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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/24/2015
Curb-less Showers and Enclosures
Great blog. I am a homeowner with zero knowledge of showers. We are
custom building our house and my architect wants to put in a curbless
shower in our master bath. Glass, frameless with a hinged door (to swing
in and out). The shower is not huge. My friend tells me curbless showers
can cause a lot of problems. Something about the linear drains being
impossible to even clear the hair out of and flooding. I’m concerned
that a curbless shower won’t allow us to use a bathmat in front of the
door because there won’t be enough height. Yes, I am one of those people
who gets bothered by the puddle of water that drips off the shower door
when you open it.
Would you put a curbless shower into your new master bath or do you
think the potential problems are not worth it? My architect tells me
that “no one” who builds a new house would put in a shower with a curb.
Thanks for your advice!
Thanks for your question. There is no doubt that curb-less shower
enclosures are the latest thing in the business. I work on these types
of showers frequently, and they do have their issues… Like the ones you
point out in your email. Architects, designers, and other professionals
(people who don’t actually do the work) will often recommend things
based on “what’s hot” rather than what is practical. I think your
architect is overstating it when he says that no one uses curbs anymore.
That’s just not true.
There are some great benefits to having a shower with no curb. We are
all getting older, and curb-less showers are obviously easier to get in
and out of for those with limited mobility. If that is the idea behind
making your shower curb-less, it is a good one! You may also want to
consider making the door opening as wide as possible for the same
reason. As with most things, there are pros and cons to having a
curb-less shower. My advice is that you do it the way YOU want it, and
don’t allow yourself to be pressured into doing it some other way.
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/9/2015
Gap Spacing in Frameless Shower Doors
We’ve had our bathroom remodeled and I have a question about the
frameless shower door. The glass was custom measured but when the door
was installed the gap between the door and the adjacent glass isn’t
uniform. It is 1/8″ at the top and 3/8″ at the bottom. I’ve asked the
contractor to replace it. This doesn’t seem unreasonable. Also they put
a plastic sweep along the edge. I think they did this to try and mask
the gap. Is a sweep needed and normal? Most pictures I’ve seen don’t
You will also see in the picture silicone along the base of the shower
glass we had the tile laid at a slight angle to allow Water to flow into
the shower so I didn’t think this silicone is needed. Your experience?
Sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your recent shower
enclosure installation. I think it is reasonable to reject the 1/4″
difference in size of the gap between the door and fixed panel. The
industry standard is 1/16″ – but I think even that is pushing it. The
edge seal along that edge is probably there to hide the condition you
are describing. I never use a plastic seal there unless it is requested
by the homeowner.
I also try to avoid using silicone whenever possible… Again, unless the
homeowner requests it, I won’t. A frameless shower enclosure is not
intended to be completely water-tight. They are to be used in showers
where a small amount of water escaping is acceptable. These are issues
that I am careful to discuss with my customer at the time of the sale. I
explain the options and always try to dissuade my customers from making
me caulk the shower. In some spots it is unavoidable, but I will let
them make that call. It is way easier to add silicone later, if it is
needed, than it is to remove it after it has been applied.
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/5/2015
RE: Glass Door off Kilter
Love your blog!
Quick question. I have two homes with high end frameless glass shower
doors. On two occasions I have left shower doors open for a few days,
returning home to find the doors hanging too low (and not able to fully
close). This has happened at each house.
I assume this is because the doors are very heavy and weight of glass
puts extra pressure on hinges making door sag off kilter. Is this
My contractor tells me no.
Frameless shower doors to have a tendency to settle a bit. The hinges
are held in place by friction, and if the screws in the hinges aren’t
tightened enough the glass will need to be readjusted from time to time.
I offer a one-year warranty on shower doors, and offer to make this
adjustment for free during the first year after installation.
It is possible that the house itself has settled a bit, but it is more
likely that the hinges need adjustment. I’m surprised that your
contractor would tell you otherwise… this is a common occurrence. It’s
pretty easy to adjust the door. The secret is torquing down those screws
nice and tight!
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/26/2015
Question about the shower glass
We been renovating for a while now and read your blog pretty often. Lots
of helpful suggestions and thank you very much for that.
My question is about the shower glass height. What is the space between
tiled shower ceiling and the glass? The shower fan is about 1 m away
from the shower glass. We been told by some of the companies that the
opening should be between 7 to 10 inches. Could that be smaller?
Thank you kindly for your help!
Thanks for writing – I’m glad to be able to help.
I think the main issue in the minds of the people who are advising you
about the height of your shower glass is moisture on the ceiling. You
want to allow enough space for air to circulate and dry out properly. I
think the advice you are getting (7 to 10 inches) is sound. You don’t
want to have the persistent dampness of the shower leading to a battle
That being said, the construction of your shower enclosure is one thing:
how you use it on a daily basis is another. My wife makes me leave the
shower doors open a bit after showering (we have the sliding type) so
the shower can dry out completely. (Even though there is plenty of space
above the enclosure for moisture to escape, and we have a fan fairly
close to the shower). Our climate here in Santa Cruz County is pretty
damp, and there is a lot of mold in the area. It’s a case-by-case type
of situation based on where you live.
Steam showers are completely enclosed, and restrict air circulation
completely. Having a shower stall that is completely tiled
floor-to-ceiling helps to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. If you
have drywall in or above the intimidate area of your shower, it’s
something to think about. Again, not just the way your shower is built,
but how you will use it on a daily basis. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
Thanks for reading!
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/19/2015
To whom it may concern. Not sure about the protocol here but I will
Please find attached a picture of the finished white carrera marble
bathtub wall with an end view of the mosaic and ½” pencil tile that
borders it. The pencil tile protrudes 3/8” from the finished tile wall.
Obviously, there was no consideration for the installation of a swinging
I inherited this project (from my daughter) after the tile was
installed. I have reviewed your website / blog and although some
situations touch upon this subject they do not go far enough.
I need to install a 34” x 60” swinging shower door that sits “on top” of
the tub but is anchored to the side vertical wall by two hinges. Fairly
standard door design, includes a towel bar, and swinging hinges.
Thinking out loud, I think there are three (perhaps more) ways to
Notch the pencil tiles to accommodate the glass and the arc of its
swing. Indeed this is both tedious and requires great precision with an
angle grinder. This approach is most referred to on the blog, but not
Notch the glass itself (prior to tempering) to accommodate the border
and anchor to the wall business as usual. This adds about $75 – 100 to
the cost of the door. Additional water escaping would be minimal.
Place a “block” (say white PVC) under each hinge (1/4”+) to move the
glass away from the pencil tiles so that the door is free to swing. This
approach introduces more water escaping at the wall since the gap has
been increased ¼” between the glass and shower vertical wall for the
total height of 60”, but is the simplest.
Whatever guidance you can provide would be most appreciated. Thanks in
There is actually a fourth option that you didn’t mention in your email.
I am assuming that the accent tiles in the photo are installed at both
sides of the opening. That would mean that you need to deal with this
issue on both edges of the glass. The way I would recommend dealing with
this would be to use three glass panels (see the sketch below)
This would allow you to make simple notches in the tiles to
accommodate the fixed panels without any additional fabrication in the
glass where it meets the wall. You would end up with a door that swings
freely, has standard gaps, and doesn’t have the abnormal cutouts that
notching around the tiles would leave you with.
Hope this helps,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 12/9/2014
The Sentimental Value of Aging Shower
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
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 11/24/2014
Glass to Glass Hinges and Fixed Panels
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.
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
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.
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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?
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?
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 10/15/2014
RE: Adhesive for Frameless Shower Doors
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
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
Let me know how it works out for you,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 10/7/2014
RE: Shower Panel Implosion
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
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.
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 8/14/2014
RE: 3/8 Inch Frameless Hinged Shower Door
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
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 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
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
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 8/6/2014
Re-using Shower Doors?
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.
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?
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 7/16/2014
RE: Shower Door Question - Frameless Door Hinges
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.
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,
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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
Marge and Ron
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
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/25/2014
No Weep Holes?
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.
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!
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 5/22/2014
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!
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.
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/31/2014
Shower Door Issues – Buyer Beware!
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
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!
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.
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/15/2014
Sliding Shower Doors in Small Spaces
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.
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/26/2014
To Silicone, or not to Silicone?
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
Thanks for your help!
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,
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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?
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/7/2014
Tubular Hinges for Shower Enclosures
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
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).
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
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
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.
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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?
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
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
You already have a used shower enclosure. The only reasonable options
are to clean it up as best you can, or replace it.
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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.
Robin and Juliet,
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,
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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/12/2014
Subject: Blog- wow!
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
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!
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