Archive

Archive for January, 2014

Can I replace the aluminum in my shower enclosure and reuse the glass?

Hello,

I m living on Miramar Florida, i plan to sell my house but I need to repair the existing aluminum gold shower door trims of my two bathrooms, the house was built in 1997 with the original shower door enclosures and i would like to fix them if its possible without changing everything.Is that possible?

Regards

Cyril

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Hi Cyril,

This is probably the most common question I am asked. Basically, “can I replace the aluminum in my standard shower enclosure and reuse the glass.” The short answer is “no.” Since I do get asked this question a lot, I am going to address this in detail now. That way, I can always just share the link to this article later.

Many people mistakenly believe that the glass in their shower enclosure is the most expensive part, and that they can somehow save money by reusing it, and replacing the aluminum extrusions. There are five or six reasons why this is not going to work, but there is no reason to cover all of them here… we’ll just look at a couple:

First, the most expensive part of your shower enclosure is the labor. The second most expensive part of your enclosure is the aluminum. That’s right! Your glass is actually the least expensive part of your shower enclosure! The standard enclosure that is bought “off the rack” from a home improvement store or a glass supplier is manufactured in a factory. Sometimes in China, or some other foreign country. The workers who build these enclosures in factories, even if they are located in the US, are paid a relatively low wage. The work is considered “low skill.”

The person who installs your shower enclosure, on the other hand, is a skilled worker. He earns a much higher wage. To hire the higher wage earner (an installer) to do the work of a lower wage earner (a factory worker) is not a cost efficient use of resources. Even if you could hire someone to track down the particular brand of aluminum from the manufacturer (there are dozens if not hundreds of different ones), how good a job will that person do at duplicating the parts of your enclosure that need to be replaced?

If the best possible result is achieved, you will end up paying more than your enclosure was worth when it was new, in order to hire someone to refurbish your used shower enclosure. What will you have when you are done? A used shower enclosure! What could you hope to save in terms of dollars? $100? $200? I doubt it. You could try to do the work yourself, but is it really worth trying? What if it ends up worse than before? What if you break a piece of glass? What if the shower leaks when you’re done?

You already have a used shower enclosure. The only reasonable options are to clean it up as best you can, or replace it.

Best regards,

-Chris

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Installing Shower Panels Without Using Glass Clamps

Hi Chris, so glad I found your amazing site.  I live in Toronto, Canada and have been renovating our main bathroom for about six months now.  My wife and I have decided to finish the shower enclosure with a W36″ X H92″ X D1/2 tempered glass panel (floor to ceiling) without a door.  Can we install this on the tiled floor/wall and ceiling with just silicone or should we use clips as well? A crown molding will be installed after for aesthetics that should help hold it in place.

Kind Regards,

Robin and Juliet,

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Dear Robin and Juliet,

I wouldn’t try installing the glass without using clips. Silicone is quite structural, and is probably strong enough to the panel, but it would be pushing the limits a bit. If you have a groove cut in the tile that the glass could rest in, I would feel comfortable with forgoing the clips. We often “hide” a dark colored channel in the tile that is invisible once the glass is installed, yet holds the glass quite firmly.

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

Subject: Blog- wow!

Hi there,

I never write fan mail to shower cabinet specialists. Never. Just wanted to let you know that you are doing the internet the way the internet is supposed to be done for business. Your depth of information and ability to field questions (and even when there is no monetary gain in it – like questions from Australia) is so much better than anyone else in your field. We all want to do something ourselves if possible and you give straightforward advice and query/doubt resolution.

If I had you in my mothers neighborhood, you would be getting the call to advise, design and install her new walk-in shower without hesitation.

Kind regards,

Charlie

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Hi Charlie,

Thank you so much for your nice thoughts and kind words. As you can see, I LOVE shower doors! It’s a lot of fun creating them, installing them, and just talking to people about them. If there is something that I can do to help people have a great shower door experience, I am happy to pitch in. Even if there’s “nothing in it for me.” I feel very blessed to be able to do something that I love for a living, and enjoy being able to help out when I can.

Have a great 2014, Charlie!

-Chris

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