A Guide to European Glass Shower Doors and Walls

European Glass Shower Walls

European Glass Shower Walls

Learn about European glass shower enclosures for a master suite bathroom.

If you're looking for a sleek, modern look for your bathroom remodel consider incorporating a glass shower into your design. Glass shower doors can open up the space and turn an ordinary bathroom into a spa like retreat. They offer a light and airy look that can visually expand a smaller space. Whether you choose a glass door, wall, or a complete glass surround it's a modern look that's a great way to show off beautiful tile and fancy fixtures in the shower.

If you're looking for a way to upgrade your existing bathroom, adding a glass door to a walk-in shower stall is a great look that's also an affordable upgrade. When choosing to add glass to your shower you have two options; framed of frameless. Each has benefits and drawbacks and your final choice may depend on several factors including the amount of space you have available and your budget.

Let's compare framed and frameless installations and look at the pros and cons of each style.

Framed vs Frameless Glass Shower Doors and Enclosures

Many of us grew up in homes with fully framed glass shower enclosures. They were simple and incorporated a lot of metal framing. Often they had some type of decorated or frosted glass for privacy and were generally finished in chrome or gold. A shower door is considered framed if the door is surrounded with metal framework around the glass.

Frameless shower doors first gained popularity in the late 1990's. They are generally made with thick heavy tempered safety glass and feature minimal framework and extra heavy hinging to support the weight of the door. A shower door is considered frameless if the operable part has no surrounding metal and is hung only using hinges. A frameless system can still have headers and other track components to secure all of the fixed sections to the walls. They offer a seamless modern look and use minimal, discrete hardware.

The pros and cons of a framed glass shower door

Usually framed with aluminum surrounding thin tempered glass, framed doors are normally not very expensive. They're great at retaining water due to the overlaying metal and work extremely well in steam shower enclosures. While traditional chrome and gold frames are still available, today frames are also available in a variety of painted enamel finishes and offer an incredible array of decorative glass options.

On the downside, the excessive metal can detract from nice tile work and other fixtures. Framed doors also generally come in standard heights and can look short by today's design standards. This can make them look a little dated.

The pros and cons of a frameless glass shower door

Nothing is more impressive than a frameless door over a great tile job. They give your bathroom a contemporary modern look and can be customized to exactly fit any size space. Frameless glass gives your bathroom an open spa-like feel and is not limited in terms of design or layout. There are many different hardware options available to further customize the look. Frameless door are easier to clean and minimize the risk of mold or mildew as there are no hidden areas like you'd find on a metal framed shower door.

While frameless doors look stunning, they are prone to leak water. As a rule they are more form than function and while they excel in aesthetics, depending on the design and install, they can lack in function. It's important to carefully consider your shower design when choosing a frameless option. Because they use no gaskets or seals installation must be handled by a qualified professionaL Another consideration is that, while it rarely happens, frameless doors can spontaneously shatter because they are made from heavy tempered glass. Generally this is caused by an occlusion in the glass or an improper install. Because of the heavier glass and special considerations with their installation, frameless shower doors can cost more than twice as much as a framed door.

Choosing your shower door is a major component of your bathroom remodel. Creating a glass shower can set the style for your entire bathroom. Whether you choose an affordable framed shower door, or a stylish frameless model, today you have more option than even before. Your designer or design-build contractor can show you your options and help you to choose the perfect solution to match your taste and meet your budget.  

About Toulmin Kitchen & Bath Design - We're West Alabama's award-winning, premier kitchen and bath showroom. We're experts who are known for a design-build process that makes the construction process stress-free. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a design consultation.