Should I use glass or recessed curtain track for this shower?

JulesOctober 21, 2013

The shower and tub area of my new master bath will look very similar to the photo below. I don't believe I need the glass wall between the shower and tub and will probably omit a divide altogether in that spot.

For the other pane that divides the shower and the wood floor, I'm considering using a curtain track recessed into the ceiling instead of glass. I'm not a big fan of glass shower doors and surrounds, usually opting for curtains instead.

Thoughts? Has anyone here used a ceiling mounted track for a shower curtain or seen one done in a fashionable (not hospital-y) way?

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Example of recessed track

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Some questions might be....would the track rust and what would prevent water from trickling onto the wood floor with just a curtain? Secondly, I have no experience first-hand, but have heard that showers that are partially open like this are cold....think about how the air feels when you step out of an enclosed shower....even one with a is cold.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 12:08PM
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I too am very tired of glass and would actually like to use a fabric shower curtains and old fashioned stalls with walls in our new project. No one agrees with me.

However, when we did out CT house (3 yrs ago), the GC acted like all the cool kids were putting in open showers, wet rooms, single panel guards, etc. And no step up, heaven forbid.

Well, there is a reason shower stalls have been built like Fort Knox in the past. These various looks are tricky to pull off. For example, my DH's bathroom is a wet room, meaning there is no step up and no walls, glass or otherwise,for his shower (a rainshower head and wall mount hand held.) There is a long horizontal drain on one wall. It feels great to shower in there. But, here's the problem. The floor is sloped toward the drain, but where the toilet is cannot be sloped (requires a flat surface). So in the case of his BA there is not enough distance for the slope to really keep the floor dry.

Second case in point, is our pool bathroom. The shower is in a corner, with just one glass panel on one side, the other side totally open. This shower floor has a center drain. Whether or not water goes all over the darn place depends upon how tall the person is and how much water pressure they select. Luckily it is a mosaic set in concrete meeting up with stone. Otherwise id go crazy.

Sooooo i would be very careful with what anyone tells you you can do with shower stalls that to do not have lips and are missing walls, especially in a room with wood floors. I love wood floors and I have wood floors in my bathroom, but the shower was pre-existing and except for the glass door, totally enclosed.

If i were you, I would want to see a place where they have done the same installation and talk with the HO.

PS edited to add ... cold has not been a problem, and we are in CT. Our baths has radiant heat floors, which could help, but we never turn them on, truth be told.

This post was edited by mtnrdredux on Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 12:52

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Good points, joanie and mtn. Thank you.

I'll also have radiant heat floors, so I don't think cold will be a problem.

Water is a potential problem, and I'll have to think through the options very carefully. I'm not opposed to this look with the glass walls as it's a bit different than a standard glass door and enclosure.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Not bad

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 1:17PM
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I've come across that image too, and I like it a lot. Note the step up, retaining water easily. I think it'd be fun to pick shower curtains again! The glass box has become overdone.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Holly- Kay

I love that shower JuJu!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 4:55PM
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I do like the look of glass but prefer fabric. All that glass does not look pristine in real life as it does in photo shoots. It only takes one shower. I also like the softer warmer look of fabric, depending on the style of the space. You can swap it out to suit the season or change the mood too.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 5:02PM
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I am also thinking along these lines - no giant slab of glass covered in water drops (we have hard water here).

One thing I would pay attention to is where the curtain is hung relative to the tile-wood interface. At work we have an ADA-compliant shower in the gym with no raised threshold. The curtain rod was installed directly over the join of the shower floor and the regular floor. Especially when the curtain is opened after a shower a significant portion of the curtain hangs over the threshold and drips on the regular floor. At the gym the floor is impervious, so not as much of an issue than it would be with wood, but If you install the rod or track a few inches inside the shower you can prevent this.

Here are some other ideas:

Eclectic Bathroom by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Traditional Bathroom by Pasadena General Contractors Reaume Construction & Design

I know this has a small lip, but it could be done without the lip - it is an example of a curtain on a standard rod rather than the track.

Contemporary Bathroom by Stowe Architects & Designers Cushman Design Group

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I was in a shower in London with glass on one side only and the floor was a mess and dangerous as it got slippery when wet.

I have also been in showers with curtains and there are physical reasons why shower curtains attack when you're showering, be it the bernoulli effect, the buoyancy effect or the horizontal vortex theory. I hate being attacked by shower curtains and I hate them when they are dirty or moldy and I especially hate being attacked by a dirty, moldy shower curtain.

Regardless, if you want to keep the floor dry, the curtain has to hang longer than the lip on the shower, unlike that orange curtain, so it runs in, not out.

I remember when Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton chain, was being interviewed and told that this was his big opportunity to deliver his single most important message to the world replied, "The shower curtain goes on in the inside of the tub."

We chose the glass and we keep a squeegee in the shower and it takes only a few seconds to wipe off the glass and keep spots from developing.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 8:13AM
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I appreciate your helpful comments and suggestions! I want to think this through intelligently so it's done right.

I spoke to my tiler yesterday who frequently builds barrier free/zero curb showers, primarily for ADA reasons. He said a recessed pan needs to be used if I choose this route.

Which means if I go the zero curb route, I'm one step but thankfully not two steps behind because while our floor joists have already been installed and would need to be modified to allow for the 2.5" recessed pan (my builder said no big deal on this), the radiant heat coils haven't yet been installed. So that's good news.

However, decision time came upon me more quickly than expected -- threshold or no threshold?

My feeling right now is threshold with curtain OR no threshold with glass.

Regarding the curtain, the way I've always done it is the liner stays inside the tub or threshold but the decorative curtain stays out.

We will have a well, but I don't yet know how hard the water will be nor what the tanin content is. Our neighbors simply say the water is "good," and they don't have to treat it much if at all. But that of course can change within mere feet depending on where the well is drilled.

Exterior walls are being erected today!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:23AM
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One vote for no threshold and glass. I share AD's curtain phobia. Also, I wish I had done at least one truly ADA compliant bathroom here.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:07PM
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I have had glass in the MB shower for 3 spotting as we take 10 seconds to squeegee after every shower...and it visually expands the bathroom whereas a shower curtain would cut it off and make the room look smaller.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:28PM
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The potential problems with having a ceiling mounted curtain, which looks very sleek, compared to a regular curtain is the lack of ventilation and air exchange at the top.
(This is why cubicle panels hang on ball chain or have mesh at the top). This may increase the Bernoulli effect, or the tendency of the bottom of the curtain to get sucked inward due to lower air pressure inside the shower, but this can be remedied by using weighted shower curtain liners and shower curtains.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:04PM
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I think the amount of water spotting, haziness, dust or soap residue that can be seen depends on how much natural light or sun there is streaming into your bathroom, even if you squeegee. It doesn't seem to take much for glass to streak or look less than perfectly clean and transparent.

Have never been attacked by a shower curtain but if quarters are close keeping away from those liners is a consideration! I guess that's why they use magnents or weighted bottoms.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 9:49PM
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I have a small master bath, and needed to have a glass wall and door to make the room look larger. I got ShowerGuard because we have hard water in this area. I squeegee after each shower (less than a minute) and it still looks like new with no water spots after about four years. Also, I paid a little extra to get the clear glass with no green tinge (it might be called clear or white glass?) and am very happy with the way it looks.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Hey - I'm going to resurrect this thread which has been really helpful. I'm trying to decide how to treat a bath, as some might recall from the bath forum (x-posted to Kitchens). I have a plain-old tub in a corner with a shower in the wall and a pony wall at the foot end. I had been thinking of using a half-glass shower door into the wall but it was pointed out that folks get coooold with this setup. My hesitation with fabric is that it gets gunky and is a pain to clean but mostly, I just hate curtains in "L"s because they never draw well and so the curtain winds up being closed the whole time and I want to feel the space of the room and see the tile behind the tub. It's not as if it's that beautiful, but it is nice; I just don't like the dirty, closed-in feel that happens with curtains and I hate that they never move well.

Then it was pointed out to me and I see here on this thread, that there are seemingly excellent curtain rods to be had that presumably work well and are ceiling mounted? Some seem very enthralled with their potential recessed attribute, but our ceiling is already finished and honestly, I'm not fussed by actually seeing the track; I am unlikely to be looking up much anyway. That's actually the complaint with the visuals of curtain rods is that the heavy rod *does* draw your eye upward and you aren't necessarily wanting that. I agree. I am wanting a good, functional drapery track that turns a corner and is functionally invisible. If is it there for scrutiny I'm OK with that, as hopefully I never will scrutinize it if all glides smoothly.

So I am wondering what happened with the people deciding between glass and curtains; were you happy with you decided and what was it? After hearing of the cold issue, I thought about enclosing the whole tub with glass but that is *expensive* -- it makes me realize that one could spring for very high quality track hardware and still come in a tenth the price of glass...

So, I'm also wondering whether those of you who installed curtains, what hardware you ended up using? Does it function well? I'm looking at three online companies: curtain-tracks and ceiling shower rod and also curtain fair . Does anyone happen to have an opinion about the actual hardware retailer or manufacturer?

I bet I should start this all in a separate thread...?


    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:20PM
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I can't help you with your questions, as I have the same ones!

I'm pretty set on a ceiling track, possibly using the ball chain extensions so that the top is more open. Out of the 5 of us, I'd be left with cleaning the glass after each use and I'm not signing up for that.

Also, I love the idea of using different fabrics for the outer curtain. I don't mind periodic replacements of the liner, either.
I have an "L" shape for my corner shower. After the inner curtain has dried, I'll keep them stacked against the back wall to obtain that open feel one sees with glass.

My only problem is how to stop THIS from happening in the new shower! We haven't used it in over a year because the shower pan leaks. My giant baby sleeps in there every day.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:51PM
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Aw, how cute! Now, you would be able to stop that practice with a glass door, but with just curtains, you are on your own! ;)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:05PM
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Or you could just turn on the sprayer.... ;)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:24AM
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I haven't read all the responses in detail, so I'm sorry if I may repeat what others have said. Many of the older, lower end shower/bathrooms I grew up with were simply wet rooms, with a sloped floor and drain in the middle of the room. While it's easy to clean, just hose it down, in real life, it is not easy to live with. There's always standing water, and things get wet when you take a shower. It may look sleek, but there's a good reason why there are shower drip pans or steps. So, if you have a shower curtain, I'd make certain that the shower is plenty big and that there's a high enough surrounding rim to contain the water.

Now, the modern showers in Europe are pretty much either without a step or a very minimal one. In that case, there's an edge line drain like a gutter.

Alternatives are shower "shades"

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:01AM
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IKEA has a ceiling mounted curtain track that could be used.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Track

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:19AM
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Hi Beverly -- actually, I had that in a child's room once and it was terrible. The track just never glided smoothly at all. It was really, really annoying. That's *exactly* what I need to avoid!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:29AM
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I'm the OP of this thread, and our master bath tile installation is now wrapping up. I opted for the zero entry/no threshold shower with a single floor-to-ceiling glass pane between the shower and the wood floor. If my entire bathroom floor was tile, I would have probably chosen the shower curtain with recessed curtain track, but I was stuck on the zero entry *and* the wood/tile combo. The only way I could get my husband, contractor and flooring guy to agree was to do the glass pane and a waterfall showerhead (plus a handheld body sprayer).

It looks great so far. Very happy with it. The glass will be installed in a couple weeks. If I need a second glass pane between the shower and tub to balance the look as the original photo shows, I can easily have that installed later.

I'll post a photo in a few weeks when everything's in place.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:01PM
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I have glass and would never go back to a shower curtain unless I was forced to. Use Perfect Glass, not Windex and see how your glass resists soap stain and once a week with the squeege hidden away in the private room, I give it a good going over.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:43PM
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I was advised by a bath designer to apply a product to our new glass shower door before ever using the shower to prevent water spotting. I neglected to do this and am living with the spotting. After the fact, we installed a water softener and have tried many different products, but nothing removes the spotting. I think the product was Rain-X. It's a product to repel rain from car windows. I believe I was to re-apply on a periodic basis. It would be worth investigating and I think, easy to find.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 6:45PM
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Please be careful with rain-x. I used it on shower doors, looked beautiful! First shower afterwards,DH Fell as hot water apparently melted rain-x which made the shower floor slippery. Boy did I feel bad, scrubbed it all off.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:25PM
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My glass supplier told me I could get a glass treatment called Glassguard for an upcharge, which he said was like a baked on Rain X.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 9:00PM
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Hoping not to take this thread too far off topic but since the issue of keeping shower glass clean is being discussed....

Our master bath glass shower has been in use several times daily for the past 9 years. With minimal effort it is as pristine today as it was 9 years ago. We squeegee after each shower but when I clean the bathroom I occasionally wipe over the glass with wet SPENT dryer sheets. A quick rinse and the glass is sparkling! I confess I polish all my glass, windows, mirrors etc. with crumpled newspaper for a really good finish, and I do this after cleaning the showers too. Very quick, great results.

Lizbeth-gardener I encountered the same problem when I was helping my brother prepare the house he had just purchased. The shower glass was almost opaque with hard water and soap scum. Nothing would remove it until in desperation I tried liquid toilet bowl cleaner (I prefer Sno Bol), wiped on with a cloth and rinsed well !! If you try it be careful, read the cautions on the container, test a small area and use gloves, that stuff is caustic! It worked really well for us and the glass became clear again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 10:01PM
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I don't know why but I never have an issue with soap buildup on the frameless glass. I only clean it once weeky and it looks like brand new all the time. Maybe the glass company did some kind of protection that I was not aware of.

This post was edited by patricia43 on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 0:32

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Im of no help, but as someone mentioned Europe, Thats where I am, the way we have it is very common here, this is a 6 year old house and the glass is streek free. But we use a rubber thing to clean after every shower. There is a dark spot on the floor ,the floors are all kashmir white and after each use the tiles are dark until dry and someone just used it lol.
Sorry for the dark photo hard to photograph this small room. Note the clear list my DH installed to make sure the water does not go on the actual bathroom floor.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:50AM
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