Custom shower door questions... Please tell me about your door!

treasurethedayFebruary 4, 2012

We're finally at the point in our masterbath reno that we are ready to order our shower door. I believe that our shower would be considered a neo-angle, because the door is directly opposite the inside corner, although none of the walls are the same dimension.

The final couple of tile pieces and the grout will be done on Tuesday. This is what the shower looks like today:

(The valance connecting the upper vanity towers is being remade to be more in proportion so the ultimate height of the valance will be approx 2/3 of what is shown in this picture.)

(The blue tape on the soffit has a dot centered on it which represents where the fixed glass panel and the door meet.)

Mid-project, we decided to reconfigure the plumbing in the shower so that we wouldn't have to try to hinge the door on the right where there is a pony wall with a glass panel. It sounded like we'd be inviting problems to try to do so. So, we know that the door will hinge on the left side and we framed in enough support for an exceptionally heavy door. We're planning on a frameless door with as little hardware as is reasonable and no headrail. The glass panel on the pony wall will extend up to the tiled soffit to prevent steam from rolling out directly onto the upper cabinets right beside the shower. We planned to have the door stop approximately 6 - 8 inches below the soffit for ventilation. We're also putting in a vent fan AND a blower in the shower to assist in air circulation.

The first two of three companies to quote the job sent out basically measurment-takers who did not seem to have in-depth knowledge of potential installation issues. They said that the size of our door puts us at the upper weight limit for the hinges so they suggested using three hinges instead of two. OK, I'm not opposed to doing that.

The third was a company owner who had plenty of alternative suggestions and he's got me rethinking. First, he feels that the door should go all the way up to the soffit because a) the pony wall glass goes to the soffit so it would look more consistent and b) the soffit is tiled so it is reasonable to do so. Although it is not a steam shower, he's advocating keeping the steam in the shower for warmth and feels that the fan, blower and open door at the end of a shower will suffice. Now that I've looked again on Houzz, I do notice that the shower doors are nearly always the same height as the adjacent glass panel(s), however tall that may be.

QUESTION: Is your shower door the same height as your glass panel and, if not, could you post a picture?

Second, this person would use a pivot hinge instead of hinges on the left wall. When I reminded him that I did not want a header, he said that the pivot hinge would be installed on the curb and the soffit. If we decided that we didn't want the door to go to the soffit, he would use an L-shaped hinge for the upper part of the door that would attach to the left wall. He far prefers this hinge system because the majority of the weight is over the bottom hinge. He further said that to use three hinges on the wall, however strong the support structure is, would mean that the top and bottom would be fighting against each other and that (ultimately, at least) the three hinges wouldn't line up properly. He felt strongly enough about this that if we decided that we did want left wall hinges, he would probably pass on taking the job. (I'm not sure if he was being honest, arrogant, or just wanted to scare me away from the competitors!) He said that using a pivot hinge would allow for minimal gap (3/16") around the door.

QUESTIONS: Does this sound reasonable to you? What type of hinges do you have on your door? Any regrets?

Finally, we know that we want Showerguard glass but are undecided on Starfire/Low-iron glass. I'm not concerned about the edges of the glass looking green but I don't want there to be a hint of green as I look straight through it.

QUESTIONS: If you have Starfire glass, do you feel it was worth the upcharge? If you don't, do you feel ok about how clear your glass looks?

Thanks for reading all of this! Any shower experience, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated!!

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Hmmmm... Is there no one with a shower door that they'd like to talk about? ;-)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 12:07PM
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I love my shower door, but it's a much different situation than yours so I didn't respond initially. Some thoughts as I was reading your post and reflecting on my own experience with choosing a shower door.

1) They sent an extremely knowledgable person to talk to us about our situation. This may have been in part because I called in advance and peppered them with questions:-) Be persistent and find someone from a glass door company that will give you that has experience and will give you great advice.

2) I paid for the starefire glass. It was a great decision. i've never had to clean the glass on the inside of the shower, ever, and I've had it for two years. I have cleaned the outside for fingerprints and whatnot, but never the inside. Though i do squeegee after each shower.

Your layout is a bit unique so I can't offer too much more. My shower area is a regular rectangle with two tiled walls and two shower glass walls.

Good luck and keep us posted with what you decide.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:06PM
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Hi Andrea,

I'm glad to hear that you love your shower door... I'd love one too that I didn't have to clean the inside of for two years! ;-) You mentioned Starfire glass as being the reason for that, I believe. I may be confusing the terms but I thought that Starfire was the low-iron glass which would mean that it would be perfectly clear with no green, even at the edges. I am not aware of that having any impact on the glass staying clean (but maybe it does?) I believe that Showerguard glass is what repels water and keeps the glass from spotting and discoloring. We're definitely getting Showerguard but I don't know that we're prepared to pay a 35% premium to get perfectly clear glass. I think that would be more worthwhile in a white shower where any green tint would show.

Is your glass door the same height as the glass wall? Do they go to the ceiling or stop somewhere short of full height?

Thanks so much for your input!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 2:20PM
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We have one bathroom that has a steam shower and that glass goes all the way to the top. The glass in the other bathroom will not go to the top -- the fixed panel and the one that swings will be at the same height. It is not installed yet.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 10:25PM
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You're absolutely right, I paid for the Showerguard glass, not Starfire. I can't remember the upcharge for Starfire, but I remember now I didn't go for it.

My glass is not the same height as the tile walls. The tile goes all the way to the ceiling but I had the glass cut to the same height as the doors in the room so that it related in that way. But again, our situations are completely different and my room doesn't relate very much to yours. You might try going to and see if you can find some similar configurations to your shower and see what they did.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Well, we have a "neo angle" type shower door. It's the opposite configuration of yours, and our fixed panel is full length. We did the same height, but ours end quite a bit lower than the ceiling. We have 2 hinges and the cheaper glass. I love the doors. I never clean them either. We squegee every shower and then we have cleaners every other week. Our door is 27.25" wide. We didn't put a lot of thought into them really. We went with the contractor's glass place and took their recommendation.
I agree with the3rd guy about having the glass line up. I think it might look odd to have the door shorter.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 1:48PM
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    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 1:57PM
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Thanks SO much for the input, it really helps.

Stephanie, your bathroom is just gorgeous! I appreciate you posting some pictures from houzz. They really confirm for me that I'll want the door to go to the ceiling to match the fixed panel. (One more decision made, whew!)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 5:06PM
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