Showcase Shower Door Company

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

info@ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

CCL #957120

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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