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

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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/

Sagging Framed Shower Door – Can it Be Repaired?

Dear Chris.

My shower door is sagging and the gap at the top of the door is wider than the gap at the bottom of the door.  There is also some black plastic coming out of the hinge area of the piano hinge on the shower door. Can I just replace the hinge or do I need a new shower door?

Thanks,

Don

framed-02     framed-01

Hi Don,

The type of shower door you are describing is what I call a “manufactured” shower door. These are also known as “standard” shower doors. They have a gasket that runs the entire length (height) of the glass, and the panel is held in place by friction. On the inside of the door there are usually a few screws that are tightened down to cause the aluminum assembly to clamp down on the glass, holding it in place.

Over time, the glass may begin to slip out of the channel that it is being held by. The most common cause of this is people hanging their wet towels (bath mats) over the door to dry. These doors just aren’t designed to hold any extra weight at all. Once the door starts to fail, there is no amount of tightening the screws that is going to hold the glass in place any more. In short, you really do need a new door.

That being said, I have had success in the past with taking the door apart, cleaning out the aluminum very carefully, and replacing the rubber gasket with silicone (wet silicone out of a caulk tube). The silicone was able to hold the glass even though the vinyl gasket had failed. It is quite a bit of work, and you will have to gauge whether or not it is worth the effort.

Thanks for writing!

-Chris

http://showcaseshowerdoor.com/

Adhesive to Retrofit Shower Door Handle to Glass Shower Door

Online I came across a post from Chris about new adhesives that work great to adhere metal shower handles to a glass shower door.  Can you recommend any specific product names?  I’ve seen some sites that suggest rear-view mirror adhesives such as J-B Weld.  Might those work?

Thanks.

Skip in Dallas

Adhesive for glass

Adhesive for glass

Hi Skip,

Yes, I think the adhesives you are talking about may work just fine. Over the years, I have tried a number of different ones, with differing levels of success. The truth is, I have had the least success with the ones that are supposed to work the best. These are the UV (ultraviolet light) cure adhesives for glass and metal.

I have had the best results using two-part epoxies. The challenging thing about using them is that they are pretty runny, and are hard to work with on a vertical surface. I recently gave this “STIK’N SEAL” adhesive a try… It’s made by Locktite, and it works great! It is also pretty viscous, so it is a bit easier to work with on a door that is already installed. The shower is a pretty wet environment, so you want something that can hold up to extreme conditions as well.

Give it a try!

-Chris

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

Frameless Shower Enclosure Installation in Soquel

Today’s frameless shower enclosure installation – 3/8″ clear glass with chrome hardware. This one is located in Soquel.   

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