Frameless shower doors and shower screens have been popular in Europe for many years, but they’re only beginning to catch on in the United States. Traditionally, showers have been enclosed by curtains, swinging doors and sliding doors, but a modern shower screen that’s essentially a large plate of glass that only partially spans the length of the bathtub or shower stall is often much more appealing, both aesthetically and functionally. Let’s look at some of the options available.
Since the main purpose of any shower enclosure is to contain water spray, a frameless shower door uses the least amount of hardware necessary to do the job. These doors and screens come in frameless and semi-frameless versions. A frameless shower screen, which typically weighs between 55 and 80 lbs., is entirely supported by a pair of wall mounted hinged screwed into the wall though some use continuous hinges or other types of fixtures.
Ideally, there should be a stud behind the tiled wall for optimum support. With or without stud reinforcement, drilling into tile without cracking it is precision work. For the sake of the wall and the glass, you should seriously consider hiring a contractor to install glass shower door hardware for you unless you’re already a home improvement enthusiast.
In addition to wall hinges, semi-frameless shower screen has support from a continuous hinge that runs along the ledge of the tub. Instead of using hinges, some shower screens are affixed with aquarium corners sealed with clear water silicone. Shower screens and wet room screens are also easier to clean. There are no tracks to rust or collect water, soap scum or mold.
Frameless shower doors and screens are made of tempered glass (heat treated for shatter resistance) and range from 50″ to 72″ high, 28″ to 32″ wide and 3/8″ to 5/8″ thick in many models. Frosted, tinted and etched variations are available, but most showerscreens are clear by design making them virtually invisible. With their clear screens and lack of pronounced metal outlines, frameless glass shower enclosures give the entire bathroom a more spacious ambiance.
These screens and doors are ideal for showcasing the tile on the other side, and from the inside, the person showers gets additional light that reduces or eliminates the need for an overhead light. Hinges and doorknobs are usually made of chrome or brushed aluminum, but other popular options are brass and pewter—you can almost always find frameless shower door hardware to your existing bathroom fixtures.