Many homeowners interested in bathroom remodeling ask us the difference between frameless and framed shower glass. In many cases, particularly in production homes built in the ’80s and ’90s, they currently have framed glass. Imagine the shiny gold or brushed nickel trim forming a frame around each panel of glass. In contrast, most modern showers feature frameless glass. Homeowners generally agree that frameless provides a cleaner, more contemporary and elegant look. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, we explain some of the other key differences that could impact their choice of frameless or framed shower glass.
Which Shower Glass is “Better?”
According to our friends and glass experts at Structure Glass in Houston, a frameless shower is simply a more robust unit. If installed properly, you should never have an issue with it in the future. The most fundamental difference is thicker glass. While framed units often use 1/4″ thick glass, frameless showers are constructed with 3/8″ or 1/2″ glass. That extra thickness provides more structural integrity. The additional weight could require some additional framing in the wall, but not in most cases. When designing a custom shower, we always prefer to mount a frameless shower door against a wall instead of another glass panel. If that’s not possible for some reason, we may need to install a structural metal header across the top of the glass enclosure.
Do Frameless Shower Glass Units Leak?
The simple answer is no, as long as the unit is installed properly. Upon completion of shower tile installation, glass installers take very precise measurements of the enclosure to make sure each glass panel will be cut to fit tightly. During glass installation, they secure joints with sturdy metal clips and apply a silicone caulk where glass meets tile or another solid surface. They also install a clear plastic sweep on the bottom of the shower door. Over time, those sweeps may wear out and need to be replaced, but the associated time and cost to do so are negligible. If your glass installer follows each of these steps, you should enjoy a leak-proof frameless shower.
What is the Best Way to Clean Frameless Glass?
Many areas of Greater Houston have “hard” water supplies. Hard water means it contains a relatively higher degree of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. As such, hard water leaves spots on the glass after a shower if left to air dry. While various manufacturers promote a number of products designed to eliminate or mitigate the spotting issue, the reality is the use of a basic squeegee on a daily basis is your best option. It removes sitting water and takes 20 seconds or less at the end of each shower. You can also supplement that practice with periodic application of Rain-X. Yes, the same product used for car windshields. Rain-X beads water and creates runoff so it doesn’t just sit on the glass. Some glass companies will offer a special glass coating or film and tell you it prevents water spots with no effort on your part. We consider these types of products gimmicks and would advise against spending money on them.
What is the Cost Difference?
On average, you should expect to pay 30-40% more (usually a few or several hundred bucks) for frameless glass. However, in the context of a full custom bathroom remodel budget, the additional investment is well worth it. With a few exceptions, including some innovative black frames, traditional framed shower glass portrays a dated look. Most folks do not want framed glass set amongst other modern finishes. You can save some money in a number of more logical ways than by choosing framed shower glass.
Call TriFection to Create Your Custom Shower!
If you’re tired of your old, outdated bathroom and would like to enjoy a luxurious custom shower, call TriFection at (281) 548-2436 or contact us through the website. Our professionals would love to listen to your objectives and design the perfect space for you! In the meantime, please visit our bathroom portfolio to discover your inspiration…