Showcase Shower Door Company

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

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

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/26/2015

RE: My new frameless shower door is pulling the marble away from the wall!


–Hi Chris,

My 3 piece L shape frameless shower was installed about a month ago and the original installer had a bit of trouble lining up the top corner of the L in the two glass pieces that came together above garden tub ledge and 6″ wide piece on front. He also cut his hand and was having some difficulty with the bead of silicon that he place from top to bottom of that corner, it was a gooey looking stream down the inside corner.

He had arrived late in the day, almost 5 pm and said another installer would return and re set the panel over the garden tub ledge to make the L corner pieces match at the same height. I gave him some band aids and he was on his way home around 7 pm. We were to leave the shower door slightly ajar 24 hours to let silicon and installed frameless shower “set” .

We did so and noticed 24 hours later when closing the shower door that it squeaked with a low groan when oped or closed. This groan became progressively louder. The door is connected to a marble wall insert as we didn’t change the tile, etc. we just replaced a gold framed shower with frameless.

When the second installer arrived, he didn’t reset the glass wall that sits on the garden tub ledge, but he did remove the messy silicon and placed a very nice even bead of silicon from top to bottom of the L corner and voluntarily removed door hinges and plastic trim around door edges so the squeak is gone. Door now is trimmed on bottom & hinge side.

Follow up contact with the dealer revealed they believe a 1/4″ difference not 1/16″ in glass pieces at the joint is industry standard and does not require adjustment of any kind.

Just a day ago I noticed the caulk between the wall and marble has split as the marble wall piece has pulled away from our bathroom wall. The shower door hinge is rubbing and the the top right corner of door now hits and grabs the plastic strip on adjacent glass wall piece while the bottom has its original space.

OMG, can the marble piece be pushed back into place? The bolts at the top of the marble wall enclosure piece appear to be loosening.

Do you see this occur often? Should I have known not to replace my shower with frameless if I did not also replace the marble sheet wall enclosure?

Please help,

LS

IMG_4543         IMG_45481

 

Hi Lisa,

I’m sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your new shower enclosure. I took a look at the photos you sent, and I see what you are talking about. It is hard for me to fault the installer of the shower enclosure for the marble surround coming away from the wall. At least, not completely. If there is a wood stud placed behind the marble where the hinge lands, the installer should have used a screw long enough to reach through the marble wall (looks like it’s about an inch thick) and into the wood stud. A three-inch screw would do the trick. If, on the other hand, there is no wood to anchor into, the installer would have used an anchor of some type for the hinge to support the weight of the door.

More often than not, there is not a stud on the other side of the tile or marble to anchor into. We often use concrete anchors for this purpose, and they work just fine. There are some secrets to achieving success with this, though. If a plastic anchor (plug) is used for this purpose, and it isn’t pushed all the way through the marble and into the wall behind it, the marble will be supporting the weight of the door instead of the wall. That could cause the marble to come away from the wall the way yours is. I am guessing this is the issue in your case. If so, the solution is as simple as pulling the screws, replacing the existing plugs, and pushing them back into the hole far enough to be anchored into the wall behind your shower. Longer screws could be used, if needed, to reach back there.

Let me know if this helps,

Chris
Showcase Shower Door

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/1/2015

Shower Door Issues – Warping

I recently had a Coral sliding frameless glass door installed in my shower enclosure. The doors each have euro through the glass towel bars installed. The mounting screws for the towel bars scrape against each other when the doors are opened from either side. The installer said we could just pull the towel bar towards us as we slide the door but that is not an acceptable long term solution to us. The outside door seems to be bowed inwards slightly in the middle where the towel bar is located. The manufacturer has indicated they would replace the outside door but my question is whether it is a door materials problem or an installation problem that might continue to exist after replacement. Have you seen this type of issue and if so how was it resolved?

Thanks for any assistance.

Ron C.
 

Image result for tempered glass   Image result for tempered glass


Hi Ron,

Thanks for your email, this is a great question…

Warping is a common side-effect of the glass tempering process. The thinner the glass, the more prone it is to becoming bowed during tempering. I’m guessing that the glass in your sliding bypass doors is ¼” thick, and is more vulnerable to this type of warping. There is a tolerance for the bow in tempered glass, because there is no way to eliminate it completely. When the warping in the glass exceeds the amount that is tolerable, the result is the issue you are experiencing. The manufacturer’s willingness to replace the panel is all you can really ask them for, in fairness.

As far as the installer goes, they should notice the excessive bowing, and turn the panels to face away from each other in a way that prevents the warping from posing a problem. Of course, this only works when the glass type is clear. Obscured glass has a “rough” side, and prevents the possibility of turning the glass around. Thicker glass has less of a tendency of warping during the tempering process, and is a good reason to use thicker glass. Even in an enclosure that utilizes hinges, bowing in glass can present challenges in making the panels line up properly.

Thanks again,

-Chris Phillips
Having glass suction cups helps a lot with manipulating the glass. It can be done without them, but they will sure make the job easier. The advantage to hiring a pro is that he will have the right tools, and experience moving the glass around without breaking it.

Let me know how it works out,

–Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 5/13/2015

Hinges

Hi Chris

I have looked through your blog and haven’t noticed this addressed, so any help you can give would be most appreciated. We have a frameless glass door on our shower. The lower hinge is pulling away from the ceramic tiled wall that it is secured to. The plate is still tight against the wall, but the two screws that hold the hinge are about 1/4 inch out. The door is hanging unevenly and I’m afraid it will pull off the wall entirely. I see that the screws need to be tightened, but I can’t see how to get access to them. Can you help? (I’m assuming the door needs to be completely removed first.) Is this a DIY job, or do I need to call a professional?

Thanks so much,

Roberta



   


Hi Roberta,

Yes, the screws are backing out of the back plate. The only way to access those is from the side that is against the wall. I would say that this is something that could be done by a handy person or two. The easy way to approach this is to put a person inside the shower and one outside. If you can pass the screw-gun over the shower door to each other, you can get away with using just one. The key is to put shims under the door (soft wood shims work great) until they support the weight of the glass. You will need to pull all of the wall screws out of both hinges so that you can pivot or lean the door enough to get at the screws. Once you have tightened the two screws that hold the hinge to the back plate, you can put all of the screws back in where they were before, and be back in action.

Having glass suction cups helps a lot with manipulating the glass. It can be done without them, but they will sure make the job easier. The advantage to hiring a pro is that he will have the right tools, and experience moving the glass around without breaking it.

Let me know how it works out,

–Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 5/8/2015

RE: Shower Door Install

Hi Chris,

Glad I found you! I recently purchased a glass shower enclosure for a project I’m working on. The enclosure features two 15 inch stationary panels with roughly a 28 in door between them. The panels are connected by rails at the top and bottom that support the door. Each stationary panel is fastened to the wall with two brackets. In reading the installation instructions, it says to place the 15 inch panels directly on the porcelain threshold without any shims. It seems dangerous to me to put the glass edge on such a hard surface. The rails do not support the glass panels but rather just attach to them so they do not keep the glass off the tile either. The manufacturer technical rep is telling me to place the panels gently and it should be OK. I suggested using shims but he said I would need to shim the entire bottom and the bottom rail. Any thoughts? Am I OK resting the panels directly on the shower curb? Thanks!

John



Hi John,

I would never set glass directly on the tile curb. You need something, even if it is a very thin plastic shim, between the glass and a hard surface. Go with your gut!

Thanks,

Chris Phillips

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 4/24/2015

Shower Glass De-lamination

Hello,

Your help with this issue could save me a lot of time and money.

We remodeled our bathroom over a year ago and had a frameless glass shower unit installed.

Following the installers advise, we applied Rain-X to the glass before using the unit. Over a short period of time, we noticed a checker-board pattern appear between the double pane glass when using a hot water shower. This progressed with the appearance of water spots between the panes. We reported the problem to the installer and they came and replaced the glass partitions. The installer told us this time to use glass cleaner containing Rain-X before using the shower, which I did. Within a short period of time the same issue returned. The installer instructed us to use a buffing pad to remove the spots. That didn’t work so I wanted to completely rule out hard water spots on the surface of the glass and cleaned with a lemon juice- vinegar/baking soda-vinegar/water protocol. The surface of the glass sparkled but did not remove the water spots.

I believe this to be material and/or installation defect that allowed moisture to collect between the double pane glass resulting in the checker-board appearance following a hot shower and the subsequent appearance of water spots, none of which is on the surface. Unfortunately, we may have waited too long for another warranty replacement while pursuing installer recommendations to remove ” hard water spots”. Bottom line,something has to be done as it is getting worse.

How do you suggest we proceed and how do we prevent this from occurring again on the next glass replacement?

HELP!!!

Rob Hailes


glass delamination  glass delamination

Hi Rob,

Laminated glass is basically two pieces of glass that are laminated together with clear plastic. It is impossible to tell this by looking straight through the glass with the naked eye. This is the type of glass that is used in the windshield of your car. It is a type of safety glass, and meets code for showers (unless the local authority having jurisdiction says otherwise).

The problem is that the manufacturer and supplier of the glass will not give you a warranty for use in a shower enclosure. The edges of the laminated glass need to be protected from being exposed to water directly, like in the case of a frameless shower enclosure. These panels will normally work out fine when the edges are captured (framed), but when the edges are exposed they are vulnerable to what is known as “delamination.” The glass begins to pull away from the plastic lamination and vice-versa.

Without seeing your glass, that is what I am guessing is happening in your situation. The solution is to replace the laminated glass with tempered.

I hope this helps,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 4/14/2015

Frameless Shower Enclosure Channels

Chris,

I have seen frameless showers with the glass resting in metal channels where it contacts the tile, you have also discussed recessing the channel into the tile (butting the tile up to both sides of the channel). Are there any pros and cons to having the channel on top of the tile vs recessed. I can imagine if on top, the channel weep holes will drain water, but if recessed it seems it wouldn’t and enable mold growth.

Thanks for all the great advice.

Connell Smith

     shower-1       


Hi Connell,

I think that your assessment of the options is pretty good. It’s actually kind of unusual for people to do the recessed channel with shower enclosures… there are some issues with preventing water infiltration. If you do imbed the channel, you are going to need to add a lot of silicone to prevent any water leaking into the floor below. Once water gets in, there will be no way for it to get back out again. On the other hand, having the channel on top of the tile will allow for weep holes (as you described), and go a long way to prevent water damage in the future.

Thanks!

-Chris Phillips
 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/31/2015

RE: Very Helpful!

Amazing blog, Chis!

I’m replacing a very small shower insert in my basement (32x32) to a larger custom tiled shower. The new shower will have glass on 2 sides. It will probably end up being 44x36.

I’m leaning towards a framed shower because I don’t want leaking. I’m very concerned about mold because of the high humidity in the basement during the summer months.

Is silicon used with the channeled method in mounting the glass? Silicone seems to be a mold catcher. Also, seems like the little weep holes might collect mold as well.

I’m probably going to go with the “rain” glass and the Clearshield. I like the look of clear glass, but know that the kids and the husband will never squeegee the shower. We have hard water.

I’m trying to find an option that will be the least amount of maintenance while still getting a much larger shower.

Thank you so much in advance.

Lynn Steele
 



Hi Lynn,

I'm, glad that you like my blog! Thanks for taking time to write in.

If you want to prevent water from getting out of your shower you are smart to choose a framed shower enclosure. There is really no way to avoid using some sort of caulk to seal the enclosure, especially if you want to prevent leaking. The fact is, silicone is the best type of sealant for this purpose. The good news is that silicone is also available in a mildew resistant formula. This will help with limiting the mold growth. As far as weep holes go, there is no way to really avoid them, and they shouldn't promote mold growth, necessarily. Anyway, you should be able to find mildew resistant silicone at your local home improvement store.

“Rain” glass is also a good choice. It is probably the most popular type of obscured glass on the market today, and does a good job at hiding water spots. The additional protective coating should help you achieve your goal of making the shower easier to maintain as well. It sounds like you have thought this through… I think you are on the right track! Let me know how things work out.

Sincerely,

Chris
 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/24/2015

Curb-less Showers and Enclosures

Hi,

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!

Elisa

2014-11-03 13.10.50       2014-11-03 13.10.57

Hi Elisa,

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.

Best wishes!

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/9/2015

Gap Spacing in Frameless Shower Doors



Hi Chris

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 have them.

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?

Thanks,

Brad

   

Hi Brad,

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

Hi Chris

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 possible?

My contractor tells me no.

Your thoughts?

Michelle



Hi Michelle,

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

Hello Chris,

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!

Julia

Shower-Door-Fan-500

 

Hi Julia,

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 with mildew.

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!

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/19/2015

Question?

To whom it may concern. Not sure about the protocol here but I will ask away…

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 shower door.

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 approach this:

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 exactly;
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 advance.

Sincerely,

John

Jen's Bathroom Bull nose_20141213_151609

Hi John,

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)

sketch

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,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 12/9/2014

The Sentimental Value of Aging Shower Doors

Hello Chris,

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

Thanks.

Mumtaz

 

                


Hi Mumtaz,

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

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 11/24/2014

Glass to Glass Hinges and Fixed Panels

Hello,

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

Thank you for your input.

Jennifer
 

               


Hi Jennifer,

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

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

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

Best wishes,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 11/18/2014

Seals in Steam Shower Enclosures

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

Virginia

 



Hi Virginia,

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

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

Let me know how things work out, OK?

Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 10/15/2014

RE: Adhesive for Frameless Shower Doors

Hello,

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

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

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

Thank You.

Kind Regards,

Jeff





 

Hi Jeff,

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

Let me know how it works out for you,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 10/7/2014

RE: Shower Panel Implosion

Chris

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks

Janet Bender

 

          

 

Hi Janet,

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

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

I hope you find this helpful,

-Chris


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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 8/14/2014

RE: 3/8 Inch Frameless Hinged Shower Door

Hi,

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

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

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

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

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


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

Any suggestions or referrals would be appreciated

Dan


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Hi Dan,

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

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

Let me know how things work out,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 8/6/2014

Re-using Shower Doors?

Dear Chris,

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

Thanks

Kenya

shower


Hi Kenya,

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

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

Good luck!

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 7/16/2014

RE: Shower Door Question - Frameless Door Hinges

 

Chris,

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

I appreciate any assistance.

Thank you,

Brian

hinge

Hi Brian,

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

Let me know how things work out,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/30/2014

Glass Panel Problems

 

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

Marge and Ron

Suction Cup-1Dremel-Multi-Max-MM40

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

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

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

Thanks for your email,

-Chris
 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 6/25/2014

No Weep Holes?

 

Hi, Chris.

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

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

Diana


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Hi Diana,

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

Thanks for reading the blog!

-Chris
 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 5/22/2014

Help.

 

Hi Chris:

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

thank you very much for your help!

Charlotte

20140503_000206

Hi Charlotte,

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

Best wishes,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/31/2014

Shower Door Issues – Buyer Beware!

 

Hi Chris,

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

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

Thank you for all your help!

Mike

Hi Mike,

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

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

Best wishes,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 3/15/2014

Sliding Shower Doors in Small Spaces

Hi,

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

thanks so much.

Michelle

Bathroom-Glass-Tub-Enclosures3

Hi Michelle,

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

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

I hope this helps,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/26/2014

To Silicone, or not to Silicone?

Good afternoon!

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

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

Thanks for your help!

Amanda Sackett

clamps

Hi Amanda,

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

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

I hope you find this helpful,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/13/2014

Question about Glass Enclosed Shower

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

Thanks,

Billie Sue

IMG_3453

 

Hi Billie Sue,

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

I hope that this helps,

-Chris Phillips

 

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/7/2014

Tubular Hinges for Shower Enclosures

 

Chris,

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

Thank you
Misty

ARC044BS_31336

Hi Misty,

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

Best regards,

Chris Phillips – Owner

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 2/1/2014

Subject: Your Blog

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appreciate your thoughts

Al


Hi Al,

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

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

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

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

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/24/2014

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

Hello,

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

Regards

Cyril

Image

Hi Cyril,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/16/2014

Installing Shower Panels Without Using Glass Clamps

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

Kind Regards,

Robin and Juliet,

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Dear Robin and Juliet,

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

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

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Showcase Shower Door Blog Post - 1/12/2014

Subject: Blog- wow!

Hi there,

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

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

Kind regards,

Charlie

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Hi Charlie,

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

Have a great 2014, Charlie!

-Chris

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