Can I live with sliding shower doors?

kmcgSeptember 11, 2012

Okay, I know this is a question only I can answer, but I'd be interested to hear from anyone who struggled with the question whether to spend the big bucks on an all frameless glass shower, and ended up with semi-frameless sliding doors (or vice versa). I had fully expected to go full frameless, but now that construction is beginning, I'm worried about door swing issues. Here's the layout:

My contractor said he could change the door to swing out, but it will be expensive and may cause a domino effect with cracking plaster on the hallway walls and ceiling. Apparently you can't just flip the door hinges to the other side, as I had hoped.

That leaves 3 options for frameless glass across the front of my 48" wide shower, which is immediately to the right as you enter. (1) fixed panel on right, and a 24" door hinged on the left, which would technically work even if the bathroom door were open. But they would almost touch. With the door closed, you would have to step over toward the bathroom door in order to get into the shower. (2) fixed panel on right, with the 24" door hinged off the panel. Easier access, but I've read that it's more unstable to have the door swing from a glass panel instead of from a wall. (3) fixed panel on left, and door hinged on the far right. Easy entry into shower, but obvious conflict with bathroom door.

The cons of those options lead me to the sliding, by-pass door option. I don't like the bottom tracks, although they look a lot less prone to trapping gunk than they were in earlier days. I don't mind the top, side and bottom framing of certain models, and these styles tend to be much less $ than custom frameless. Basically, I don't mind the looks, but I don't love this style, either - at least I don't react the same way I do when I see a lovely frameless shower. But then again, a bypass slider is infinitely more practical than a swing out door.

Stories to share? Opinions? Suggestions for how to make a swinging door work? Which of the 3 options would you go for, if opting for the full frameless? If you're a fan of sliders, do you have a brand you recommend?

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I could sure use some help!

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Our frameless shower door swings both ways, in and out. Don't know if this information will help you or make your choice more difficult, but I just thought I would throw that out there in case you didn't know they could do that.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 8:10PM
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That's what I would do; get one that swings both ways.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 11:52AM
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If your going to have the shower door swing both ways you need to speak with the glass company doing the work because depending on the size of the shower and the configuration with the shower head you may not be able to seal the door so you do not have any leaks as the normal plastic strips cannot be used.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 11:57AM
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An in-swinging door might do the trick. I guess that would work even though the shower is relatively small (3x6'). Thanks, millworkman, for the tip on the sealing strips.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 12:08PM
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I worried about a swing-out shower door hitting the bathroom entry door, and chose a bypass sliding shower door as the solution. Hate it. Wobbly and un-aesthetic, as it is only semi-frameless.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:44PM
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coolbeans - if you hate it, please tell me the brand so I don't get one and hate it too!

Shower size is actually 3x4; I guess wishful thinking led me to a typo...

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Alumax. Cost me $1,125 and it wobbles.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Ouch! That's painful, coolbeans.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:23PM
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I had clearance issues with the shower and went with sliding doors. Our contrcator told us to get 3/8" (or even 1/2") glass instead of the standard 1/4" because the extra weight makes the doors slide more easily and not wobble. The one we got has a frame around the outside edges but the glass panels themselves have no frames. We love the new doors - much better than the ones we put in our master bath 20 years ago (special order purchased at a big box store). And much less expensive than a frameless one with a hinged door would have been.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Thanks, numbersjunkie. I suspected the thicker glass would help. Do you know the brand of your doors? I've seen online the Dreamline, Maax, Kohler, etc. I saw samples of a few others at HD. I also priced Cottage Sliders at It's hard to evaluate without actually seeing them in person.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 5:15PM
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We went with a frameless door on our 3'x3.5' shower, but the entry door is a pocket. The door swings both ways and has strips on both sides. No water leaking out yet.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 12:26AM
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The reason I mention the leaks is that it ,mainly depends on the position of the shower head wand where it sprays. A door that swings both in and out cannot have the same seals as an inswing or an outswing door, so if the head is spraying directly on the door it will leak. However and this is why I recommended speaking with the glass company is if the head is spraying on a wall as opposed to the door this would not create an issue.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:39AM
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As far as sliding shower door systems, the brands I have sold that are quality products are Century and Cardinal, Amerimax is a mediocre brand at best. On the other hand the best product with a poor installation is not going to produce the desirable finished product either. That being said the local Lowes and Kohler distributor both recommend people to our shop almost daily for both product and installation which in my opinion states a hell of a lot about the products they sell. And i say this same thing for windows, doors, and most all building products DO NOT buy them from HD, Lowes or any big box store. This is only my opinion but I am a strong believer in this as I have seen and heard to many horror stories over the years and personally know too many unhappy people who went and used them for products and or installation. It is a crap soot whether or not you will find somebody capable of tying their shoes correctly let alone do your construction work correctly.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Will the shower door hit the shower head if you opperate the door in? I have experience with cardinal and century shower doors. I have yet to get a cardinal shower door sent to us that didn't have atleast 1 issue that we left the customers house apologizing for. They make a ton of mistakes. That being said, they have a skyline series with a 3 wheel design that operates very smooth with a thin stainless steel bar.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:57PM
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I am reviving this thread to ask if KMCG solved the problem with the door.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 9:36PM
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