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Glass Shower Mistakes and How to Avoid or Correct Them


Learn how to correct – or better yet, avoid – common mistakes in glass shower design. Adding a glass door or enclosure to your shower area is a significant investment, and you don’t want mistakes to detract from the beauty and functionality of the finished product. Doing a bit of research, planning ahead, and consulting with glass professionals can help you avoid costly repairs or replacements.


Mistake: Creating an uncleanable space.

Believe me, an uncleanable space is NOT something you want in a bathroom setting, especially in a section of the room that is exposed to moisture. When adding a new glass shower to a bathroom, homeowners are sometimes tempted to have a piece of glass installed adjacent or very close to a tiled or glass wall. Then, water infiltrates the space in between the shower glass and the other wall, a space that is too small for you to dry or clean. You then end up with a mold and mildew problem that you cannot even reach!


Solution: Correct your shower design.

Before placing your glass shower order, go over the design with a professional who will be on the lookout for problem situations like this. A glazier can suggest adjustments that eliminate the creation of these troublesome gaps where water can get in but you can’t clean. If it seems that there is no way to add a glass shower without ending up in this predicament, call 703-257-7150 and ask for a visit from one of ABC Glass and Mirror, Inc.’s shower door experts. Our glazier can look at your shower area and make recommendations based on years of experience and commitment to your satisfaction with the new shower.


Mistake: A shower head or body spray that faces a seam or gap in the enclosure.

A quality glass shower enclosure will include vinyl seals and caulk joints where needed and will provide a reliable barrier against rogue water droplets. However, no glass shower enclosure is an aquarium, so you want to avoid having jets of water beat against vulnerable areas such as seams between pieces of glass or the hinged side of a swinging door. If the water blasts against these parts of a glass shower enclosure, expect to deal with leakage and a wet floor!


Solution: Position sprays and jets so that they face solid walls of glass or tile.

To achieve a glass shower design that is functional, looks great, and promotes relaxation, you need to successfully integrate the many aspects of the enclosure, the shower apparatus, and any amenities you are adding. This issue of shower head and body spray placement is one example of how each feature must be selected and positioned with the enclosure’s other features in mind. Situate the shower head and any additional sprays where they are aimed at tiled walls or fixed panels of glass. Keep the jets of water away from caulk joints or gaps between door panels and stationary panels.


Mistake: Improper shower curb slope

The slope of the shower curb is a key aspect of successful water containment, so a mistake on this part of a glass shower can be an inconvenient one. The curb should not be level, and above all it should never slope away from the enclosure and toward the bathroom floor. Rather, it should have a 1/8” to 1/4” pitch toward the shower floor. If, instead, it slopes toward the bathroom floor, you will experience water leaking under the door and into your bathroom. This is problematic for a number of reasons, including:

  • Risk of slipping and falling
  • Possible water damage to the bathroom floor (depending on what it is made of)
  • Promotion of mold and mildew
  • Potential issues with rot down the road


Solution: Make sure that your contractor knows you need the curb sloped toward the shower floor.

If you’ve hired out the construction of the shower area, be sure that those who are working on the project know about the importance of the curb’s pitch and slope. Likewise, if you are doing the job yourself, be careful to achieve the necessary 1/8” to 1/4” inward pitch that will prevent water from seeping under the shower door. If it is too late to achieve a correctly sloped shower curb, the problem can be addressed by including a threshold or water dam in the design for your new glass shower enclosure. If you have concerns about your shower curb, schedule a free visit from an ABC Glass and Mirror specialist who can inspect the curb, suggest possible solutions, and give you a price quote.


Mistake: Creating more maintenance than you care to take on.

Some glass shower types do require more care and cleaning than others, so before you select a particular glass shower enclosure, make sure that you’re up to the task of keeping it clean and beautiful. At times it is necessary to balance out various concerns such as cost, style, practical needs, and ease of cleaning. Here are some examples of glass shower choices that require more care:

  • Frosted glass: Glass that is frosted (acid-etched) gives you a more private shower enclosure, which can be desirable, but it is also more difficult to clean due to its textured surface.
  • Cast glass: This glass is deeply textured and is formed by pouring molten glass into a mold. While the look is striking, the deep grooves and prominent ridges can make glass cleaning a more substantial chore.
  • Framed shower doors: These door systems are classic and often affordable. However, the presence of tracking, framing around all the glass, etc. means more nooks and crannies for you keep clean and dry.


Solution: Research the pros and cons of each options and choose a shower enclosure that you can easily maintain.

As you weigh the various options for glass shower doors and enclosures, do more than simply compare styles or look for the cheapest option. Take the time to understand how the possible choices will impact the ease or difficulty of keeping the unit clean. Picks that lead to easier glass shower maintenance include:

  • Clear glass, with its smooth surface.
  • Frameless design the eliminates problematic nooks and crannies.


Mistake: Not protecting the shower glass.

Opting against protected glass will lower the initial cost of your new glass shower. However, it will also mean that the shower glass will need to be cleaned more frequently, will be more difficult to clean, and will be more prone to staining and corrosion. In the long run, the money you saved at the time of purchase may not balance out the extra work required of you or your cleaning personnel.


Solution: Spend a bit more up front but enjoy shower glass that is easier to care for.

Permanently sealed ShowerGuard glass or glass treated with an EnduroShield coating will stay clean longer and be easier to clean and maintain, and the glass will also better resist staining and corrosion. ShowerGuard is glass that has been transformed by ion-beams. Its surface is sealed and free of the tiny pores where soap scum and damaging minerals can so easily collect. With ShowerGuard, you can have confidence that the level of glass protection will always remain what it was on day one.


EnduroShield is an earth-friendly compound that binds to shower glass and protects it. This long-lasting seal repels both water and oil and protects your shower glass from lime scale, stains, and corrosion. EnduroShield is a reliable shower glass protectant that is typically available at a lower price point than ShowerGuard glass.


Mistake: Creating a dated look for your glass shower.

Did you design your glass shower without researching today’s décor trends? Have you realized that picking the same look your parents did 20 years ago has made the bathroom look dated? Of course what you like is more important than what’s in style when it comes to a fixture that you use every day. At the same time, many homeowners do want their living space to have an up-to-date and stylish feel.


Solution: Make small changes to modify the shower’s overall style.

Bring your dated enclosure more in line with today’s looks by replacing the door handle with a one that is sleek and modern. You can also add a few fashionable touches near the enclosure by carefully choosing a new bathmat, robe hooks, and bath towels. Eclectic rooms are popular in modern décor, so don’t worry if you can’t totally update the enclosure. Adding more contemporary elements to a dated shower can create a layered, lived-in look that gives the bathroom’s design depth and warmth.


Mistake: A swinging shower door hazard.

Swinging glass shower doors are a lovely and functional, but they should only be installed if there is enough clearance around the shower area for them to swing open freely. Building codes stipulate that swinging shower doors must be able to open outward into the bathroom, even if they are hung so as to also be able to swing into the enclosure. If the glass door bumps into another fixture when it swings outward, this is an inconvenience and safety hazard, not to mention a risk to your bank account since you may find yourself replacing broken glass.


Solution: Replace the enclosure with a bypass system or a frameless slider.

Replacing the problematic swinging door with a space-friendly alternative will add to the convenience and safety of your bathroom. Here are two alternatives:


  • Bypass doors: On the positive side bypass doors are among the more affordable options. They are appealing for their sliding door operation and the fact that they include two moving door panels. However, these are semi-frameless enclosures, and you should be prepared to keep the metal tracking clean as well as the area where the framing meets the glass.
  • Frameless slider: On the positive side, frameless sliders give you the visual appeal and easier cleaning associated with frameless glass. You will enjoy sliding door operation on a single door panel that slides in front of a fixed panel. Be prepared to clean the metal apparatus along which the door glides and realize that these will typically have a higher price point than a bypass system.


Mistake: Creating an unsightly glass shower by trying to force one-size-fits-all glass into an irregular space.

At times homeowners opt to save money by purchasing Do It Yourself glass shower kits. However, these can be difficult to install in an attractive way if the shower space has non-level surfaces, walls that are are not plumb, and/or corners that are out of square. If you are currently putting up with a glass shower than includes slanted pieces of glass, humongous caulk joints, or the like, this could be a sign that a one-size-fits-all-approach was not the best choice.


Solution: Go with a custom enclosure installed by trusted professionals.

When you decide to replace the awkward enclosure described above, replace it with an enclosure that will actually fit correctly in your bathroom’s unique space. ABC Glass and Mirror, Inc. will have one of our experienced estimators inspect and measure your shower area. We will then fabricate the pieces of glass to fit nicely in your specific space. They will be put in place by trained installers for a finished product that is sturdy and attractive.


Mistake: Shower bench that slopes toward the wall.

At first, a shower bench that slants toward the wall might sound like a good idea. However, it actually creates a number of problems. A bench like this does not allow water to run off it, onto the floor, and down the drain. Instead, the water pools on the back of the bench. This can lead to a buildup of soap scum and mineral deposits and may even contribute to mold and mildew growth.


Solution: Have your shower bench slightly sloped toward the shower floor. 

If the bench is made of a solid slab – granite, marble, corian, etc. – the slope should be at least 1/8” per foot. However, if it is tile with grout lines, the minimum slope is 3/16” per foot. Ensuring that the bench slants in this way will prevent water from collecting on the seat, which will make it easier for you to maintain a clean, pleasant, and healthful environment within the enclosure.


What’s even better than solutions for glass shower mistakes? Avoiding these mistakes in the first place. Work with the professionals at ABC Glass and Mirror, Inc. from the planning stages through installation of the glass and metal, and we’ll use our industry experience to help you avoid common pitfalls and shower door faux pas. Our team has more than 150 years of combined glass experience, and our commitment to customer satisfaction is strong.


Call ABC Glass and Mirror, Inc. today at 703-257-7150 and speak to one of our in-house glaziers. Then, you can schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation in-home consultation and estimate from a glass shower specialist. This allows you to receive product information tailored to your specific shower area and your practical and aesthetic goals for it. By bringing us in at the earliest stages we can give you timely info that helps you coordinate with the various trades involved in your bathroom remodel. Working with ABC takes some of the stress out of remodeling, and you can enjoy professional installation of your custom glass shower. Call today – 703 -257-7150!

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