Pros and Cons of Frameless Shower Doors

Here we share the pros and cons of frameless shower doors including their features, cost and whether they are worth it for your bathroom design.
Bathroom with frameless shower door and brown vanity cabinet

Bathrooms are essential parts of the home. They can usually make or break it, in terms of raising or lowering your property’s overall real estate value depending on the quality of bathroom you have installed.

One of the most important focal points of a bathroom is the shower. These days, more and more homeowners are opting to get shower doors installed instead of getting the old school shower curtain we’ve gotten so used to in the past. 

The market is awash with so many options that it can get a little overwhelming when you’re out shopping for the perfect shower door but categorically speaking, there are 2 main types of shower doors: framed glass doors, and frameless glass doors

Both of these types of shower doors have their own strengths to consider. We’ll discuss it more on frameless showers in this article.

Advantages of Showers with Frameless Doors

Easier to Keep Clean – Frameless shower doors are superior in terms of their material composition as they’re made out of tempered glass that have been treated specifically for easy maintenance or cleanup. Bathroom showers are notoriously damp for the most part and treated glass that can be easily wiped up or cleaned is a definite pro.

More Durable Construction – One major advantage of frameless shower doors though compared to their framed counterparts is that the glass it’s made out of is usually thicker because of the absence of frames.

If you’re wondering how the moving parts such as the hinges, door pulls, and clips are attached, they’re actually set into the glass and are caulked with silicone for sealing.

There’s also a rubber lining at the bottom of the glass to keep the water from seeping out of the shower. 

Variety of Design Styles to Choose FromDesign and style options are quite wide if you opt to go for the frameless shower doors route. You can pick out different types of glass from the patterned types, to the etched types, infused, bronzed, or even frosted. The infused glass type is particularly interesting as it’s quite effective in resisting hard water spots. 

The door styles for frameless shower doors can also be quite interesting. They can be stationary, come in moving panels that can pivot and hinge, and even take on the design of French doors if you fancy it. 

Custom Look – This makes this the perfect type of shower door for custom designs and looks you may have in mind and can best achieve the minimalist look if it’s the kind of look you’re after for your shower doors or for your shower as a whole.

Modern and Stylish – Frameless doors look and feel airy and contemporary and usually appeal to more modern and sophisticated tastes whereas framed ones can feel a little traditional at times because of the heavy metal edging.

Drawbacks of Shower Enclosures with Glass Edge Doors

Difficult to Install – One major downside that you ought to be aware of before you go for frameless shower doors though is that installation can be a little tricky. For starters, they need to be installed by professionals.

The glass of these doors are usually measured out for your bathroom’s ceiling height, glass type, and even the shape of your showerhead so this definitely isn’t the type of thing that you can just do yourself. Read more about shower sizes on this page.

Installation would usually require a template of sorts made out of thin strips of wood that would serve as a blueprint or some sort of guide for how your shower doors will be installed.

It can be quite labor intensive because a main requirement is that the clips should be perfectly leveled or else the doors will end up sagging in the long run.

Need Specialized Equipment – There’s also special equipment required such as specialized drill bits and heavy duty caulk to attach the clips securely and properly.

Cost Of  Unframed Doors vs Framed

Frameless shower doors also cost 2 to 3 times more than framed ones. It ranges from $600 to $800 for a 60-inch shower for the doors alone.

You also need to factor in the hefty installation costs which could easily be at a $300 to $400 range.

That goes up to as much as $1200 as opposed to framed shower doors which only cost $400 including installation on the high end.

Read more about framed vs frameless shower doors here.

Are Frameless Glass Doors Worth It

Bathroom with clear glass edge door and bath tub

This can be a tricky concept to take on but if the standard would be the overall value of the bathroom and by extension the home, then the answer is yes.

Frameless shower doors are easy to clean and don’t have the heavy metal frames that framed shower doors have. This makes the shower area look bigger than it actually is and cleanup can be a breeze as there isn’t really much to clean other than the glass surface itself.

They don’t accumulate a lot of mold and mildew because there aren’t grooves and frames surrounding the glass so they’re far more hygienic and long lasting.

Problems With Frameless Glass

The only real problems you need to be concerned with when getting frameless glass shower doors other than the obvious cost and nitpicky installation would be the maintenance. 

You would have to continuously replace its rubber get and silicon caulking if you would like it to be in mint condition because its sealing mechanism isn’t as sturdy as the framed glass doors because of the absence of framed support.

Do Frameless Types of  Shower Doors Leak?

Bathroom with frameless style shower doors

They don’t leak when they’re new but when wear and tear is introduced, frameless shower doors can be less sturdy compared to their framed counterparts simply because they lack support where the frames might have been. And although they may keep water in the shower, over time, they can suffer leaks.

One major problem for frameless glass shower doors is that the seal might end up failing sooner compared to their framed counterparts. They only have rubber gaskets that are heavily caulked to keep the water in but rubber has the tendency to crack over time. 

This can then lead to leaks coming out of the shower and might need some replacement so that’s additional cost in terms of maintenance. 

Which Is Best?  A Framed Or Frameless Option?

Bathroom with marble flooring and seamless glass shower

In terms of design versatility and style, nothing really compares to the aesthetics of frameless shower doors. This comes with a hefty price though, literally and figuratively.

They cost twice to three times more than the frameless shower door types, and they can be more demanding in terms of maintenance as you would have to replace the rubber gaskets when they get brittle or suffer tears.

From the installation to the actual cost of the shower doors, to the continuing maintenance, they are bound to cost way more money but if this is a price you’re willing to pay for what is hands down something way more aesthetically pleasing, then the frameless shower door may be for you.

However, if your preference leans more towards practicality and durability, then framed shower doors would have to take the cake. They can withstand use and abuse and don’t require too much by way of maintenance.

They are also easy to install as they can be DIY’d and don’t require the meticulous measurements of frameless shower door installations.

For another article like this visit our walk-in shower designs gallery here.

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