Buying Guide

Tips for Selecting Shower Doors

Shower Design
Comparison of an alcove shower door and a corner shower door.

Showers generally fall into three types and the shower door you choose largely depends on the design. There are bathtub showers, walk-in enclosures located in a corner and alcove stand-alone stalls.

A fourth type, barrier-free showers, is a subset of alcove showers or corner showers. This type of installation has a doorless design with a contemporary look. It can also provide a seamless entry to enhance accessibility for wheelchairs.

In addition to the type of shower enclosure you have, you’ll need to consider the bathroom’s layout, the dimensions of the opening and the available space around the shower to determine the direction in which the door opens.

Bypass or Sliding Doors
Bypass or sliding shower doors.

Bypass or sliding shower doors are a common solution for a small bathroom or bathtub showers.

  • Consist of two and sometimes three panels that slide along each other on tracks
  • Sliding door operation requires no floor space for opening door
  • Ideal for wide openings, with a typical opening of 60-inches wide
  • Some models are designed for alcove walk-in showers
Pivot or Hinged Doors
A hinged shower door.

Hinged shower doors swing open from a single side on corner or alcove walk-ins.

  • Ideal for openings that are too narrow to accommodate a bypass door
  • Can be combined with inline fixed panels in wide alcove enclosures
  • Some models have hinges to allow door to swing both inward and outward
Round Doors
A round shower door.

Round shower doors are a space-saving option for corner walk-in shower stalls.

  • Ideal for corner standalone showers
  • Often reversible for right or left access
  • Open by slider or design can have a bypass operation or hinged opening
  • Curved glass design reduces the shower's footprint in the bathroom
  • Attached to the top and bottom of the frame for stability and smooth operation
Neo-Angle Doors
A neo-angle shower door.

Neo-angle doors are designed to fit neo-angle shower enclosures for corner installations.

  • Take up less floor space than a rectangle design
  • Some models have reversable doors for left or right entry
A barrier-free shower with a fixed panel.

Barrier-free showers have a fixed door panel near the shower head.

  • Fixed door panel shields spray from the bathroom floor, but no door at the opposite end
  • Design can make a bathroom feel bigger and modern
  • Opening is often wider than conventional shower doors, providing easier access for those who need it
Dimensions and Measuring
A person installing a glass shower door.

Accurate measuring is essential to ensure a proper fit for your shower door.

Most new shower doors can be adjusted slightly to fit a range of openings and accommodate walls that aren’t perfectly square. Even so, the door you select should very closely match both the width and height of your shower’s opening.

Tip: If the enclosure area is new, do not take any measurements until the shower is complete and the walls are finished. Material on the wall, such as backerboard and tile, can reduce the wall-to-wall width by as much as 1-inch on each side. 

Follow these steps for accurate measuring:

  • Measure the opening width. Determine the distance from wall to wall at the top and bottom of the opening. The measurements should be to the nearest 1/16- inch. If these differ, select a door using the larger width for a bypass door or the smaller width for 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 1/16-inch. Select a door with a height less than or equal to the smallest of these measurements.

Tip: Single panel doors are rarely wider than 36-inches wide. For larger openings, pair a door with a stationary inline panel.

If you are considering a hinged door, be sure that the door has room to swing open without hitting any obstructions. Extend a tape measure to the width of the door. Hold one end of the tape where the door hinge will be located and pivot the other end to ensure there is clearance for opening.

Frame Design
A comparison of framed and frameless shower doors.

Shower doors are framed or frameless.

Framed doors 

  • Have aluminum, stainless steel or composite material framing the glass panel
  • Include a track that collects and traps water, requiring periodic cleaning
  • Framed pivot shower doors only open outward
  • A variety of finishes are available to complement your decor

Frameless doors

  • Have a newer design style with through-the-glass mounted hardware and different thicknesses of glass
  • Easier to keep clean
  • Create a feeling of spaciousness
  • Frameless pivot doors often can open in or out
A comparison of two glass shower doors.

The thickness of the glass in your shower 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 metal frame. Generally, the thicker and heavier the glass is, the more stable and smoother gliding the door will be.

Clear glass shower doors showcase tile and stonework in the shower and can make the small space of your bathroom feel larger. 

Frosted, textured or patterned glass shower doors offer varying levels of privacy and can add a stylish element to the bathroom.

When transportation of shower doors is a challenge, The Home Depot truck rental can help. From pickups and vans to moving trucks, we've got you covered.