If you’re ready to move beyond a shower curtain or builder grade door, you’ll find lots of custom shower enclosure options, including in-line shower door systems available from glass shops. The in-line door and panel configuration is appropriate for shower stalls and tub-shower combos alike, making it popular for remodels as well as new builds. Additionally, it can be adjusted to work in your space whether you need to enclose one, two, or three sides of the shower area. Read on for an overview of this product, options you’ll need to select, possible upgrades, pro tips, care and cleaning guidelines, and more.
An in-line door and panel shower enclosure has two essential components: a fixed piece of glass and a swinging shower door panel next to and “in line” with it. In-line door and panel systems are usually built from tempered glass. Standard annealed glass is too likely to break and too sharp when broken to be suitable for a shower enclosure. Since tempered glass is about four times stronger and less dangerous if broken, it is the right choice for most bathrooms.
However, there are certain cases where something still more durable is preferred. A shower being used by someone at risk of falling is an example. There are two additional glass options for situations like this:
Whatever type of glass is used, an in-line door and panel enclosure will always have both a fixed and a swinging panel. These are installed next to each other, and the door can either be hinged to the fixed glass or to an adjoining wall.
An in-line door and panel system will have a swinging glass door and as many stationary panels of glass as needed to enclosure the shower. The hardware includes:
You can also choose to add a sleeve-over or through-glass robe hook as well as a towel bar on a fixed panel. The door will also need to be equipped with a vinyl seal and sweep for proper water containment.
When working with a glass shop like ABC Glass & Mirror you can choose from a wide variety of glass options for your in-line shower door:
There are several points to consider when making your choice of glass, so let’s get answers to some FAQs.
What practical considerations impact the choice of glass?
The level of privacy you want for the shower area is an important practical concern when picking your glass. For a more private stall, you’ll want patterned, frosted, or cast glass.
What is the aesthetic impact of different glass choices?
From a décor perspective, it’s important to keep in mind that only clear glass will really show off the shower tile you’ve chosen. Clear glass also creates a continuous line of sight between the shower and other parts of the bathroom. Finally, certain glass options lend themselves to specific decorating themes as you will see when perusing frosted and patterned glass options.
Are some types of glass easier to care for than others?
Yes. Glass with a sleek, flat surface – clear or tinted – wipes clean more easily than glass with a textured or dimensional surface – frosted, patterned, and cast. Soap scum and minerals can more easily accumulate if there are nooks and crannies on the surface of the glass.
Definitely. As mentioned earlier, you can sometimes choose the type of hardware used on your in-line shower enclosure – for example wall mount or pivot hinges, pull handle or knob, and so on. There are also various styles available for the different metal components:
Also, you can choose how much – if any – aluminum framing is used on your in-line door and panel enclosure.
As a general rule, the use of framing brings down the cost of an enclosure. Looking at comparable units, a frameless design would typically be most expensive, a semi-frameless a little cheaper, and a framed the least expensive. The reason for this is that framing allows glaziers to responsibly use thinner (and therefore less expensive) glass to build the enclosure.
Last but not least, you can usually choose from a selection of finishes for your shower hardware. Trending metallics include matte black, brushed nickel, polished chrome, and satin brass. You can choose to use the same hardware throughout the bathroom, including on the shower enclosure, or you can mix metals within the space. When mixing metals, use finishes that clearly contrast and disperse each throughout the room.
An in-line door and panel is suited to many different tub and shower situations. These can be installed on tubs as well as shower stalls. 90 degree returns are fixed panels installed at right angles to the in-line door and panel to finish off the shower enclosure. If only one wall of your shower area is open, you will just need the door and fixed panel. However, if the bathing area is open on two or three sides, one or two 90 degree returns will be needed to fully enclose the stall. Thus, the in-line door and panel design is appropriate for bathroom of various setups.
Practical as well as aesthetic upgrades are offered for in-line door and panel systems.
Upgrades do add to the cost, but for many homeowners it is money well spent. If glass clarity and ease of cleaning are priorities for your new shower enclosure, it may be worth spending a little more to end up with results you love.
We’ll go over some “dos” and “don’ts” to help you avoid common problems and fails when designing an in-line glass shower enclosure.
Design your shower enclosure and bathroom layout with care and cleaning in mind.
Create an unreachable area between the shower and another appliance. If you can’t reach a space to clean it, dust and grime will accumulate.
Make sure the shower curb is sloped toward the shower flower with a 1/8”-1/4” pitch.
Have a shower curb that is level or sloped toward the bathroom floor, which will cause leaking.
Include glass tiles in your design if desired.
Have glass tiles installed where you will need to drill holes or drive in screws as they will crack.
Add the body jets and hand-held sprayer options you want.
Aim any sprays of water toward a seam or gap because leaks will occur.
Consider how much clearance you’ll need for a swinging shower door and choose a rolling or sliding option instead if necessary.
Have a swinging door installed if it will block access to or collide with another fixture when swung open.
As mentioned, clear glass is ideal for showing off beautiful shower tile. It also shows off everything else in the shower, so you want to keep the interior staged and free of clutter. (On this note, you may want to consider obscure glass for kids’ bathrooms and save clear glass for the primary bathroom!) Use these tips to quickly and easily give your shower’s interior a glow-up:
First we’ll look at simple steps that keep an in-line door and panel enclosure looking good longer and make it easier to clean.
Even with the these practices, the shower area will need to be cleaned regularly. Start cleaning every week or every other week and then increase or decrease the frequency. Level of use, type of glass and tile, and condition of your tap water will all impact how often the shower needs to be refreshed. Keep the following in mind when cleaning.
Following these steps, your in-line glass shower enclosure should stay clean and fresh!
Ordering an in-line door and panel or other custom shower from ABC Glass & Mirror starts with a phone call to our Manassas Park shop – (703)257-7150. You can chat with one of our on-site glazing specialists about your project and set up a complimentary in-home consultation. One of our estimators will examine the tub/shower area, show you samples and photos, record precise measurements and observations, and answer your questions. Our office team will work up a quote for your desired products and options and email it to you. Once the order is placed, we fabricate and source all that’s needed for your enclosure and schedule installation. The glass shower is constructed in your bathroom by a trained team who can answer additional questions you may have.
ABC Glass & Mirror is a family and veteran owned glass and mirror shop that has been serving Northern Virginia for more than 20 years, and we’d be happy to discuss your ideas for your shower enclosure or other custom glass or mirror project. Our installations are warrantied, and we’re committed to your satisfaction with the finished job!