The Pros & Cons of Glass Shower Doors

With so many shower door glass options to choose from, it can be hard to decide what’s best for your bathroom. Consider these pros and cons to help renovate your bathroom.

By Benjamin St. Jacques

 

Installing glass shower doors can instantly upgrade the look of your bathroom, but with so many types of glass for shower doors to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin.

 

Start by asking yourself these questions:

 

  • How important is privacy?
  • What’s my aesthetic preference?
  • Is it important that the door be easy to clean?
  • What’s my budget?

 

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can consider the pros and cons of shower glass types.

 

Clear Glass

Clear glass shower doors look like ordinary window glass, but the glass is much thicker.

 

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  • Pros: Clear glass is one of the most popular options because it’s easy to clean with any commercial window cleaner. It has a minimalist appearance that helps create an open and airy feeling in the bathroom.
  • Cons: There may be a slight greenish tint with clear glass because of how it’s manufactured. Also, if you want to ensure privacy while showering you’ll have to keep the door to the bathroom locked.

 

Low Iron Glass

Low iron glass is very similar to clear glass, except it goes through an extra step during the manufacturing process to reduce the iron content.

 

  • Pros: The reduced iron content eliminates the greenish tint you may get from traditional clear glass. This also allows more light to flow through the glass and gives the appearance of a larger shower. It’s also just as easy to clean as clear glass.
  • Cons: Just like with clear glass, there’s no privacy with low iron glass.

 

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Frosted Glass

Frosted glass is created by sandblasting or etching one side of the glass panel to create an opaque texture.

 

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  • Pros: This type of door allows filtered light to come through the shower while providing some privacy. For those who value aesthetics, frosted glass might be a good interior design idea because it’s often available in various colors, and may feature designs or patterns.
  • Cons: Frosted glass is more difficult to clean than clear glass. Dirt, soap scum, and bacteria can collect in the frost pattern. You’ll have to use a sponge, a mild abrasive cleaner, and elbow grease to keep frosted glass looking great.

 

Textured Glass

The most popular types of textured glass shower doors are rain glass and hammered glass. Rain glass is textured on one side, and, like the name implies, almost looks like rain or water flowing down the shower door. Hammered glass features consistent indentations on one side of the glass panel and looks similar to hammered metal.

 

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  • Pros: Because the glass is textured, but not frosted, you can see through it, which can make the bathroom seem larger. Textured glass shower doors can also create lovely light patterns within the shower, which is a nice addition for your bathroom renovation. This type of glass hides fingerprints, water marks, and other unsightly details that tend to show up between cleanings.
  • Cons: As mentioned above, textured glass can be seen through. The texturing of the glass obscures details in the shower, but if privacy is a priority for you, then frosted glass may be a better option.

 

Tinted glass

Tinted glass shower doors may be dark and slightly opaque, and come in tones such as bronze, gray, or black, or they might come in more transparent and earthy tones, like aquamarine.

 

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  • Pros: Tinted glass allows you to choose a color that matches your bathroom’s décor. Darker tints will provide more privacy, while lighter tones, like blue or aquamarine, can enhance nautical themes. In addition, you can have the tinted glass textured as described above.
  • Cons: The major drawback with tinted glass is its cost. These types of doors are often made to order, especially if textured, so expect them to cost more than in-stock items. Also, if you ever decide to redo your bathroom, you may have to get all-new shower doors if your tinted doors don’t match the new décor. Clear and frosted doors are more versatile.

 

The Final Decision: Framed or Frameless?

Once you’ve sifted through these pros and cons of shower glass types and made a decision, you’ll still need to decide on whether you want framed or frameless shower doors.

 

Frameless shower doors can be customized to fit your showers so you aren’t limited to mass-produced sizes. They’re also easier to keep clean than framed doors. However, they can be expensive and may not function as well as you like.

 

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Unlike frameless doors, framed shower doors typically include rubber or seals around the edges to prevent leaks. These seals can detract from the overall look of the bathroom and may promote mold growth. However, framed doors are much less expensive because they come in standard sizes.

 

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When it comes to finding the best shower door for your bathroom renovation, functionality may be more important than design for some. While for others, aesthetics are the priority. Determine your preferences, carefully consider the pros and cons, and you’ll make the right choice.