Thinking about replacing an existing one or buying a new shower door? Read on for an in-depth shower door guide that includes everything you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Table of contents
What do we mean by a shower door?
If we refer to itshower doorsWe are basically talking about the access hardware to a shower room. The door will be a flat frame with a hinged, sliding, hinged or hinged glass opening.
We're not talking about the full cornershower enclosures or cubiclescreating a ready-made 3D environment for showering. We are only talking about the door system, which usually serves as access to an alcove shower room or, together with a side wall, forms a corner shower.
What types of shower doors are there?
There are different types of shower doors, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. We'll go through each one to provide a balanced overview so you can decide which one works best for your space.
If you have any questions, please use the comments section at the end of this guide.
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Sliding doors for the shower
slider orSliding doors for the showerare perfect for designing large shower rooms. This is a popular design that includes a fixed panel and a sliding panel. The sliding panel sits on rollers within a track and slides behind the fixed panel to allow access.
Most manufacturers offer an access space of at least 500 mm. As the door has to slide behind the fixed panel, the minimum size of a sliding door is normally 1000mm.
In a 2 panel system they generally range up to 1700mm, with the 1200mm width being the most popular bathroom sales model in the UK.
This design can be built into a niche, but most manufacturers also offer side panels up to 900mm long to create a corner shower. Some designs also include 2 fixed panels and/or 2 central sliding doors that open.
High end brands likeAquadartalso offer models like thatRolle 8Frameless, which do not have an aluminum corner profile, but only a translucent sealing joint. These appear open and airy, perfect for a premium feel.
- Perfect for creating larger shower spaces
- The door does not open and does not take up any floor space in the bathroom
- A side panel can be added to create a corner shower room
- Most designs can be reversed for left or right hand access
- Sizes usually only start at 1000mm width
- The rollers can fail and eventually need to be replaced
See a full range ofSliding doors for the shower.
pivot shower door
Pivot doors are so called because of the offset pivot construction. The hinge or pivot is positioned at the top and bottom of the door about 25% of the way in length. As a result, the door only opens three quarters into the bathroom when opened, thus saving some space.
Another benefit of this space-saving design is that there is very little that can go wrong. We've never heard of a fancy revolving door. The simplicity of the mechanics is also reflected in the price. if you need onesmall cheap showerdoor, then a revolving door could be the answer.
- Low price
- Simple design, you can't go wrong with it
- Good for small spaces with some designs being adjustable down to 650mm
- 75% of the door opens into the bathroom area
View our entire rangePivot shower doors.
Infold / Inswing shower door
Perhaps the most unique and rare design of all shower doors. The Infold features a special arm mechanism that opens the door into the shower room. Once you're in and close, it wraps around you again. Some go all the way into the shower room while others straddle half in and half out.
It's a nice sweeping move, but all of these mechanics come at a cost. Inswing doors can cost up to three times more than pivot offerings. With little competition in the market there is nothing to push the price down.
Currently onlySignAndJaquarmake these units. However, for those where space is at a premium, it could be the perfect solution.
In the case of shower doors, apart from the outer wall profiles, the door is already designed. In this case, there is no additional set-up time for the mechanics.
- Great space saving design
- Sizes from 700-1000mm
- Gentle opening process
- Relatively expensive construction because of the complicated mechanics
View our entire rangeCollapsible shower doors.
Bifold shower door
This is one of the oldest and most reliable proven designs. Use in residential properties as well as caravans and mobile homes. The split-fold, inward-opening design is simple and reliable when it comes to the job.
A bifold has a lot going for it, but since you essentially have a frame within a frame, some cheaper models can look a bit bulky and a bit profile-heavy. Also, since the inner frame needs to be slimmer, the glass thickness is typically 4mm on many models. This can make it feel weak when opening and closing.
If you want one, get one from a decent brand. This will prove to be more reliable and aesthetically pleasing.
- The inward opening design saves bathroom space
- Generally thinner glass
- Not as attractive as some doors
Check out all of oursBifold shower doors.
Hinged shower door
This shower door is the closest thing to a standard door design. There won't be a lever handle, but otherwise it's the same, except it's glass.
Just turn it upside downto installfor a left or right opening. The glass is attached to the frame with 2 clamp style hinges. The glass thickness is usually 6-8 mm.
Quality and price are usually determined by the door hardware that manufacturers choose. Italian hinges, long chrome-plated brass handles, and options like easy-to-clean glass add to the cost.
Many revolving doors are available ashigh quality frameless designs. At the commodity end of the market, there are fewer flip-up designs and they usually find their way into more spacious bathrooms. If you have little space, choose a bifold or infold option.
- Attractive frameless designs available
- Works like any door you are used to opening and closing
- An open door takes up more space in the bathroom than other designs
- Can get expensive with thicker glass and quality fixtures
Check out all of ourshinged shower doors.
Where can you put a shower door?
Most people will fit a shower door in an alcove or combine it with a side panel to fit in a corner. This facility generally dictates that the shower room will be eithersquareorrectangular.
Less common, but still a possibility with some shower doors, is a single wall arrangement, perfect if you don't have a free corner or alcove. This is achieved by using 2 side panels. Not all shower doors have the right profiles to achieve this, so check with the retailer or manufacturer to be sure.
What is the minimum width of the shower door?
We are often asked what the minimum width of a door should be. The smallest size made for home use is 700mm. On some models this can be reduced to a width of 650mm by adjustment.
650mm if you measure it is a really tight space for most people. Regardless of what manufacturers make, your main consideration should be choosing a shower that you can comfortably wash in. Don't adjust a shower just because it meets a specification.
Which side should a shower door open on?
First things first, there is no right or wrong here, most shower doors on the market are now reversible. This means that they can be installed with the door hinge on the left or right. To achieve this, on most designs you simply turn the entire door 180 degrees - turn it upside down, to use layman's terms.
Sliding shower doors contain a fixed panel. Depending on how you prefer the shower space, your installer will mount the left or right side. Only if the glass contains any cut-outs or oversized rolls may you need to choose a model with an integrated handle - left or right entry.
Which way you install depends on your preferences and what is practical for the space available.
Available types of glass surfaces
Most shower door models on the market generally contain clear glass. The frosted dolphin or wave design from 20 years ago is less popular with people who opt for simpler, minimalist designs.
However, there are some good tinted black lens designs on the market, as well as designs that include a mirrored side panel or center lens section. some of the morehigh quality frameless designsinclude tinted glass as wellShower screen with black frameoptions.
Choice of frame design
For years you had the choice between chrome-plated or white profiled shower doors. While chrome is still popular, white frames are considered cheap like what you might see in a stationary caravan.
More recently the market has seen the introduction of black,brushed brass, gold and even nickel frames on some high-end doors by the likes ofAquadartoder jaquar.
So if you choose brass or gold faucets or shower hardware, you can now have a shower door to match. Just remember not to clean the door profiles with abrasive cleaners as coatings are easily scratched or worn away.
Understanding door settings to purchase the correct size
Ordering the right door size is of course very important. Important for the customer as the process of returning in one piece is difficult and sourcing a replacement takes time and may delay work and cost the assemblers.
It is also inconvenient for the retailer as the actual cost of delivering a shower door to a customer is usually much more than what the website shows and what a customer thinks they are paying for delivery.
Retailers often hide these costs in the product price. Misordered items on return expose these costs and make it difficult to make any sort of profit margin on popular price-sensitive items.
So let's make sure the correct door size is ordered in advance.
Shower doors are sold by the maximum width they fit.
A 900 mm door therefore fits into an installation space of 900 mm. It cannot grow to a space of 910mm. In this situation you could use a filler piece and also some doors like Mira's orPremiers Pacific Series,are available with extendable profiles for an extra charge. This is practical, but aesthetically they don't look so good because of the wider profiles.
If you have an 870mm space this 900mm door will fit provided it has an adjustment range of 30mm or more. The adjustment range is, simply put, the amount the door can shrink to accommodate ad hoc sized rooms.
This is made possible by the inner profiles, which slide in and out of the outer door profile attached to your wall. Take into account different widths and the fact that the walls in many homes are not always right. The recess in which you install the door can therefore be wider at the top than at the bottom and vice versa.
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Buy cheap and you buy twice
It's a well-known saying, but it's never been more applicable to products like shower doors.
On cheaper doors, the UK glass safety standard should be fine, but you'll no doubt be missing out on premium features like easy-to-clean glass. Worse still, although some components are likely sub-standard. Handles, wheels or other mechanical parts will probably need to be replaced sooner than on a better model.
Things like the documentation and assembly instructions are limited at best. Here the manufacturers have to skimp to lower the price. So remember, cheap sacrifices have been made if you will, although it's not obvious where.
Stick with a decent brand, or at least where the online list has all the important details about after-sales support from the manufacturer, and you'll be fine.
What is the difference between a pivoting and a pivoting shower door?
A hinged shower door works just like the door of your home or car, with the hinges at one end supporting the full weight of the glass door. Apivoting shower doorusually has a rotating hinge at the top and bottom of the door and this is uniquely positioned inwards from the glass edge, approximately 150mm. This means the entire door does not open into your bathroom, which saves space and also the weight of the glass puts less stress on the spigot as it is distributed to both sides.
What is the most popular shower door?
Depending on sales and availability, the sliding shower door or bypass door is the most popular. These generally consist of 1 or possibly 2 doors that slide on rollers behind a fixed panel to reveal the opening. They are available from most manufacturers in sizes from 1000-1700mm with sidewalls to match. That means they fit into a variety of bathrooms.
What type of glass are shower doors?
Since the early 1960's, shower doors in the UK have most commonly been made from tempered glass, replacing the less safe annealed glass. During manufacture, tempered glass goes through a heating and cooling process that makes it very durable. In addition, tempered glass shatters into small pieces when damaged, as opposed to sharp shards like tempered glass.
Hello, my name is Dean.
Together with my business partner we own and operateShower Enclosures UK.com Ltd.
We have been running the business for over 9 years and have acquired a proper knowledge and know-how on the subject of shower and bathroom fittings. Enough that we were able to put together a series of blog posts designed to make shopping for bathroom items a little easier and help answer the most common questions.
If there's something that doesn't make sense or needs expansion, please let us know in the comments. You can also reach me atLinkedIn
Thank you for taking the time to read our posts.