10 Types of Glass Shower Doors

Shower door options for every space, style, and budget

White bathroom with minimal decor items and open glass shower door

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Updating your shower or tub area can be done by having a glass shower door installed. Though it's possible to install your own glass shower door, it's typically a project handled by a professional bath outfitter because of tricky measurements and the necessary custom hardware, especially for frameless doors. Be prepared for the expense—the average cost of a glass shower door installed professionally is around $1,000. There are several glass shower door styles to choose from along with different types of glass finishes, depending on your space and needs. We'll give you ideas and advice on how to choose from all the options.

  • 01 of 10

    Frameless Doors

    Frameless glass shower door

    Sidekix Media / Unsplash

    Best for: A high-end contemporary look

    A frameless shower door is made of sturdy tempered glass that does not require the support of metal around its exterior edges. The result is a sleek, modern look that is free of visual obstructions. Frameless options are popular because the style helps to showcase a bathroom's beautiful stonework, intricate tile designs, and gleaming hardware. Frameless shower doors are the easiest type to clean, as they do not include seals that develop buildup from water over time.

    Frameless doors do include some metal, such as clips for stationary panels, hinges, and handles. Glass doors with frames along the top edge and sides can also be considered frameless, though they may be referred to as "semi-frameless." 

    A frameless shower generally costs about twice as much as a basic, metal-enclosed model. Additionally, frameless shower doors can leak if not installed properly, so it's important to work with a reputable contractor and ensure that your shower pan slopes toward the drain so the water doesn't flood the shower floor.

    • Sleek, contemporary look

    • Makes space appear bright and spacious

    • No obstructing views

    • Gaps around edges may leak water

    • Expensive option

    • May not be as stable over time as framed

  • 02 of 10

    Semi-Frameless Shower Doors

    Semi-frameless shower door

    LOOK Photography / Getty Images

    Best for: A more affordable contemporary look

    A semi-frameless shower door has metal framing around the entire frame, but not around the door panel itself.

    A semi-frameless pivot door with 3/8-inch thick tempered glass and a taller-than-standard 76-inch height helps to impart a sleek, streamlined look. Look for high-quality components such as permanently bonded hinges, solid handles, and patented glass coating. This type of frame gives you a semi-unobstructed look but is more affordable than a fully frameless enclosure.

    • More affordable than full frameless

    • Offers semi-unobstructed look

    • Modern style

    • Prone to leaks due to gaps

    • Not a budget option

    • Door panel is considered weak point

  • 03 of 10

    Framed Shower Doors

    Shower door

    Best for: Easy, affordable installation

    A framed shower door is installed in a sturdy heavy-duty aluminum metal frame to add strength and support. Framed shower doors can't be as eye-catching as their frameless counterparts. Thanks to their sealed construction, framed glass shower doors are less likely to leak.

    This classic pivot shower door (shown) has a frameless door and an oil-rubbed bronze-finished outer frame that surrounds the unit. The style makes a striking statement that works equally well in a traditional or contemporary bathroom.

    Framed shower doors are less expensive than frameless models for a couple of reasons. Framed glass shower doors are easier to install than frameless. Glass in a framed model may be thinner than frameless, which saves even more on costs.

    • Least expensive option

    • Frame minimizes leaks

    • Very sturdy, glass less likely to break

    • Frame obstructs view

    • Metal frame corrodes over time

    • May be considered outdated

  • 04 of 10

    Glass Tub Enclosures

    DreamLine sliding tub

    Best for: Updating a bathtub

    A glass tub enclosure is mounted on the rim of a bathtub and does not reach to the floor. If you can't part with your bathtub but crave a look that's sleeker than a shower curtain, a glass tub enclosure could be your happy medium. This shower door option for bathtubs can be installed on an existing tub for a modern, easy-to-clean upgrade.

    Typically this type of model has doors that glide effortlessly on stainless steel wheels over a stainless steel track bar.

    • Stylish alternative to curtain

    • Minimalistic, modern option

    • Many style and glass options

    • Expensive choice since there's no standard size

    • Challenging to install

    • Framed models are tough to clean

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Sliding Doors

    Sliding door shower
    Blackstone Edge

    Best for: Tight bathrooms

    A glass sliding shower door is very common and slides open and closed on a track attached to the floor and ceiling. It's also known as a bypass door. This style of glass shower door is ideal for narrow bathrooms with closely-spaced fixtures where there's no room for a hinged door. However, the shower itself needs to be wide enough for one glass door to slide completely over to the other side.

    Sliding shower doors are considered framed or semi-frameless (the tracks may or may not be considered as frames). Framed sliding shower glass doors will typically cost less than semi-frameless sliding doors.

    • Common and affordable

    • Good for small bathrooms

    • Sturdy design

    • Tracks can be trip hazards

    • Tracks can corrode

    • Not as modern an aesthetic

  • 06 of 10

    Pivoting Door

    Shower pivot door
    John Merkyl

    Best for: Tight spaces

    A pivot glass shower door—also known as a swinging or hinge door—opens like a standard door. These doors can make a sophisticated statement in a traditional or cottage-style bath such as this primary suite. Pivoting shower doors are popular for small bathrooms with smaller shower openings since they don't require as much width to open as a sliding door. There are also swing-in pivot-door options for small spaces.

    If you're planning to buy a swing-out door, have a professional measure your space. You'll need enough clearance between the fully-opened door and surrounding bath fixtures before installation. A pivot-hinged glass shower door is not always less expensive than other types. That's because a pivot door may need to be custom-cut to fit the space. In addition, you can choose framed or frameless, which will also affect the cost.

    • Swing-in option available

    • Elegant, modern aesthetic

    • No track to contend with

    • Usually needs customization

    • Costly option

    • Prone to leaks around the door

    About This Term: Primary Suite

    Many real estate associations, including the National Association of Home Builders, have classified the term "Master Bedroom" (or "Master Suite") as discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.

    Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.

  • 07 of 10

    Bi-Fold Shower Doors

    Folding shower door

    Best for: Narrow shower openings

    A folding or bi-fold shower door is usually framed or semi-frameless and operates on tracks. It's hinged to fold inward to create an opening to walk through. It is a good option for a narrow shower opening or small shower. This door allows for a wider walk-in opening and is a good alternative to a glass shower pivot door. The frameless design of the door offers a clean, custom glass look. You'll also find folding glass doors for shower stalls or tubs.

    The folding glass shower door, like the pivot door, is not always the least expensive style. That's because the moving part of the unit may be frameless, it may require a custom cut to fit the space, and it may need special hardware to install. But it may not be as expensive as a fully frameless glass shower door because it functions on tracks.

    • Good for narrow/small showers

    • Sturdy option

    • Nice modern hybrid aesthetic

    • Not least expensive option

    • Tracks to deal with

    • Door may allow for water leaks

  • 08 of 10

    Partial Tub Enclosure

    Partial shower door

    Best for: A contemporary look

    A partial glass enclosure, also known as a half-wall shower glass, only covers half the shower stall or tub. The glass portion can be designed to remain stable or it can pivot.

    It's an affordable and modern look, even if you create a custom cut. A half-wall can have a straight edge or a curved silhouette like the model shown.

    • Adds modern look

    • Eliminates shower curtain

    • Many custom options

    • Water splashes out easily

    • Installation challenges

    • Tracks to clean and contend with

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Clear Glass Finishes

    glass shower door

    Best for: A streamlined, clean look

    A clear glass shower door is perfectly transparent. It's beautiful and gleaming, but be prepared for a daily squeegee clean-up to maintain this pristine look. A clear glass shower door can add depth to a small bathroom to make it appear lighter, brighter, and larger.

    Clear glass is common and the least expensive treatment for a glass shower door.

    • Makes bathroom brighter and appear larger

    • Common and more affordable than textured

    • Smooth and easy to clean

    • Requires more frequent cleaning

    • Lack of privacy

    • Hard water stains visible

  • 10 of 10

    Textured Glass Finishes

    frosted glass shower door

    Best for: Adding privacy

    A textured glass finish on a glass shower door can be frosted, etched, patterned, or tinted to add privacy to the shower. These doors are sometimes easier to maintain than their clear-glass cousins which are prone to easy-to-see smudges and hard water spots. Textured glass is typically seen on sliding shower doors, although it's also available for many frameless and pivoting options.

    Frosted or textured glass shower doors are typically a bit more expensive than clear glass doors.

    • Adds privacy

    • Does not show every hard water spot

    • Custom options add style

    • More expensive than clear glass

    • Etched and textured glass tougher to clean

    • Doesn't add as much light as clear glass

Choosing Glass Shower Doors

There are a few more factors to consider before choosing a glass shower door. You may love a clear, frameless glass shower door, but will it be worth it if it is over your budget and is harder to maintain than a textured glass door? Decide how much time you want to invest in daily shower cleanup before committing to a specific style door. Safety is another issue. Though the safest and best type of glass for shower doors is common tempered glass, even this type of glass can break. However, if tempered glass breaks, it should not be as jagged or dangerous as ordinary "annealed" glass.

A glass shower door unit alone can cost a few hundred dollars, and it's typically installed by a professional. An installer will charge on average $1,000 for the job, depending on the style you choose and complexity of the project.

And finally, when talking to a retailer or contractor about glass shower doors, remember to ask the following questions:

  • Will a standard shower door fit your space or do you need a custom-cut door?
  • Is the style you want durable and safe for children in the house who may be using the bathroom?
  • Exactly what type of glass is the shower door made from—tempered or laminated tempered glass—and what is the policy if the laminated glass delaminates?
  • Is there a protective glass coating available that can minimize soap scum buildup?
  • What is the lifespan and warranty of the product?
Article Sources
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  1. How Much Does It Cost To Install Glass Shower Doors? HomeAdvisor.

  2. How Much Does It Cost To Install Glass Shower Doors? HomeAdvisor.