Using concrete anchors in shower door installations
Found your blog online – perhaps you can help… We’re looking into
getting a frameless 36″ shower door (67-68″ high), because we dislike
the look of a panel. We have one company telling us they can do it with
hinges that hold up to 110 lbs, no stud needed, another saying they’ll
only do it if there is a stud where the door goes in, and a third saying
they just won’t do it. Who is right on this one? The ones who said they
don’t need studs calculated the weight of the door to be 85 lbs.
It is always good to have a stud to
anchor into… that rarely happens, though… There are a number of
different types of anchors that can be used in a tile wall to secure the
hinges properly, providing there is something solid behind the tile.
Cement board (also known as HardieBacker or DUROCK) will easily support
the weight of your shower door. It is just a matter of using the proper
screws and anchors. We generally use #10 screws (the ones supplied by
the hinge manufacturer) and concrete anchors. I haven’t had an issue
with this combination in any of the shower enclosures that I have
Thank you for your wonderful blog, as a previous poster has said,
it’s made it Down Under?
I have a problem I was wondering if you might be able to answer. A
contractor recently messed up the caulking on my newly installed
frameless shower screen, smearing silicone all over the glass and
spreading it well into the grout lines of the freshly tiled floor. The
caulk has seeped right in and stained the grey grout black.
The company has apologized and has offered to send someone to remove
the excess caulk from the glass. They will not, however, clean up the
grout as the manager says this kind of seepage is inevitable due to the
nature of the tiles involved (25mm hexagonal mosaic).
Is there really no way around this? Would it not be possible to, say,
fashion some sort of barrier to stop the silicone from running along the
Thanks for writing,
and for your nice compliments. I am so sorry to hear that you are having
problems with your shower enclosure installation. Silicone can be very
messy, and it really takes some experience to apply it effectively and
neatly. I have a big advantage over other glass contractors because I
install shower enclosures almost exclusively. I get a lot of practice
with caulking these frameless shower enclosures, so I am pretty good at
Still, I will always
try to talk homeowners out of caulking the glass wherever possible. No
matter how nicely the silicone is applied, it is still undesirable. A
frameless enclosure, when properly utilized, shouldn’t require any
caulking. Frameless (also called seamless) enclosures are not meant to
be perfectly water tight. The environment should be designed to tolerate
a small amount of leakage. The frameless enclosure is really designed
more to look great than it is to hold water.
The response that you
are getting from the company that did the installation is about what I
would expect. It may not be ideal, but about all they can do at this
point is clean it up as best they can. Since they don’t do tile work,
you really don’t want them trying to re-grout your tiles… I’m sure that
wouldn’t turn out very well anyway.
These days there are more and more people requesting frameless heavy
glass enclosures for their bathtub showers. Several years ago, people
began asking if this was a possibility… today, this is pretty common.
There are newer innovations that incorporate sliding glass panels with
heavy glass enclosures that are suitable for bathtubs. Among these are
the “Skyline” series enclosure by Cardinal, and the “Serenity” series by
CRL. The latest sliding frameless enclosure is called the “Essence”
series enclosure. Click this link –
http://youtu.be/EmSJPjmRGBI – to check it out.
The enclosures shown in the photos above were designed, manufactured,
and installed by Showcase Shower Door. These enclosures are designed
according to customer specifications, and include Diamond Seal treatment
as a standard feature. Diamond Seal helps to prevent water spotting, and
protects glass from the permanent damage that hard water can cause over
time. If you need help with ideas for your tub enclosure, or just have
questions, give me a call any time at (831) 464-3899.
Recently, a customer that I was doing some
work for asked me if I would do some repairs on a small wooden box that
was very special to her. The little box was brightly painted with images
of a sun, moon, and stars painted on the outside. She called it her
“magic box,” and she told me a story about having it since she was a
little girl. She thought she remembered it having been built by a famous
rock musician… Maybe one of The Doors? That idea would sound completely
crazy if it wasn’t for the fact that her father worked in the music
industry during that era, and know a lot of famous people. I decided to
take the little box to my shop and replace the mirrors that were inside
of it. It’s the type of fun little job that I really don’t get to do
very often. My customer told me she would contact her dad, and find out
more information about where the magic box came from.
When it came time to return the box after
completing work on it, there was a lot of new information available. She
had spoken to her dad about the item, and learned that box was actually
made by the “The Fool” design collective. This is the Dutch group of
artists that designed clothes, sets, and musical instruments for the
Beatles and other musical groups in the 60s and 70s. This particular
piece was designed and built by Marijke Koger. It was so much fun
learning about the history of this little wooden box, and having the
opportunity to work on it. Here are some links you can check out to
learn more about The Fool Collective and their work.
My name is Dan, my wife Holli and I own a glass shop in Anchorage AK
you can visit our website at
auroraglassak.com we have enjoyed your blog and your story. we
started our shop in 1991 doing anything in glass including vinyl windows
and auto glass. In recent years due to shortages in qualified help and
price slashing with competitors and the overall grind of that type of
business we did something similar to you and streamlined our business to
just her and I doing custom Showers, tabletops, back-splashes, custom
glass basically anything indoors for obvious reasons and we really enjoy
it. To the point we really have focused on the shower doors and noticed
a reference to laser levels in you blog we are trying to get info on the
best type to use for meas and install I am currently looking at a Bosch
GLL3-80 I wondered if you had any insight on the best types w/wo tripod
and applications with respect to things like no-angles and step ups. A
distant colleague looking for a step up.
Owner – Aurora Glass
I first started using a laser level six
or seven years ago. I found something that was pretty affordable (around
$200) that worked well for me. It was a Craftsman self-leveling laser
that came with a tripod. It shoots your choice of a level line, plumb
line, plumb/level cross hair, and a cross hair that is not self leveling
(actually helpful in some situations.) I still have that level to this
day, and have actually purchased a second one within the past year. The
cost of these has actually come down since I bought the first one, but
it is a good, rugged, and inexpensive device.
I’m sure the one that you are looking at
(or have probably bought by now) is at lease as good. As you know, a
straight line is better than a plumb line in most instances. A customer
will rarely put a level on your work to check it, but will always look
at the lines and reveals. That is the thing that makes using a laser so
nice. Even if it gets out of calibration over time, you know that the
line it shoots is perfectly straight. The cross-hair feature is awesome
for laying out mirrors. In the old days, we would take a level and draw
a plumb/level intersection on the wall to do a layout. This is really
only necessary when all four corners are out-of-square. With this laser,
there is no need to mark. You just project the intersection on the wall
and measure to the lines. Very nice!
Thanks for writing, and best of luck
with your enterprises.
Chris, thanks for taking the time to put up so much information on
your blog. The internet is amazing in it’s reach – even her in Sydney,
We have an old frameless glass shower that has a glued on PVC type
strip with a felt seal to stop the water escaping. Over time it has gone
moldy and is quite disgusting and impossible to clean (the felt) . I
want to remove it , but am unsure of what to use to get it off. So far a
screwdriver has just resulted in the hinges developing a creak after I
applied down ward pressure to lever off the strip.
Any suggestions.? Also a replacement strategy / recommendation would
Much appreciated and happy to show you around if you ever make it
Thanks for your kind words. Glad to know
that people are reading my blog in Sydney!
I would use a solvent to soften the glue
before trying to remove the plastic strip. Something like “Goof-off” or
“Goo Gone” should do the trick. These are products that you won’t have
to worry about harming your glass in any way. Try to get the stuff in
underneath the strip, between the plastic and the glass, if you can.
As far as replacement… I have never seen
what you are describing before. The standard seals for frameless doors
these days are all-plastic. Usually polycarbonate, acrylic, or a
combination of both. They should be fairly easy to find, I would
imagine, even in Australia. Check with your local glass shop. If you
can’t find anything, let me know, and we’ll see if we can figure out how
to get you something.
I LOVE shower doors. This business is such a great source of
challenges and opportunities to be creative. This weekend, I was able to
complete the installation of a very nice heavy glass steam shower
enclosure in Santa Cruz.
The project turned out very nice, and I’m really pleased with the
result. There were, however, a few real challenges involved. The
enclosure is floor to ceiling, and the shower is “curb-less” so there is
very little room to work. Add to that the fact that the bathroom is very
small, all of the walls, ceiling, and floor are out of square… There are
a whole series of challenges right from the start.
The layout part of every project is the most critical part. Every
measurement must be precise, and every outage in plumb and level needs
to be accounted for. This particular enclosure required a number of
exposed notches. Not only did we need to notch around the bench, there
were additional notches required for a bullnose and accent tiles. The
largest piece of glass is the fixed panel on the right.
I came across your blog and saw that you answered people's
shower questions, so if you have the time I'd appreciate if
you could answer this one for me.
My girlfriend has a custom shower enclosure. I don't know
the terminology, but the shower has two doors that slide
past each other that are clamped at the top, and the clamps
hook onto a roller. Here is a picture of a roller and clamp
assembly like she has in her shower:
Overall, her shower doors look like the one at the following
site, except the one I'm linking you to goes to a tub, and
her's is a walk-in enclosure, so her doors go all the way to
The glass has slid down in the clamp so that only a little
bit of the clamp is holding the glass. That means that you
have to carefully guide the door to open and close since the
roller wants to jump off of the track. In addition we are
concerned that the glass will eventually break due to extra
force at the edge because of being held by only a little bit
of the clamp. My guess is that the entire clamp is perhaps
3/8", and only about 1/8" of the clamp is now holding the
I have two questions:
1) Is it OK to work on this ourselves, or would it be better
to get someone to do it. I'm fairly mechanically handy and I
don't mind attempting this, but I am concerned about getting
the clamp too tight and cracking the glass. I haven't been
able to find anything on the internet that suggests how
tightly this should be screwed.
2) If I do work on this myself, do I put clear silicon caulk
or adhesive in the clamp prior to tightening the clamp, or
is there a type of thin pad/cushion that is inserted. It
looks like it was originally installed using silicon caulk
or adhesive because I can see the residue where the original
Thanks so much,
It sounds like you have already figured out the problem. The
shower door hangers that you are describing are held on with
a bit of clear silicone. Generally, I will clean the glass
and the hangers with some alcohol, squeeze some high quality
clear silicone into the part of the hanger that holds the
glass, and make sure that it is properly spread around in
there. Then I will slide the hanger onto the glass without
tightening it down.
The silicone will need 24 hours to cure before the door is
ready to hang. I normally wait until the silicone is fully
cured to actually tighten the screws on the hanger. Don’t be
afraid to turn the screws nice and tight. The tempered glass
is really strong, and the silicone between the glass and the
aluminum will provide a little padding. That’s it! The
original problem was probably caused by one of these issues:
1) The glass or metal was not properly cleaned before the
silicone was applied
2) The silicone wasn’t given enough time to cure properly
3) The installer forgot to properly tighten the hanger after
the silicone was cured.
Be sure to clean off the existing silicone completely before
reapplying the new stuff…
Good luck with your project, and thanks for writing!
I have a question regarding my new shower. It is tiled with
a custom tempered glass panel and a door. The glass panel is
only attached to the tile with silicone and I was wondering
if that was safe? My contractor said that the silicone is a
special strong type (GE SCS1700) and is adequate to keep the
panel firmly secured to the tile wall. There is no u channel
or brackets which I have seen on all the examples online,
which is why I wonder if this is safe.
Any advice here is greatly appreciated.
I've read a lot of your replies and it really seems like you
really know what you're doing. I have to replace my concrete
shower basin and was curious if I'd be able to reuse the
frameless glass doors I have now. They are in great
condition but will need to be removed in order to replace
shower basin. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you
need pics I can send.
One other question, do you know any reputable contractors in
the Chicago area that you'd recommend using to replace
concrete shower basin?
My son did a beautiful job cleaning up and re-caulking
my shower door. We let it cure four days after completing
the job because its cold and damp in winter. The caulk
seemed sound for about 2 weeks, then began to expand, and
get gooey. Nasty! What happened? It is impossible to put
latex caulk in an application formerly "occupied" by
Your blog is the best out there. I am learning
I saw these 2 pictures and have questions.
I would love to do this but I think making 2 “windows” in
the wall and installing the narrowest Kohler frameless
‘falling rain’ glass door on the angle opening -will be a
lot cheaper and much easier on my tile man. Not as pretty
for sure! But would you hazard a guess as to what I might
save going that route (I would have two tall support columns
on either side of the door, correct?).
My layout has a vanity where your door opens into.
Otherwise very much the same is planned (not started yet).
To complicate matters, I am in AZ for months and my
contractor and house is in NY!