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Shower Glass vs. Shower Curtains

Deciding between glass shower enclosures and traditional shower curtains for your bathroom can be a difficult decision. While shower glass is easy to clean, elegant and more cost-effective in the long term, shower curtains are cheaper up front and can be changed periodically. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each to help you choose the option that’s best for you.

shower door vs shower curtain pros and cons

Shower Glass: Pros

The transparency of shower glass can make your bathroom look bigger and brighter. Modern shower door designs feature minimal, but aesthetically pleasing hardware. Current popular hardware includes matte black designs and barn door style shower doors. However, you can customize your shower to meet your needs and tastes. Glass does not have to be completely transparent. You can choose among a wide variety of glass finishes included frosted, etched patterns, bubbles, etc. There are even special coatings you can add to protect your glass so it becomes more durable and lasts longer.

Shower glass is also easy to clean. Many shower door installers will provide you with a squeegee. Using the squeegee every day keeps the glass clean. It’s not a time-consuming chore, but should be made into habit by everyone who uses the shower. Make sure to squeegee soon after you’ve finished your shower so that hard water isn’t allowed to sit and temporarily stain the glass. For more tips on shower glass maintenance, check out “How to Keep Your Shower Door Glass Clean.”

While renovating your shower may cost more up front than a shower curtain, it will add value to your home and will save you money on replacement shower curtains and liners in the future. Shower glass is a desirable feature for many homeowners. Choosing to add a glass shower to your home not only makes it brighter, it shows off the stone, tile, marble or other materials in your shower, which you can also customize.

Also, full glass enclosures will prevent water from getting on the bathroom floor, whereas shower curtains don’t always block all of the water. Glass shower enclosures can be made in any size or shape to accommodate your space.

modern shower with glass enclosure

Shower Glass: Cons

The upfront cost of renovating your bathroom to include a glass shower can be a disadvantage for many people despite the long-term payoff. Another reason some people may hesitate to install a glass shower is because of news stories about spontaneous glass breakage. While this can occur it is very rare.

Shower glass is made of tempered glass, which has been heated to make it stronger. Another effect of tempering is that if the glass does break, it will shatter into a lot of tiny pieces. This is preferable to the glass breaking into large shards which could cause injury. Tempered glass is a type of safety glass, so it is generally safe to use in your home.

Spontaneous breakage can occur due to nickel sulfide inclusions in the glass. The inclusions can sometimes grow over time and cause stress on the glass, which can then break under heat or other external stresses. However, these occurrences are not a common occurrence. They should not prevent you from having a glass shower installed in your home.

For more information about this phenomenon and what to do if it does happen, read “What to Do If Your Shower Door Breaks.”

Shower Curtains: Pros

Shower curtains come in all kinds of patterns, colors and textures. They can cost as little as $10 and can be changed easily whenever you want a new look for your bathroom. This ability is often attractive to homeowners.

Shower curtains can also be a good option for families with small children. It’s easier to push the curtain aside to help bathe small children than bath/shower combinations with shower glass or a full shower.

Shower curtains can also be purchased online easily. While you may not be able to purchase a glass shower online and have it shipped to your home, you can find a reputable, local shower glass company here without leaving your computer.

shower with shower curtain

Shower Curtains: Cons

While this may not be a hang up for some people, shower curtains take longer to clean than glass showers. The shower curtain must be removed and washed. The shower liner must be replaced periodically as they tend to collect soap scum, mildew and sometimes mold. Shower curtains, especially cloth curtains, are also more likely to trap bacteria than shower glass. Frameless shower doors will create less of a chance of mold build up since there are no seals around them.

Shower curtains can make your bathroom look smaller and darker than it is. This is especially true if the curtain is a darker color, whereas glass allows more light to pass through the room. Shower curtains can also create more of a mess if they aren’t extended the full length of the shower or if part of the liner isn’t tucked into the bathtub portion.

Buying multiple shower curtains and liners adds up cost wise and is more harmful for the environment than installing a glass shower one time.

More Information on Glass Showers

If you’re interested in learning more about glass showers and other information about glass, check out the Info Center.

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  • The benefit of using a curtain is bath lounging with a glass of wine and candles. Pull the curtain back and you have access to a small table. You feel closed in with glass doors.

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