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Posts Tagged ‘shower doors’

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!

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/

Seals in Steam Shower Enclosures

The frameless door in my steam shower is supposed to go to the ceiling. It was installed with a plastic edging that causes the door to scrape the ceiling so hard the paint comes off. I took off the plastic edging but there is now a gap at the top of the door. Is this normal? How should it have been done?

Virginia

Shower-14.jpg

Hi Virginia,

When people get a new steam shower they often think that the enclosure needs to be air-tight. Not only is this untrue, it is a bad idea. While it is obvious that you want to trap the steam inside of the shower so you can enjoy the hot, steamy goodness of it all, it isn’t necessary to become obsessed with the tiniest bit of steam escaping. Only you can decide if enough of the steam is staying in the shower.

It is always a challenge to keep the maximum amount of steam in while making the door operate correctly. It sounds like, in your case, it required removing one of the seals. You have to decide if the steam shower is functioning the way you think it should without it. If you feel that too much steam is escaping, it may be possible to attach an edge seal to the ceiling of the shower, rather than the glass. Sometimes that is a solution…

Let me know how things work out, OK?

Chris

RE: Glass Shower Doors and Surface Treatments

Hello,

I happened upon your blog and am very impressed with the wealth of information there!

I just had a new shower enclosure (corner) put in, and am wondering whether it is necessary to treat the glass with some kind of sealant. The prior glass would get cloudy pretty quickly (I’m not sure whether our water is “hard”, or it was soap residue) and I found myself cleaning it every week, which was sometimes difficult to do since the only way I could get it really clean was to use a scour pad (non-scratch, of course!).

I saw on your blog that you recommend the “Liquid Diamond” product, but am not sure which one to order for my needs. Can you help? And, can you tell me whether this product needs to be reapplied, or how it is maintained?

Thank you so much for your time! (I am located in New York City).

Miriam

 

Hi Miriam,

It’s a good idea to use some type of product to protect your shower glass. Nothing will prevent water spots from forming on glass, but you can prevent water stains from ruining your shower door. There are a couple of different options available. You can purchase “Rain-X” or a similar product and apply it yourself. My experience is that this type of product needs to be reapplied every few months. The great thing about the Liquid Diamonds product from Diamond Seal Systems is that it doesn’t require regular applications. The maintenance is pretty simple, and primarily consists of refraining from using harsh cleaners. If properly cared for, the Diamond Seal treatment will never need to be reapplied. There is probably a certified installer in your area.

Thanks for reading the blog,

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

RE: Shower Door Question – Frameless Door Hinges

Chris,

I have a frameless shower door that swings freely in both directions. There is no catch and no sweep on the bottom of the door. For the first several years after installation the door would always return to rest at an exactly centered position when closed. If moved an inch or two in one direction or the other, the door would always return to exact center. Over the past several months the door began to no longer rest in a centered position. Instead, the door has it begun to rest in a slightly open position. The gap is getting larger as time goes on. Now the door is resting in a position leaving a gap of an inch or so between the door and the adjacent glass panel. Any idea what might be causing this? Is there something I can do to adjust the door or the hinges so the door will once again rest in a centered position? I’ll call a glass company for a service call if necessary but if there is something simple I can do I’d rather try that first.

I appreciate any assistance.

Thank you,

Brian

hinge

Hi Brian,

Most likely, your hinges are suffering from soap build-up, or are just wearing out. Frameless shower door hinges come with a three-year warranty. The manufacturers of these hinges don’t recommend using any kind of lubrication on them. Since they are out of warranty anyway, you may want to consider trying some type of lube and see if it helps. I would go with a silicone spray rather than WD-40… I think you will get better results that way. If all else fails, you can have the hinges replaced, but that won’t be cheap. It sounds like your hinges are still working, just not self-centering the way that they used to.

Let me know how things work out,

-Chris