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Frameless glass showers are one of the hottest looks in bathroom design today. They offer unsurpassed style, convenience, and ease of cleaning along with a look that matches any color scheme and a wide variety of décor themes.

This handy guide offers everything you need to know about design options, customization, installation processes, and more.

  1. Frameless shower definition – what makes a door or enclosure frameless?
  2. Why are frameless showers more popular than traditional framed units?
  3. Frameless shower screens offer a simple, open design.
  4. Rolling “barn style” shower door systems combine space efficiency and frameless construction.
  5. Swinging frameless door panels open up more possibilities.
  6. Make your design idea a reality with a custom enclosure.
  7. The glass and metal can be tailored to your preferences and needs.
  8. Having frameless glass showers installed can be simple and easy.
  9. Optimize your enclosure’s longevity with proper care and cleaning.
Roomy custom frameless shower

Frameless shower definition – what makes a door or enclosure frameless?

Frameless shower and tub enclosures keep glass front and center, whereas framed systems include a lot more metal in the form of aluminum framing. On a frameless unit, most or all of the glass edges are free of metal. When constructing this type of enclosure, glaziers use thicker glass – 3/8” or 1/2” – to provide the necessary rigidity and stability. The pieces of glass are connected to each other and adjoining walls by means of small metal clips, hinges, and caulk joints as appropriate. In summary, the features you can expect on a frameless unit are:

•     Minimal metal

•     Heavy glass

•     Unframed sheets of glass

In some situations, a header is installed across the top of a frameless unit. A header might be needed in order to achieve a specific look or to safely install the shower in a particular structural situation. While they are usually made of metal, you can order a double rolling door system with a header made of laminated tempered glass. With or without a header, a frameless shower or tub enclosure is an effective tool for updating a bathroom design.

Why are frameless showers more popular than traditional framed units?

Framed glass shower enclosures have been around for a long time. Many of us are familiar with them from our childhood – framed sections of patterned glass sliding open in metal tracking. Today’s preferred styles are less clunky and give both the bathroom and the shower a very open ambiance. Here are a few of the features that make frameless showers so popular.

  • Homeowners order clear frameless shower doors when they want to keep beautiful shower tile visible throughout the bathroom.
  • The expanse of glass unbroken by the start and stop of metal framing looks sleek and modern.
  • Clear frameless shower enclosures make it feel like you’re showering in a spacious area, even if the stall itself is no larger than average.
  • Clear frameless glass is the best tool for visually including the shower area in the overall scope of the bathroom, which makes it seem larger and more airy.
  • Frameless shower construction does away with the many nooks and crannies found on showers with more metal, and this makes drying and cleaning the enclosure a simpler and easier process.

If you’re looking to boost the resale appeal of your home, want your bathroom to be more of a home spa, or just need to update the room, a frameless shower offers an appealing blend of aesthetic appeal, luxury, and functionality.

Frameless showers make a room look larger.

Frameless shower screens offer a simple, open design.

Sometimes simple is best. If you want to maximize available space or provide continuity between the shower and the rest of the bathroom, a frameless tub or shower screen is a great option. A screen consists of a single sheet of glass installed to contain water and delineate the shower area. Even such a simple shower enclosure can be personalized:

  • The screen can be installed so that it is immovable, or it can be hinged on one side to swing open as desired.
  • The corners are either left square or rounded off to form radius corners.
  • Shower screens can be made from various types of glass.
  • The dimensions and placement of the screen will be tailored to your bathroom design plan.

The simplicity of shower screens makes them perfect for minimalist, Japandi, and contemporary style bathrooms. They offer the same beautiful frameless glass but are lest costly than some of the more complex frameless shower enclosure options. Since a shower screen leaves the entry to the shower open, it is good for accessiblity, especially when combined with a curbless entrance.

Shower screens help make a bathroom look more minimalist

Rolling “barn style” shower door systems combine space efficiency and frameless construction.

In the past, homeowners had to choose between the space efficiency of a gliding door and the benefits of frameless design. Since doors slid along metal tracking, this type of door operation was only available with framed or semi-frameless bypass units. Thanks to innovative shower door mechanisms, the best of both worlds is now possible.

Four examples of different rolling barn style shower doors

Rolling “barn style” shower and tub doors take inspiration from the operation of traditional barn doors, which open by rolling along the metal bar from which they hang. Like traditional bypass doors, these rolling doors require no extra space to open or close. However, they are built from frameless glass in keeping with the latest styles. Rolling “barn style” shower doors are always suspended from and roll along a header that spans the top of the enclosure. However, you can choose from among various options, including:

  • Single door – One moving door panel rolls in front of a fixed panel. One or two 90 degree return panels can also be installed if needed to complete the enclosure. Within the single door category, ABC Glass & Mirror offers the 60 Roller Series, 70 Roller Series, and 80 Roller Series.
  • Dual door – Both panels of glass open by rolling along the header. Stationary glass is only installed if one or more 90 degree return panels are called for.
  • Metal header – The header along which the doors glide is typically made of metal and is available in few different finishes to coordinate with the rest of your bathroom hardware.
  • Glass header – The dual roller “barn style” door is available with a header made of laminated tempered glass. This header passed shocking tests of strength and durability and gives you an enclosure that is almost literally “all glass”.
  • Handle style – A variety of handle styles are available so that you can further tweak the door’s overall look and make it complement your chosen décor.

Rolling “barn style” shower doors are definitely not just for farmhouse-inspired bathrooms. While they look amazing in these, their simple sophisticated style is at home in modern, transitional, and traditional bathrooms alike.

Swinging frameless door panels open up more possibilities.

When space allows, swinging glass shower or tub doors are wonderful for adding elegance and charm to a bathroom. Building codes require swinging doors to open outward into the bathroom (even if they’re also hinged to swing into the shower stall), so you’ll want to evaluate the clearance around the shower area and then choose the appropriate door size.

Example of swinging glass shower door

There are a number of possible configurations for a swinging door shower or tub enclosure:

  • In-line door and panel – A swinging door and a fixed glass panel are installed “in line” with one another.
  • Double doors – One side of the tub or shower is enclosed by a pair of double glass doors.
  • Right angle corner shower – A glass enclosure is installed in the bathroom corner with a swinging door and glass meeting glass and existing walls at 90 degree angles.
  • Neo angle corner shower – An enclosure is constructed in the bathroom corner with a swinging door meeting glass panels on either side at 135 degree angles. These fixed glass panels extend from the existing walls at right angles.

Like other shower and tub enclosure options, swinging door systems can be fitted with additional pieces of stationary glass as needed to fully close off the shower area.

Make your design idea a reality with a custom enclosure.

When working with a custom glass shop such as ABC Glass & Mirror you also have the option of creating a unique shower enclosure, precisely tailored to your practical needs and your design preferences. Shower enclosures can be personalized in regard to:

  • Number of fixed glass panels.
  • Number of operable door panels.
  • Angles at which glass meets glass and/or existing walls.
  • Dimensions of glass pieces.

The truth is, all our showers are custom at ABC Glass & Mirror. Our estimators record exact measurements and observations of your shower area, and then we fabricate the glass in accord with these. If a surface is not perfectly flat, if a wall is out of plumb, if a corner is not exactly square, we make slight modifications to the glass dimensions to accommodate these realities. However, in addition to this customization, you can design a shower enclosure with a special shape, style, or size through the choices you make regarding the options above.

Unique custom glass shower enclosure

On another note, if you are putting in a steam kit, you’ll want to order a glass enclosure suitable for a steam shower. This type of custom enclosure seals up from top to bottom so it can trap the humidity and steam. It is also equipped with a transom which you can open to release steam as desired.

You can start designing any type of glass shower right now with this easy to use “Build Your Dream Shower” tool. To get started, click on the shower type that matches yours and then make your selections and enter your data on each subsequent screen.

The glass and metal can be tailored to your preferences and needs.

Not everyone needs a fully customized enclosure. For instance, you might just want to enclose an existing shower or tub with glass. In this case, you still get to personalize the enclosure through your choice of glass and metal.

  • Clear glass: Clear glass is both trendy and timeless. Its smooth surface is easier to clean than that of textured glass. More importantly, transparent glass is ideal for creating a bright, open bathroom atmosphere. It adds a high end feel and splash of spa-like luxury to any bathroom. Also, with clear glass, the shower enclosure doesn’t hide your chosen shower tile.
  • Ultra-clear glass: Iron is a component of glass, and it’s responsible for the greenish discoloration occurring around glass edges. Ultra-clear glass has reduced iron content to minimize this effect. If you want optimal transparency, ultra-clear glass is the way to go.
  • Patterned glass: Sometimes a more private shower stall is desirable – in a children’s bathroom, for instance. Patterned glass provides a level of privacy as well as a distinctive look. Many options are available ranging from delicate traceries to bold textures.
  • Acid-etched glass: Acid-etched glass is often referred to as “frosted.” This “frosting” can be consistent across the surface of the glass, or it can form a pattern or design. Like patterned glass, acid-edged glass gives you a more secluded shower space.
  • Tinted glass: Some bathroom designs call for tinted glass. Like clear glass, this offers an un-textured surface that simplifies cleaning. ABC Glass & Mirror offers bronze and gray tinted shower glass.

Even frameless shower and tub enclosures have some metal components, such as handles and hinges. Your chosen glass is the palette, and the metal pieces function as accent items against this backdrop. Handle and hinge styles range from simple to fancy, and many finishes are offered so that you can achieve your desired look whether you want the shower to blend in with or stand out from the rest of the bathroom.

Having frameless glass showers installed can be simple and easy.

Making a one size fits all DIY shower door kit work in your bathroom can be frustrating and stressful. Constructing a beautiful frameless shower or tub enclosure involves cutting glass to precise specifications, safely installing heavy sheets of glass, and more. It makes sense to trust a project like this to glass professionals.

If you work with ABC Glass & Mirror, for example, the process begins with a free consultation at your home. Our estimator will visit each bathroom that’s being outfitted with new shower glass and inspect and measure the relevant space. The estimator will note all the appropriate data, and our team will email you a price quote within the next 24-48 hours. You can peruse and consider the quote in the convenience of your home and reach out to us once your decision is made.

Our glass shower team will order and fabricate all that is needed for the construction of your chosen shower or tub enclosure(s). Once everything is good to go, we’ll contact you to schedule the installation. We send out professional installation crews who are trained to safely handle and work with these large sheets of glass. The installers put down drop cloths to protect your bathroom and then install the tub or shower enclosure. After installation, they clean up as needed to leave your space as they found it and then provide instructions for when to start using the unit, etc. Your enclosure is covered by our warranty.

Example of ABC Glass & Mirror crew installing a frameless glass shower enclosure.

Optimize your enclosure’s longevity with proper care and cleaning.

Once you’ve designed the perfect frameless tub or shower enclosure and had it professionally installed, it’s important to properly care for this beautiful fixture. Perhaps the best way to do this is by choosing ShowerGuard glass. Although its surface looks completely flat and non-porous, normal glass actually has an exterior full of microscopic pores. These don’t impact the appearance of the glass when it is new, but they tend to collect soap scum, mineral deposits, and the like over time. When these grimy elements become embedded in the tiny pores, it can be hard to get the glass completely clean. The surface of ShowerGuard glass undergoes ion beam treatment that seals up these pores and makes it resistant to dirt and buildup. ShowerGuard glass is not just easier to clean; it stays clean longer. Depending on your water quality, choosing ShowerGuard may also do away with the need to dry the glass after showering.

If you go with normal glass, it’s advisable to use a spray-on glass protectant at regular intervals to protect the glass from soap residue as well as the potentially damaging and unsightly elements in tap water. Another key step is drying the glass after each shower, which removes many of the problematic elements before they can stain or damage the glass. Keeping a squeegee or basket of absorbent towels near the shower area makes it easier for family members to get into this routine.

Shower glass cleaning tips infographic from ABC Glass & Mirror

Of course cleaning at regular intervals is a must. Be sure to use an approved cleaner in conjunction with a soft cloth or paper towel. Avoid scrubbing powders and harsh chemicals, and never use anything scratchy or abrasive. Improper cleaning products and supplies can permanently damage the shower glass, but regular cleaning with appropriate substances keeps it looking its best!

We invite you to contact our family company!

ABC Glass & Mirror is a veteran owned, family owned and operated glass shop in Manassas Park, VA. We’ve been installing glass showers for homeowners and professional clients for nearly two decades and would be honored to have the chance to earn your business. Give us a call at (703)257-7150 to speak to an in-house glass shower expert or to schedule a free in-home consultation at a mutually agreeable time. Adding a frameless shower or tub enclosure does not have to be stressful or filled with guesswork. The ABC team brings experience, professionalism, and a commitment to customer satisfaction to each job, and we look forward to speaking with you soon!

Four glass shower enclosure examples.

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