Choosing Frameless Shower Doors when Remodeling Your Bathroom
Expert, Rob Depue, Author, Jennifer Prins
Q: I’m considering upgrading my exiting shower door to a frameless shower door. What is involved in the process? A: The first thing to consider is whether or not your existing shower door is a good candidate for an upgrade to a frameless. When the existing door has been removed, you’ll notice discoloration on the tiles and multiple holes where the original door was fastened to the wall. This is by no means a deal breaker, but something to consider that many home owners do not realize. After a customer has decided to upgrade, we will remove their old shower door and dispose of it. The customer will then have a few days before we install their new frameless shower door to clean their tile and apply grout or sealant to the existing holes.
Q: What are the advantages of buying frameless rather than framed? A: Outside of the visual appeal of a frameless shower door, there are several benefits to consider when making a purchase. Frameless shower doors can be easier to maintain since the glass makes direct contact with your tile and eliminates corrosion that builds up on the metal track of it’s framed counterpart. Additionally, all of that vertical metal can really detract from your beautiful tile work you want to show off. Properly installed frameless applications are more rigid with the addition of heavier, thicker glass and heavy-duty hardware. That same hardware allows the door to open to the inside as well as the outside swing you’ll find on a framed shower door. Most homeowners see a better return on their investment since the frameless system is much more desirable to new homebuyers. Lastly, a frameless shower door allows for much more creative flexibility when matching your plumbing fixtures, choosing a specific height or coordinating a particular style to your bathroom project.
Q: I want to install my new frameless shower door myself; can you supply the glass needed? A: Installing a frameless shower is not recommended as a DIY project because frameless glass shower installation is a fine art with extremely small tolerances to provide a leak proof glass shower enclosure. The slightest error could result in gummy caulking, ugly gaskets, or worse – a glass enclosure that leaks all over your bathroom floor. To get it perfect, installation needs to be exact. Also, the slightest chip in the safety glass can cause it to shatter, leaving you with a very expensive mess to clean. This is one project you will want to call in a professional glass installer.
Q: Are there special products I need to clean my glass? How often will I need to clean it? A: To keep your glass free of potentially damaging water spots, we recommend using a squeegee after each shower. Using a squeegee on a daily bases is the most simple and fastest way to avoid water spots and mineral deposit build-up on your new shower enclosure. Using a surface protector, such as Rain-X, to protect your glass is highly recommended. A surface protector can help to repel water off the glass, but is not intended to replace the use of a squeegee. For permanent protection, consider Showerguard (see below for more information). For the hardware on the glass, use a non-ammonia glass cleaner – it is the only glass cleaner that is safe to use on hardware because, over time, ammonia can damage your hardware.
Q: What is ShowerGuard? A: ShowerGuard involves a patented technology that seals the glass surface during the manufacturing process to stop corrosion before it starts and protect the beauty of the surface. Eventually, spray-on products wear off (i.e. Rain-X for your car window). Because ShowerGuard is used in manufacturing the glass, this protection becomes part of the glass itself, so there is never a need to reapply protection. Shower after shower and year after year, your glass will stay clear and beautiful. Guardian ShowerGuard has a lifetime warranty.
Q: Why do some frameless shower doors have a green tint? A: Clear glass contains a significant amount of iron, which gives it the appearance of a light green tint. Starphire or UltraClear glass is super heated to eliminate the iron from the glass, which gives the glass a crystal clear quality. This type of glass is recommended for anyone who wishes to highlight the natural tile colors of their shower enclosure.
Rob DuPree, owner