Shower Glass and Glass Shower Enclosures
An all glass shower enclosure or new glass shower doors can add beauty and light to any bathroom.
The use of glass for showers has increased substantially in the last two decades with the developments in hardware technologies and glass processing equipment, making glass showers the most popular bathroom component. Whether you choose framed or unframed shower glass, the possibilities are nearly endless when designing your shower enclosure or new shower glass door.
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Shower Glass FAQs
Today's glass technology offers a wide range of shower glass styles to choose from. Here are the glass styles that we find are most popular:
- Clear Glass: Most common style, has a slight green tint which is inherent to all clear glass. (Note: not recommended for showers with pure white tile because it creates a green cast)
- Low-Iron Glass: Is the best for clarity and true tile color, good for white or light tiled showers. Starphire is a popluar brand name of low-iron glass.
- Frosted Glass: Partially opaque glass from acid-etching or sandblasting; can be entire glass or a design.
- Rain Glass: Factory made pattern that runs through the glass to add texture and privacy to your shower.
- ShowerGuard Glass: This type of glass, made by Guardian, is not a coated glass but fabricated to resist hard-water stains, corrosion and etching caused by mineral deposits in water. ShowerGuard glass comes in two styles: Clear and Low-Iron (very clear).
Clear or low-iron (Starphire) glass styles are great for small bathrooms because they make the room look bigger.
Etched, patterned and tinted glass styles are best for privacy or in older showers where you don’t want the tile exposed.
A frameless glass shower enclosure is made up of 3/8" or 1/2" tempered and polished safety glass. This glass has greater strength and does not require heavy metal framing around it. A frameless shower gives an all-glass look to create a more "open" look. Frameless glass showers can be used in bathrooms styles from conventional elegance to minimalist chic. Flower City Glass technicians are experts in measuring and installing frameless glass showers.
A frameless glass shower enclosure is aesthetically superior to any other shower solution, allowing the tile and other room features to be highlighted. Frameless showers do not have thick metal framing. In addition, frameless glass shower doors are the easier to clean because they don’t have the metal framing, only glass and minimal perimeter support. For these reasons, a frameless shower tends to last longer than one with a framed shower door.
A framed shower is constructed with thinner 3/16" or ¼" glass. It relies on a metal frame to strengthen the enclosure. Framed glass showers can be designed to have an elegant look and by using a complementary finish on the frames, the shower can become a beautiful center piece of the bathroom.
Depending on the size and design, a framed shower could cost less because it uses thinner glass and is easier for a trained technician to install. A framed shower can also be a the centerpiece of a bathroom by combining the finish on the frame with beautiful shower hardware.
Framed showers have thinner, 3/16" or ¼" glass - Frameless showers uses architectural, 3/8" or ½" glass
Framed showers have a metal frame surrounding the glass – Frameless showers have minimal metal supports
Framed showers take a bit more work to clean – Frameless showers don't have framing to clean around
- Glass Style: There are a lot of glass styles to choose from but the most popular are:
- Clear Glass: recommended for darker tiled bathrooms; has an inherent slight green tint to it which you'll notice on the edge of the glass
- Low-Iron Glass (such as Starphire): higher transparency glass that allows the true tile color to show through. Recommended for white or light tiled showers. Provides a truly elegant shower appearance.
- Frosted Glass: this partially opaque glass is made from acid-etching or sandblasting and can be done the entire glass pane or made into a design.
- Rain Glass: is a factory made design that runs the glass to add texture and privacy to your shower.
- ShowerGuard: This type of glass, made by Guardian, is not a coated glass but fabricated to resist hard-water stains, corrosion and etching caused by mineral deposits in water. ShowerGuard glass comes in two styles: Clear and Low-Iron (very clear).
Note: certain style of glass, such as a color tint or pattern, may only be available in 3/8-inch glass thickness. ½" thick glass carries fewer style choices.
- Glass Thickness Type:
- Frameless showers: The strongest glass we offer for frameless showers is 1/2-inch architectural glass, which is recommended for frameless showers. 3/8" glass is available for frameless showers. We can make a recommendation on which thickness to choose based on your shower design.
- Framed showers: We recommend 3/16" or 1/4" glass for framed showers because the glass is lighter but the doors are very sturdy given the metal frame.
- Glass Shower Door Hinges
- Hinge Types:
- Pivot hinge: for those who want the largest amount of glass surface in a frameless shower, pivot hinges are the best. Pivot hinges mount to the top and bottom corners of your shower door and are hardly noticeable.
- Side mount hinge: for those who are looking to bring an accent into their shower design side mount hinges can be the answer. Side-mount hinges are notched into the sides of the shower door so the hinges are visible.
- Glass to glass hinges: allow you to connect two panels of glass for a seamless look. These hinges allow you to open the glass door panel 90 degrees.
- Hinge design:
- There is a large selection of hinge styles to choose from. In general, there are two basic styles, square hinges and rounded edge hinges. Square hinges tend to be suited better for contemporary looks while rounded hinges lend themselves to a more traditional look.
- Hinge Types:
- Connecting Hardware Types
- Clips: Glass-to-glass metal clips are only about two inches wide and are notched directly into glass panels. When placed correctly, metal clips provide ample support.
- U-Channels: metal channels that provide continuous support of the glass, especially heavy glass. Like hinges, U-channels come in decorative finishes that can be matched to shower hardware and are often chosen because they bring style and definition to a shower.
- Hardware Style: There is tremendous variety in hardware styles. We offer the full line of CRLaurence hardware because they are known for their quality, durability and options.
- Configuration: Your glass shower configuration will first be determined by your existing bathroom space and where your plumbing is now unless you are completely remodeling or newly building your bathroom. We have decades of experience helping homeowners plan the best shower configuration for their bathroom and we'll be delighted to help you find a configuration that best fits your bathroom.
Most shower doors are 24-30" wide. The widest door is 36" inches. Anything wider than 28" will require heavy duty hinges and will have additional costs. You may want a wider door than 26" or a combination of a panel and door depending on how you and your family use the shower. We can help with that decision when we work with you on the shower design.
We recommend a frameless glass enclosure to be 72 – 78" in height but we can make a solid recommendation when we see your bathroom configuration.
No, but we work with some of the best contractors in the area and would be happy to direct you to a contractor who specializes in full bathroom remodeling. Flower City Glass provides the specifications, glass and hardware and installation of shower glass.
Depending on how much time you need to make decisions on glass and hardware, a new shower project can be done within 4 weeks. We'll give you an estimate and if you want to move forward we will come out and measure your bathroom. Once you order your shower glass it will take 2 weeks from final measure to installation. Most showers take about 3-6 hours to install and we ask that you do not use the shower for 24 hours after it is installed.
No. Standard glass types are all the same, whether they are clear, patterned or etched. ShowerGuard glass is specially fabricated glass that resists staining and corrosion so it is easier to keep clean longer. Other options, like Diamond Fusion, are coatings that can be applied to reduce the amount of cleaning needed but they will need to be re-applied during the life of the shower glass.
The best way to keep shower glass clean is to wipe it with a squeegee after every use. Another option is to use a daily shower spray like ShowerClean or a vinegar and water solution.
For maintenance cleaning use common household cleaning products that DO NOT contain ammonia because it will damage the hardware over time.