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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

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

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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: http://showcaseshowerdoor.com/quote-request/

 

Installing Customer-Supplied Shower Enclosures

We get calls from people who have purchased shower enclosures online and are looking for qualified technicians to install them. In the past, we have made it our policy to avoid installing customer-supplied shower door kits. There are so many different types of enclosures made by various companies… We have found it to be a good idea to just avoid the pitfalls of getting involved with installing them. We have vendors who can supply any type of enclosure that we are not able to manufacture ourselves, so it has made sense to us to install only the doors and enclosures the we sell.

Recently, glass barn door style shower enclosures have become very popular. I first became familiar with these types of enclosures when Cardinal came out with the “Skyline” series enclosure. This was the first frameless sliding enclosure of that type (to the best of my knowledge). It wasn’t long before other manufacturers began to make similar products. It took a while, however, to find any that matched the quality of the Cardinal version.

Today, they are common, and are likely all being made at the same factory overseas… We have started to take orders to install enclosures for people who have purchased them elsewhere, having become so familiar with them. There are other, even more innovative frameless sliding shower enclosures that have come on the market. One such product is the “Essence” series enclosure from C. R. Laurence. It utilizes 1/2″ tempered glass, and has no cross bar at all. This enclosure has become my favorite sliding shower door to install. It’s AWESOME!

For more information, feel free to get in touch.

-Chris

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

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

“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!

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