Archive for the ‘Shower Questions from Visitors’ Category

Re: Advice on Shower


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


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


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?


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,


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…



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,


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!


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:


RE: Just One Bracket (?)


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?



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,