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Does a Walk-In Shower Need a Door?

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Remodeling or updating your bathroom is one of the best ways to increase the value of your home. And fortunately, there are many available options to meet any budget when it comes to sprucing up this space. For many homeowners, the shower is the first place they want to start. Converting a tub-shower combo, for example, to an all-glass enclosure is one popular upgrade. Another option is upgrading a framed shower enclosure to one that’s all glass.

As bathrooms in today’s homes get bigger and bigger, many homeowners opt for a spa-like environment. A walk-in shower is one way some homeowners choose to create that relaxing environment. If this is a direction you’d like to take, you might wonder, do walk-in showers need doors? Typically, a true walk-in shower is constructed without a door. But there are no strict rules when it comes to your bathroom. That means you’re free to design your walk-in shower to best meet your personal tastes. Fortunately, this aesthetic provides many design possibilities. But before building a walk-in shower, be sure and review all the options and design considerations.

Stone Walk-in Shower

Design Details of a Walk-In Shower

Since you may be asking, “do walk-in showers need doors?” start by taking a look at your existing bathroom. How much space do you have to work with and where would you like the walk-in shower ideally located? These are almost always custom-design and will require a bit more work to build compared to a more traditional glass shower enclosure.

Walk-in showers are often installed in a corner or in place of the existing bathtub/shower area. Since this space will be open to the rest of the bathroom, it’s important that the walls and flooring are designed to contain water. This will most likely call for custom design details, such as tile work and glass partitions, depending on your personal needs and preferences.

Walk-In Shower Benefits

1. Low Shower Maintenance

As you’re reviewing your walk-in shower options, you will find there are a number of benefits. One of the most attractive benefits for many homeowners is that a walk-in shower requires minimal cleaning time. And because there is no curtain, it reduces the likelihood of mold or mildew build-up.

2. Shower Accessibility

Another benefit, particularly for anyone who needs accessibility, is that walk-in showers usually feature a curbless design. This means that there is no rim to navigate when entering or exiting the shower.

3. Shower Design Possibilities

Depending on your renovation or remodeling plans, and your budget, the sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to walk-in showers. For example, you could make the bathroom more of a wet room, with the tub and (in some cases) even the toilet all together in the showering area. You might also opt for an area with three walls, or a corridor-style with an opening on one end and two walls facing each other.

Walk-in Shower Considerations

There are a number of design considerations to keep in mind when it comes to walk-in showers. For one, the cost to build is usually more expensive than a more traditional glass shower enclosure. This is because the walk-in shower design and construction typically does not involve standard sizes and frames, as they are custom-designed and built for each home.

Also, since walk-in showers are usually curbless, they need to be built so that the water empties down the drain and not onto the bathroom floor.

And while cleaning may be simpler compared to more traditional showers, you may find that upkeep and maintenance can take more work. Unlike traditional enclosures that are often built with a shower base for the floor, walk-ins usually feature tile flooring that has to be re-grouted and sealed occasionally.

Use Glass in Your Walk-In Shower

Marble shower with glass enclosure

If you decide the walk-in shower is for you, just because there’s no door, doesn’t mean you can’t have glass. There are lots of ways you can still use glass in your bathroom remodel. Depending on the style of your walk-in shower, you can use glass for one—or more—of the surrounding walls.

One possibility is using a partial glass wall to separate the shower area from other parts of the bathroom. This helps create an open, transparent space, while not hiding the beauty of the shower interior. You could also take that a step further and extend the span of the glass wall. For example, if your shower is located in a corner, a large glass wall provides transparent separation from the rest of the bathroom.

You might also build your walk-in shower as a corridor, between two glass walls. If the shower is located next to the tub, you can also build a glass wall between those two areas.

If you already have a large bathroom and the space for it, feel free to go big when it comes to your shower enclosure. For example, some homeowners opt to create massive, glass-enclosed showers. This area can be built so that it’s enclosed by large panels of glass. It could include a hinged or even barn-door style sliding door or even no door at all—just the opening between the glass panels.

Do Your Research on Walk-In Showers

You’ve now answered, “does a walk-in shower need a door?” And you know there are many ways to add glass to your walk-in shower design. Now, take the time to do your research to determine what will work best for you and your home. And remember, a walk-in shower is also often thought of as a luxury feature, which can be a big plus if you’re going to put your home on the market.

Whatever direction you decide to go, has the resources that can help you along the way. Visit the Info Center and scroll through a variety of topics focused on glass shower enclosures. You can also search for qualified glazing professionals right in your area, who can help you design and install a look that meets your style and budget. And before you know it, you will find yourself relaxing in your new spa-like, walk-in shower — with or without a glass door.

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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5 Responses

  1. I have a typical shower enclosure and I’m removing the old shower door cuz it’s 28 years old my wife wants to just put a shower curtain but I say water will escape at the bottom from the pan onto the bathroom floor so my question is is it better to put a new shower door?

    1. Hi Richard,
      We prefer shower doors opposed to curtains for many reasons. Among other factors, it will last much longer, will provide a better seal than a shower curtain, and adds an upgraded look to any bathroom.

  2. Utilizing glass properly to achieve a good walk-in shower is a really good idea. Considering how large the bathroom we have is, I can see how separating part of it to be devoted to the shower area will really help space things out for specific functions. I’ll take this idea into account and look for a glass provider in the area that can give us a hand with the materials we need.

    1. Hi Barbara, thanks for the question. There are two common types of shower drains- point drains, and linear drains. Point drains are traditional, round drains. In this case, the shower is concave and the basin slopes downward to a central point. A linear drain is a long, slender drain. The basin for this type of drain will simply slope to one end.

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