There are many different types of shower enclosures you can purchase, with many variables within including glass thickness, design, accessories, and more. As you compare quotes for various shower enclosures, be sure you are accounting for why there are differences in price as you review your options.
There are two key decisions you need to make with the enclosure. Let's go through them.
SWING OR SLIDING DESIGN
Do you swing, or do you slide? Determining how the function of your glass shower door will operate will inform the rest of your decisions. Determining if you want the door to swing open or slide back and forth influences the options you have available for your shower enclosure design. Not only do you need to account for personal preference, the constraints of your bathroom may influence your decision – and sometimes, the bathroom dimensions will make the choice for you.
THE FRAME DESIGN
When deciding whether to have a framed or a frameless glass for your shower door, consider the overall feel of your bathroom. Oftentimes, people do not account for the shower enclosure design when designing a bathroom. This is a vital step that should not be overlooked. As the focal piece in the bathroom, the shower enclosure you pick will go a long way in defining your bathroom experience.
The current trend is to have custom frameless shower glass because it helps make the bathroom feel spacious and has a spa-like vibe. However, semi-frameless and framed enclosures bring a lot to the table as well. The choice depends on preferred glass thickness and design preference.
The most popular (and expensive) option; attached by hinges only. It may have a metal u-channel (secures panels; reduces cost) to adapt to imperfections and a header or support arm for safety. Easiest to clean and stays clean – minimal areas for water to collect.
Metal around the entire structure, but not the door (unless at the bottom to control drip). It uses thinner glass, as some frame helps support the enclosure. Thinner glass also reduces cost. Semi-frameless options adapt to walls that are not quite square.
Metal around the entire structure including the door. This provides maximum stability and makes the most use of the the available space in this bathroom. Usually the least expensive – and sturdiest – option. They can be very attractive if utilized correctly.
What is a Shower Screen?
You may at times see the term "shower screen" in your research. This is just another way of referring to a shower enclosure. The reasons for this term are:
- Originally, a shower screen was a fixed piece of glass protecting the front half to three-quarters of the shower. The back portion or entrance is left open for access without a door. This is still very popular in Europe and in areas such as the mid-east and South America where European design is popular.
- In Europe, the word screen is used differently than in the U.S. The Brits do not say "windshield" – they use the word "windscreen." It's the same with a shower enclosure; they refer to it as a shower screen.