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Design Tips For Frameless Enclosures

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Frameless shower enclosures have some special requirements.  If you are planning a shower space, there are considerations that both you and your contractor need to consider to ensure your enclosure can be properly fabricated to your space.  AND IS ABLE TO OPERATE PROPERLY.  In addition, many variations in standard design elements can be costly to the consumer.  Such as custom angled hinges, double cuts in glass and many other elements that can drive up costs that the vast majority of  consumers are not aware of.

Tip One:

Plan for your shower to be built using 90º, 135º, or 180º angles. Most shower hardware is designed to accommodate these angles, so planning your shower with this in mind ensures a more cost-effective installation and a properly functioning enclosure.

Tip Two:

Be sure the wall on which you would like to install a hinged shower door has proper studding behind it (double 2x4 is best, though single 2x4 is acceptable). Always provide wood studs or blocking where doors hinge or panels are anchored, especially when metal studs were used in the original construction of the wall.

Tip Three:

Planning to have your shower door reach the ceiling? First make sure the door won't be hampered by anything installed on the ceiling when it swings open. If an exhaust fan, vent or light fixture is placed in the path of the swinging door, a transom may be required to give the door clearance

Tip Four:

Using a flush floor design in popular and quite beautiful, but be sure  to employ a contractor who is familiar with this design,.  While eliminating the curb is beneficial when planning a handicap accessible shower enclosure, keep in mind that a properly constructed curb helps prevent water from leaking or pooling onto the bathroom floor and must be sloped properly.

Tip Five:

The curb or lip around the bottom of the shower should to be slanted inward  1/4” to 5/16” "pitch" or slope so water flows in toward the drain. (A level curb would cause the water to stand, while a curb angled away from the drain would cause water to leak onto the bathroom floor.)

Note:  Use granite, marble or corian as a saddle over curbs- as single pieces. Do not use tile with grout lines, as this will cause water to leak.

Tip Six:

Never position body sprays opposite an enclosure door or other opening. Always position body sprays so that they are directed towards tiled walls.

Tip Seven: 

Do not design curbs that approach buttresses at an angle. "Hinge bind" may occur, restricting the swing of the door. Instead, design curbs so that they approach buttresses at a 90-degree angle.

Tip Seven: 

Shower soffits must plumb down precisely to the footprint of the lower curbs. Failure to address this issue will produce disappointing results..

Tip Eight

GLASS TILES ARE FRAGILE! Avoid mounting door hinges and glass clips onto glass tiles, as breakage is likely to occur during and even after installation. This can result in delays in getting the project finished and additional charges from the tile installers for repairs.

Tip Nine:

Overhangs near door closings create PROBLEM GAPS, resulting in unsightly fillers or the need to cut a notch in your granite, marble or other surface. Please mount the top of seats and knee walls flush with the sides

Tip Ten:

If you are planning a frameless enclosure, DO NOT use raised, decorative tile on ANY part of the door swing area.

Proper planning and design is critical for frameless shower door design.  The vast majority of end users who are not pleased with their frameless shower enclosure has been  direct result of “building an opening” and hoping for the best.  Some key points to remember:

Out of square conditions will adjust cost- as the glass panels are more complex to fabricate.

Neo angle enclosures are most often the most expensive type of enclosure, as the glass is required to be mitred.  In addition to have a properly functioning neo angle enclosure, the enclosure should be large.  Rule of thumb is that if a person’s body takes up 2/3 of the shower space, the enclosure will leak.

Be sure when interviewing your contractor and discussing your bathroom renovation, that you wish to incorporate a frameless shower door.  Ask if he is familiar with the design requirements.  If they are not familiar, or imply “there aren't any special conditions” than look elsewhere.  This can result in many errors in design that are costly to the consumer and compromise the use of the shower enclosure.