What Are The Different Types of Shower Enclosures?
custom glass shower door Philadelphia

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September 24, 2019

Over the years, glass shower enclosures have grabbed the baton from the traditional shower curtain, and taken the lead regarding consumer preference and satisfaction. Not only are they easier to clean, but the wide array of sleek designs makes glass showers a more attractive option for homeowners to hotel travelers.

When choosing glass showers for your construction project, there are three basic options from which to choose: framed, semi-frameless, and frameless. While they are all enduring, worthwhile investments, the options vary in cost, aesthetics, and maintenance. To facilitate the decision regarding the type of glass shower enclosure to select, let’s look at the characteristics of each kind of glass shower door.


Framed Shower Doors

Framed shower doors are the most affordable in the market. The glass is thinner than that used in semi-frameless and frameless models but is quite durable, likely to last more than a decade. Further, the glass is tempered, meaning that it will not shatter, even if the door slams.

Framed shower doors have distinct differences in appearance than the other options, too. Whether swinging or sliding doors, each glass door section is “framed” in metal, and is then attached to metal wall jambs; therefore, the overall aesthetic result is characterized by a more prevalent presence of metal than either of the other two options. Because of that metal, however, it is the most easily adjustable variation of glass shower door.


Semi-Frameless Shower Doors

A more ambiguous type of shower door is that of the semi-frameless shower door, as it relies partly on metal, but less so than the metal frame shower door. Additionally, the specialty glass panel, ¼” or ⅜” in glass thickness, is slightly sturdier than that of the framed option.

With the swinging version of the semi-frameless shower doors, there is no metal along the top of the door, nor is there any metal along the handle side of the shower glass. However, it relies on metal tracking along the base, and along the wall, where it is hinged, as well.

Likewise, the sliding semi-frameless shower door consists of free-floating doors, which run on a metal track above and below it, and also uses metal wall jambs, which make it more adjustable than the frameless option.

This option is more expensive than the framed shower door glass but slightly less expensive than the frameless version. As might be expected of a middle choice, the overall appearance is a combination of the framed and frameless, possessing a distinct metal characteristic, but one that is less pronounced than that of the fully framed option.


Frameless Shower Doors

The specialty clear glass used in frameless shower doors is most often ⅜” or ½” thick, making it the most durable glass of all three options. Further, a minimal amount of metal is used in the construction and support of frameless doors, which is something that many people find aesthetically pleasing.

Though it is the most expensive option, the frameless shower door is very popular, because of its durability and design possibilities, but also because it is the easiest to manage when it comes to glass repair.

Since the framed and semi-frameless options are often proprietary, the location and procurement of replacement parts can be more complicated. While it is the least likely to require a repair, without a frame to be concerned with, should it be necessary, it is easier to replace and repair a frameless glass door.

If you have a small bathroom, a frameless shower bathroom remodel can open up the space, making it appear bigger.


Contact a Professional

At Michael’s Glass Co., we are a knowledgeable team of glass specialists who can help you decide which types of shower doors will work best for you, your budget, and your environment. For assistance with your new shower remodel, please contact us through our website or call us at (215) 338-3293.