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Tips for Choosing the Perfect Glass Shower Enclosure

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Ready to update your bathroom? A new glass shower enclosure is one way to freshen up your space and increase relaxation. But where do you begin the process? There’s a lot to think about when you’re choosing the perfect glass shower enclosure. From your own style to budget, to the many different options, here are six things to consider when choosing the perfect glass shower enclosure for your bathroom.

Custom fully enclosed shower door

1. Consider Your Renovation Budget

When it comes to any sort of remodel or renovation, the number one consideration is your budget. That’s certainly true for choosing the perfect glass shower enclosure, which can come in a wide selection of styles, shapes and sizes. Decide from the start how much you’re willing to spend. 

You will need to consider not just the cost of the enclosure, but also the cost of the installation. Labor costs will vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the installation, as well as your geographic location. But you can likely expect to pay about $1,000 or more for the installation itself.

The cost of the enclosure will also vary significantly. These can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The price will depend on many details, such as whether it’s a framed or frameless enclosure, the type of finish as well as the type of glass. The more elaborate the details, the more expensive the shower enclosure will be.

Fortunately, there are many different shower enclosure options at a range of prices. That makes it easy to find one for your taste and budget. For example, if you want the functionality of a tub-and-shower combo, a standard bypass shower door may be the right fit for you. If you want to give your bathroom a dramatic transformation, consider choosing glass with a unique pattern or texture. You can even opt to design a custom enclosure with a trusted contractor.

2. Consider Your Bathroom Space

Ask yourself this: “Would changing the configuration of the items in the bathroom increase its function and enjoy-ability?” When thinking about your shower enclosure, remember that it maintains a static footprint in your bathroom. Taking this into consideration is essential in determining the type of shower enclosure that is right for your bathroom upgrade. 

If you are satisfied with your bathroom’s configuration, there are many different enclosure types that will fit in your current space. Sticking to that configuration means you won’t have to relocate other fixtures, which could add cost and time to the project.  It’s often most cost-effective to choose a new enclosure based upon the footprint and space of your current shower.

If your budget allows, you could go for a more in-depth bathroom renovation that would take your tub-and-shower combo, for instance, into a large, walk-in glass enclosure. A project like this is great for improving your home’s value, but will increase the cost and time to complete significantly.

3. Consider Your Decorating Style

With hundreds of styles available, you’ll find there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing the perfect glass shower enclosure. For example, you might opt for a uniquely shaped enclosure. Different shapes, such as curved semicircles and boxy rectangles, can highlight your bathroom’s design scheme and your personal style preferences. Aside from aesthetics, adding a glass shower enclosure, or upgrading the one you have, can also help bring more light to your space.

Here are some of the most common types:

Bypass shower doors slide past one another the same way as a sliding patio These typically are installed as part of a tub enclosure. They can have a set pane with one side sliding on a track, or both panels of glass can move. Bypass shower doors are also space-efficient, as they don’t require room to swing open.


Sliding, hinged and pivot doors all are typically installed without a tub. Other options include neo-angle and round shower doors, which are also commonly used only with standalone showers.


Framed options usually are made with a thin glass, typically 3/16- or ¼-inch. The frame often is made of aluminum and can be coated, painted or finished in a variety of colors.

A glass, sliding shower door. Has a horizontal, silver handle in the middle of the door.

Frameless doors must be made with a much thicker glass, usually 3/8- or ½-inch, because there is no supporting frame. Because of the thicker glass, frameless shower doors are among the most expensive shower enclosure options.


4. Consider the Shower Glass

In addition to the shape and style of your shower enclosure, you also have a lot of variety when it comes to glass. While there are many glass choices, the first thing to know is that all shower doors must be constructed with safety glazing. Tempered glass is most common. When it breaks, tempered glass shatters into pellets, rather than shards, which could cause significant injury to people.

Laminated glass is another safety glazing option, though not as common in shower doors. Laminated glass consists of at least two pieces of glass and one plastic interlayer that form a glass sandwich. If the glass breaks, the plastic interlayer holds it in place, keeping the glass from falling out. However, moisture from the shower can cause issues with the lamination over time. Therefore, tempered glass is usually the better choice.

Tempered glass comes in a variety of patterns, textures and colors. Options include frosted glass, which provides privacy, as well as patterned or other decorative glass options. Even with the many choices available, clear glass remains the most popular option, as it creates a clean, modern look.

5. Consider the Shower Hardware

Shower door hardware can be as unique as the enclosure, but be sure to consider the other bathroom fixtures to create a unified look. For example, the cabinet handles, towel bars and faucet finishes, all can match your shower door hardware and create an inviting space. If your shower is made of clear glass, keep in mind the finishes on the inside of the enclosure; the same is true if you have a separate tub in the bathroom. Make sure all those components match as well.

Shower door hardware

Most shower doors can be customized with a variety of track and handle finishes. This includes everything from nickel, bronze, chrome or a variety of other options. Try to not get overwhelmed when it comes to color selection. To narrow down the options, look at existing colors already in the bathroom that you don’t plan to change, and use them as a guide.

Matte Black Shower Faucet Set, Bathroom Rainfall Shower System
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Square MeSun 12 inch high pressure shower head with water pouring out
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6. Consider Your Bathroom’s Functionality and Foot Traffic

The bathroom is one room in your home that is used daily, often by multiple people. So you will want to invest in materials that can withstand such constant use. When choosing the perfect glass shower enclosure, make sure you choose materials that resist wear-and-tear well. Fortunately, a glass shower enclosure is easy to keep clean. Check out this blog for tips and best practices for keeping your glass shower enclosure clean and sparkling.

Also, be aware that the type of shower enclosure that you choose must be accessible for everyone who uses it. As an example, small children and older people may have difficulty using certain facilities, so keep them in mind when making your selection.

Make Your Shower Selection

When you’re ready to find your new glass shower enclosure, can help. You can search for qualified shower door professionals right in your area who can guide you toward a selection that’s just right for your style and budget.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers has been involved with the glass industry for nearly 20 years and is the editor of USGlass magazine and Architect’s Guide to Glass magazine. Ellen received a degree from Peace College where she studied journalism. Ellen enjoys running and competes regularly in races including half and full marathons. When not on the go, Ellen enjoys reading, wine tasting, true crime shows, and family game nights with her husband and son. Their favorite game is Clue. Ellen also bakes what is known locally as “World Famous Oatmeal Cookies.” Find out more about Ellen on Linkedin.

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2 Responses

  1. Considering your bathroom space as well as the traffic going in and out is one of the first things to take into account when deciding on a glass door fixture. These are some great tips, thank you!

  2. Considering every part of the enclosure to make sure it fits with the function you want sounds important when working with a shower. This way, we can properly install some hardware for our bathroom that can keep the place safe and secure while still having a unique style that we’re satisfied with. I’ll start looking for a shower door enclosure provider in the area that can help us pick out the hardware we’ll be satisfied with.

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