Why don't people make shower doors out of acrylic?

mahatmacat1August 6, 2007

I'm mulling over the shower door/panel material, and recalling the polycarbonate I used for the kitchen mosaic substrate, and thinking that some acrylics are supposedly *clearer* than glass...if that's so, why don't people use acrylic (plexiglass, for instance) for the shower panels and doors? The weight would be significantly lighter, there would be less breakage possibility and therefore less damage...I wouldn't think scratching would be such an issue...are they hard to get perfectly clean? I'm thinking in a nice thick size, so it wouldn't flex...

mongo? Anyone?

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I wish they would too. We are replacing our shower doors and for all the reasons you named I would prefer acrylic. Also one that applies to CA, earthquakes. Sounds silly but during the last one in 1989 I knew someone who was taking a shower when it hit and he got hurt crashing into the glass panels.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 2:58PM
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I know you say that scratching wouldn't be an issue but I have an antique china cabinet in which one of the curved glass panes was replaced by plexi and it looks horrible! It's all scratched up and it's not even a heavy use item. The tiniest bit of dust on a rag seems to drag all over it and create even more scratches. If you look at it funny it scratches. I would never put plexi in my house as a finish intentionally and one of these days I will get around to replacing that POS plexi with real glass in my china cabinet.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:51PM
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Yes, aptosca-in fact as strong as that tile floor is now, I'd consider making the master bath our safe room in case of an earthquake, if we had acrylic.

And kgwlisa, I'm sorry, I was typing too fast (I see another thing I said wrong in the original post too). There is a type of plexiglass that has "abrasion resistant" coating which I would think would alleviate some of the issues of scratching on regular plexi. I'd like to know what abrasion-resistant plexi's stats are as opposed to glass. Off to research...

And from the little bit of research I've done, it's kind of a wash, because regular acrylic can be resurfaced to smooth, but I don't think abrasion-resistant plexi can (because of the coating). You have to hope it doesn't get scratched. I don't know which would be better.

Shaughnn (sp?)? Mongo? Tom?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:56PM
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I found these from a manufacturer of acrylic shower doors for boats...

I also see that it's mentioned as something that is made, in the smartgeek description of what plexiglass is used for.

Just more grist for the mill...

Here is a link that might be useful: care for acrylic shower door

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:21PM
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Since you can make an aquarium out of it, I see no reason you couldn't make a shower door. It's actually clearer than glass, and more insulating. Lighter, too, which could be an advantage.

I'm looking into using a sheet of acrylic hung from an overhead roller like they use on barn doors-- the exterior grade ones should be plenty water proof. I think the result would be waaaayyy cheaper than a glass frameless slider.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 12:42AM
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Hi Flyleft,
I can't say for certain but I think it's primarily a durability issue. Even those "scratch resistant coatings" aren't going to protect the clarity of an acrylic panel for a single application of X-14 or Softscrub. As well, when you do manage to break plaxiglass, it cracks and then springs back into plane while tempered glass shatters into a bazillion pieces. In the event of a crack, whatever is pressed up against the panel is going to be pinched HARD by the resilient panel. I can easily see a clumsy bather loosing half of a butt cheek if the soap slips. Not a pretty picture at all.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 4:19PM
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Now there's a visual...thanks, shaughnn! :)

Hmmm...why do they use it in showers on boats, then? Must figure this out. What I'd like to use it for is the top of a pony wall between shower and tub...

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Does anyone *cough cough--MONGO!--cough cough* have anything else to add about the acrylic/glass issue?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 1:53AM
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No way...acrylic.

Tempered glass is the ONLY product to use in a shower. It is the most durable and if properly maintained, will last the lifetime of the shower.

You cannot just install glass and expect it to remain in new condition without properly cleaning and protecting it with the proper products. Tempered glass has a very very low probability of ever breaking, so that is not an issue for comparison. The only way to break tempered glass is upset the surface that is under compression...by piercing the outer layer, or a hard blow to one of the corners, which is not likely for shower doors or panels.

Acrylic in a shower will be scratched to the point it will look hazed over in a whitish hue in short order. It will not tolerate any particals between the squeegee and its surface..scratch city. Did you ever see acrylic window panels after several years?

There is a crazy unreasonable mark up on frameless glass shower doors. The best thing you can do is mine the internet and have the system sent to you via freight. I am finding the glass cost 1/3 (and less) of quotes by local glass installers. Home Depot/Expo being the craziest of pricing. The last glass I installed cost $600, and the quote from the Expo was over $3,000. I cannot figure it out, because the install is very quick to do. The longest time issue is trying to drill through porcelain tile, other than that, it is kind of a 123 thing. The big thing is super accurate measurements and taking into consideration plumbness of walls.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 8:39AM
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O.K., Tom, thanks. I guess even though it's considered clearer than glass that the clearness will not last--even if properly cleaning it and protecting it with the proper products?...Oh well.

So you got online glass *less expensively* than local glass? Are you installing it yourself? That's one reason why we would want acrylic, actually, so we could install it ourselves...large 3/8" panels of glass give me the shivers when I think about installing them myself. I had found local prices much better than, say, wilsonglass--what online source did you find? And how was it to install? I'm assuming you had all that equipment, e.g. suction cup handles, etc...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 1:21PM
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Well, dam_ the torpedoes, full speed ahead. I have similar need and have bought a 1/2 sheet of plexiglass I am using to seperate a tub from a shower stall (used to be a wall there for the neo shower kit- replacing with travertine tile and frameless shower kit). Have all the concerns above, but decided to proceed as tempered glass takes several weeks and when my prior shoer door broke and I replaced it with plexiglass it actually seemed to hold up better than expected (but 1/4 in was a bit wobbly). anyway. I am happy so far (not using it for entire enclosure-just this custom piece). I was trying to research potential coatings I could apply (found none) and discovered that you can order Polycarbonate/Lexan sheet vs plexiglass sheet for a bit more- wish I had discovered this before getting the plexiglass- try this eBay express link: http://search.express.ebay.com/Industrial-Supplies_Material-Handling_Plastics-Equipment_W0QQManufacturer946977f1ZLexan45eb26cQQ_pgnZ2QQ_pgnZ3

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:55AM
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Help! We R desperate. We just spent a huge amount of $ redoing our bathroom and now find with the layout, we cannot support a heavy glass door so really need a lighter door like plexi. What should we do? Is there one? Thank you

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 4:29PM
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Guys, We are doing up our bathroom in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and came across this discussion while looking up options for a walk in shower door: Glass Vs Plexiglas. We had bought a nice glass wall for nearly 600euros but while installing it, the plumbers managed to smash it today!!! Now the plumbing company is willing to replace it with a plexiglas door. I have not seen the replacement they are offering but apparently it is the same model as the one smashed.Not the same make/brand though. Should we accept the replacement or insist that they buy us the same one that they smashed? I am not sure what would be better- glass or plexiglass- in terms of looks, maintenance, durability etc. I also suspect that they are offering us plexiglass because it is cheaper than the glass version they smashed. In which case, should I demand they give us the balance back?
As you guys seem to have a pretty good know-how about such things, I was wondering if you could kindly advise?
Many thanks.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2011 at 12:06PM
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