3/8" or 1/2" thick glass on frameless steam shower enclosure?

kaysdSeptember 4, 2013

We have a steam shower that is set into an alcove. The opening is 57" wide x 92" high. We plan on having a door in the center, with fixed panels on each side, and venting transom glass over the door to let steam out. The website for our GC's glass guy says that 28" x 72" is the standard door size, but that sounds narrow so I might ask for 30" to match our room doors.

The bid is $1875 for 3/8" low-iron glass, or we can have 1/2" low-iron glass for $150 more. The price difference isn't huge, so if 1/2" is really better, I'll pay for it.

Old posts mention 1/2" as having better stability for the fixed panels, but it also adds to the weight of the door. I know some people use 1/2" on the fixed panels and 3/8" for the door, but I think the difference would drive me nuts. I am going for a sleek, modern look. (The side walls of the shower are covered in large sheets of 1/8" thick Kerlite with no grout lines.)

We also have to choose between clips and U channel (bid was for clips -- I believe U is cheaper because of less glass cutting). The original design called for the U channel to be "buried" in the mud with tile butting up on each side of the channel to mostly hide it. I thought the hidden U would be a lot less visible than clips. The installer went too far with the mud bed, so now the channel would sit on top of the mud with only the 1/8" thick Kerlite hiding the side of the 3/4" deep U channel. My designer thinks they should use a shallower 1/2" deep U channel so only 3/8" will show, but there is some debate over whether that will be sturdy enough.


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1/2" Panels and 3/8" Door due to the wdith of the panels, they will not be wide enough to supprt a 1/2" Door. Ask your glass shop to show you miniclips, they are a low profile like a channel but you use only a few as opposed to channel.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:28PM
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Dam duplicate posts

This post was edited by millworkman on Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 9:22

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:32PM
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I have 1/2" panels and 3/8" door and the diference does not bother me at all. The door was set to be flush to the outside so you cant tell when looking at the shower. When I am in the shower, it really isnt noticeable.

I do think $150 for 1/2" glass is worth it for the panels.

millworkman - I never got the chance to thank you for your help with my glass shower doors. The frameless shower was my biggest worry during my 2 bathroom renovations. Your advice was spot on and greatly appreciated. Installation went well and I have no issues with my frameless shower. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Your very welcome and I am certainly glad all worked out for you!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 8:40AM
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Duplicate post

This post was edited by millworkman on Fri, Sep 6, 13 at 12:26

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Thank you both. The 2 glass fabricators I have talked with since I posted both said that 1/2" would be overkill, but they will take my money if I really want it. Since the side panels go all the way to the ceiling, they say I do not need anything thicker than 3/8" for structural reasons.

I will ask about the mini clips. The regular clips are about 1-3/4" square. Right now, the plan is to use a channel at the bottom for support, which will be hidden by the 1/2" thick tile (plus mortar) butted up on each side of the glass at the curb. There will be clips holding each of the 92" H x 14" wide side panels to the wall (2 clips) and ceiling (1 or 2 clips).

I am thinking about using a towel bar/handle on the door instead of a standard handle. It adds extra metal, but I need someplace to hang the bath mat to dry. (I hate to obscure the pretty tile work with a towel hanging on the door, but don't have another good place to put it.)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 11:27PM
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Sounds good, yes if the panels go to the ceiling you do not need the 1/2" glass for sure. Wish I could find a picture on line of the mini-clips as they are very nice and unobtrusive (and completely never thought to take a picture of one at work).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 11:40AM
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