Showcase Shower Door Company

Phone: (831) 464-3899   FAX: (831) 477-0760

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The Santa Cruz Glass and Glazing Blog - Hosted by Chris Phillips

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 12/9/2014

The Sentimental Value of Aging Shower Doors

Hello Chris,

We had our shower doors put in fourteen years ago. They have a aluminum frame around and on the doors. I find that the clear caulking around the frame is getting quite dirty with mildew, and some of it has also come out in some places. Is it ok to remove this clear caulk out around the frame and replace it with new clear caulking without causing any damage? Would greatly appreciate your reply as soon as possible.

Thanks.

Mumtaz

 

                


Hi Mumtaz,

If your shower doors are fourteen years old, I really wouldn’t worry that much about it. If you can get another year’s worth of use out of them, you are way ahead of the game. Your shower doors are near the end of their expected lifespan. Go ahead and caulk them!

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 11/24/2014

Glass to Glass Hinges and Fixed Panels

Hello,

I saw your blog and I wanted to know if you think our shower doors are safe. We got them installed today and because the hinges are not attached to the wall the entire panel moves when you open the door. It takes effort to open the door. The track is adhered to the walls and saddle with silicone. Will that soften over time? My fear is this thing will fall down over time.

Thank you for your input.

Jennifer
 

               


Hi Jennifer,

I know exactly what you are talking about. There is a standard formula for the maximum width a fixed panel should be if it has a door hinging from it. It varies a little depending on the thickness of the glass (1/2″ or 3/8″). If the panel exceeds the recommended width, the whole enclosure will move the way that you are describing.

I can’t make a judgement call based on your photos since there are a lot of factors that I am unable to determine. Chances are that your shower enclosure is safe. I doubt that the force required to open the door will soften over time. The hinges are spring loaded to cause them to center themselves… that is the resistance you feel when you pull on the door.

It is also possible to add additional support to the top of the fixed panel if you feel you might need it. You can talk to the original installers about that.

Best wishes,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 11/18/2014

Seals in Steam Shower Enclosures

The frameless door in my steam shower is supposed to go to the ceiling. It was installed with a plastic edging that causes the door to scrape the ceiling so hard the paint comes off. I took off the plastic edging but there is now a gap at the top of the door. Is this normal? How should it have been done?

Virginia

 



Hi Virginia,

When people get a new steam shower they often think that the enclosure needs to be air-tight. Not only is this untrue, it is a bad idea. While it is obvious that you want to trap the steam inside of the shower so you can enjoy the hot, steamy goodness of it all, it isn’t necessary to become obsessed with the tiniest bit of steam escaping. Only you can decide if enough of the steam is staying in the shower.

It is always a challenge to keep the maximum amount of steam in while making the door operate correctly. It sounds like, in your case, it required removing one of the seals. You have to decide if the steam shower is functioning the way you think it should without it. If you feel that too much steam is escaping, it may be possible to attach an edge seal to the ceiling of the shower, rather than the glass. Sometimes that is a solution…

Let me know how things work out, OK?

Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 10/15/2014

RE: Adhesive for Frameless Shower Doors

Hello,

I’ve been reading the info on your website and wonder if I may ask a question.

I would come to your shop but we live in Rochester, NY.

We have a frameless shower door and the seal is coming loose. Can you recommend an adhesive so I can attach the seal?

Thank You.

Kind Regards,

Jeff





 

Hi Jeff,

The adhesive used for that purpose is clear VHB (very high bond) tape. CR Laurence provides a few different sizes of this tape that works excellent for shower door edge seals. If you want to get some of the VHB tape from CRL, you can visit your local glass shop and see if they have some in stock. If they don’t have it, they can certainly order it for you. Otherwise, you can try your local home improvement store. They will most likely have some clear VHB tape in stock. You may have to trim it to size, and that may be a little tricky.

Let me know how it works out for you,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 10/7/2014

RE: Shower Panel Implosion

Chris

Nearly four years ago we remodeled our bathroom and purchased a frameless shower.   Tuesday when I was in the kitchen, there was the sound of an explosion.  I ran upstairs to find the panel next to the door had imploded.   I never knew this could happen and have googled and found out that it is possible from a defect in the glass, they way it was installed, movement of the house.  I also found on the web that some glass shower companies are now offering a lifetime warranty on spontaneous imploding glass.

I called the company (I am in the Denver area) that installed the glass and asked them if there was any such warranty.  Their glass supplier is Oldcastle and they do not have such warranty.
The panel that broke rests solely on the tile and then is glue to the other panel at the corner.  There is a 90 degree corner clip at the top of those two panels.   My concern is purchasing another panel from the same company and having the same thing happen again in the future.    I am wondering what your thoughts are as to why the panel just imploded.  The location of the weak point  (just from the ripple pattern in the glass..see last picture) appeared to be about 6″ inches from the side that would be adjacent to the door, and it about 4″ up from the tub deck.  There is a cutout in the marble edging of the tub deck for the glass.

Should the glass have been mounted in a recessed track in the tile, or is that really just to protect against leaks.  We had no leaks.  I spoke to a different company in Denver and they said they always install the glass in either a visible channel or recessed channel, and she felt it was because the glass was directly on the tile.

Should the panel have been supported by another support to ceiling?  Could the glass have not been in the marble cutout correctly, such that there was a pressure point, and not enough silicone on each side?

If you think this was by house movement what are your recommendations for preventing it again.  At the same time I am concerned about the remaining pieces that did not break, the door and the piece on the tub deck.  If there was some sort of flaw in the glass these likely were made in the same batch.

Thanks

Janet Bender

 

          

 

Hi Janet,

I’m sorry to hear about your shower panel. It is true that tempered glass can break spontaneously. This is very rare, and is caused by “inclusions” in the glass. An inclusion is a bit of material that is not glass, but is instead a contaminant that is “included.” These inclusions are almost always nickel sulfide, and are microscopic in size. These tiny specks of material can lay dormant in the glass for years, and then cause a fracture out-of-the-blue.

We sometimes install shower glass in a channel and sometimes using glass clamps. This is strictly a matter of personal preference. I did notice that you said in your email that the panel was resting “solely on the tile…” If that is actually the case, it may have caused the glass to break. The glass should always set on a plastic or rubber setting block to isolate it from actually touching the tile. If there is no padding (with shower enclosures this is usually a clear plastic block) then you have an improper installation. The plastic blocks will prevent breakage from house-settling or even small tremors.

I hope you find this helpful,

-Chris


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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 8/14/2014

RE: 3/8 Inch Frameless Hinged Shower Door

Hi,

I just saw your youtube video and thought I would take you up on your offer to answer a question.

I have an older, one piece fiberglass shower stall enclosure (attached pictures) with door dimensions of 65 x 28 1/8 inches. It currently has a piano hinged older aluminum shower door that is showing signs of corrosion. I have an opportunity to purchase a frameless 3/8 shower door 65 x 27 5/8 inch for the cost of $150 but I am concerned about the following

Weight of the door and the fiberglass structural strength to support the weight of the door. The fiberglass enclosure has a 3 x 2 1/2 inch door frame and a 3 inch curb. It does appear to be hollow. There is an available wall stud in line with the enclosure frame. If I can get 6 inch screws I could mount the door hinges through fiberglass and into the wall.
The 4/8 inch difference between the width of the opening and the width of the door
I know my options would be to remove the fiberglass enclosure and install tile but

I am short on funds at the moment
i am concerned about potential water leaks to the unit below (we have been having a series of small 3.0 earthquake lately and like the idea of a sealed unit
I may have to sell my condo and needed a quick and inexpensive upgrade to the bathroom
My questions:

Is a 1/2 width clearance ok when installing a frameless shower door? I am assuming the hinge side clearance should be as close as possible to prevent water leakage and I know I could purchase clear plastic trim for the side and bottom of the door.
Is this door too heavy for the structure of the enclosure and if so can I reinforce it will a full height flat metal strip that would reduce my width clearance by an 1/8 of inch to only 3/8th?
I can purchase a 65″ x 2″ chromed or nickled flat bar and secure it to the fiber glass frame and the stud in the wall with screws every 6 inches to increase the structural integrity of the fiber glass frame and then secure the door hinges over the metal strip and into the stud..


It is difficult to find a prefab door that is only 65 inches high and still looks good at this price point. The doors with an adjustable width have a fixed height or if they are at the right height they really look cheep. My current piano hinge door if it was new looks better than the pivot doors they have on the market. There are partial frameless doors that look ok but again difficult to find the right size and color at a price in my budget.

Any suggestions or referrals would be appreciated

Dan


       20140807_213007            20140807_213233


Hi Dan,

The frameless door that you have selected is about the right size (width) for your opening. I normally allow 7/16” clearance overall in the width. It looks like your configuration will allow for ½” overall, which is fine. If, indeed, you are able to use screws long enough to anchor into a stud, the weight will not be an issue. The standard height of manufactured “semi-frameless” doors is a little more than 65” (around 66-1/2” or so). As far as price goes, I don’t think you can beat the deal you are getting on the frameless door.

Waterproofing is a different issue entirely. If you are concerned about leaking, you don’t want to install a frameless door. They are designed to be used where small amounts of water seepage is “no big deal.” You can add various types of plastic seals to prevent leaks, but it is just about impossible to prevent all leaks.

Let me know how things work out,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 8/6/2014

Re-using Shower Doors?

Dear Chris,

I read your post where a blogger wanted to replace the trim on their current glass doors with aluminum and reuse the glass. I see that you warn not to do this. However, I do have a similar question. Is it possible to reuse the entire door and surround. My door is trimmed in silver/aluminum (whatever it is) and I actually like it. The problem is that I do not like the builder’s grade shower stall that we have . We are hoping to replace it with tile. Would it be possible to reuse those doors if they were to be kept whole? I have attached a picture for your review. I may not be the best at my description.

Thanks

Kenya

shower


Hi Kenya,

It may be possible to reuse your shower enclosure. It will have to be removed very carefully to prevent destroying the materials or breaking the glass. The opening where the enclosure is installed will need to be nearly exactly the same in order for the old materials to work. Normally, I discourage this, because it rarely works out… If the shower stall ends up being ½” bigger or smaller after the work is done, the old enclosure won’t work.

On the other hand, you have nothing to lose (other than the time and effort put into trying it). So, why not?

Good luck!

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 7/16/2014

RE: Shower Door Question - Frameless Door Hinges

 

Chris,

I have a frameless shower door that swings freely in both directions. There is no catch and no sweep on the bottom of the door. For the first several years after installation the door would always return to rest at an exactly centered position when closed. If moved an inch or two in one direction or the other, the door would always return to exact center. Over the past several months the door began to no longer rest in a centered position. Instead, the door has it begun to rest in a slightly open position. The gap is getting larger as time goes on. Now the door is resting in a position leaving a gap of an inch or so between the door and the adjacent glass panel. Any idea what might be causing this? Is there something I can do to adjust the door or the hinges so the door will once again rest in a centered position? I'll call a glass company for a service call if necessary but if there is something simple I can do I'd rather try that first.

I appreciate any assistance.

Thank you,

Brian

hinge

Hi Brian,

Most likely, your hinges are suffering from soap build-up, or are just wearing out. Frameless shower door hinges come with a three-year warranty. The manufacturers of these hinges don't recommend using any kind of lubrication on them. Since they are out of warranty anyway, you may want to consider trying some type of lube and see if it helps. I would go with a silicone spray rather than WD-40... I think you will get better results that way. If all else fails, you can have the hinges replaced, but that won't be cheap. It sounds like your hinges are still working, just not self-centering the way that they used to.

Let me know how things work out,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/30/2014

Glass Panel Problems

 

hello, we have a problem,  we installed a glass panel with silicone in the track,   Is there a solvent or some product that will dissolve the silicon,  we tried lacquer and it didn’t work,   Any ideas other than breaking it,  don’t want to do that. As we just had it all tiled,,
Thank you,

Marge and Ron

Suction Cup-1Dremel-Multi-Max-MM40

Hi Marge,
 
Great question! There are some products that claim to cut through cured silicone… these solvents usually require leaving them to work for 24 hours or so. I can’t say that I have much experience with using them, as I normally don’t have that much time to spare working on a job. You can give that a try, and it may work for you… just look in the paint department of your local do-it-yourself store, or ask for help.

A more sure-fire way to get the glass out in one piece will require a couple of tools. One is the trusty glass vacuum cup shown above. There is little chance that you are going to have any luck with getting the glass out whole without one of these. It will allow you get the kind of grip on the glass that you need to pull it out of the track as the silicone loses adhesion. The other tool I would recommend is a multi-tool with a very thin blade. I like the Dremel brand multi tool. It’s affordable, and does a great job. This will allow you to get a thin blade in between the glass and aluminum channel, and will make the job much easier.

All that being said, be sure to do everything possible to WORK SAFELY! The glass may break, no matter how careful you are. That is just the nature of glass. Even if the glass is tempered “safety” glass, it can still cut you! Be careful, and if you have any doubts at all, call in an expert.

Thanks for your email,

-Chris
 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/25/2014

No Weep Holes?

 

Hi, Chris.

We had one of our baths redone a few years ago but the apartment has been empty ever since as we were away from the country. A the time,  a frameless door was installed and we never thought about looking for weep holes on the track until now that we found your blog. The shower has never been used so we don’t know if water would collect on the track.
Our question: Is there such a thing as a shower door track without weep holes? The photos show –instead of a conventional channel– a sloped, low lip on the side of the pan with no room for holes even if we wanted to drill some. Our guess was that, with this type of slanted lip, weep holes are not needed as water will just slide down onto the pan. We also checked if the track has been installed with the wrong side facing the pan but we failed to find weep holes on the other side as well.

Your clarification will be greatly appreciated. All the best to you.

Diana


2

1

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Diana,

Great question! Actually, this type of shower enclosure doesn’t require holes in the frame in order for the water to weep. The “L” shape of the bottom sill allows the water to run off back into the shower. As a rule, the sill is caulked on the outside only, or the inside is only partially caulked. This allows water the finds its way under the sill to escape, or at least dry out over time.

Thanks for reading the blog!

-Chris
 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 5/22/2014

Help.

 

Hi Chris:

I was so happy to see your website and was wondering if u can give me any advice.  I have a fixed shower panel where it is secured at the bottom with U Track type of metal. My contractor guys forgot to seal it in the beginning so water got in and leaked outside.  After I informed them of the problem they came back and put clear silicon seal around the bottom.  Everything was good for about 6 months.  And now I’m noticing black stuff (I’m assuming it’s some kind of mold) inside the silicon seal and INSIDE the track!  Is there any way I can clean it out?  and after cleaning it out (hopefully) how do i seal again?  Is silicon caulking enough? or is there any kind of seal strip i should add?

thank you very much for your help!

Charlotte

20140503_000206

Hi Charlotte,

Thanks for reading my blog. It looks like the caulking was applied after the water was already in the channel. Once the mold began to grow, it was trapped inside. Since the glass is clear, the mold is highly visible… In order to fix the problem, the glass is going to need to be removed from the channel. I would clean it thoroughly, and use bleach to make sure that the mold is completely eliminated. Only then should the glass be replaced, and the silicone seal reapplied. Make sure that the glass and channel are nice and dry before you do so. There is also a type of silicone that is “mildew resistant.” This is the type you are going to want to use. It has a fungicide in the formula, and will help to prevent the mold growth. Apply the silicone where the metal and glass meet to prevent water from entering the channel.

Best wishes,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/31/2014

Shower Door Issues – Buyer Beware!

 

Hi Chris,

I was so happy to see your web site and hope to find some answers to some of our shower questions.   In the master bathroom we installed a frameless shower door  with L shape panels. After about 3 weeks the door was hitting the glass panel.  We had the installer come out and all he does was tighten up the screws in the wall.  It works for about a month and then we have the same problem. We have done this several times which resulted in a cracked tile.   I have also noticed the wall the shower door is attached to is now bowing a little in the middle. Is there a fix to this?

Secondly, in our other bathroom we are experiencing major water leaks coming from underneath the door.  Our installer says we have a water problem not a installation problem.  I’m not sure what he meant by that but either way he will not be  return to our home again.  My husband and I would like to take down the shower door and panel (after spending so much money and time into it) because it just does not work.  The problem we are having is that the U channel our installer screwed on to the wall is full of silicone and we can not remove the glass panel from it. We have scraped as much silicone out as we can but it is not budging.  Is there anything we can use to detach the panel from the U channel?

Thank you for all your help!

Mike

Hi Mike,

I’m sorry to hear that you are having so many problems with your shower doors! The silicone is a very strong adhesive, as you have found out already… Without actually being there, it is kind of hard to know what to do, but I’ll try to give you a couple of suggestions. I would try a very thin putty knife, something thin enough to slide in between the aluminum and the glass on the inside of the channel. Try running it all the way up and down both sides of the glass to see if that is enough to allow the glass to come loose. This is a situation where I would use a glass-setting vacuum cup, but you probably don’t have one. It would allow you to get some leverage on the glass and apply a lot of pressure to try to get it loose.

One other option, if you can’t get the glass out of the channel, is to try to get between the channel and the tile to cut the screws off. A thin saw blade may allow this, but it is also likely to mar the tile. Give these things a try, and get back to me and let me know if you are having any success.

Best wishes,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/15/2014

Sliding Shower Doors in Small Spaces

Hi,

I want to purchase frameless shower doors for my walk in shower 42 ¾ across and 72 height.  Why can’t I use frameless shower doors that were manufactured for a tub. People at the Big Box stores are telling me no.

thanks so much.

Michelle

Bathroom-Glass-Tub-Enclosures3

Hi Michelle,

If you are talking about using the sliding shower doors that are normally used on bathtubs, then there is a problem… Your 42-1/2” opening will not allow you to have the 22” minimum opening that is required by building code after the glass is installed.

I’m guessing this is the reason for why the “Big Box” people are telling you no.

I hope this helps,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/26/2014

To Silicone, or not to Silicone?

Good afternoon!

I’m hoping you can shed some light for me. We are in the final days of finishing our new home with our semi-custom builder in Oklahoma.
We paid quite a bit in the beginning to upgrade our standard shower door to a 3/8 inch frameless shower door to avoid the build up of mildew and mold through the years on the silicone. The frameless shower doors I’ve always seen have just the brackets and hinges on the sides of the door as well as the side and base of the panel. They initially installed a semi-frameless door with a partial frame on the panel. They immediately ordered a new panel when I pointed out that it wasn’t frameless. I also addressed the silicone concern with the superintendent of our build and he said the silicone would all be cleaned up. Well they installed the new panel yesterday with brackets and then siliconed around the exterior surfaces of the panel. The glass company told our superintendent they had to leave it that way.

Is this true? And what purpose does the silicone serve in this situation?

Thanks for your help!

Amanda Sackett

clamps

Hi Amanda,

I’m sorry to hear about the mix-up with your shower enclosure. Silicone sealant is added to the joints between the glass and tile (the perimeter) to prevent leaking. There is no other reason for adding it. I ALWAYS try to talk people out of using silicone on frameless enclosures of this type. Frameless shower enclosures are not designed to be completely water-tight… They are meant to be used in bathrooms that are tiled in such a way that, if a small amount of water escapes, it’s no big deal. If people feel that waterproofing is a huge factor, I direct them towards using a channel around the perimeter rather than the brackets. It makes re-caulking the enclosure much more easy to do (when the silicone starts to mold) and looks much “cleaner” than a thick bead of clear silicone between the glass and the substrate.

I think you were absolutely correct to direct the contractor NOT to use silicone, providing you understood the fact that it would allow more water to escape from your shower. For me, the rule of thumb is that, it is easier to add silicone later (if needed) than it is to remove it when it is not!

I hope you find this helpful,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/13/2014

Question about Glass Enclosed Shower

We recently completed a master bath remodel including a glass enclosed shower. At the topmost opening edge of the door, it is ever so slightly scraping against the stationary frame edge. In your experience, is this cause for concern or remediation? It was doing this from the start and isn’t getting worse. Thoughts?

Thanks,

Billie Sue

IMG_3453

 

Hi Billie Sue,

What you are describing is not unusual for a shower enclosure that has been installed for a while. It’s normal for some settling to take place in any home, and even a tiny amount of shifting in the substrate can cause the already small gaps between panels to disappear. That being said, it isn’t normal for glass to scrape immediately upon installation. It’s good to hear that the situation isn’t getting worse, but I wouldn’t view an installation as acceptable if the door is touching the fixed panel it is supposed to clear.

I hope that this helps,

-Chris Phillips

 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/7/2014

Tubular Hinges for Shower Enclosures

 

Chris,

Do you know if they make a radius backed (for 1.5″ Outside diameter SS tube) hinge that could be used for a shower enclosure? I am trying to design a 42″ square freestanding shower enclosure out of SS tubing( I am reinforcing the tubing w/ a steel pipe run up center of tube). I found glass clamps to attach to tubes to hold glass on other 3 sides, but I can’t seem to find anything for hinges to hold the glass on the door side.

Thank you
Misty

ARC044BS_31336

Hi Misty,

Check out this stainless steel shower door hinge. It is available in polished or brushed stainless, and matches the materials that you are describing. It’s called the “Arctic” series, and is manufactured by C. R. Laurence. Let me know if you need any additional information. This hinge can be used with 3/8” thick tempered glass, and can support a door that is up to 36” wide and up to 90 pounds (using two hinges).

Best regards,

Chris Phillips – Owner

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/1/2014

Subject: Your Blog

 

Nice reading your blog. You are fair when assessing others work. That’s nice to see in this day and age. Everyone of my immediate competitors here in southern N J seemed to be more concerned with comparing themselves to their competitor than stating what they can do Liked your comments on the shower you installed, against your better judgment. I guess. You you have taken your time and acted like you were struggling, maybe then he would have paid you.

We still love to use bottom uchannel, who doesn’t like the additional tolerances. However, so many in the area and different websites are showing absolutely no channel or clamps. I have checked with all the national manufacturers they state they won’t warrant anything without bottom mechanical support, same with CRL, I guess I’ll start at least moving to clamps as an option to the channel.

I guess I don’t understand when you say you do not use silicone to caulk, did I misunderstand you? It seems that your customers have been trained differently. Around here water seeping out from under the sweep, or just the opening of the door and water dripping on floor constitutes a leak, malfeasance on our part!

I read one blog where you are using a laser for your measurements. I still use a six ft level and setting blocks to get my measurements. Why do you feel the laser gives you better numbers?

At any rate, nice reading your info and and I appreciate your enlightened approach to your blog

I’m in business 27 years ago and started doing showers about 12 years ago. But it is never too late to learn

Appreciate your thoughts

Al


Hi Al,

I always try to influence people to use U channel to secure fixed panels. Not only does it work well, I think it gives the enclosure a “cleaner” look than clamps do. The problem I run into is that designers like the clips, and that is what people tend to see in catalogs, etc. People also misunderstand the meaning of “frameless.” They think that the channel constitutes a frame, and you and I both know that it doesn’t. The words “frameless” and “seamless” are synonymous with “heavy glass” enclosures.

I never said that I don’t use silicone. I go through about a case of clear RTV every six months. I just try to talk people out of using it wherever possible. The same is true of plastic edge seals… why put something like that on your shower enclosure if you don’t absolutely have to? The exception, of course, is the seal at the bottom of the door. Most heavy glass doors need one of these. I always ask questions at the time of sale. It minimizes dissatisfaction after the sale. I let people know that frameless enclosures are NOT completely waterproof. If they can’t live with a tiny bit of water getting out of their shower, they need to get a standard enclosure. Even then, if a person can’t live with a few drops of water dripping off of the door when it opens what they really need is therapy! Not a shower door.

I like lasers for layout. I also use levels… it really depends on how complicated the geometry gets. Both are great!

Keep up the good work, and thanks for your positive feedback.

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/24/2014

Can I replace the aluminum in my shower enclosure and reuse the glass?

Hello,

I m living on Miramar Florida, I plan to sell my house but I need to repair the existing aluminum gold shower door trims of my two bathrooms, the house was built in 1997 with the original shower door enclosures and I would like to fix them if its possible without changing everything. Is that possible?

Regards

Cyril

Image

Hi Cyril,

This is probably the most common question I am asked. Basically, “can I replace the aluminum in my standard shower enclosure and reuse the glass.” The short answer is “no.” Since I do get asked this question a lot, I am going to address this in detail now. That way, I can always just share the link to this article later.

Many people mistakenly believe that the glass in their shower enclosure is the most expensive part, and that they can somehow save money by reusing it, and replacing the aluminum extrusions. There are five or six reasons why this is not going to work, but there is no reason to cover all of them here… we’ll just look at a couple:

First, the most expensive part of your shower enclosure is the labor. The second most expensive part of your enclosure is the aluminum. That’s right! Your glass is actually the least expensive part of your shower enclosure! The standard enclosure that is bought “off the rack” from a home improvement store or a glass supplier is manufactured in a factory. Sometimes in China, or some other foreign country. The workers who build these enclosures in factories, even if they are located in the US, are paid a relatively low wage. The work is considered “low skill.”

The person who installs your shower enclosure, on the other hand, is a skilled worker. He earns a much higher wage. To hire the higher wage earner (an installer) to do the work of a lower wage earner (a factory worker) is not a cost efficient use of resources. Even if you could hire someone to track down the particular brand of aluminum from the manufacturer (there are dozens if not hundreds of different ones), how good a job will that person do at duplicating the parts of your enclosure that need to be replaced?

If the best possible result is achieved, you will end up paying more than your enclosure was worth when it was new, in order to hire someone to refurbish your used shower enclosure. What will you have when you are done? A used shower enclosure! What could you hope to save in terms of dollars? $100? $200? I doubt it. You could try to do the work yourself, but is it really worth trying? What if it ends up worse than before? What if you break a piece of glass? What if the shower leaks when you’re done?

You already have a used shower enclosure. The only reasonable options are to clean it up as best you can, or replace it.

Best regards,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/16/2014

Installing Shower Panels Without Using Glass Clamps

Hi Chris, so glad I found your amazing site.  I live in Toronto, Canada and have been renovating our main bathroom for about six months now.  My wife and I have decided to finish the shower enclosure with a W36″ X H92″ X D1/2 tempered glass panel (floor to ceiling) without a door.  Can we install this on the tiled floor/wall and ceiling with just silicone or should we use clips as well? A crown molding will be installed after for aesthetics that should help hold it in place.

Kind Regards,

Robin and Juliet,

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Dear Robin and Juliet,

I wouldn’t try installing the glass without using clips. Silicone is quite structural, and is probably strong enough to the panel, but it would be pushing the limits a bit. If you have a groove cut in the tile that the glass could rest in, I would feel comfortable with forgoing the clips. We often “hide” a dark colored channel in the tile that is invisible once the glass is installed, yet holds the glass quite firmly.

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/12/2014

Subject: Blog- wow!

Hi there,

I never write fan mail to shower cabinet specialists. Never. Just wanted to let you know that you are doing the internet the way the internet is supposed to be done for business. Your depth of information and ability to field questions (and even when there is no monetary gain in it – like questions from Australia) is so much better than anyone else in your field. We all want to do something ourselves if possible and you give straightforward advice and query/doubt resolution.

If I had you in my mothers neighborhood, you would be getting the call to advise, design and install her new walk-in shower without hesitation.

Kind regards,

Charlie

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Hi Charlie,

Thank you so much for your nice thoughts and kind words. As you can see, I LOVE shower doors! It’s a lot of fun creating them, installing them, and just talking to people about them. If there is something that I can do to help people have a great shower door experience, I am happy to pitch in. Even if there’s “nothing in it for me.” I feel very blessed to be able to do something that I love for a living, and enjoy being able to help out when I can.

Have a great 2014, Charlie!

-Chris

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