Re: Advice on Shower

Hi,

My husband and I bought a small townhouse in the Shelter Lagoon complex in Santa Cruz. The previous owner installed a shower in the small half bath upstairs. There is a drain in the floor with no shower pan. A shower curtain hangs from the ceiling. We’re concerned about whether the current configuration will keep all water inside the bathroom, but we’re not sure there’s room for a glass enclosure. Is this a project your team could advise us on?

Esther Hill

Hi Esther,

Thanks for getting in touch. While I would love to be able to install a shower enclosure for you, I think you may be correct about not having enough room for one. The toilet is so close to the shower that a piece of glass in that location may be too close to allow comfortable use of the toilet. In addition, there is a building code that specifies how much clearance needs to be allowed between it and an adjacent wall.

Many bathrooms are being designed in such a way as not to require waterproofing. It’s a European design concept, and requires a bit of a mental adjustment for Americans. The idea is that water spilling out of the shower isn’t really a big deal, to put it simply. If the floor and walls are tiled, as is the case in your situation, a little water escaping the shower can’t really do any harm.

If you absolutely do want some glass in the room, a hinged panel in that location would allow it to swing into the shower area a bit, thus allowing some elbow room, and satisfying legal requirements.

I hope this is helpful,

Chris Phillips
Showcase Shower Door Company – CCL #957120
1970 17th Avenue #C – Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 464-3899 – FAX: (831) 477-0760

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

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How big is too big when it comes to the gaps…

Chris,

You provide great information in response to questions.  I’m hoping you can help me with one I have.  We just had a frameless shower installed.  All walls are tile, the curb is solid granite.  The glass is 1/2 inch with one panel fixed on top of a half wall and the other panel is notched and joins the panel on the wall (90 degree angle) and continues down to the granite curb. It’s a large space so we didn’t need any door.  My question is about the notched panel. The tile is square edge but the notch is curved. The glass of the notch rests on the top of the half wall, but where the glass goes down the wall to the granite there is a gap of at least 1/4 inch that the installer filled with silicone. It seems too wide and way too much silicone to me.  But I’m not the expert.  Your thoughts?

Denise

Hi Denise,

Thanks for your question. How big is too big when it comes to the gaps in your frameless shower enclosure? I’m sure different people will give you different answers… In my opinion, 1/4” is borderline. Generally speaking, we aim to have 1/8” gaps between the glass and the tile. Where the hinge side of the door meets the wall a 1/4” gap is normal. You have the back plate of the hinge, which is 1/8” thick, and the additional 1/8” clearance there. The gap from glass to glass (where the strike side of the door meets the fixed panel at the vertical gap) is normally 3/16”.

It’s important to keep in mind the limitations of the fabricator and the installer. The standard tolerance for frameless shower glass is plus-or-minus 1/8”. This is the industry standard… Although an installer may aim to make all of the joints 3/16” or less, it is not always possible if the glass is not fabricated exactly to specifications. In your case, I would have to say the ¼” gap is acceptable. If it were 3/8” or more I would not be satisfied, but there is little that can be done to prevent what you are describing. After all, it is only 1/16” larger than the ideal.

I hope you find this helpful,

-Chris

Buying Shower Doors and Enclosures Online

More and more people are shopping online these days. It is a convenient way to shop for a lot of different items. People even buy shower doors online, if you can believe it! There are a lot of options available, and some are actually quite good. Showcase Shower Door Company carries a full line of shower doors and enclosures manufactured by Fleurco. They are some of the finest shower enclosures you will find anywhere. We can offer our customers a complete package including the shower pan, glass, hardware, and instructions. All of this delivered right to your front door!

There is the challenge, however, of getting your shower enclosure installed once it arrives. We offer the service of installing customer-supplied shower enclosures for people in our area, whether they buy it from us or not. Wherever it is that you live, there is a good chance that there is a qualified shower enclosure installer available in your area. We here at Showcase Shower Door Company are taking steps to put together a network of quality shower door installers in different parts of the United States. We hope to be able to refer these experts to people who need their services. This will also allow shower enclosure manufacturers who sell their products across the country to take advantage of the skills of qualified installers in every area. Anyway, it’s something we are working on, and I’ll let you know as things develop.

Re: Shower Question – October 2017

Hi Chris,

I have a frameless shower door held by two wall hinges (hinges are on the shower head side). I re-caulked the tub (due to some leakage at this exact spot), and all is better, but not “well”. I notice when I open the door, the caulk is starting to get pulled out (it’s been about 3 months). I will redo the caulk job, but was wondering if there was a trick to caulking between the door and wall where the door opens?

I’m just afraid water will get by and run down the wall side of the tub (causing interior water damage, mold, or damage to the ceiling of the floor below).

Here are some pictures which should show a little of what I was talking about. You can see the corner, and then the caulk that is being pulled up by the gasket when you open the door. My fear is that the caulk gets pulled out and then water seeps in the space created by the caulk getting pulled out.

I appreciate any thoughts you might have…

Dave

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Hi Dave,

Judging by the photos, I would say that the caulking is due to be replaced. I normally wouldn’t recommend a frameless shower enclosure to be installed within a few inches from drywall. Frameless shower enclosures are not designed to be completely water tight. If you aren’t experiencing leaking now, that is great. If the silicone does pull away, that could lead to water beginning to escape.

Again, it would probably be a good idea to re-caulk this enclosure. You can also use additional plastic edge seals if you prefer that to silicone. Sometimes using the right shape will deflect more water back into the shower, reducing the need for more caulking.

Hope this helps,

-Chris

I Love Shower Doors!

It’s something that I say all the time, and my friends always get a laugh out of it. But it’s true, I really do love what I do. There are so many new things to learn, so many new challenges. Even after being in business for well over a decade now, I am still enjoying the journey. I still have projects that challenge me, even worry me (a little.) It’s a good thing. The exhilaration of the challenge – wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew this time… it’s a lot of fun.

I love customer service… Does that seem strange? I love the fact that my attention to clients needs exceeds that of my competition. I feel bad for potential customers when they tell me that they have received less than desirable results when contacting other shower door companies. But at the same time, I feel good that they did eventually find us. I know that we can give them the service that they deserve, and that makes me feel awesome!

Being in business isn’t for everyone. It requires a lot of effort and devotion, and if you don’t love what you do, it can be a bummer. On the other hand, there are a lot of opportunities to help people, and that makes it all worth while. Remodels are stressful for people, and the shower enclosure comes right at the end of everything. People are often at an emotional breaking point when we arrive, and what we do can really make-or-break the bathroom project. I try hard to put people at ease, and take some of the stress out of the process.

We have carved out a niche for ourselves by taking on jobs that other companies refuse to do, or claim can’t be done. We have never had to tell a customer that we tried, but just couldn’t accomplish what we set out to do. At least, not so far. It would be boring to have to do the same old thing every day… That is why we welcome the opportunity to do new, cutting edge projects. It keeps things interesting, for us and our clientele. It’s the “Showcase Experience” – Luxurious Everyday Living.

Splash Wall Leakage

A recent visitor sent me this video, illustrating his shower enclosure issue:

…and this was my response:

Hi Bill,

Here is the best solution, in my opinion, for both sides of your door. The part number is SDTWT2 and the manufacturer is CR Laurence. You can get these from your local glass shop. If they don’t have them in stock, they can order them from you. CRL is the largest supplier of glass industry products, and absolutely every person in the glass business has an account with them.

The seals come with pre-applied VHB tape, so they are really easy to use. Just get the glass really clean (I like to use denatured alcohol) – peel the tape and apply. You will probably need to change these every two or three years.

I hope this is helpful, and good luck!

-Chris

Silicone Free Shower Enclosure

From: Belinda Shaw

We are in the process of getting a quote for a frameless  shower.  I recently saw a post from your archives about not using silicone around the base of the glass to seal from water.  “Frameless shower enclosers are not designed to be completely water -tight.”   I am very interested not using silicone due to the mold that can occur after time. I am concerned that our contractor will not be cooperative in not using a sealer.  He also likes to use the u-channel instead of the brackets to hold the glass in place.  I like the look of brackets instead of the u-channel.  Can you send me more information about not using the silicone to seal and any info on use of brackets over the u-channel?  Thank you for your help in this matter.

silicone tubing.jpg

Hi Belinda,

I’m glad you asked that question. The bottom line is that you have the final say whether your shower enclosure gets caulked or not. If you have come to terms with the fact that your shower may “leak” a little when you used it, you are a good candidate for a frameless shower enclosure. There are some advantages to using channel rather than glass clamps. One factor is that the channel will make the enclosure hold water a little better. Some people think that the channel gives the enclosure a cleaner look, as the clamps are a little bulky. It’s a matter of personal preference…

On the other hand, glass clamps are the preferred choice of designers and architects. Many people feel that this is the definitive look for a frameless shower enclosure. Again, you are the one who gets to decide. If you do go with the glass clamps, don’t try to fill in the gaps with clear silicone. It completely defeats the purpose of going frameless. You want the clean “glass only” look, with just a little hardware as needed. One thing we have been doing recently is using a dry silicone tubing to fill gaps where needed. If too much water is escaping, and the gaps between the glass and tile are large enough, you can use the silicone tubing instead. This just gets stuffed into the gaps, and looks really clean. If you ever want to replace it, you just pull it out an replace it. There is no cutting it out and scraping off the residue.

Good luck with your shower enclosure! I hope it goes well, and you end up with the shower that you really want.

-Chris Phillips