Frameless glass shower enclosures epitomise modern bathroom design. Once purely functional spaces we now invest considerable time, effort and money in designing and creating the perfect bathroom and a large luxury frameless shower enclosure is the perfect centre piece. Frameless shower enclosures are complex structures that require care to design and install, here are our tips for getting it right.
A frameless glass shower enclosure should feature little or no metal frame work, predominantly consisting of large sheets of 10mm thick glass connected to each other and the walls by metal hinges and brackets. By design frameless shower enclosures are quite heavy and offer little if any adjustment for installing. Consequentially, the layout and shape of each shower door, screen or enclosure must be carefully considered and accurately measured if it is to fit and operate correctly. So if you are planning to install a frameless shower enclosure you may wish to consider the following factors when planning your new bath or shower room.
Planning your bathroom and frameless glass shower enclosure
- Weight – At 25kg per square metre of 10mm glass, frameless shower enclosures are heavy and as a consequence walls and floors may need to be reinforced to cope. The brackets which support the glass must be fixed securely to a solid wall. Stud walls will require extra studs behind the fixing brackets to provide a strong fixing point. Under no circumstances should fixing brackets or hinges be screwed to a plaster board or similar light weight wall.
- Access – Large sheets of glass look fantastic but they will need to be transported through your house to the bathroom. Check that doorways and, most importantly, staircases are large enough to allow access for the glass panels. This is of particular importance when installing a frameless shower enclosure in a loft conversion.
- Glass care coatings – In hard water areas large expanses of glass can be difficult to keep clean and free from water marks. It is therefore worth considering ordering your frameless shower with an anti-lime scale glass treatment such as Clearshield. This type of coating is often included either as standard or as an optional extra with frameless shower enclosures.
Taking measurements for your frameless glass shower enclosure
- Bespoke products – Frameless shower enclosures are bespoke products, designed to fit exactly with little or no tolerance. If mistakes are made when taking measurements you may be left with an expensive shower enclosure that you cannot use and the same can be true if poorly installed. Many professional frameless shower enclosure specialists do provide optional measurement and installation services that are worth considering.
- Finished surfaces – It is very important that all measurements are taken from finished surfaces. All tiling and grouting must be complete and the shower tray or wet floor must be installed and level. If you are paying for the manufacturer to carry out a site survey, ensure that all works are complete and that the area is clean and accessible, you may be liable for any costs if the engineer cannot carry out the survey.
- Professional site survey – Frameless shower enclosures are both complex and expensive. By paying for the manufacturer to carry out a site survey to take exact measurements you are more likely to avoid costly mistakes and, importantly, they will be responsible for the shower enclosure fitting correctly. If you have supplied the measurements for your shower enclosure then you are liable if it does not fit.
- Templating – If your frameless shower enclosure must accommodate a complex shape such as an angled ceiling in loft conversion it is worth considering having a hardboard template of the feature made to ensure that the glass fits perfectly. Templating can usually be provided by the manufacturer as part of site survey and installation services, although extra charges may apply for materials and additional time.
Installing your frameless glass shower enclosure
- Clear the room – Your frameless shower installer will need and area that is clear and clean to work in. Prior to the installation the room should be cleared of all debris and unnecessary items and thoroughly cleaned and dried to remove as much dust and grime as possible. If the room is very dusty it will not be possible to apply silicone sealant as it will not adhere correctly.
- Professional services – The exposed glass panels that make up your frameless shower enclosure are very vulnerable to damage when they are being installed and must be positioned exactly if they are to fit correctly. The sealing strips and components must also be correctly trimmed and fitted for the shower to be water tight and silicone sealant must be applied very carefully if it is to look neat, anchor the glass securely and provide a water proof seal. Therefore, it is really worth considering paying the manufacturer to install the shower screen or enclosure for you. They are the professionals with the necessary skills and tools to complete the installation perfectly.
- Allow sealant to cure for 24hrs – Do not be tempted to, move in any way, clean or use your new frameless shower enclosure for at least 24 hours after the silicone sealant has been applied. The silicone sealant plays two important roles, providing a water proof seal between floors and walls and giving strength the structure. If the enclosure is moved before the sealant has cured it can tear and moisture will prevent it from adhering properly.
Caring for your frameless shower
- Dry the glass – After each use remove excess water with a rubber glass squeegee. This will help to control water marks, lime scale and mould build up.
- Dry the floor – If you have a wetroom with a frameless glass shower enclosure it is advisable to clear away any residual water from the floor and silicone sealant. This will help to dry the area more quickly and to control mould.
- Wipe down regularly with a soft cloth – Regularly wash the shower enclosure with warm water and a soft cloth before thoroughly drying the glass and components.
Frameless shower enclosures are bespoke, premium, products manufactured to exacting standards. Their clean lines and minimal frame work are the ultimate in bathroom luxury, however, by design they offer the flexibility to create a useable shower in awkward spaces, such as loft conversions. It is vitally important that the bathroom and design of your frameless shower are carefully considered and that it is measured and installed correctly in order for it to work properly.
If you are considering a bespoke frameless shower door, screen or enclosure please do talk to the experts at Room H2o in New Malden, Surrey and Wareham in Dorset.