An enclosed shower provides a high level of convenience, especially for folks who want a walk-in option. Installing them, though, requires a good deal of attention to detail. You'll also have to make several choices about the type of enclosure you'll be using. These three issues are worth looking at before you start your project.
Glass shower enclosures are the top class of this sector in home building and remodeling. Advances in glass materials over recent decades have significantly reduced the risk of anything breaking, and models are now designed to shatter safely in a similar way to auto safety glass. Glass products are also easily maintainable, a major plus in a space like a bathroom.
The main downside to glass is weight. Supporting structures have to be able to hold up not only to the weight of the glass itself but to doors being swung open and closed.
Plastic and polymer options do exist. They have a reputation for lightness, but they don't age well due to UV exposure. Small bits of damage, such as scratches and pits, can end up harboring mold, too.
Framed or Frameless
Most frameless models are meant to be customized to a location. One pro of this approach is that it can be tightly tailored to the dimensions of existing spaces during remodeling. For example, shower door enclosures can be easily retrofitted to showers that are three-sided. They end up being frameless because the only support that has to be installed is the hinge for the door.
Framed models can be somewhat deceptive, though. A frame may give the appearance of sturdiness, but flimsy materials may undermine the strength of the shower. Taking into account that glass panels for showers often weight between 80 and 100 pounds, you'll want to see a display model of what you're buying to test just how sturdy the frame is.
Appearance is one of the main arguments for going with a glass, frameless model. The look is highly minimalist, and the lines are very clean. There will still be a few bits of metal hardware to support the enclosure, but these will just be small hinges and brackets.
Price will vary based on the size of the shower and how much enclosure you require. Standalone shower door enclosures that are frameless range from $780 to $3,300 for a full installation. At the other end of the scale, a low-end, completely framed enclosure may cost around $1,000.