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Design a Glass Shower Enclosure From the Floor Up

Bathroom with glass shower
A glass shower enclosure conveys a lot of benefits to your bathroom, including reflecting light and improving your home's overall resale value. Indeed, those benefits are why many homeowners choose a glass shower enclosure when they're remodeling the bathroom. Find out how to design this all-important bathroom structure from the floor up.


When you build a new house, you can plan the layout any way you want. However, when you remodel an existing structure, you want to adhere to the current layout as much as possible.

With the shower, you need both supply and drain lines. With the supply lines, you'll have piping that runs inside the wall to the showerhead and any additional shower sprays. This line will be an offshoot of a main water line. For draining, the drain pipe leads to a curved pipe, the trap, before a drain line, which connects to the waste vent.

You don't necessarily have to locate the shower where the previous one was, but it does make the remodel less complicated.

Shower Pan

The floor of the shower is the pan. At this step, you'll need to decide if you want a curbless pan or a traditional pan. The traditional pan is easier. These prefabricated units come in different sizes and shapes, so you can fit most spaces.

If you opt for a curbless pan, which omits the lip of the shower, you'll need a custom floor job. In this case, the contractors install the drain frame directly into the floor, usually at the back of the stall. They then slope the floor down so the water will run into the drain. Naturally, this choice adds to the time and cost. However, curbless showers are easier to navigate.

Enclosure Construction

One of the biggest choices you're going to make for your shower is in the enclosure construction. You can choose between a framed or frameless construction. A framed enclosure relies on a metal framework for stability. A frameless enclosure relies on the weight of the glass because contractors erect it using minimal fastenings and hinges.

Both types of enclosures have advantages and disadvantages. Basically, your choices come down to preference and budget. Frameless enclosures are easier to erect and, therefore, cheaper. However, you have the frame in your sightline. Frameless enclosures are costlier, but they feature a sophisticated aesthetic because you don't have any framing in your view.

Glass Choices

Concerning the stall itself, you also have many different choices in glass. Choose from the following features to find the right kind for you:
  • Standard tempered
  • HD
  • Smoked
  • Colored
  • Frosted
  • Etched
  • Textured
The first two options, standard and HD, are transparent. The main difference is that manufacturers make HD glass with reduced iron content. Such production reduces the greenish tinge you sometimes notice in standard glass.

Smoked and colored glass are versions of the same style. Smoked glass is gray and is meant to resemble glass that's been held over an open frame. Other examples of colored glass include shades of blue and bronze. Sometimes colored glass is less transparent.

Frosted, etched, and textured glasses range in levels of opacity. Frosted and etched look very similar — the main difference is you typically see more design work in etched glass. Textured glass was created on a mold, so the surface is actually bumpy.

Shower Surround

One of the main reasons homeowners choose glass shower enclosures is that they're at least partially transparent. Therefore, you can highlight the beauty of your surround and how it works with the rest of your décor.

The primary material for a custom surround is tile. You can choose from ceramic, porcelain, glass, natural stone, or some combination of several. From there, you also have numerous options in color, size, and shape. If you're opting for transparent glass, consider a tiled surround.

Prefabricated stalls are usually made of acrylic or solid surface. A prefabricated stall is fine if you're choosing an opaque glass.

Spend some time looking at glass shower models to gain inspiration. When you're ready for your custom glass shower enclosure, contact the experts at Wadsworth Glass Inc.


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