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Archive for December, 2011

Adding New Aluminum to an Old Shower Enclosure

Read your blog and hope that you can help. My husband and I are HOPING to retire next year and want to “freshen up” our house a bit before we put it on the market in the spring. I have searched the web extensively, but can’t seem to find out if it is possible to order metal strips to replace the existing SHINY GOLD frame on our shower enclosure — as opposed to replacing the entire structure, which costs major $$$. Do you have a resource for purchasing replacement frame strips????

Trina & Ted Williams
Franklin, TN

    

Dear Trina and Ted,

This is actually a fairly common question. Customers ask me pretty frequently if it is possible to reuse the glass from a shower enclosure and replace just the aluminum. Of course, the glass lasts virtually forever, while the aluminum framework starts to break-down after about ten years or so. People are usually pretty surprised to learn that the aluminum frame on the shower enclosure is actually the most expensive part. There is too much work involved to disassemble the enclosure and reassemble it using the old glass and new aluminum. There is no chance of saving any money by doing this.

It is possible, however, to install new aluminum strips over the old metal. In the glass industry this is known as “cladding.” The finish you are looking for (bright gold) is available in a couple of different sizes. The first is a 5/8″ wide strip with a beveled edge on one side. The second is a 1″ extrusion that is “L” shaped. A combination of these two shapes should be satisfactory to clad an existing manufactured shower enclosure. The aluminum strips are actually designed for use in the installation of mirrors, and come in 12′ lengths.

Now, hiring a glazier to come out and do the cladding would end up costing at least as much as the enclosure is worth. It is possible to do it yourself more affordably, though. You can purchase these parts from Showcase Shower Door. I will be happy to give some instructions on what you will need and how to do the work.

Happy New Year!

-Chris