A new shower door is a practical and economical way to refresh your bathroom’s appearance. While a simple shower curtain may be sufficient to keep water off your bathroom floor, shower doors provide a far more elegant solution for water-tight seals, privacy and easy access to your shower. Shower doors come in many types of configurations, styles and sizes to match any budget. They may be simple utilitarian devices or a key decorative element in your bath that reflects your personal style. This buying guide will inform you about the factors to consider in making your decision, so you can feel confident you’re selecting the shower door that will work best for you.
Shower Design & Door Types
The type of door that will work best for your shower depends on the design of your shower, the size of the opening and the practical space considerations that determine how your door should open.
Showers generally fall into three types of designs
Types of shower doors include
|Bypass – Also known as sliding doors, bypass doors take up the least amount of space and consist of two to three panels that slide past each other on top and bottom tracks. They’re ideal for wide openings, with a typical opening size being 60" wide. They are commonly used in alcove and corner stand-alone showers and bathtub showers with stationary panels.|
|Round – Round shower doors open inwards and are ideal for corner stand-alone showers. Attached to the top and bottom of the frame for stability and smooth operation, the curved glass design creates a more spacious bathing area. This type of door is often reversible for right or left access.|
|Neo-Angle – Designed to fit neo-angle shower enclosures for corner installations, these doors take up little space and can be installed to swing open left or right. They are commonly used with corner stand-alone showers.|
|Pivot – Pivot doors, also known as one-panel swinging or swing-open doors, open outward from a single side and are installed in a stand-alone shower space. They are ideal for openings that are too small to accommodate a bypass door. Pivot doors are typically 36" wide but may be as wide as 48". For larger openings, these doors may be installed with one or two fixed panels and can be single or double-hinged mounted to swing both in and out. Pivot doors can be installed to open right or left to fit the layout of your bathroom. Pivot doors are most commonly used in alcove and corner stand-alone showers.|
Dimensions & Measuring
The door you select should match the height and width of your shower’s opening. If the enclosure area is new, do not take any measurements until the enclosure is complete and the walls are finished. Material on the wall, such as backer board with fiberglass, acrylic or tile, can reduce the wall-to-wall width by as much as one inch on each side.
Accurate measuring is essential to ensure a proper fit—always measure twice for accuracy. Follow these steps to determine the measurements for your shower door.
• Measure the Opening Width: Determine the distance from wall to wall at the top and bottom of the
opening. The measurement should be to the nearest 1/16th of an inch. If these differ, select a door
using the larger width for a bypass door or the smaller width when selecting a pivot door.
• Measure the Opening Height: Determine the distance from the top of the tub edge or shower base to
the top of the wall unit or tile wall where you want the door to be located. Measure vertically at both sides.
The measurement should be to the nearest 1/16th of an inch. Select a door with a height less than or
equal to the smallest of these measurements.
Refer to the table below for general guidelines for types of doors compatible with common openings
|Standard Size Bathtub Shower (5 ft.)||60"||Bypass|
|Stand-Alone Shower||48" – 60"||Bypass|
|Smaller Showers||Less than 48"||Pivot Door or Pivot Door with Panel|
• A single panel door can only be up to 36-1/2" wide, due to the flexibility of the glass or its weight. When
the finished wall opening is larger than 36-1/2", you should pair a door with a stationary panel.
• If you’re selecting a swinging door, you’ll need to make sure the door has room to swing open without
hitting any obstructions. Hold one end of your tape measure where the door hinge will be located and
“swing” it open.
Shower doors may be framed or frameless.
|• Framed doors have aluminum or composite material framing the glass panel. A variety of
finishes are available to complement your décor. The door design includes a track which
can collect and trap water, requiring periodic cleaning. Framed pivot shower doors only
|• Frameless doors are a newer design style with through-the-glass mounted towel bars or
handles and different thicknesses of glass. Frameless doors are easier to keep clean and
create a feeling of spaciousness, a welcome feature in smaller bathrooms. Frameless
pivot doors can open in and out.
Shower door frames are constructed of composite materials or aluminum, which can be coated to provide a wide variety of different finish colors, including brass, bronze, nickel or silver/chrome. When making your selection, consider a finish that complements the décor and fixtures in your bathroom.
The glass in your shower door can be as beautiful as it is functional. Designs and effects like frosted, tinted and textured glass can turn your door into a large work of art that makes a statement about your personal style.
• The thickness of the glass in your door is dependent on structural and design factors such as whether
the door is framed or frameless. Glass thickness isn’t an issue for framed doors because the glass is
secured in a frame. For frameless doors, glass thicknesses range from 1/4"-3/4". Generally, the thicker
and heavier the glass is, the more stable and smoother gliding the door will be.
• Clear glass showcases tile and stonework in the shower and can make the small space of your bathroom
• Frosted, or opaque, glass offers the most privacy.
• Textured and patterned glass provides privacy as well as a stylish element in your bath
Accessories and Special Features
Towel bars provide a convenient place for your towel to dry as well as the opportunity to add a splash of color to your shower door.
Door handles can accessorize your shower like jewelry, providing a unique design detail that reflects your personal style.
Barrier-Free Shower Doors
Barrier-free doors eliminate the need for a bottom track and are often wider than conventional doors, providing easy access to the shower for family members with special needs.