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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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