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Posts Tagged ‘caulking’

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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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

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/

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/

We Fix Botched Shower Door Installations


We were recently contacted by a gentleman who had a shower enclosure installed in a neighboring community (Santa Clara).The job went terribly wrong, and he needed some help. He was looking for advice about what to do about the poor glass fitting and bad caulking job done by the previous glass contractor. My advice to him was to have the original contractor come back and clean up the mess.



After a couple of weeks, he contacted me again and told me that he wanted me to come and redo the installation for him. Apparently, he was tired of dealing with the existing contractor, and just wanted it to be finished. Although I don’t normally do work in that area, I agreed to come out and see what I could do for him.



The silicone used by the other shower door installer had gone bad, and hadn’t really adhered to the tile anyway. I’m happy to say that we were able to take out the glass, and reinstall the enclosure using parts that the previous contractor had provided. It feels good to be able to make a bad installation turn out right.

Check out our website at showcaseshowerdoor.com

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,

LS

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,

Chris
Showcase Shower Door

Curb-less Showers and Enclosures

Hi,

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!

Elisa

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

http://www.ShowcaseShowerDoor.com

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