Brought to you by HBA Gold Industry Partner, M&M Glass Company

So, you’ve finally decided to get rid of the old shower curtain. Whether you’re tired of replacing the crinkly plastic sheet or just looking to enhance your space, a glass shower door is a great option. Deciding you want to upgrade is just the first step. Next, is choosing the right glass shower door for your needs. Here are the pros and cons of framed and heavy glass shower doors. 

Framed Shower Doors

Framed shower doors are a big step up from shower curtains. These doors encase all glass edges with a metal frame, typically aluminum. Their moving parts consist of stainless-steel pivots and piano hinges. Framed shower doors also use thinner glass plates, making them more affordable than other options. 

The Pros:

Water Insulation: Framed doors often have better waterproofing abilities than other options. Encasing the door in metal makes it hard for droplets to escape. They also use metal tracks to capture water and caulk linings to seal their edges. 

Installation: These doors also benefit from a simpler installation process. Because framed doors do not need a specific material to sit on, they can be installed in more spaces. However, we recommend professional installation to ensure the proper placement of hinges and hardware. 

Affordability: Framed showers typically use lightweight glass plates that are ¼” thick. The lighter material makes it a more affordable option for shower doors. That said, prices can vary depending on the types of glass and framing used. 

Variety: Framed glass doors offer many options regarding customization. You can choose between textured glass patterns or a smooth, satin finish. Frames also come in many materials, like standard aluminum, stainless steel, and even plated brass. 

The Cons:

Limiting Design: Since framed shower doors are a staple of a vintage interior design, they might make a bathroom feel more old-fashioned. Their retro designs might stray away from homeowners looking for a more modern aesthetic. 

Maintenance Difficulty: Framed showers do require more upkeep than frameless designs. Soap scum and water tend to collect within the frame’s crevices. Over time, limescale might build up, staining your shower’s exterior. Additionally, metal frames can corrode over time due to excess moisture. 

Accessibility Challenges: These frames typically use frames that only swing outwards. This might limit your bathroom space, making it feel smaller. There is also a higher risk of injury for doors that only swing in one direction. 

Heavy Shower Doors

Heavy (or frameless) shower doors use tempered glass panels that stand without the help of metal framing. These doors also give bathrooms a sleek, modern look sought out by many homeowners. Their seamless finish also allows frameless doors to complete a variety of design styles. No matter the setting, heavy shower doors can help a space feel both minimal and luxurious. 

The Pros: 

Appearance: Heavy shower doors can make a bathroom look bigger and more open. Its smooth glass finish meshes seamlessly into a space, creating a more expansive point of view. These doors also let natural light into your bathroom, creating a space that feels even more open. 

Easier to Clean: Framed shower doors can collect water and soap residue leading to a tricky cleaning process. Their metal crevices trap moisture creating calcium deposits if not consistently cleaned. Luckily, since heavy shower doors are simply glass panels, a quick wipe-down is all that’s needed to keep frameless doors in shape. 

Emphasizes Decor: The metal of a framed door can hide or even clash with a bathroom’s design elements. Heavy shower doors help make the most of your interior decoration. Their minimalist glass doors emphasize other design details like tilework or faucet design. 

Long Lifespan: Frameless shower doors use heavy tempered glass, typically ½” thick. High-quality glass plates tend to be sturdier and more shatter-resistant than framed doors. Additionally, because heavy glass doors use fewer pieces than framed doors, the repair process is much simpler. 

The Cons:

Price: The cost of glass panels tends to rise as the plates become thicker. Experts also perform a heat-treating process to temper the glass, strengthening it. These result in a higher-end product with a price that follows it. 

Chance of Leakage: Though you can’t guarantee 100% waterproofing from any shower, heavy shower doors have slightly more leakage than framed doors. With their minimalist designs, frameless shower doors lack water-stopping traps like framed doors. Additionally, not being encased in metal does increase the chance of water escaping. 

Installation: Heavy shower doors do require professional installation. Creating the enclosure requires specialized tools used to drill into the thick glass. Furthermore, it’s necessary for an expert to assess your bathroom space to ensure a frameless shower can be installed safely. 

Talk to an Expert

Here at the Home Builders Association of Greater Baton Rouge, we are fortunate to work with trusted partners who are experts in their fields. If you are looking to find the right glass shower door for your home, we recommend working with one of our partners, like M&M Glass Company. They have experts who will assess your bathroom interior and help you find the best option to elevate your shower experience.