5 Important Design Details for Glass Shower Enclosures

There are so many reasons to ditch your shower curtain for a glass shower enclosure.

Glass enclosures are easier to keep clean than shower curtains: they don’t get moldy and dingy over time. And because you don’t have to throw them away, they’re more eco-friendly. (Shower curtains are often made of PVC, a type of plastic that doesn’t bio-degrade and may emit carcinogens into the air.)

In addition to the practical benefits, there are aesthetic ones as well: glass shower or tub enclosures are more attractive, and because they are clear, make a bathroom seem larger and brighter.

We love glass shower and tub enclosures, and we love helping homeowners throughout Kentucky make their bathrooms more beautiful and functional.

If you’re thinking of installing a glass shower or tub enclosure in your bathroom, there are some important design details you need to know before you get started. You don’t want to pick a design, only to find out mid-installation that it’s not going to work!

Let’s get into five important design details to keep in mind.

#1 Framed or Frameless?

This design tip is applicable to glass shower and tub enclosures.

Framed and frameless enclosures each have their own advantages and disadvantages. To sum it up, look at the handy table below. You’ll want to choose a style that makes sense for your budget and lifestyle.

PRICE Less expensive than frameless More expensive than framed (the glass must be thicker because there is no metal framework to give it stability)
CLEANING Slightly harder to clean (the seal around the door can collect mold)  
RISK OF LEAKS Lower than frameless (the seal around the enclosure minimizes leaking) Higher than framed (the door must be cut perfectly to prevent gaps and leaks)

In addition, you’ll want to consider the aesthetics of framed and frameless doors. While both are beautiful, some homeowners prefer frameless doors because the lack of frames gives a cleaner, brighter look. Other homeowners are willing to overlook that small detail in order to spend less on framed.

#2 How the Doors Will Open

This design tip is applicable to glass shower and tub enclosures.

Do you want your glass doors to swing out? Slide? Roll? If you want them to swing, should they swing out to the left or the right? Or, if you are designing a tub enclosure, do you want a glass screen instead? (A glass screen is a panel that doesn’t extend the full length of the wall.)

These are questions that need to be answered with both aesthetics and logistics (like the size of your bathroom) in mind.

#3 The Location of Your Showerhead

This design tip is applicable to glass shower enclosures.

Where are you thinking of positioning your showerhead? Whatever you do, make sure it does not point toward the shower doors. Positioning your showerhead on the wall opposite your shower doors will make water leaks more likely.

There is an exception to this, and that’s if you have a showerhead that is low-flow or pointing straight down toward the floor.

#4 Curb or No Curb?

This design tip is applicable to glass shower enclosures.

The shower “curb” is the border between the floor in the shower and the bathroom floor. This feature is very useful, in that it helps prevent water from leaking onto your bathroom floor. The shower curb should be slightly sloped downward (toward the inside of the shower) to prevent water from pooling on the curb.

If you are looking to install a more easily accessible, or handicap-accessible, glass shower enclosure, you will need to skip the curb. However! If you do so, it’s important that the floor inside the shower slope slightly downward toward the drain: this will help ensure you don’t have any standing water or water leaks.

#5 Type of Glass

This design tip is applicable to glass shower and tub enclosures.

There are two types of glass to consider when designing a shower or tub enclosure: clear glass, and ultra-clear low-iron glass.

Clear glass is clear, of course, but it has a very slight light green tint to it. This is because of the iron that’s present in the glass. Ultra-clear low-iron glass is manufactured specifically to remove the iron present, to give a (you guessed it) ultra-clear appearance.

You might be perfectly happy with clear glass, or you might want ultra-clear glass in order to, for example, show off the tile inside your shower. The decision is up to you!

Want to redesign your bathroom?

Jack’s Glass is here to help. Our glass shower and tub enclosure experts are here to answer all of your questions and help you create the bathroom of your dreams—from design to installation. Call us today to get started.