Posts Tagged ‘advise’

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,


Buying Shower Doors and Enclosures Online

More and more people are shopping online these days. It is a convenient way to shop for a lot of different items. People even buy shower doors online, if you can believe it! There are a lot of options available, and some are actually quite good. Showcase Shower Door Company carries a full line of shower doors and enclosures manufactured by Fleurco. They are some of the finest shower enclosures you will find anywhere. We can offer our customers a complete package including the shower pan, glass, hardware, and instructions. All of this delivered right to your front door!

There is the challenge, however, of getting your shower enclosure installed once it arrives. We offer the service of installing customer-supplied shower enclosures for people in our area, whether they buy it from us or not. Wherever it is that you live, there is a good chance that there is a qualified shower enclosure installer available in your area. We here at Showcase Shower Door Company are taking steps to put together a network of quality shower door installers in different parts of the United States. We hope to be able to refer these experts to people who need their services. This will also allow shower enclosure manufacturers who sell their products across the country to take advantage of the skills of qualified installers in every area. Anyway, it’s something we are working on, and I’ll let you know as things develop.

RE: My new frameless shower door is pulling the marble away from the wall!

Hi Chris,

My 3 piece L shape frameless shower was installed about a month ago and the original installer had a bit of trouble lining up the top corner of the L in the two glass pieces that came together above garden tub ledge and 6″ wide piece on front.  He also cut his hand and was having some difficulty with the bead of silicon that he place from top to bottom of that corner, it was a gooey looking stream down the inside corner.

He had arrived late in the day, almost 5 pm and said another installer would return and re set the panel over the garden tub ledge to make the L corner pieces match at the same height.  I gave him some band aids and he was on his way home around 7 pm.  We were to leave the shower door slightly ajar 24 hours to let silicon and installed frameless shower “set” .

We did so and noticed 24 hours later when closing the shower door that it squeaked with a low groan when oped or closed. This groan became progressively louder.  The door is connected to a marble wall insert as we didn’t change the tile, etc. we just replaced a gold framed shower with frameless.

When the second installer arrived, he didn’t reset the glass wall that sits on the garden tub ledge, but he did remove the messy silicon and placed a very nice even bead of silicon from top to bottom of the L corner and voluntarily removed door hinges and plastic trim around door edges so the squeak is gone.  Door now is trimmed on bottom & hinge side.

Follow up contact with the dealer revealed they believe a 1/4″ difference not 1/16″ in glass pieces at the joint is industry standard and does not require adjustment of any kind.

Just a day ago I noticed the caulk between the wall and marble has split as the marble wall piece has pulled away from our bathroom wall.  The shower door hinge is rubbing and the the top right corner of door now hits and grabs the plastic strip on adjacent glass wall piece while the bottom has its original space.

OMG,  can the marble piece be pushed back into place?  The bolts at the top of the marble wall enclosure piece appear to be loosening.

Do you see this occur often?  Should I have known not to replace my shower with frameless if I did not also replace the marble sheet wall enclosure?

Please help,


IMG_4543      IMG_45481

Hi Lisa,

I’m sorry to hear about the issues you are having with your new shower enclosure. I took a look at the photos you sent, and I see what you are talking about. It is hard for me to fault the installer of the shower enclosure for the marble surround coming away from the wall. At least, not completely. If there is a wood stud placed behind the marble where the hinge lands, the installer should have used a screw long enough to reach through the marble wall (looks like it’s about an inch thick) and into the wood stud. A three-inch screw would do the trick. If, on the other hand, there is no wood to anchor into, the installer would have used an anchor of some type for the hinge to support the weight of the door.

More often than not, there is not a stud on the other side of the tile or marble to anchor into. We often use concrete anchors for this purpose, and they work just fine. There are some secrets to achieving success with this, though. If a plastic anchor (plug) is used for this purpose, and it isn’t pushed all the way through the marble and into the wall behind it, the marble will be supporting the weight of the door instead of the wall. That could cause the marble to come away from the wall the way yours is. I am guessing this is the issue in your case. If so, the solution is as simple as pulling the screws, replacing the existing plugs, and pushing them backinto the hole far enough to be anchored into the wall behind your shower. Longer screws could be used, if needed, to reach back there.

Let me know if this helps,

Showcase Shower Door

Curb-less Showers and Enclosures


Great blog.  I am a homeowner with zero knowledge of showers.  We are custom building our house and my architect wants to put in a curbless shower in our master bath. Glass, frameless with a hinged door (to swing in and out). The shower is not huge. My friend tells me curbless showers can cause a lot of problems.  Something about the linear drains being impossible to even clear the hair out of and flooding.  I’m concerned that a curbless shower won’t allow us to use a bathmat in front of the door because there won’t be enough height. Yes, I am one of those people who gets bothered by the puddle of water that drips off the shower door when you open it.

Would you put a curbless shower into your new master bath or do you think the potential problems are not worth it?  My architect tells me that “no one” who builds a new house would put in a shower with a curb.

Thanks for your advice!


2014-11-03 13.10.50      2014-11-03 13.10.57

Hi Elisa,

Thanks for your question. There is no doubt that curb-less shower enclosures are the latest thing in the business. I work on these types of showers frequently, and they do have their issues… Like the ones you point out in your email. Architects, designers, and other professionals (people who don’t actually do the work) will often recommend things based on “what’s hot” rather than what is practical. I think your architect is overstating it when he says that no one uses curbs anymore. That’s just not true.

There are some great benefits to having a shower with no curb. We are all getting older, and curb-less showers are obviously easier to get in and out of for those with limited mobility. If that is the idea behind making your shower curb-less, it is a good one! You may also want to consider making the door opening as wide as possible for the same reason. As with most things, there are pros and cons to having a curb-less shower. My advice is that you do it the way YOU want it, and don’t allow yourself to be pressured into doing it some other way.

Best wishes!

Chris Phillips – Owner

Showcase Shower Door – CCL #957120
1970 17th Avenue #C – Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Phone: (831) 464-3899 – FAX: (831) 477-0760


RE: Glass Door Off Kilter

Hi Chris

Love your blog!

Quick question.  I have two homes with high end frameless glass shower doors. On two occasions I have left shower doors open for a few days, returning home to find the doors hanging too low (and not able to fully close).  This has happened at each house.

I assume this is because the doors are very heavy and weight of glass puts extra pressure on hinges making door sag off kilter.  Is this possible?

My contractor tells me no.

Your thoughts?


2015-01-30 13.25.24

Frameless shower doors to have a tendency to settle a bit. The hinges are held in place by friction, and if the screws in the hinges aren’t tightened enough the glass will need to be readjusted from time to time. I offer a one-year warranty on shower doors, and offer to make this adjustment for free during the first year after installation.

It is possible that the house itself has settled a bit, but it is more likely that the hinges need adjustment. I’m surprised that your contractor would tell you otherwise… this is a common occurrence. It’s pretty easy to adjust the door. The secret is torquing down those screws nice and tight!


To whom it may concern. Not sure about the protocol here but I will ask away…

Please find attached a picture of the finished white carrera marble bathtub wall with an end view of the mosaic and ½” pencil tile that borders it. The pencil tile protrudes 3/8” from the finished tile wall. Obviously, there was no consideration for the installation of a swinging shower door.

I inherited this project (from my daughter) after the tile was installed. I have reviewed your website / blog and although some situations touch upon this subject they do not go far enough.

I need to install a 34” x 60” swinging shower door that sits “on top” of the tub but is anchored to the side vertical wall by two hinges. Fairly standard door design, includes a towel bar, and swinging hinges. Thinking out loud, I think there are three (perhaps more) ways to approach this:

  • Notch the pencil tiles to accommodate the glass and the arc of its swing. Indeed this is both tedious and requires great precision with an angle grinder. This approach is most referred to on the blog, but not exactly;
  • Notch the glass itself (prior to tempering) to accommodate the border and anchor to the wall business as usual. This adds about $75 – 100 to the cost of the door. Additional water escaping would be minimal.
  • Place a “block” (say white PVC) under each hinge (1/4”+) to move the glass away from the pencil tiles so that the door is free to swing. This approach introduces more water escaping at the wall since the gap has been increased ¼” between the glass and shower vertical wall for the total height of 60”, but is the simplest.

Whatever guidance you can provide would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.



Jen's Bathroom Bull nose_20141213_151609

Hi John,

There is actually a fourth option that you didn’t mention in your email. I am assuming that the accent tiles in the photo are installed at both sides of the opening. That would mean that you need to deal with this issue on both edges of the glass. The way I would recommend dealing with this would be to use three glass panels (see the sketch below)


This would allow you to make simple notches in the tiles to accommodate the fixed panels without any additional fabrication in the glass where it meets the wall. You would end up with a door that swings freely, has standard gaps, and doesn’t have the abnormal cutouts that notching around the tiles would leave you with.

Hope this helps,