In most cases, shower doors open out. But it’s possible to install doors that open inward if it’s the better option. When choosing a hinged door, make sure that it has sufficient space inside the shower area if it opens inward. If it opens outward, check if there will be sufficient space to use the toilet and sink while the shower door is open.

5. Pick your shower glass.

Decide on the type of glass you prefer for your shower door: the material, opacity, and design.

For starters, you’ve got tempered glass and laminated glass. Most shower doors are made with tempered glass, which is the same kind of glass used in car windshields. In rare cases, laminated glass is also used. Laminated glass is made of a layer of plastic in between, which can help catch any glass if the door were to break.

After choosing the glass material, decide on its opacity. If you are looking for a shower door for a shared bathroom, it’s best to choose a frosted glass panel. It offers privacy, and it allows other people to use the sink or the toilet while someone is using the bathtub or shower. It’s also easier to maintain, as the frosty tint conceals grime and water spots.

On the other hand, clear glass shower doors open up space and make the room appear larger. It doesn’t offer privacy, but it does the purpose of keeping other parts of the bathroom dry. It’s a great choice for personal or master’s bedroom showers where privacy is not much of a need. If the natural light from a nearby window energizes your shower, a clear glass door is a classic choice. However, it needs constant cleaning and maintenance to maintain its pristine condition.

If you want privacy but the opaqueness of a frosted glass doesn’t appeal to you, etched glass is also an option. Etched glass combines clear and frosted glass, often with designs and patterns.

6. Set up a budget.

From the start, you must be expecting to spend several hundred dollars on a new shower door. The cheapest kind can range anywhere from $100-$800, and these are generally the kind of shower doors that you install on a bathtub. Framed shower doors usually go for anywhere between $200-$1,000.

Things start to get more expensive when you choose custom shower doors. If your bathroom and shower have an unusual size and proportion, a custom door might be your only option.