Archive

Posts Tagged ‘aluminum channel’

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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Glass to Glass Hinges and Fixed Panels

Hello,

I saw your blog and I wanted to know if you think our shower doors are safe. We got them installed today and because the hinges are not attached to the wall the entire panel moves when you open the door. It takes effort to open the door. The track is adhered to the walls and saddle with silicone. Will that soften over time? My fear is this thing will fall down over time.

Thank you for your input.

Jennifer

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Hi Jennifer,

I know exactly what you are talking about. There is a standard formula for the maximum width a fixed panel should be if it has a door hinging from it. It varies a little depending on the thickness of the glass (1/2″ or 3/8″). If the panel exceeds the recommended width, the whole enclosure will move the way that you are describing.

I can’t make a judgement call based on your photos since there are a lot of factors that I am unable to determine. Chances are that your shower enclosure is safe. I doubt that the force required to open the door will soften over time. The hinges are spring loaded to cause them to center themselves… that is the resistance you feel when you pull on the door.

It is also possible to add additional support to the top of the fixed panel if you feel you might need it. You can talk to the original installers about that.

Best wishes,

-Chris

RE: Shower Panel Implosion

Chris

Nearly four years ago we remodeled our bathroom and purchased a frameless shower.   Tuesday when I was in the kitchen, there was the sound of an explosion.  I ran upstairs to find the panel next to the door had imploded.   I never knew this could happen and have googled and found out that it is possible from a defect in the glass,  they way it was installed, movement of the house.  I also found on the web that some glass shower companies are now offering a lifetime warranty on spontaneous imploding glass.

I called the company (I am in the Denver area) that installed the glass and asked them if there was any such warranty.  Their glass supplier is Oldcastle and they do not have such warranty.

The panel that broke rests solely on the tile and then is glue to the other panel at the corner.  There is a 90 degree corner clip at the top of those two panels.   My concern is purchasing another panel from the same company and having the same thing happen again in the future.    I am wondering what your thoughts are as to why the panel just imploded.  The location of the weak point  (just from the ripple pattern in the glass..see last picture)appeared to be about 6″ inches from the side that would be adjacent to the door, and it about 4″ up from the tub deck.  There is a cutout in the marble edging of the tub deck for the glass.

Should the glass have been mounted in a recessed track in the tile, or is that really just to protect against leaks.  We had no leaks.  I spoke to a different company in Denver and they said they always install the glass in either a visible channel or recessed channel, and she felt it was because the glass was directly on the tile.

Should the panel have been supported by another support to ceiling?  Could the glass have not been in the marble cutout correctly, such that there was a pressure point, and not enough silicone on each side?

If you think this was by house movement what are your recommendations for preventing it again.  At the same time I am concerned about the remaining pieces that did not break, the door and the piece on the tub deck.  If there was a some sort of flaw in the glass these likely were made in the same batch.

Thanks

Janet Bender

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Hi Janet,

I’m sorry to hear about your shower panel. It is true that tempered glass can break spontaneously. This is very rare, and is caused by “inclusions” in the glass. An inclusion is a bit of material that is not glass, but is instead a contaminant that is “included.” These inclusions are almost always nickel sulfide, and are microscopic in size. These tiny specks of material can lay dormant in the glass for years, and then cause a fracture out-of-the-blue.

We sometimes install shower glass in a channel and sometimes using glass clamps. This is strictly a matter of personal preference. I did notice that you said in your email that the panel was resting “solely on the tile…” If that is actually the case, it may have caused the glass to break. The glass should always set on a plastic or rubber setting block to isolate it from actually touching the tile. If there is no padding (with shower enclosures this is usually a clear plastic block) then you have an improper installation. The plastic blocks will prevent breakage from house-settling or even small tremors.

I hope you find this helpful,

Chris

Glass Panel Problem

hello, we have a problem,  we installed a glass panel with silicone in the track,   Is there a solvent or some product that will dissolve the silicon,  we tried lacquer and it didn’t work,   Any ideas other than breaking it,  don’t want to do that. As we just had it all tiled,,

Thank you,

Marge and Ron

 

Suction Cup-1 Dremel-Multi-Max-MM40

 

Hi Marge,

 

Great question! There are some products that claim to cut through cured silicone… these solvents usually require leaving them to work for 24 hours or so. I can’t say that I have much experience with using them, as I normally don’t have that much time to spare working on a job. You can give that a try, and it may work for you… just look in the paint department of your local do-it-yourself store, or ask for help.

A more sure-fire way to get the glass out in one piece will require a couple of tools. One is the trusty glass vacuum cup shown above. There is little chance that you are going to have any luck with getting the glass out whole without one of these. It will allow you get the kind of grip on the glass that you need to pull it out of the track as the silicone loses adhesion. The other tool I would recommend is a multi-tool with a very thin blade. I like the Dremel brand multi tool. It’s affordable, and does a great job. This will allow you to get a thin blade in between the glass and aluminum channel, and will make the job much easier.

All that being said, be sure to do everything possible to WORK SAFELY! The glass may break, no matter how careful you are. That is just the nature of glass. Even if the glass is tempered “safety” glass, it can still cut you! Be careful, and if you have any doubts at all, call in an expert.

Thanks for your email,

-Chris

Help.

Hi Chris:

I was so happy to see your website and was wondering if u can give me any advice.  I have a fixed shower panel where it is secured at the bottom with U Track type of metal. My contractor guys forgot to seal it in the beginning so water got in and leaked outside.  After I informed them of the problem they came back and put clear silicon seal around the bottom.  Everything was good for about 6 months.  And now I’m noticing black stuff (I’m assuming it’s some kind of mold) inside the silicon seal and INSIDE the track!  Is there any way I can clean it out?  and after cleaning it out (hopefully) how do i seal again?  Is silicon caulking enough? or is there any kind of seal strip i should add?

thank you very much for your help!

Charlotte

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Hi Charlotte,

Thanks for reading my blog. It looks like the caulking was applied after the water was already in the channel. Once the mold began to grow, it was trapped inside. Since the glass is clear, the mold is highly visible… In order to fix the problem, the glass is going to need to be removed from the channel. I would clean it thoroughly, and use bleach to make sure that the mold is completely eliminated. Only then should the glass be replaced, and the silicone seal reapplied. Make sure that the glass and channel are nice and dry before you do so. There is also a type of silicone that is “mildew resistant.” This is the type you are going to want to use. It has a fungicide in the formula, and will help to prevent the mold growth. Apply the silicone where the metal and glass meet to prevent water from entering the channel.

Best wishes,

-Chris

Shower Door Issues – Buyer Beware!

Hi Chris,

I was so happy to see your web site and hope to find some answers to some of our shower questions.   In the master bathroom we installed a frameless shower door  with L shape panels. After about 3 weeks the door was hitting the glass panel.  We had the installer come out and all he does was tighten up the screws in the wall.  It works for about a month and then we have the same problem. We have done this several times which resulted in a cracked tile.   I have also noticed the wall the shower door is attached to is now bowing a little in the middle. Is there a fix to this?

Secondly, in our other bathroom we are experiencing major water leaks coming from underneath the door.  Our installer says we have a water problem not a installation problem.  I’m not sure what he meant by that but either way he will not be  return to our home again.  My husband and I would like to take down the shower door and panel (after spending so much money and time into it) because it just does not work.  The problem we are having is that the U channel our installer screwed on to the wall is full of silicone and we can not remove the glass panel from it. We have scraped as much silicone out as we can but it is not budging.  Is there anything we can use to detach the panel from the U channel?

Thank you for all your help!

Mike

Hi Mike,

I’m sorry to hear that you are having so many problems with your shower doors! The silicone is a very strong adhesive, as you have found out already… Without actually being there, it is kind of hard to know what to do, but I’ll try to give you a couple of suggestions. I would try a very thin putty knife, something thin enough to slide in between the aluminum and the glass on the inside of the channel. Try running it all the way up and down both sides of the glass to see if that is enough to allow the glass to come loose. This is a situation where I would use a glass-setting vacuum cup, but you probably don’t have one. It would allow you to get some leverage on the glass and apply a lot of pressure to try to get it loose.

One other option, if you can’t get the glass out of the channel, is to try to get between the channel and the tile to cut the screws off. A thin saw blade may allow this, but it is also likely to mar the tile. Give these things a try, and get back to me and let me know if you are having any success.

Best wishes,

-Chris

Sliding Shower Doors in Small Spaces

Hi,

I want to purchase frameless shower doors for my walk in shower 42 ¾ across and 72 height.  Why can’t I use frameless shower doors that were manufactured for a tub. People at the Big Box stores are telling me no.

thanks so much.

Michelle

Bathroom-Glass-Tub-Enclosures3

Hi Michelle,

If you are talking about using the sliding shower doors that are normally used on bathtubs, then there is a problem… Your 42-1/2” opening will not allow you to have the 22” minimum opening that is required by building code after the glass is installed.

I’m guessing this is the reason for why the “Big Box” people are telling you no.

I hope this helps,

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

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

From: Michelle-GCMarketing [mailto:michellek@gcmarketing.us]
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2014 6:53 AM
To: chris@showcaseshowerdoor.com
Subject: frameless shower door question