Installing A Frameless Shower Door

Frameless shower doors are elegant, convenient and require fewer steps to install than framed shower doors.

Are you tired of awkward, unattractive shower door frames? Have you seen frameless showers in magazines and wanted to install your own? Frameless showers are good way of increasing the value of your home. They are easier to clean than framed shower doors because there are no hard to reach crevices which hold mildew and other corrosive substances which reduce the life of your shower doors. Frameless doors involve fewer installation steps but require a delicate touch, strength and patience, since the large glass doors can be a challenge to handle. Advanced planning is required before beginning the actual installation process.

First, decide which side you want to place the hinges. How do you want the glass door to open? If the shower door is going to be placed between two plates of glass, use glass to glass hinges or pivot hinges. Pivot hinges can also be placed against a wall. Once you have decided on the position of the door, make sure that the door won't hit a towel bar or other fixtures. You might want to place a towel bar outside the glass door to avoid this problem.

Your glass door might be more cumbersome to handle, but is easier to install than other doors because there are fewer parts, less measuring and cutting. However take care not to let the glass edges touch the tile or the glass might get chipped or even explode. Always place the glass on wood or on rubber. Moving a large glass door is, realistically, a two person job.

It is easier to install the glass door if the wall tiles are installed on heavy cement. If you are unsure about the durability of the wall, use a header across the top and pivots instead of hinges. Pivots will take the weight off the wall. Do not install the glass shower door directly on tiles if they are mounted on sheetrock.

Install the hinges on the glass and set the glass in the opening on shims. Mark the holes and remove the glass door. Now drill the holes. Set the glass in the opening and screw in 2" screws in the holes. Remove the shims. For a glass door that is 3/8", use two thick gaskets. For glass that is ½" , use two thin gaskets. Be careful while installing the hinges, since they tend to slide. The hinges should be centered in a vertical direction. There should be 3/16" between the glass edge and the edge of the hinge. After tightening the screws, move the glass on the hinge to make sure the measurements are correct and that the glass doesn't hit the base plate. It may be easier, for the time being, to place a door sweep or a vinyl sheet under the door.

Now set the door on the shims which are 7/16" thick. Make sure that the door is high enough. Mark the hole locations with a pen or a pencil. The side clearance should be 3/16".

Remove the door and improve the marks. Drill the holes, preferably with a spade drill. Be careful to drill through the tile and the cement door but not through the wood. Hammer in the anchors and cut off the part of the anchor that sticks out. Replace the door and screw in the screws. Use an impact hammer driver rather than a roto hammer. For best results, lean into the drill motor and squeeze the trigger.

Finally, install the handle. Remove the shims from under the door. With a #3 Philip's screwdriver, tighten the hinge screws that hold the glass. Don't use a drill, but tighten the screws again a month later.

Now clean up the bathroom and take a shower behind your elegant, frameless shower door.

© High Speed Ventures 2011