Frameless vs Framed Shower Doors: Pros and Cons

frameless glass shower doorIf you’ve been following trends in shower doors, you may have noticed that designers are leaning toward more “minimalistic” looks.  Metal and excessive hardware are yesterday’s news, clean looks that blend seamlessly into the rest of the room are in.

Framed, Frameless and Semi-Frameless Shower Doors

When shopping for a shower door, you may be confused by choices like “framed”, “frameless” or “semi-frameless.” Framing simply refers to the metal surrounding individual glass panels.

  • A framed shower door has fully-framed glass panels that slide or swing within a metal door jamb.
  • A frameless shower door lacks this metal framing. Instead, the support for the panel comes from the thickness of the glass – typically 3/8”- 1/2” thick.
  • Semi-frameless is a confusing term and one that is not an industry standard. It generally implies that the door has some traditional framing but not in all of the customary locations.  Since we don’t know the specifics of every door with this designation, the drawbacks and benefits of semi-frameless doors need to be evaluated on an individual basis.

So what are the good points and bad points of framed vs frameless shower doors?

Pros and Cons of Framed Shower Doors

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easily Adjustable
  • A good quality, professionally installed framed shower door will last 10 or more years
  • Thinner glass
  • Sold in standard sizes and standard styles
  • Complicated to repair – May be difficult to replace individual parts
  • You may not like the look of the metal frame
  • Metal frames can corrode.
  • Minimal customization options

Pros and Cons of Frameless Shower Doors

  • Sturdy, thick glass
  • Clean, minimalist appearance - makes your bathroom appear more spacious.
  • Easier to clean – fewer places for mold, mildew and dirt to hide.
  • Many options for customization of glass and hardware
  • Easier to repair and replace hardware
  • No metal to corrode
  • Size to fit any space
  • More expensive – can be as much as 200% more than a traditional framed door
  • Not easy to adjust once installed
  • Since there’s no insulation on the panels, it’s easier for water to leak out of the enclosure
  • Glass must be cut to the perfect dimensions to avoid gaps.
  • They can shatter – this is very rare, but can happen if exposed to excessive heat or pressure. Make sure your door is made of tempered glass – if tempered glass shatters it shatters into very tiny pieces, reducing safety risk.

Does your shower door need repair? Reflect Window and Door carries a wide selection of shower door replacement parts and hardware for sale.  Visit us online or give us a call for expert assistance in finding the part you need.