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

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“Headerless” Shower Enclosures

Many people who are having frameless shower enclosures installed are looking for the least amount of hardware possible. The challenge to keeping the hardware minimal is greatest when the door hinges from a fixed panel. The stress that is going to be placed on the glass needs to be taken into consideration. When a door hinges from a fixed panel, all of the weight of the door will be supported by the glass, in many cases. There is also the added stress created by the door when it swings in and out, and the initial stress of moving the door past center when the hinges are self-centering.

In many cases, this type of configuration requires additional support at the top of the stationary glass panel. There are a few ways to address this; by using a header, a support bar, or simply extending the height of the fixed panel all the way to the ceiling. The use of top and bottom mounting hinges allow much of the weight of the door to rest on the floor or curb. The top hinge only needs to take the amount of weight required to hold the door upright, and allow for the door to hinge.

By using manufacturer’s recommended clamps, it is possible to hinge a door from a fixed panel without additional support at the top. There are limits to the size and weight of the panels, of course. There have been some great new innovations over the past few years that allow an even more seamless installation then was ever possible before. If you need a frameless shower enclosure, or just have questions, be sure to get in touch… We can help!

Painted Glass for Back Splashes

We have been receiving more calls recently for information about painted glass for kitchen and bathroom back splashes. People have been using custom pained glass for walls, cabinets, doors, and even floors on the east coast for a long time. It seems to be catching on here on the west coast as well. Of course, we at Showcase Shower Door Company have been installing painted glass for our customers for years. We have a large selection of colors, and can even match customer supplied samples.

Glass is a great solution when tile or granite is less desirable. Glass offers a surface that is non-porous and easily sanitized. There are no grout lines to keep clean, and there are no limits to the colors that are available. There are different thicknesses, options for regular clear or low-iron glass, the option of tempering, textures, etc. If you have any questions or just want more information about painted glass for back-splashes, just let me know. I would be happy to provide any help that I can.

-Chris

Silicone as a Glass Bonding Agent

Hi Chris,

Our frameless L shaped shower has a glass brace fitted above the section which has the door. They have attached this to the glass uprights with silicon. Is this strong enough or are you supposed to use a glass bonding agent?

Best wishes,

Mike and Gail

glue-01 glue-02

Dear Mike and Gail,

Silicone is actually one of the best bonding agents available for glass. It is used in many commercial applications where it is the primary structural fastener in those systems. The ability of silicone to stretch and compress makes it the ideal sealant and adhesive for glass. We all know that glass is unforgiving in nature. It doesn’t want to bend, stretch, or compress. Silicone helps to make up for this.

The down side to using silicone as an adhesive is that it takes a long time to cure (about 24 hours). It’s also a bit messy to work with, and not very easy to clean up. If I need to glue something in a hurry, I will use a different adhesive, but I prefer silicone to anything else. I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

Have a great day!

-Chris

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

Recent Installation

Love your blog. We recently had an install where the door and supporting panel were installed but the panels were 1/8″ shorter than the rest of the shower.  The company wants to grind the other two panels to remedy the situation.  My preference would be got the two panels be remade and reinstalled.  What is your opinion to grinding to attempt to fix the problem.

Jim

Image result for tempered glass   Image result for tempered glass

Hi Jim,

This is a great question, and is definitely worth addressing. Most people probably know that tempered glass cannot be cut, drilled, or otherwise fabricated. All of the cutting, notching, and other modifications are made to the glass first. Tempering is the last step in the process. What many people may not know about tempered glass is that it is possible to remove a small amount of material from the edge of the glass by grinding or polishing. It is a risky proposition, and can result in the glass shattering into thousands of tiny pieces.

One method for removing a small amount of glass from the edge is to put the glass through a glass polisher. These machines are designed to create a finished edge on glass, and remove a small amount of material in the process (about 1/16 of an inch). This could be done on each end, and that would achieve the 1/8” reduction in size that is desired. Years ago, I was able to send a tempered glass panel back to the manufacturer to get this procedure done. It is really the only effective way to accomplish what is being discussed. At some point, the glass fabricators began to refuse to do this, though. If a piece of tempered glass does break in the process of going through the polisher (a process known as “running down” a glass panel) the results are somewhat catastrophic. The machine needs to be shut down, taken apart, cleaned out, etc. Not a good thing…

I think your instincts are correct. The panels should be remade and reinstalled. We all make mistakes sometimes, and the solution is to replace the glass. No one likes to do it, but it is the proper solution.

Thanks for your kind words, and keep reading!

-Chris

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

Clear Plastic Edge Seals on Frameless Shower Enclosures

Hi Chris,

We are having a frameless shower door installed soon. The installer came to measure the dimensions of the shower, which are 36 x 28 x 36 with the shower door opening in the middle. The installer said that we have to have a header on the top because the door opens in the middle. From what we have been reading this is correct. Our main concern is that he said that we have to have plastic stripping down each of the side panels and at the opening between the door and glass panel.

We were really excited to have a frameless door and now it seems like these plastic strips down all of the panels will be a detraction. We have been reading that silicone can be used if leaking in this small shower would be a concern.

Our question to you is, should we let him put in the plastic strips? We went from being excited about having this glass door installed to dreading these unsightly glass walls with plastic strips?

Thanks,

Diane and Keith

Image result for shower edge seal     Image result for shower edge seal

Dear Diane and Keith,

Thanks for the question. I am in agreement with you about the plastic strips (edge seals). Although they are available in clear poly-carbonate, and blend in fairly well, I always try to avoid them. As you point out in your note, they do detract from the beauty of the shower enclosure. There are, of course, certain instances where they are unavoidable, but this is rare.

The most important thing to keep in mind about frameless shower enclosures is the fact that they are NOT watertight. They are not meant to be. This is a topic I cover in my blog regularly… here are two articles from last year where I talk about this:

https://showcaseshowerdoor.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/re-38-inch-frameless-hinged-shower-door/

https://showcaseshowerdoor.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/to-silicone-or-not-to-silicone/

If your installer is going to try to make your frameless shower enclosure hold water by adding plastic seals to the glass, he is fighting a losing battle! There is the temptation to sell the most expensive product to a customer (for obvious reasons) regardless of whether it is the right solution for their particular situation. It is sad, but it does happen. If you need a shower door that is water tight, don’t buy a frameless one. You will be sorry! Wait until you have a bathroom that is suitable for a frameless enclosure before you install one. Your shower door salesperson should know the difference.

Thanks for reading my blog!

-Chris

http://showcaseshowerdoor.com/

Installing a Frameless Shower Door in a Fiberglass Surround

Hi.

I purchased online a 3/8″ glass frameless swing door with panel for my fiberglass shower insert.  I am struggling with hanging the door. I put the molly anchors (plastic looks like they were designed for tile) in the holes I drilled and they just dropped into the insert since they had no lip. There are two door hinges with four 2″ screws each.  There is a stud, but it is approx. 2 1/4″ in.  Any recommendations for mounting the hinges?

Read some folks say not to install into the studs since it could pull the fiberglass in, others say it could not be done, and others mention SNAPTOGGLE or your Toggler Toggle Bolts. Would prefer to find anchors that I can use with the nickel plated screws. The company I ordered from ensured me before I bought that I could install their frameless door in fiberglass, and when asked today said I could just use the molly anchors they sent.

Thanks for any advice,

Jake

Hi Jake,

I think the simplest solution is to use longer screws. If there is a stud 2-1/4” from the surface of the insert, just use some 3” screws. Anchoring directly into a stud is always going to be the best way to go. I would be concerned about using toggle bolts on a fiberglass surround… the weight of the door could bust trough the fiberglass if the insert itself was actually holding the weight of the door.

There are some who would suggest that you should never install a frameless door in a fiberglass shower insert, but I have done this in the past with good results. Even if the insert is installed on top of hardiebacker, concrete anchors will give you the support you need for hanging a frameless door of a reasonable size and thickness.

Let me know how everything works out,

-Chris

http://showcaseshowerdoor.com/