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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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