You’ve decided on a glass shower or tub enclosure in your bathroom—great choice! A glass shower or tub makes a bathroom seem brighter and bigger—not to mention clean, modern, and beautiful.
The decision to install a glass enclosure is the easy part. Now comes the hard part: which glass shower door will work best in your bathroom?
There are quite a few different types of shower enclosures and doors: the one you choose needs to take into account not just your desired design but also your bathroom’s measurements and configuration.
Here’s the information you need to know when choosing a glass shower or tub for your bathroom.
Types of Shower Enclosures
A framed shower enclosure has a metal frame around the whole enclosure—around the top, bottom, and door. With framed enclosures, you have a wide variety of options for metal colors, finishes, and styles, so you’re sure to find something to match your bathroom design.
This type of enclosure is cheaper than frameless and semi-frameless options. (That’s because the metal supports the structure, so the glass can be thinner.)
A frameless shower enclosure has no metal frame surrounding the glass. Instead, the glass is thicker (in order to support the structure) and is held in place by metal hinges and panels attached to the walls.
This type of enclosure is more expensive than framed or semi-frameless enclosures because of the required thickness of the glass.
(For even more information about framed versus frameless shower enclosures, check out our previous post.)
Just like it says, this type of shower enclosure is part framed, part frameless. A semi-frameless shower enclosure has metal around the entire enclosure, except the door. Like with framed enclosures, you have a variety of options for metal finishes.
This is a great option if you love the look of a frameless enclosure but not the price.
Glass tub enclosure
If you want to keep your tub and don’t have room in your bathroom for a standalone shower, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a plastic shower curtain forever. A glass tub enclosure is a great option to give you a sleek, contemporary look in your bathroom. Glass tub enclosures can be framed or frameless. They also come with multiple shower door options, including partial (a.k.a no door), sliding, and pivot.
Types of Shower Doors
A pivot door (also called a swinging or hinge door) is the shower version of a regular door. It opens out into the bathroom. This is a statement-making option. However, it requires quite a bit of clearance. You’ll want to measure twice to make sure your bathroom has enough space to allow the door to fully open.
Sliding (or bypass) door
A sliding, or bypass, shower door is made of multiple panels sliding along a metal track. This option is great for tub enclosures and for bathrooms that have limited space. Having a door that slides, rather than opening into the room, preserves as much floor space as possible.
A bi-fold door (also called a folding or bath screen door) is made of several glass panels that folds in on hinges. (Picture the folding doors on a closet.) Like sliding doors, a bi-fold door makes good use of space while allowing an even bigger entrance into the shower.
A neo-angle door is made of three glass panels with the door in the center. Generally, the door opens outward into the bathroom. This type of shower door is the perfect choice for bathrooms with corner showers.
This type of door lets you turn your shower into a steam room. A steam door runs from floor to ceiling and is air-tight to prevent steam from escaping. This shower enclosure is the height of luxury—perfect for homeowners who want to create a home spa.
That’s right, no door at all is even an option! For a tub, you can choose a partial enclosure, which consists of a glass panel that runs part-way down the length of the tub. For a walk-in shower, you can skip the door and opt for glass walls with an opening.
What to Consider When Choosing a Shower Door
Picking the best shower/tub enclosure and door is part style dilemma, part math problem. Before selecting a particular style, it’s important to get out the measuring tape. What are the dimensions of your bathroom? What is the layout? How much space do you have around the shower/bath area?
For example, you may have your heart set on a frameless enclosure, but find out that a pivot door just won’t work in your narrow bathroom. In that case, you might need a sliding or bi-fold door (which require some framing).
We recommend working with glass professionals when designing a bathroom with a glass shower or tub enclosure: they’ll help you make sure that your bathroom is both beautiful and functional.
Not Sure Which Shower Door Is Best?
Jack’s Glass is here to help! We don’t just install shower doors; we can help you with your shower and bathroom design, too. If you have questions, call one of our design experts for help. We’d be happy to walk you through your options.
Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today at our Elsmere, Covington, or Dry Ridge locations.