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What Is The Best Thickness for Shower Glass?

A glass, sliding shower door. Has a horizontal, silver handle in the middle of the door.
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Shower glass is one item on your bathroom renovation list that you shouldn’t take lightly, as your bathroom’s shower glass can be a central focal point. Shower glass thickness can define the way your shower door looks and feels. Thankfully, there are several shower glass experts at who can assist you in making the right choice when it comes to your shower glass size.

The Basics of Shower Glass Thickness

It’s true, not all shower glass is made in the same thickness, and this is due to the variety in framing options shower glass thickness will also affect the weight of the glass.

Shower glass experts say there are typically two thickness options for frameless shower door glass: 3/8″ and 1/2″. The minimum thickness that is necessary for the stability and overall soundness of the glass door is 3/8″. Going with a minimum thickness for your shower glass door has become a popular choice because it is less expensive than thicker glass.

For aesthetic purposes though, thicker glass may be used for a more impressive look. It’s also important to remember that larger shower glass panels will need hardware strong enough to support it, so speak with a reputable shower glass installer to see which options are best for your project.

Types of Shower Glass

Glass shower door in remodeled bathroom.

While you’re deciding how thick your shower glass should be and if it will be framed or frameless in design, you should also be aware of the type of glass that will be used for your shower door. There are two types of glass, laminated and tempered. Currently, professionals are encouraged to use tempered glass when building shower doors. Using tempered glass results in smaller pieces if it breaks instead of large sharp pieces of glass, and is seen as a good shower glass option.

Shower Enclosure Style

How your shower is enclosed can also play a role in the thickness needed for its glass. The three more common enclosure styles are frameless, semi-frameless and framed. Some of the key points for each are listed below.

  1. Frameless Shower Enclosures – Frameless shower doors are sleek looking shower enclosures that minimize sight lines because they do not have any framing. Instead, its framing is replaced by individual pieces of hardware. The hardware is used to join separate pieces of glass and allow the shower door to operate. The hardware is very visible and exposed which makes it an aesthetic element of the shower enclosure.Without framing, the shower door glass must contribute to much of the enclosure’s structural integrity. This means the glass is often much thicker and heavier than the glass used in framed or semi-frameless shower doors.
  1. Semi-frameless Shower Enclosures- Semi-frameless shower doors are a halfway point between framed shower doors and frameless shower doors. This style of shower door features framing on one or more glass panels. Examples include some framed panels while the door remains frameless. Or it could mean that all of the panels are framed along the top and bottom, but that there is no framing in between.Semi-frameless shower doors are more aesthetically stimulating than framed shower doors because sight lines are minimized. The glass in semi-frameless showers may not need to be as thick as frameless shower glass, but will be considerably thicker than framed shower glass. Therefore, it’s a good mid-way point from both a cost and weight perspective.
  1. Framed Shower Enclosures – Framed shower doors are what you most commonly envision when thinking about a shower enclosure. These enclosures feature metal framing that surround all four corners of the glass panels and secures the enclosure to the bathroom walls. The framing provides structural integrity, so the glass itself can be thinner. This means the unit is relatively inexpensive. Framing has become thinner and typically is available in a variety of finishes to suit any taste.

Are You Ready to Pick Your Shower Glass?

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what shower glass thickness you might need when thinking of updating out your current shower glass doors. It is also important to note that these types of updates should be left to the professionals as shower glass panels are heavy and can cause injury if not properly installed. Look to when you’re ready to update your shower’s glass doors.

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Emmariah Holcomb

Emm Holcomb serves as assistant editor to AGRR Magazine and has a background news, as she was a journalist for Time Warner Cable News. Emm received her Bachelor’s Degree from St. Bonaventure University in New York where she studied journalism and mass communication. In her free time, Emm loves to cook and is passionate about trying new recipes and using food to bring people together. When not in the kitchen, she can be found in the gym working out and fostering her love/hate relationship with weight training. Find out more about Emmariah on Linkedin.

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19 Responses

  1. Thank u, info was very helpful. I just received an estimate on frameless shower. My concern is that if he uses 3 pieces he wants to use 1/2 coming out of wall and the rest 3/8 isn’t this odd? Won’t u b able to c the difference

    1. Hi Rita,
      It depends on the configuration. The 1/2″ glass might be used for structural reasons. As long as the glass is thick enough to support everything though, the rest is primarily personal preference. Speak with your estimator about the options and decide what suits your preferences based on available options.

  2. Hi would 6mm toughened glass b OK to use in walk in shawer only 500mm width as rest of tray in a alcove. Thanks Aled.

  3. Pls i want to install shower enclosure in my bathroom nd framed specifically bt what type of glass is best nd the thickness required?

    1. Hi Japhet,
      As you can see from our post, tempered glass is typically the best option. As for thickness, this will depend on a number of factors. You’ll want to work with a local, reputable glass installer to determine this.

  4. the glass doors ove r my bathtub that I am looking at are 5/32 or 3/16.That is far from 11/4 to 1/2. I am a little confused. Prices I’m looking at are 200 to 300 dollars

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thank you for asking for clarification on this! Glass doors over bathtubs are almost always framed. If this is the case, your glass doors fall under item three in our list– Framed Shower Enclosures.
      From the article: “The framing provides structural integrity, so the glass itself can be thinner. This means the unit is relatively inexpensive. Framing has become thinner and typically is available in a variety of finishes to suit any taste.”

  5. I am installing a semi-framed shower door on an old shower (maybe 30yrs old or more). The company, Arizona, makes one with 3/16″ glass and one with 1/4″ glass. Which is better for an older shower? Does the weight matter?

    1. Hi Fran,
      Thanks for reaching out to with your question. The thickness needed will depend on the configuration of your semi-framed shower, and the dimensions of the glass in question. You’ll want to work with the glass shop directly so that they can provide these recommendations.

  6. Will the weight of the thicker glass door mounted on a tub cause an acrylic tub to dent? I was researching the types of bathtubs and one person commented that the acrylic tub dented under the weight of her children standing on the edge of the tub.

    1. Hi Maura,
      Thanks for the question! Many shower doors are hung from a top track, which supports the weight of the glass. The bottom track is simply to guide the glass, not support weight. If you have a system such as this installed, you shouldn’t have to worry about the weight. To be on the safe side however, you’ll still want to check with the tub manufacturer and a reputable, local shower door installer.

    1. Lawrence, thank you for your question. The type of frameless setup, and the size of the panels will determine the required thickness. Schedule an onsite visit with a local shower glass installer to find out the requirements for your specific project.
      If both thicknesses are viable options, then the choice comes down to aesthetics and cost. Typically, thicker glass provides a better visual appeal. However, it will also come with a cost increase.

  7. For a frameless shower what thickness should glass be I just got one installed in anew home and it is very wobbly

  8. I have 5/16” glass doors (2) that are both hung using “PRIME-LINE M 6053 – Frameless Shower Door Roller Assembly, 3/4 inch Nylon Roller”. The issue is both doors pull loose from these hangers. I noted that the hanger my Installer used is specified for up to 1/4” thick glass and my glass is 5/16” which is a tad thicker. I cannot find any hangers that specify 5/16” glass. Are you aware of any? What are my options from here as my Installer has gone MIA.

  9. I am using a special two piece male and female aluminum profile frame to hold 3 ft wide 6 ft high 1/4 inch tempered glass When EPDM gaskets are pushed the weight of glass is evenly distributed on all sides
    The panel gets extremely rigid inside the frame
    Will the code allow using 1/4 tempered glass for my bathroom

    1. Hi Arshad, you’ll need to check with your local building codes to be sure of the answer.

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