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

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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

Relationship Based Services

I recently received this comment / question from a reader:

Great services that you provided for installing a new shower door. But I have one question for you. Do you service for repairing purposes?

-Sharon Reams

Thanks for your question, Sharon. We have been blessed with many, many local customers. Although we do provide repair services, we only provide these services to existing customers. As a licensed California C-17 Glazing Contractor I am able to do any type of work that falls within my area of expertise. That includes commercial as well as residential glass projects. Windows, glass doors, storefronts, handrails, aluminum panels (and other architectural metals), mirrors, painted glass panels, restroom partitions, glass office dividers, and more.

Our decision to specialize in shower doors and enclosures has been a good one. It has allowed us to become very proficient in providing very high quality products, and to turn them around quickly. As a result, we have become the undisputed champions in shower enclosure design, manufacture, and installation in the Santa Cruz County area. We have customers with multiple homes in the area that we have been working with for many years.  That is not to mention the many quality general contractors and home builders that we work with on a regular basis.

We are more interested in the relationship we have with our customers than the specific work that we do for them. Once we are doing business with a customer, we are available to do whatever is needed to meet all of their glass project needs. We are in this for the long haul, and building relationships with our customers has been the number one secret to our success so far. We offer an online frameless shower enclosure quote to anyone who is interested, free of charge. Just follow this link: http://showcaseshowerdoor.com/quote-request/

 

Installing Customer-Supplied Shower Enclosures

We get calls from people who have purchased shower enclosures online and are looking for qualified technicians to install them. In the past, we have made it our policy to avoid installing customer-supplied shower door kits. There are so many different types of enclosures made by various companies… We have found it to be a good idea to just avoid the pitfalls of getting involved with installing them. We have vendors who can supply any type of enclosure that we are not able to manufacture ourselves, so it has made sense to us to install only the doors and enclosures the we sell.

Recently, glass barn door style shower enclosures have become very popular. I first became familiar with these types of enclosures when Cardinal came out with the “Skyline” series enclosure. This was the first frameless sliding enclosure of that type (to the best of my knowledge). It wasn’t long before other manufacturers began to make similar products. It took a while, however, to find any that matched the quality of the Cardinal version.

Today, they are common, and are likely all being made at the same factory overseas… We have started to take orders to install enclosures for people who have purchased them elsewhere, having become so familiar with them. There are other, even more innovative frameless sliding shower enclosures that have come on the market. One such product is the “Essence” series enclosure from C. R. Laurence. It utilizes 1/2″ tempered glass, and has no cross bar at all. This enclosure has become my favorite sliding shower door to install. It’s AWESOME!

For more information, feel free to get in touch.

-Chris

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

RE: Just One Bracket (?)

Chris,

As shown in the attached picture, our contractor installed our new glass shower panel using only one bracket (along the tiled wall near the top of the panel).  A clear adhesive (supposedly “the best material in the business”) was also used along that tiled wall, as well as along the bottom of the panel where it meets a plank tile threshold atop – hopefully – proper shimming).

I can’t find another example of just one bracket being used on anyone’s glass shower panel, anywhere on the internet.  Should I be concerned, not just for aesthetics, but also for safety?

Thanks,

Bill


Hi Bill,

We use shower door engineering software from C.R. Laurence to design our enclosures. In order to meet their minimum standard for structural support at the bottom, two brackets or a channel securing the bottom edge are required. I am aware that other shower door companies sometimes use one clamp at the bottom and two clamps on the vertical edge of the glass, but never one single clamp on a panel like the one shown in you photo. This is the first time I have ever seen something like that.

Silicone really is about the best material in the business… I’m guessing that is what was used here? The truth is that the silicone alone probably does have enough strength to keep the panel secure without any other mechanical fasteners. But the only legitimate reason I can see for someone doing it that way would be for looks. It doesn’t sound like you particularly like how it looks, though. I think the most logical explanation for this is that someone forgot the cutouts for the clamps at the bottom of the glass panel, and now they are pretending they meant to do it that way.

Whenever we sell a frameless shower enclosure, we supply a sketch of how it will look when completed. It is a good policy to make the contractor do that for you. Then you can compare the finished product to the sketch and see how close they are to one another. We all make mistakes sometimes. When that happens, it is best to just do the right thing and buy new glass. It never pays off, in the long run, to try cutting corners.

Thanks for writing,

-Chris