Shower Door Questions: Answered

All of your glass shower door questions in once place - with detailed answers from the glass experts.

General Shower Door FAQs

Sliding Glass Shower Door FAQs

Shower Door Specifics

What type of glass shower doors does Dulles Glass manufacture and install?

Dulles Glass offers 6 types of glass shower door shapes in a variety of different configurations. We offer many frameless styles from a Corner 90° Shower door, single and inline shower doors, and a beautiful Neo Angle shower door. We also manufacture and install beautiful sliding shower and bathtub doors.

The best way to get started is to read our "Shower Buying Guide". This easy to read guide will tell you all you need to know about the different shapes of showers and what you need to consider when choosing the right shower. For specific information on frameless shower doors, read: About Frameless Glass Shower Doors

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What is a frameless glass shower door?

Frameless glass showers do not have a metal frame. They are made from strong tempered glass so they don't need the support of a frame to hold them up. Both beautiful and functional, frameless shower doors come in a variety of configurations. Learn more about frameless shower doors here: About Frameless Glass Shower Doors

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What is the difference between a framed shower door and a frameless shower door?

Frameless shower doors give you the look of an all-glass shower enclosure, because there is no metal frame at the top and bottom, or on the sides of the doors. While both shower enclosures are elegant and look great, there are some differences between the two that influence the price of the shower.

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What options are available for your shower doors?

Dulles Glass offers many options to customize your shower space. For example, you can choose from a variety of glass types including clear, low-iron, frosted, rain, bronze, or gray glass. We also offer a full range of hardware finishes and styles, including chrome, brushed nickel, brass, oil rubbed bronze, black, and more. We'll make sure that your shower meets all of your expectations!

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How much does a glass shower door cost?

Glass shower doors, whether framed, semi-framed, or frameless, have a variety of factors that influence cost. The easiest way for you to get a feeling of how much the shower you want will cost is to get a quote. The process is easy, and we walk you through the five simple steps to submit your quote. We'll then email you one of our proprietary interactive quote proposals, where you can see exactly what all the cost factors are.

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How are glass shower doors installed?

If you are in our service area, an expert installer from Dulles Glass will come to your home to professionally install your new glass shower. We offer white glove installation service. Since our installers are specially trained and install glass products each and every day, you can count on the experts at Dulles Glass. Learn more about our installation services

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If you are not in our local installation service area, there are some shower doors that you can buy online and install yourself. Please visit DullesGlassandMirror.com to see the options.

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What is a Neo-Angle Shower Door/Enclosure?

This is the name for a type of shower that is shaped like a diamond with three glass sides and two enclosing walls. Each side of the door comes together at a 135 degree angle.

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Can you design a frameless shower that doesn't leak?

With proper design and installation frameless showers should not have problems with water leakage, but they are not 100 percent watertight.

Fixed glass panels are sealed at the base of the floor and along the sides with clear silicone sealant. Most water seepage comes from the frameless glass door which needs at least 1/4" clearance space along the top, bottom and opening side. And there are many ways to prevent water leakage around a frameless shower door. Here's what we recommend:

DOs

Install a shower sweep with drip rail onto the bottom of your frameless glass shower door. This will tighten up the clearance space under the door and prevent water seepage. (More about water sweeps)

Add a back sweep to the rear of the door. It's a clear vinyl seal mounted with hi-bond tape.

Use a doorstop. Our clear polycarbonate doorstops fit over the edge of an adjacent glass panel and have a lip that extends out to catch the frameless shower door preventing it from swinging into the shower. By catching the door, this jam temporarily closes clearance space along the door opening.

DON'Ts

Do not direct water spray at the frameless shower door!! Your protective seals improve watertightness but a glass shower isn't an aquarium. We automatically seal door hinges to give them a protective property as well, but the hinges aren't waterproof.

Do not neglect replacing seals. Over time, sweeps and stops may need replacing just as car seals and hoses do. If your frameless glass shower suddenly seems less watertight, check your seals.

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Can I protect my shower door from water spots and clouding?

Protecting your glass shower is a must, especially for daily use. We only sell ClearShield, an affordable, award-winning glass surface treatment. Benefits include:

Our specialists will apply ClearShield glass treatment prior to installation and provide detailed after-care instructions.

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What is a header and when do I need a header over my frameless glass shower door?

Headers are used when a fixed glass panel is hinged to an adjoining glass door. By hinging it, it's being asked to carry the weight of the shower door. Every time the glass door is opened, it pulls on the attached glass panel. A support header relieves some of the tension to prevent weakening of the glass-to-glass connection over time. Headers are not necessary if the glass door attaches into a wall.

Glass to Glass Hinge

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What is the difference between a frameless sliding glass shower door and a framed or semi-frameless sliding glass shower door?

For both semi-frameless and framed showers, the doors slide on a stainless steel track with high-quality hangers at the top. You can get the stainless steel frames in your choice of finishes.

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How does a sliding glass shower door work?

A frameless sliding glass shower door has one fixed panel and one moving panel. The location of the fixed panel is reversible and can be placed on the right or left side. The moving panel moves on three sets of wheels over a metal rod. Framed and semi-frameless sliding doors slide in a high-quality stainless steel track that won't rattle, stick, or fail.

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Can you get a corner shower in a framed or semi-frameless style?

Yes, we can install a shower that has one full or half glass wall, a side with a sliding door system, and two full walls.

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What is the difference between a Dulles Glass shower sliding glass door system and an off-the-shelf retail kit?

Dulles Glass showers are not made from contractor-grade materials that often fail due to lower-quality hardware. Our showers are made with high-quality glass and stainless steel, for the ultimate performance. Here are some other ways we beat the competition:

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What kind of warranty can I get on sliding glass shower doors?

All of our high-quality shower doors come with a two-year warranty.

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What options are available for your shower doors?

Dulles Glass offers many options to customize your shower space. For example, you can choose from a variety of glass types including clear, low-iron, frosted, rain, bronze, or gray glass. We also offer a full range of hardware finishes and styles, including chrome, brushed nickel, brass, oil rubbed bronze, black, and more. We'll make sure that your shower meets all of your expectations!

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How are glass shower doors installed?

If you are in our service area, an expert installer from Dulles Glass will come to your home to professionally install your new glass shower. We offer white glove installation service. Since our installers are specially trained and install glass products each and every day, you can count on the experts at Dulles Glass. Learn more about our installation services. If you are not in our local installation service area, there are some shower doors that you can buy online and install yourself. Please visit DullesGlassandMirror.com to see the options available for online purchase.

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What is the difference between 3/8” and ½” thick shower glass?

In short, glass thickness determines the structural strength of your shower enclosure. Here's a quick look at both options:

3/8" Heavy Shower Glass

3/8" thick glass is the smallest thickness size that can be used in frameless showers to assure sound, quality construction. It's also more budget-friendly than half-inch glass.

1/2" Heavy Shower Glass

Premium 1/2" thick glass offers the greatest structural integrity and durability. It's the same kind of glass used for storefronts. It not only looks more impressive but also has a more substantial feel.

Glass Thickness

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What types of glass can I choose for my glass shower enclosure?

Glass is no longer just glass. Thanks to designer trends, homeowners now have a variety of glass styles and tints to choose from. Available glass styles differ according to glass thickness. Here are the standard styles we offer for each:

Glass Styles for 1/2" Glass

Clear Glass: This is our most common style of glass; will carry a slight green tint inherent to all clear glass.

Frosted Glass: Partially opaque glass from acid-etching or sandblasting; apply to entire glass or strips.

Glass Styles for 3/8" Glass

Clear Glass: This is the most common style; will carry a slight green tint inherent to all clear glass.

Low-Iron Glass: Provides the clearest transparency to show true tile color.

Frosted Glass: Partially opaque glass from acid-etching or sandblasting; apply to entire glass or strips.

Rain Glass: One of two sophisticated patterns to add texture and privacy to your shower. Pre-treated patterns run throughout each glass panel.

Bronze Glass: Adds a pale coloration, similar to car window tints. Tinted glass is just a vulnerable to hard-water stains as clear glass and requires the same maintenance and care.

Gray Glass: Adds a pale coloration, similar to car window tints. Tinted glass is just a vulnerable to hard-water stains as clear glass and requires the same maintenance and care.

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What is tempered shower glass?

Tempered shower glass is safety glass and by law, is the only type of glass permitted for bathroom shower installations. It's called safety glass because tempered glass will never break into sharp, jagged edges. Instead, when broken, tempered glass shatters into small oval pebbles.

We manufacture tempered glass from normal glass through a process of extreme heating and rapid cooling. This makes the tempered glass four to five times stronger than standard glass, giving it a highly-prized brittle quality. Glass tempering is the final step in our glass fabrication process. After we've tempered your custom glass panels at our manufacturing warehouse, your frameless shower is ready for installation.

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Can I install a frameless glass shower myself?

Any frameless enclosures that use more than one glass panel should always be installed by a professionally trained team of technicians.

There are so many variables at stake when measuring and installing frameless glass panels that there is almost no room for error or adjustment. After the glass arrives, it's already been tempered and you can't re-cut any pieces or the entire panel will shatter.

Plus, a frameless shower that is improperly constructed can be extremely dangerous.

Our professional glaziers use many tools when designing and installing a frameless enclosure, including use of CAD software to ensure structural soundness. Frameless shower design really is akin to an architectural project. There are many unique factors that come into play that only an experienced technician would notice such as how to handle walls that aren't plumb. There are also safety codes that technicians (and you) must follow and understand, such as height and width limitations for each set of hardware options.

Our team leads are certified by the Glass Association of North America; put your trust in our hands to guarantee your investment.

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What is a shower sweep and do I need one for my frameless glass shower?

When your frameless swing or pivot shower door is installed, we need to leave clearance space between the bottom of the door and the floor so that the door can swing open without scraping tile. A water sweep is used to prevent water leaking through that clearance space. For frameless shower doors, the water sweep is attached to a clear rail or aluminum U-channel rail that fits over the bottom of the door. The flexible or vinyl sweep hangs down off the rail to seal the shower door clearance gap, as shown in this picture. If a frameless shower door will receive water spray, a combination water sweep with drip rail should be used under the door. The drip rail attaches to the top of the inner U-channel to deflect water rolling off the inside door.

Shower Sweep Water Sweep

You may not need a water sweep for your frameless shower door if:

What is the difference between a pivot hinge and a side-mount hinge?

A pivot hinge is secured top-to-bottom. It's this hinge type that allows a door revolving door to spin, while staying in place. Only most pivot-hinged shower doors mount top-to-bottom at the corners of the door, allowing the door to swing 180 degrees in each direction. (Pivot hinges that are center-mounted create a true revolving door.)

A side-mount hinge is similar to the door hinges in your home. One side of the hinge is anchored on the side of a frameless glass door. The other side of the hinge is mounted to a wall or another glass panel.

A pivot hinge shower door can be less expensive, but not always. The versatility in which both hinges can be applied prevents labeling of these hardware products. How one uses either hinge affects how much glass fabrication (cutting and notching) is necessary. And this is really what drives price.

A pivot-hinge door secured to the ceiling and side-mount hinge secured to a wall do not differ in cost. If you were to secure a side-mount hinge to another glass panel, this configuration would require more glass fabrication work.

The type of hinge you choose for your shower door actually affects other installation requirements for building and designing your shower, as well as cost. Understanding the impact of each hinge can help you make the best choice for your shower configuration. Please discuss this with your Dulles Glass project manager.

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What are U-Channels?

The U-channel is a metal rail that fits over shower glass panels and is used to secure them to the floor, ceiling, wall or another glass panel.

U-channels reduce the total cost of your frameless shower because these attach directly to the glass without the need for glass fabrication (drilling and notching). The entire edge of the glass sits in the rail of the U-channel. Running U-channels along the bottom and outer edge of your glass shower enclosure adds a "light frame" look to the final product and secures your shower structure.

The U-channels are then fastened to each other. Structural support can be increased with deep U-channels that allow more of the glass to sit in the "frame." U-channel designed showers are sometimes called "semi-frameless" showers. Even with this light-framed look, U-channel-built showers support a mostly glass look. With the right accent finish color, your glass shower becomes a centerpiece unto itself.

U-Channel

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What is a 90° return panel?

A 90-degree glass return panel is really just a glass wall. It's required when there are only one or two existing bathroom walls contributing to your shower enclosure. Since at least four sides are needed to enclose your bathing space, two glass panels will be used to complete your shower structure. These two glass panels would normally meet each other in a 90 degree angle. One of these panels will actually be inline with your shower door. Then the return panel is the glass that "returns" from your door to a wall.

Depending on the design, your shower may have more than one return panel such as neo angle showers have. Most of the time, however, the return panel is squared off at 90 degrees, forming a standard corner, referred to as a 90 degree return.

90 degree return panel

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What's the difference between a shower grab bar and a towel bar?

A grab bar is always mounted to a wall, not a glass shower door. It's engineered and tested with quality fasteners to safely support about 350lbs, without pulling way from the wall.

Grab bars, also known as assist bars, are installed to help an individual easily and safely exit or enter a shower or bathtub. Though most commonly used to help those who are disabled or elderly, grab bars are useful for any shower/tub situation that is particularly slippery or steep. Assist bar placement is very important, so be sure to consult your glass professional before installation. A towel bar is often mistakenly used for support. When you have to grab hold quickly, anything will do. But it is not designed or installed to support human weight. If mounted to a shower glass panel and yanked loose, the glass will most likely shatter.

Grab Bar and Towel Bar

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Can you install an inward-opening frameless shower door if there isn't clearance space to open the shower door outward?

No. According to safety code, there must be appropriate clearance space for the shower door to open outward. The shower enclosure must permit unobstructed access to a showering person in case of a fall. An inward-opening shower door can become the obstruction when a person falls in the shower next to it. However, your shower door can open in both directions, outward-opening and inward-swinging.

You'll need about 30" of clearance space outside your shower to install a swinging shower door. If your bathroom is not configured for a shower door, consider choosing a hydroslide: an all glass, frameless, single-sliding door shower enclosure. Your other alternatives include double sliding doors, which come either semi-frameless or framed, and a shower screen which leaves ample clearance space in case of an emergency.

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