When renovating your bathroom, there are hundreds of options to consider and decisions to make: What materials? Which color palette? Tub or shower? If you do choose to install a shower in your new bathroom, that too will bring a slew of new choices to wade through. One of the most crucial questions is what kind of door you’d like to use for getting into and out of your shower. There are a number of options, all of which have their own benefits and drawbacks.
To Frame or Not To Frame?
The first thing to consider is whether you want your shower door to have a frame or be frameless. A framed door is the most common, traditional, and inexpensive of the shower door options. It involves a metal frame around the glass of the door, which is sealed by a strip of rubber around the edges to prevent water from leaking out of the shower. While watertight and economical, the framed door can be an aesthetic challenge for some people, as the metal of the frame can obscure or disrupt tiling patterns and the image of the bathroom as a whole. It is also very easy for mold and mildew to accumulate where the door and rubber seal meet, and if water remains on the metal of the frame for too long, it can rust.
The second option is a frameless door. A frameless door is, obviously, one without the metal frame; instead it is a just a large plate of glass. Since the glass must be thicker and heavier without a frame to support it, frameless doors are more expensive than framed ones. However, they do provide a much more aesthetically appealing option. Since these doors are completely clear, there is no potentially unattractive metal distracting from the design of the rest of the room. There is also no seal to worry about maintaining, although the gap between the glass and the floor or wall means that the shower must be carefully constructed to avoid water leakage.
Types of Glass
The type of glass used for a shower door, especially a frameless one, is also an important factor in the look of the finished bathroom. The most common choice is regular float glass, the same kind of glass used in windows. While this type of glass is certainly less expensive, it also produces a greenish tint when manufactured at the thicknesses needed for shower doors. Again, this can disrupt the aesthetic program of the room by distorting the color of the tiles behind it. Starphire glass, on the other hand, is almost completely clear, no matter how thick the glass. This is because Starphire glass is produced with significantly less iron content than regular glass, allowing it to remain almost completely invisible. It does, however, cost 15-25% more than regular glass, on average.
Steam Me Up!
Finally, there is the opportunity to add all sorts of fun extras to your shower to enhance your daily routine. One such option is installing a steam shower. Just like the steam rooms at a luxurious spa, a steam shower releases clouds of steam at the touch of a button. The installation of a steam shower requires more planning than a regular shower, as a small shower is needed to generate the steam, and the shower must be more carefully laid out. It is also significantly more expensive than a regular shower. The soothing, therapeutic experience of a hot steam may be worth it for some, regardless of price.
Below are some additional photos of glass shower door options.
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Wow, I didn’t realize there were so many glass types available when selecting a shower enclosure! I know my wife really wants a glass shower enclosure installed that isn’t very noticeable. According to the article, starphire glass would probably be our best option since it is more clear than other types. How easy to keep clean is starphire?