In the beginning was the shower/tub with a curtain on metal rings.
Then the curtained shower begat the framed shower enclosure, a glass unit with thin metal framing around the glass for stability.
And the framed shower unit begat the frameless unit.
Lately, with a little more money rolling around your pocket, you may have thought: A frameless shower would certainly enhance the look of my bathroom. How about it? Well, let's start with the basics.
- Better Looking - Face it, they look smashing. Simple slabs of thick tempered glass that appear to be cubes of glass.
- Thicker Glass - Because frameless shower doors do not have the structural benefit of metal framing, the glass must be thicker. Glass is typically about a quarter-inch thick.
- Heavy - A 72" x 36" frameless door may weigh as much as 70 pounds. Compare to a framed glass shower door, which may weigh about 45-50 pounds.
- Expensive - Costs run from the $400s to the thousands. Framed shower doors easily will cost 40% less.
- Easier to Clean - a Solid sheet of glass has no framing to impede cleaning.
- Difficult to Install - Because of the frameless door's excessive weight, care must be taken to ensure that it is securely installed--a task often best left to professionals.
- Left or Right Opening - Most frameless doors have the option of hinges being installed on either side--but don't assume so. Check the specs.
Bypass vs. Pivot Doors
Frameless shower doors can be either bypass or pivot. Bypass doors are simply sliding sheets of glass that allow entrance into a shower/tub.
A pivot door is probably the reason you are reading this article in the first place. These are hinged slabs of thick glass that pivot open/closed just like a door
01 of 04
Bypass Frameless Shower Door
A bypass frameless shower door isn't necessarily swank and luxurious: it's just an inexpensive sheet of glass that fits into a bath-shower frame.
For swank and luxurious, you're probably in the market for a pivot frameless shower door. All of the other shower doors mentioned in our article are pivoted. We're including the bypass door here as a point of comparison.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
02 of 04
Frameless Shower Door with Continuous Hinge
Sterling Plumbing is a subsidiary of Kohler. Their Finesse™ Frameless Shower Door has a continuous hinge to help the door hold better to the wall. Not all frameless doors have this.Continue to 3 of 4 below.
03 of 04
Frameless Door for Shower/Tub Combination
This is an unusual type of frameless shower/tub door, and I quite like it.
What we're looking at is composed of two glass panels:
- The right-hand side which is a frameless hinged door.
- The curved piece of glass to the left.
This is tempered 1/4" glass. The right side is either clear glass or has a silk-screened sailboat.Continue to 4 of 4 below.
04 of 04
Frameless Shower Door: From 58" to 61" Wide x 72" High
This is an extra-thick 3/8" clear tempered glass from Dreamline. The door can be installed either left or right. This frameless shower door also features side tile flanges; wall profiles that allow for up to 2 inches of adjustment; trays of impact-resistant ABS construction; and chrome or brushed nickel fixtures.