Why are so many homeowners choosing to upgrade their bathrooms with frameless glass shower doors? Are these specialty shower enclosures worth the cost? Their aesthetic appeal and high level of functionality cause many Americans to say yes. The truth is, fully frameless showers offer what their counterparts cannot: an unimpeded view of your tile, elimination of nooks and crannies that make cleaning difficult, and an open, airy ambiance that’s unmatched by other enclosures.
The price of frameless shower doors varies by locale and is also dependent upon a number of factors such as size, glass type, and whether you choose a custom enclosure or purchase a DIY kit. Shower door kits are offered by home improvement stores and online retailers. These homeowner-installed frameless shower doors can range in price from several hundred dollars to upwards of $1000. Custom glass showers, on the other hand, are tailored to your home and preference and have a higher price point.
The primary appeal of do-it-yourself glass shower enclosures is their relatively low cost. On the flip side, carrying out the installation can be very doable or a real headache depending on skill level and shower conditions. Certain shower conditions such as corners that are out of square or surfaces that are not level can result in a sub-par finished product when you have to make stock size sheets of glass “fit” in these spaces. Gaps and/or huge caulk joints detract from the upscale look that led you to choose a frameless shower door in the first place.
See Also: Cost Range for Frameless Shower Doors
Custom shower doors are different from shower door kits in a few key ways:
As with all products, there are pros and cons to custom frameless shower doors, and one con is the heftier price tag that goes along with these attractive features. Northern Virginia homeowners, for instance, will often pay $1000 to $3000+ for a custom frameless shower door. However, this price includes professional installation, which reduces the stress of home improvement and safeguards the safety and quality of the finished project. Installation by trained glaziers is important for frameless showers in particular since the thick tempered glass used in their construction is very heavy and will not be supported by metal frames.
It is important to keep in mind that, along with your specific location, the following factors will affect your price point:
The bottom line is this: If you’re investing the time and money to remodel your bathroom, it’s wise to consider upgrading to a frameless glass shower enclosure.
See Also: Frameless Glass Shower Door Guide
As you peruse your options for glass shower doors, it is important to understand the various types of doors and enclosures currently on the market. There are tons of options from which to choose, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed!
Types of Doors:
For starters, let’s look at the three framing options:
Can be conveniently broken down into two general categories: swinging and sliding. Depending on the size and shape of the shower enclosure as well as homeowner preferences, a shower can have a single swinging door or a set of double doors. Each door panel will be attached to an adjacent wall by means of metal hinges, and vinyl seals will be utilized for water containment. If you are considering swinging door(s), keep in mind the clearance needed for the door(s) to open without hitting anything or blocking access to a cabinet or fixture. Per building codes, this type of door must be installed so that it can open outward even if it can also swing inward.
For this reason, as well as personal tastes, some home decorators prefer sliding glass shower doors. In the past, all sliding options were bypass shower doors, a design that is always framed or semi-frameless. This meant that the space efficiency of a sliding door system could only be achieved at the cost of foregoing a fully frameless enclosure.
Today, innovative frameless shower enclosure systems, such as barn style sliding glass shower doors make it possible to enjoy the best of both worlds. Fans of HGTV and home décor blogs know that a barn style door consists of a door panel that hangs from and glides along a metal bar. These doors are already popular substitutes for traditional interior doors when home decorators want something space-friendly and in keeping with modern décor trends. You can bring these same appealing traits to your bathroom with a frameless shower door of the same style.
Are made from frameless glass and operate by means of rollers that move along a metal bar near the top of the enclosure. The door panel is hung next to a fixed wall of glass and slides in front of it to open. Additional glass panels are added to the shower as needed to create a complete enclosure. For extra-large showers, glaziers can install a set of double barn style doors flanked by stationary pieces of glass.
Another distinction that can help you navigate the shower door world is bathtub doors versus shower doors for a stall with no tub. Glass professionals can install frameless tub doors as well as build frameless enclosures from the floor up. As you decide between bathtub shower doors and a shower-only enclosure consider the following questions:
Next, let’s look at some of the other designations used to describe shower door options in the glazing world.
Shower doors are available in a range of sizes since enclosures and shower entrances can be large or small. Some common shower doors sizes follow, with the width stated first:
Keep in mind that available door size also depends on the type of door/enclosure you choose. A glass professional can help you determine the ideal door dimensions for your specific shower area.
Shower doors are typically constructed from tempered glass for safety and durability, but many different styles of tempered glass are available. Clear tempered glass is far and away the most popular choice for frameless shower enclosures or several reasons.
Many glass companies offer upgrades for clear glass. At ABC Glass and Mirror, for instance, customers can choose between standard clear glass and ultra-clear. Ultra-clear glass has reduced iron content which minimizes the greenish coloration that occurs at the edges of glass panels. Alternatively, clients can opt for clear ShowerGuard glass which is permanently sealed to prevent corrosion, discoloration, and staining. ShowerGuard glass preserves the clarity of your glass by keeping it clean longer and making it easier to care for.
However, for reasons of privacy or aesthetics, homeowners sometimes prefer another type of glass for a frameless shower. Additional possibilities include:
Installing shower doors – frameless or otherwise – involves a process designed to ensure that the glass fits correctly in the shower area. The glass shower installation process outlined below is the one utilized by ABC but is probably similar to what you will encounter with glass companies nationwide.
Once you’ve had frameless glass shower doors installed, you want them to maintain their luster and sheen in the years ahead. When it comes to cleaning shower doors, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which means that you should protect your glass before taking the first shower in the new enclosure!
Once you’ve protected your glass, create a routine for maintaining it. An important aspect of this is drying the glass after each shower. To make this as convenient as possible, stash a squeegee in the bathroom. Using the squeegee, family members can dry the glass after showering in just a few minutes. It is important to form this routine because leaving the shower glass wet can expose it to corrosive minerals as well as soap scum.
Shower door glass does get dirty, but avoid the temptation to attack soap scum and hard water stains with harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing pads. These can damage both the glass and metal components of your enclosure. Always use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth along with an approved shower glass cleaner. (Lists are usually available from shower manufacturers and glass companies.) The best shower door cleaner is often a natural option such as a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar or a green cleaning agent like Seventh Generation’s Glass and Surface Cleaner or Sun and Earth Glass Cleaner. Most hardware can be cleaned with a soft cloth and a solution of water and mild dish soap, but anything made of brass should only be wiped with a soft cloth.
See Also: How to Clean Glass Shower Doors
If you ask a realtor how to increase your home’s value, she or he is likely to suggest a bathroom remodel, and one of the best ways to update a bathroom is by adding a frameless glass shower. Moreover, switching from a shower curtain to glass doors is a nice option for a minor bathroom renovation – sprucing things up without gutting the space and starting over! Depending on the housing market, these small-scale improvements can be smarter investments than total makeovers.
Bathroom improvements tend to have a good ROI (return on investment) in general, but even when this is not ideal, nice bathrooms make your home more appealing to prospective buyers. An inviting bathroom can give a home the edge over houses at the same price point with less attractive bathrooms, which is one reason HGTV’s Scott McGillivray says, “Next to the kitchen, the bathroom is the most important room in the house when it comes to resale.” If your bathroom isn’t making an impressive first impression, the addition of a frameless glass shower will give it a real boost. Clear, frameless doors add upscale flair, make the bathroom seem larger, and update the feel of the room.
So how much do frameless shower doors cost? With prices ranging from several hundred to several thousand, the answer really depends on what you want for your home. Some of the biggest factors in determining cost are:
It’s helpful to decide on the basic type of enclosure you want – neo-angle, right angle, tub doors, etc. – and then prioritize the specific features that appeal to you, such as protected glass or a steam shower. You can then contact local glass companies for specific pricing options. Feel free to take a look at the ABC Glass and Mirror frameless shower doors page for more information on these trending shower enclosures.