What is a Frameless Shower?
With the exception of walk-in showers, most shower remodels today involve installing a shower that is enclosed in glass. Frameless showers are enclosed showers that use glass panels without metal framing support systems. Many homeowners prefer the look of frameless shower doors to framed shower enclosures because they are trendy, look cleaner, sleeker and more modern without metal fixtures. The look of the frameless glass shower doors show off other visually appealing elements of your bathroom, such as tile, stone, and accents.
Frameless shower enclosures are typically made with heavy-duty tempered glass with a thick pane, since there is no metal framing to support the glass. Instead, the frameless shower doors are attached using clips and hinges, which are caulked and sealed with silicone at the edges, to hold them in place. Most of the time, contractors will use safety glass so that the glass will not shatter.
Advantages of Frameless Showers
Clean, sleek appearance
One of the most exciting benefits of choosing frameless showers is the elegant appearance it can add to your bathroom remodel. Homeowners looking for modern updates to their bathrooms tend to dislike the appearance of bulky metal framing enclosing their shower. Without metal framing, shower areas often appear more open, which can make your bathroom look larger. Frameless glass can also show off designs and focal points of your bathroom, such as beautiful stone tiles, marble accents, and unique shower fixtures.
Because they use thicker paned glass, frameless showers are very durable and last 20-30 years or more when maintained properly. Without metal framing, they are also less susceptible to rust or corrosion, which are often reasons homeowners choose to replace or repair their showers.
Easy to clean
Metal framing, while practical, can be difficult to clean. It is prone to corrosion over time and often attracts the build-up of mold and mildew in crevices and corners. Without metal framing, frameless showers can be much easier to clean and maintain. They are also less likely to collect water or show water spots. Simply squeegee the shower doors after each use to keep the doors clean and water spot-free.
There are multitudes of design options available to homeowners who choose frameless shower enclosures. Doors come in various sizes, styles and configurations, and can often swing both outward and inward. You can choose fixtures to add, such as handles, hinges, and towel bars that match your showerhead.
Disadvantages of Frameless Showers
Can be costly
Compared to framed and semi-frameless shower options, frameless showers are typically more expensive. The price can climb as the size of the shower increases, and when you add more customized features to your shower.
Longer installation time
It will most likely take your bathroom remodeler a longer time to install a frameless shower compared to a framed shower enclosure. Installing the door’s clips and hinges is more labor intensive – contractors must ensure they are level and can support the weight of the thick-paned glass over time. During installation, your contractor will also need to caulk the frameless glass to prevent leaks, which can take some time. Overall, the installation should take no longer than a full day to a few days to complete.
Possible water leaks
Even though your contractor will use caulk to seal the shower doors in place, water leaks are still possible. With wear and tear, the sealing can become less strong over time. Also remember that frameless shower doors do not have metal frameworks to keep them in place. This means that it is possible that the water escapes through the doorway if left cracked. If you experience water leaks with your shower after installation, you can always reach out to your contractor to request simple repairs and updates.
While frameless showers are customizable, there are certain limitations to keep in mind. For example, frameless showers cannot support sliding doors due to their lack of metal framework. You will need to choose a door style that agrees with the frameless design, such as a pivoting door or french door.
Frameless Shower Styles
Customizing your frameless shower is the fun part of planning your shower remodel! In addition to choosing your shower’s tile, fixtures, showerhead, and more, you can work with your contractor to choose a style of door and glass for the shower enclosure. For example, the glass can be customized with patterned or etched accents.
We recommend starting with considering the following styles for your shower glass and doors:
Installing a custom frameless shower will typically cost more than installing a framed or semi-frameless shower. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $500-$3,000 for a frameless shower, and another $200-$300 for installation.
Keep in mind that the cost of the frameless shower door installation will vary depending on the size of your shower, the type of glass and doors you choose, and any other add-on hardware and customizations. Larger showers with customizations can cost up to $3,000 or more.
The frameless shower is a modern, sleek design that often makes bathrooms appear more open
Easy to Clean
Open, modern design
No metal framing
Lasts 20-30 years
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