Shower Enclosure Guide: The Shower Glass

It’s no surprise that when it comes to shower enclosures, the shower glass has the most options to consider. From thickness to type to variety to treatment options. Let’s dive into it!



Shower glass comes in a variety of thicknesses. Below are the most common options-but you can get thicker or thinner (see next section).

1/2″ thickness

1/2″ thickness glass is considered attractive and elegant – many luxury hotels and high-end custom showers use 1/2″. It is heavy and may require extra support in the wall and hinges. The hinges may not last as long due to the stress placed on them by the weight of the glass.

3/8″ thickness

Most semi-framed and frameless shower enclosures end up with the 3/8″ thickness. This balances cost and appearance. 3/8″ is a typical glass thickness, but may require a top header to give stability to the whole unit. These headers do not spoil the look of the shower.

1/4″ thickness

For high-quality framed enclosures, 1/4″ is a popular choice. The thinness of the glass can really make a shower enclosure stand out. Framed shower glass can be thinner than frameless and semi-framed due to the structural support of the metal frame.


Glass Varieties

Dress up your shower door in multiple ways. Colors, patterns, thicknesses, and treatments all can dramatically affect the look of a shower.

Looking to go against the grain? You can color your shower enclosure one of several ways.

You can customize your shower enclosure with a wide variety of patterns.

Cast Glass Patterns

Heavy Glass Patterns

Thin Glass Patterns

The richly textured, three-dimensional character of cast glass adds a beautiful, stunning elegance to your bathroom.

Ultimate Optique

An additional feature is Ultimate Optique; a thermally formed art glass design. A revolutionary kiln casting process integrates the rich textural elements of kiln-formed glass with unobstructed, optically clear areas or patterns, creating an effect that is striking and original. Available for certain types of cast glass enclosures.

Heavy glass provides a modern, contemporary look. The appeal is structural integrity, durability, and to stand out from its peers.

Thin glass shower enclosures allow your bathroom to look spacious, crisp, and modern. Comes in 3/16″ thickness—and possibly even less!

A comparison of low-iron and clear glass.
A comparison of low-iron and clear glass.

Everyone calls standard glass clear, but there is even clearer glass available today. For a truly pristine view, you can purchase low-iron glass without the slight green tint of regular glass. Low-iron glass lets in more visible light than regular window glass, creating a crisper view.

Glass Customization

Bring a dash of personality to your shower enclosure.

Cardinal Shower chipped edge option Falmouth, MA

For a dramatic looking shower, you can add a chipped edge to your heavy glass shower enclosure. A “Chipped Edge” refers to the scalloped edge work on the glass.

Type of Chipped Edge Pattern

  • Double-Sided – The glass is chipped both directions, providing an attractive rough edge to the glass. Very non-symmetric.
  • Single-Sided – The glass is all chipped one direction

Type of Edge Cut

The shape of the edge of the glass.

  • Straight Cut – Typical cut on the glass. No charge.
  • Wave Cut – A smooth wave. You can specify the height of the waves and the distance between the peaks and valleys. There are limitations to the steepness of the waves. If they are too extreme, the glass will break when chipping it. Talk to us for full details.
  • Jagged Cut – A rougher random cut that complements the chipped edge pattern making it look like a broken edge.

Shower enclosure etched for privacy Needham, MA

Get your shower enclosure etched! Etching is the process of a design embedded into the glass to create an engraving. Pioneer will provide top-quality etching to help your shower door stand out. What can you get etched?

  • Privacy areas – block out sections of the enclosure
  • Decorative patterns to add flair or complement other design elements in the shower and/or bathroom
  • A logo, perfect for commercial applications
  • And more

Dip-Tech Ceramic Digital Printing

Pioneer chooses to work with Dip-Tech for all customized shower enclosures—we consider them the best in the business. Dip-Tech inks are developed by chemistry experts in collaboration with academic institutions.

Whether you want your shower to have a pattern, words, privacy panels, or anything else—it can be done.

Dip-Tech ink is fused into the glass through the tempering processed, and results in glass that can be laminated, bent, and/or double-glazed. These products are environmentally friendly with customizable effects.

Cardinal’s Satori® Digital Ceramic In-Glass Printing

Should you elect to move forward with a Cardinal shower enclosure, you can use the Satori process that digitally prints ceramic ink to glass surfaces. The ink is then fused with the glass during a tempering process that results in vivid images. The Satori process increases resistance to chemicals, scratching, UV light, and weathering.

Treatment and Protection

Back up your investment in a shower enclosure with treatment options that will keep it looking like new for years. 

Adding a surface protectant to a shower enclosure during installation reduces cleaning frequency and intensity. Surface protectants come with a 10-year warranty and repel water, oil, and is resistant to UV exposure.

Water contains many minerals which can slowly pit and discolor glass. For the most maintenance-free shower glass, the permanent protective layer of Guardian Showerguard® will hold up for years and years.

See a comparison of Showerguard vs. other types of cleaning (click to expand):