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A typical bathroom remodel today includes a glass shower door or enclosure. Homeowners want something more upscale and convenient than a shower curtain, so glass showers are becoming the norm. However, the same kind of glass is not used on every shower door, and the right type of glass varies somewhat depending on where the shower is going, how the homeowner wants it to look, and so forth.

Framed, Semi-Frameless, or Frameless Glass?

Most homeowners and designers in 2019 prefer frameless showers over framed units or a shower enclosure that includes some framed glass (semi-frameless). For one thing, renovations are expected to make the bathroom easier to care for, not just better looking. Frameless glass enclosures forego much of the metal traditionally used on showers – and the nooks and crannies that went with it. They are usually constructed from smooth, clear glass and the glass may even be treated or sealed for water and oil resistance. A modern frameless shower offers a simple, easy to clean design paired with a very stylish appearance.

Keep in mind, though, that framed shower glass still has its place. Sometimes a little bit of framing is necessary in order to achieve the desired door operation or to make a shower design “work” within a bathroom’s structural conditions. In these cases, a semi-frameless shower is generally an acceptable compromise since it also includes frameless glass edges. Even fully framed shower doors are still preferred at times due to their lower price point and the fact that the frame provides some protection for the delicate glass edges.

Annealed, Tempered, or Laminated Glass?

In the past shower doors were actually made from annealed glass. However, it carries an unsettling risk of personal injury if someone were to slip and fall against the door. Most shower enclosures today are made from tempered glass. It is significantly sturdier than annealed glass, and as you may know, falls in pebble-like chunks if broken instead of fracturing into jagged sections with razor-sharp edges like annealed glass does. Annealed glass is no longer used by American glass shower manufacturers, but sometimes laminated glass is used instead of tempered. This is uncommon but can be a smart move if there are special concerns about the shower glass being compromised. Laminated glass looks like a normal sheet of glass, but it is tri-layer product consisting of exterior glass layers bonded to highly durable vinyl. Even if the glass is broken, it remains stuck fast to the vinyl – an appealing safety feature for high traffic bathrooms!

Clear, Patterned, Frosted, Tinted, or Cast Glass?

The transparency offered by clear glass is a trending look, and it’s classic simplicity means it will likely stand the test of time. Choosing clear glass positively impacts both the shower stall and the bathroom as a whole:

  • When using the shower, the atmosphere is bright and open. There is no feeling of confinement or claustrophobia when clear glass walls/doors are utilized.
  • The bathroom feels bigger since the shower area stays visibly connected with the rest of the space.
  • Natural light can flow into the shower, further brightening the stall.
  • Clear glass has a smooth surface which makes for easier cleaning.
  • Transparent glass keeps the shower’s tile in sight so it can contribute to the room’s overall beauty.

In some bathrooms, however, using patterned or frosted glass will enhance the room’s usability. In a bathroom shared by siblings, for instance, it’s obviously practical to create a more private shower area. Frosted glass is glass that has been treated with acid for either a frosty design or uniform frosting across the entire surface. Patterned glass, on the other hand, has a regular textured pattern across its surface, and there are many options from which to choose.

Tinted glass does not really offer much more privacy than clear glass. It is chosen mainly for aesthetic reasons, to fit in with a particular design scheme. Cast glass is made by pouring molten glass into a mold, and it is very heavily textured. The look is definitely memorable and it gives the shower stall some privacy. However, the deep texturing that gives it character also makes it more challenging to clean.

Still Not Sure Which Glass Is Best for Your Shower Door?

Understandably, you might be uncertain about the ideal glass for your new shower enclosure. ABC Glass and Mirror is here to help! You can give us a call at (703)257-7150 to discuss your shower door plans with one of our in-house glaziers. We are also happy to schedule you for a free visit from an ABC shower door estimator. This consultation gives us the opportunity to view the shower area, measure, and take notes, and it gives you the chance to see samples and product photos, get tips and insights from a glass professional, and ask all the questions you want about glass showers. Give us a ring today to begin your journey to an upgraded shower!