Call Us Today At: (703) 257-7150
The perfect combination of glass and metal is what makes a shower enclosure design a success.

Of course picking out the glass is a crucial part of designing your custom glass shower enclosure, but so is choosing the perfect hardware. Some glass showers have lots of metal while others have hardly any, but it’s always important to thoughtfully pick its style and finish. In fact, the perfect combination of glass and metal is what makes a shower enclosure design a success. We’ll take a look at hardware options, current trends, and popular glass and metal combinations.​

1. Does the shower hardware need to match the other metal in the bathroom?

These days you’ll see beautiful bathrooms with matching hardware as well as others with mixed metals. This is unsurprising because more eclectic styles like maximalism and grandmillenial are gaining popularity these days. When it comes to the color of your shower hardware, the choice is yours. Let’s take a closer look at a few different ways to handle this part of your glass shower design.

  • If you’re just updating your shower, one approach is to order hardware of the same finish as the faucet, light fixtures, etc. This traditional approach gives your bathroom a coordinated and uniform look.
  • Perhaps the shower is the only major fixture you’re updating, but you’d like to change the bathroom’s vibe. If there’s a stylish AND classic finish you love – matte black and gold are some possibilities – you could consider introducing this new metal by way of the shower. (If you mix metals, you want to combine contrasting shades. If they’re similar, it will just look like you did a bad job matching.) When using several finishes in the same room, be sure to include more than one instance of each finish. You could pair the shower with a wall hanging framed in the same metal or even swap out the vanity drawer knobs in the new finish.
  • If you’re starting from scratch or remodeling the whole bathroom, you have more flexibility for the mixed metals approach. In this case, you might want to choose a very classic finish for more expensive installations like your glass shower and introduce trendier tones by way of items you could more cheaply replace, such as the towel bars or pull handles.

Still wondering about the best finish for YOUR shower hardware? You can schedule a free consultation with a glass specialist from ABC who can show you photos of shower enclosures with various hardware finishes.

2. What hardware finishes are in style?

In one sense, it is hard for certain finishes to truly go out of style. Gold and silver tones, for example, have been around for centuries. Such finishes may experience a time of lower demand, but they won’t make your room look dated the way a particular pattern or unusual paint color might. At the same time, certain metals are more popular than others in 2021. Considering some FAQs will give you a feel for today’s trends.

Is chrome still fashionable?

The popularity of chrome may rise and fall to some degree, but it remains a timeless and fashion-conscious choice. The sheen of chrome makes it especially nice amid modern décor and streamlined fixtures. At the same, it will work in a bathroom of just about any style. If you’re looking for a solid choice that will not go out of fashion, chrome is an appealing option.

Is there a finish similar to chrome but less shiny?

Shiny finishes do tend to show water spots, and a softer look is nice for styles like farmhouse, vintage, and cottage. Brushed nickel is a nice alternative to chrome in this regard. It’s another “silver” tone, but its brushed finish makes fingerprints and the like less noticeable. Brushed nickel has been a popular choice for some time now and remains very relevant.

What finish would bring my bathroom more in sync with today’s décor trends?


There is not a hard and fast answer to this questions, but matte black is worth considering. This finish seems to be rivaling brushed nickel for the top spot, and it works on its own or as part of a mixed metals decorating scheme. Black provides a nice contrast to chrome, brushed nickel, and gold or copper tones.

What’s an example of another trending metal finish?

Although it’s on the opposite end of the spectrum in some ways, gold finishes are also a hot item this year. Nothing gives a bathroom a luxe feel like gold plated hardware, and this also works well as a coordinated look or as part of a mixed metals team.

Are these finishes available on shower enclosure hardware?

For customers of ABC Glass & Mirror, these finish options are available on most types of doors and enclosures. While some specific items have a more limited range of finishes, our handles and hinges are generally available in these finishes and many more.

Examples of glass shower enclosure hardware options (matte black, brass, chrome, and brushed nickel).

3. What hardware is most commonly used on glass shower doors?

Glass tends to be front and center on shower doors and enclosures, but metal is its necessary partner. The precise type of hardware will be determined by customer preference, shower design, door type, bathroom structure, and so forth. To give you a general idea of the metal components to be thinking about, here’s an overview of hardware commonly used on glass showers.

  • Handles: You’ll find at least one handle on most enclosures that include a door panel. (Some enclosures have an open entryway and thus no door or handle.)
You’ll find at least one handle on most enclosures that include a door panel. (Some enclosures have an open entryway and thus no door or handle.)
  • Hinges: Showers with swinging doors have wall mounted or pivot hinges. Wall mounted hinges are affixed to the door and to the wall beside it. Pivot hinges are attached to the door panel and to the surfaces above and below it, forming a point from which the door can pivot open or shut.
Showers with swinging doors have wall mounted or pivot hinges. Wall mounted hinges are affixed to the door and to the wall beside it. Pivot hinges are attached to the door panel and to the surfaces above and below it, forming a point from which the door can pivot open or shut.
  • Framing: Semi-frameless and framed shower enclosures also include aluminum framing on some or all glass edges.
Semi-frameless and framed shower enclosures also include aluminum framing on some or all glass edges.
  • Clips: Small metal clips are used to attach glass to glass and to other surfaces on frameless enclosures.
Small metal clips are used to attach glass to glass and to other surfaces on frameless enclosures.
  • Header: A header is a bar (usually metal) that spans the top of an enclosure. These are installed for a few different reasons. Sometimes a header is needed for structural integrity or because an upper surface is needed for pivot hinges. Additionally, headers are used on rolling “barn style” shower doors systems because the door panel hangs from and rolls along the header.
ader is a bar (usually metal) that spans the top of an enclosure. These are installed for a few different reasons. Sometimes a header is needed for structural integrity or because an upper surface is needed for pivot hinges. Additionally, headers are used on rolling “barn style” shower doors systems because the door panel hangs from and rolls along the header.
  • Rollers: Round metal rollers are used for door operation on the “barn style” enclosures mentioned above.
Round metal rollers are used for door operation on the “barn style” enclosures mentioned above.
  • Metal tracking: Bypass enclosures have two moving door panels that slide in metal tracks.
Bypass enclosures have two moving door panels that slide in metal tracks.

4. Will I need to choose metal components if I order a frameless shower?

Frameless glass showers do have very little metal. The glass edges remain free of framing, and clips and caulk joints are used for construction instead. The metal components that you’ll need to choose will depend on the type of enclosure you want. Even though the amount of metal is relatively low, it’s still crucial to be intentional in picking the design and hue.

Frameless Enclosure with Swinging Door(s)

  • Hinges
  • Handles

Working with ABC Glass & Mirror, you can choose from a variety of styles and finishes for these handles and hinges to make the shower area more contemporary, transitional, or traditional as you prefer.

orking with ABC Glass & Mirror, you can choose from a variety of styles and finishes for these handles and hinges to make the shower area more contemporary, transitional, or traditional as you prefer.

Frameless Rolling “Barn Style” Enclosure

  • Handles
  • Header and rollers

ABC also offers a variety of handle options for these doors. You can choose from a specific selection of hardware finishes for each of our rolling shower enclosures – 60-Roller Series, 70-Roller Series, 80-Roller Series, and Dual Roller Series.

ABC also offers a variety of handle options for these doors. You can choose from a specific selection of hardware finishes for each of our rolling shower enclosures – 60-Roller Series, 70-Roller Series, 80-Roller Series, and Dual Roller Series.

Even if there is very little metal on a shower – as in the case of a frameless unit – the style and finish you choose will have a big impact. For example, picture the difference between clear glass paired with chrome hardware and clear glass paired with matte black hardware.

5. What are my choices for a semi-frameless unit?

Semi-frameless glass shower enclosures have less metal than framed units but more than frameless designs. Semi-frameless enclosures are typically less expensive than comparable frameless enclosures because the inclusion of framing allows glaziers to use thinner glass while maintaining structural integrity. This cost-effectiveness is one reason for choosing a semi-frameless shower. Also, if you want bypass doors for your shower, semi-frameless construction is used. The door panels themselves are unframed, and the entire perimeter of the enclosure is framed in aluminum.

Semi-frameless glass shower enclosures have less metal than framed units but more than frameless designs. Semi-frameless enclosures are typically less expensive than comparable frameless enclosures because the inclusion of framing allows glaziers to use thinner glass while maintaining structural integrity.

If you pick a semi-frameless design, you’ll need to make decisions about:

  • Handle style
  • Handle finish 
  • Framing thickness
  • Framing finish

6. How about an enclosure with black metal gridwork on the glass?

One of the most popular looks in shower design today is the Crittall style, which is characterized by clear glass with black framing and mullions. This look stems from the steel framed windows that have been manufactured by Crittall Windows of England since the 1800s, so it is just as much a classic design as it is a popular trend.

If you order this shower enclosure style from ABC Glass & Mirror, you will have a few choices to make. 

  • The Gridscape line offers simple black framed glass, black framed glass with horizontal and vertical mullions, black framed glass with horizontal mullions only, and black framed glass with a modern mullioned pattern.
  • Another option – and one with somewhat shorter lead times – is to have clear glass bordered in black U-channel and a mullioned pattern applied by way of ceramic frit.

You can choose from a range of Crittall style showers such as screens, inline door and panel enclosures, neo-angle enclosures, and right angle corner showers. This classic but trending style pairs well with many décor modes including Japandi, industrial chic, grandmillenial, and more.

ne of the most popular looks in shower design today is the Crittall style, which is characterized by clear glass with black framing and mullions.

7. Can I use matte black metal on other types of shower enclosures?

Absolutely! Even if you don’t choose a Gridscape shower enclosure or glass adorned with black ceramic frit, you can still embrace the popular pairing of clear glass and matte black metal. For instance, this hardware finish is available for ABC Glass & Mirror’s popular rolling barn-style doors as well as other custom and standard shower enclosures, such as:

  • A swinging door beside a fixed panel
  • French doors
  • A single swinging door
  • Corner shower enclosures (90 degree or neo-angle)
  • A fixed or swinging shower screen

If you want to amp up the clarity of the glass in this pairing, ABC Glass & Mirror offers ultra-clear glass. The iron that occurs in glass is what gives it greenish discoloration around the edges. The reduced iron content in ultra-clear glass minimizes this effect for optimal clarity. (Also nice if you’re looking to show off custom tile or another lovely shower interior!)

If you want to amp up the clarity of the glass in this pairing, ABC Glass & Mirror offers ultra-clear glass. The iron that occurs in glass is what gives it greenish discoloration around the edges. The reduced iron content in ultra-clear glass minimizes this effect for optimal clarity. (Also nice if you’re looking to show off custom tile or another lovely shower interior!)

In some settings – such as a bathroom shared by siblings – a more private shower area is preferred. Besides our clear glass options, ABC Glass & Mirror offers acid-etched, patterned, tinted, and cast glass choices that also look beautiful alongside matte black, brushed nickel, gold and other hardware finishes.

Non-crittall style shower enclosure examples: Acid-etched glass, rain glass, gray glass, and bronze glass.

8. What are my choices for handle and hinge styles?

Handles and hinges can be relatively small components of a large glass shower enclosure, but they should still be chosen with care. In general, hinges vary in their finish and in whether the edges are beveled or square. Square edge hinges look a bit more modern while beveled edges are more traditional. As mentioned earlier, you’ll also choose between wall mounted and pivot hinges depending on your desired look and functionality.

ABC Glass & Mirror offers handles in several general categories:

  • Pull handles: Pull handles are available in a variety of contemporary, classic, and fancy designs. For example, the Crescent Handle and the MT Handle are simple and geometric. Our Ladder Pull Handle and Sculptured Handle have a bit more detail and will match a wide array of bathroom décor. Looking for something dressier? Try the Victorian Handle or the Colonial Handle.
Pull handles are available in a variety of contemporary, classic, and fancy designs
  • Knobs: Sometimes homeowners are looking to minimize metal elements for an “all glass” feel. Small knob-style handles are also available as a low profile option that keeps the focus on the glass.
Sometimes homeowners are looking to minimize metal elements for an “all glass” feel. Small knob-style handles are also available as a low profile option that keeps the focus on the glass.
  • Towel bars: On the other hand, you may want to maximize functionality with a shower door handle that doubles as a towel bar. These sleek handles offer an appealing look AND another place to hang towels.
On the other hand, you may want to maximize functionality with a shower door handle that doubles as a towel bar. These sleek handles offer an appealing look AND another place to hang towels.

9. How should I clean my shower hardware?

Better Homes and Gardens offers tips for cleaning bathroom fixtures, and takeaways for shower hardware include:

  • In some ways, caution is the watchword when cleaning shower hardware. For example, certain finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze and brass should not be washed with anything except a cloth and warm water. Using cleaning agents on these finishes leads to damage. 
  • Whatever finish you’ve chosen, stay away from abrasive scrubbing pads and harsh cleansers which can scratch your hardware. In general, a mild solution of gentle dish soap and water and a soft cloth are suitable for cleaning shower hardware. 
  • Regular cleaning of bathroom fixtures is vital because these rooms see so much use and can easily become “yucky.” It’s a good practice to institute a weekly cleaning day, but wiping some surfaces down daily can help the space stay consistently inviting.

Cleaning your shower hardware regularly and correctly helps you make the most of your investment in a new glass shower enclosure. The shower is often a bathroom’s focal point, and the metal partners with the glass to create your desired look and feel. It can only reach its full potential when not marred by soap scum, water spots, and the like.

If you’ve ordered a specialty finish or are unsure of what soap would be appropriate for your specific hardware, the manufacturer should be able to provide further care and cleaning details. Finally, another helpful practice is drying the shower hardware after each use to prevent water spots, mineral buildup, etc. Keep a basket of absorbent towels handy to make it easy to form this routine.

Cleaning shower hardware. Tips from the glass shower experts at ABC Glass and Mirror

10. How can I order a shower enclosure with custom glass and metal?

ABC Glass & Mirror has been supplying and installing custom glass showers in the Northern Virginia region for nearly twenty years. Our veteran team partners with you throughout the project to bring it to completion with the shower of your dreams. 

  • Call us at (703)257-7150 to discuss your project ideas and schedule a free consultation and estimate.
  • Meet with one of our glaziers who will measure the shower area, record observations, show you product pictures and samples, and answer whatever questions you may have.
  • Get an emailed price quote, make your decision, and order a shower enclosure with your chosen glass, metal, and design.
  • Take it easy as our installers put the shower enclosure in place for you to enjoy for years to come!

    Contact Us

    Full Name
    Location
    Email
    Phone Number
    Service Interested In
    Frameless ShowersFramed or Semi-Frameless ShowersMirrorsWindow or Door Replacement GlassTable TopsGlass ShelvesCommercialBack Painted GlassOther


    Tell Us More

    Phone Email Facebook