Glass shower enclosures are a serious step up from the old, dirty shower curtain. They are better at containing the water within the shower area and add a more elegant look to your bathroom. There are three main types of glass shower enclosures-- framed, semi-frameless, and frameless. You need to know the pros and cons of each type of enclosure to make the right decision for your bathroom.
Framed Shower Enclosures
Fully framed shower enclosures are the most common type. The panes of glass are enclosed in a metal frame which holds the hardware and supports the glass. This support allows the glass panes to be thinner and lighter than in other designs, reducing the cost of your installation. If you are a DIY junkie, than this is the choice for you.
If you are installing your shower enclosure in an older home or one where the walls are not perfectly straight, a framed shower enclosure is your best choice since it is the easiest to seal. With a frameless design, the glass has to be cut perfectly to fit in the space, which is extremely difficult around walls that aren't perfectly straight. A framed design uses glass panels that are slightly smaller than the space, giving the installer sufficient wiggle room to deal with slight dips and bumps in the wall.
Most people feel that framed showers are less stylish, but you can certainly find doors that look fantastic with a little effort. The biggest functional problem with framed enclosures is that they are more difficult to clean, since dirt and mildew can get trapped between the glass and the frame.
Semi-Framed Glass Enclosures
Semi-framed showers are the least common, but are the most flexible choice. The frame is as thin as possible, and it might not use any framing material at all at some joints. Each enclosure is different, but the glass thickness and therefore budget will usually be in the middle of framed and frameless designs.
Where Semi-framed showers come into their own is in nontraditional shower enclosure shapes. If a design has curves or multiple corners, it is likely that the glass for a frameless design would simply be too heavy. By adding a thin metal frame, you can support the glass enough to make your concept a reality. While you do get a lot of the look of a frameless design, you do not escape the cleaning issues that comes from the joints between the metal and the glass.
Frameless Shower Enclosures
Frameless shower designs are the current trend in shower enclosures. Simple and elegant, the glass is connected with only small metal clips or a plastic track, allowing the beauty of your space to shine through. The fit has to be perfect to be watertight, so if you go this route it is imperative to invest in professional design and installation. No matter how simple it looks, you can't make any changes to the glass once it is tempered, so if you do the job yourself, be prepared for a big bill if you make a mistake.
Frameless showers are the easiest to clean. The lack of a frame means that there is nowhere for dirt and soap scum to hide. Because this is a premium product, most manufacturers will also offer to bake in a coating that will resist grime, leading to fewer cleanings.
No matter what type of shower enclosure you choose, it will be an upgrade to the appearance and functionality of your shower. By balancing your budget with your design aesthetic, you can choose the enclosure type that will come in on budget and look great in your new bathroom. Go to websites to see other options.