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Shower Enclosure Tips

Shower Enclosure Design Tips

At Jones Glass, we know that a new bathroom remodeling project can seem a bit exhausting. Our professionals have put together some tips & tricks for making the process easier. This can help the installation process go as quickly & smoothly as possible. Before our staff arrive at your home for your consultation, our tips & tricks can help.
First, our tips can help you choose the best spot to install your new shower in your bathroom. After you find the right spot, these tips can help pick out the layout you prefer for your new shower. Our pros & our tips can ensure a watertight  & properly installed shower & help keep your cost to a minimum.
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     Plan for your shower to be built using 90°, 135°, or 180° angles. Most shower hardware is designed to for these angles, so planning your shower with this in mind ensures a more cost-effective installation. It also ensures a properly functioning shower enclosure.

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     Be sure the wall on which you would like to install a hinged shower door is sturdy and has proper studding behind it (double 2x4 is best, though single 2x4 is acceptable). Always provide wood studs or blocking where doors hinges or panels will be anchored, especially when metal studs were used in the original construction of the wall.

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     Decide whether you want install your shower enclosure on a curb (lip) or to have it flush with the floor. While eliminating the curb is beneficial when planning a handicap accessible shower enclosure, you should keep in mind that a properly constructed curb helps prevent water from leaking or pooling onto your bathroom floor.

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     If you choose the curb or lip around the bottom of the shower, it should to be slanted inward at a 5-degree (approx. 3/16" to 1/4") "pitch" or slope so water will flow in toward the drain. A level curb would cause the water to stand, while a curb angled away from the drain would cause water to leak onto the bathroom floor.

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     If you choose to design a built-in shower seat, it should slant toward the drain at a 5-degree (approx. 3/16" to 1/4") slope so water flows off the seat and into the drain. Water will stand on a level seat or pool in a seat with a backward angle.

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     The walls which meet a door or glass panel need to be completely vertical, or "plumb", in order to prevent gaps, uneven joints, and hinge "bind". This means the wall can't lean in any direction, or be "bowed" or "bellied" in anyway. Walls that are more than 1/4" out of plumb make it difficult to install a shower properly. Theses walls will cause unsightly gaps, are more likely to leak, and have a greater chance of hingebind. 
     When one of our installers will come out to measure your bathroom shower. He will use a six-foot level to test your bathroom walls and floor (and ceiling for airtight enclosures).
     About 75% of the homes we work in do not have perfectly straight walls, so need to worry. This is a common problem that we're very good at handling. For less than 1/4" out of plumb walls, we will cut the glass so it will lie flush against your wall.

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     When designing your shower enclosure, keep in mind that each glass panel needs to be at least 4 1/2" wide. This is the minimum width for tempering glass & supporting the hardware. Also, the door will need to be a minimum of 22" wide and no more than 36" wide.

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     Avoid mounting door hinges and glass clips onto glass tiles. This could cause breakage to occur during and even after installation. This can result in delays in getting the project finished and additional costs from the tile installers for repairs.

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     The "soffits" or eaves along the top of the shower enclosure must line up perfectly with the angles in the curb below in order to avoid an uneven look.

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     Positioning shower heads toward tiled walls or your fixed panels will help to minimize leakage. Shower heads should never be positioned opposite a door or other opening. Exceptions may be made for smaller or low-flow shower heads or shower heads that point straight down at the floor.

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     Shower doors should be installed so that that nothing interferes with their movement and there are no gaps between the door and the wall. Things that interfere with door movement are raised decorative tiles, overhanging tiles, and granite or marble slabs atop a shower seat or buttress wall. Tile and granite can be modified to allow for door operation, but a filler might need to be applied. This could negatively impact the look of the finished product.
     A better solution is to include a fixed panel in your shower design. That way, the door can align with the panel on one side, opening and closing correctly with no interference. On the other side, the tile can be notched to allow the panel to line up flush against the wall.

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     Keep in mind that solid pieces of tile, marble or granite are best for the top of a curb. pieced together tile & grout curb tops increase the likelihood of leakage and encourage the growth of mold or mildew. This is because water collects in grout joints on horizontal tiles. The shower door seal functions best on a smooth surface.

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     Never run plumbing pipe or electrical wiring through walls or studs where an anchoring screw for the shower enclosure hardware might puncture it.

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     When designing an enclosure that has a buttress or "knee" wall, plan on including an in-line panel into your design. That way, you can modify the fixed panel to accommodate the buttress wall instead of trying to modify the door.

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     When planning your shower design, keep in mind that Building Code Requirement IRC P 2708.1 (2000 edition) states that all hinged shower doors must open outwards. Hinged shower doors that swing inwards only are not permitted by code. There are reasons this code is in place. The shower enclosure must permit unobstructed access to a showering person in case of a fall.
     However, your shower door can open in both directions, outward-opening and inward-swinging. You will need about 30" of clearance space outside your shower to install a swinging shower door.
     If your bathroom is not configured for a shower door, you should consider choosing a sliding shower door. Your other alternatives include double sliding doors, which come either semi-frameless or framed, and a shower screen which leaves ample clearance space in case of an emergency.

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A glass transom is located above a frameless glass shower door and can be fixed or movable. Here are a few reasons to use a glass transom:
  • Venting steam showers: Steam showers must run floor-to-ceiling for an airtight construction. This is so steam can accumulate. Instead of bringing the door all the way to the ceiling, most steam showers are designed with movable transoms above the door. This will then act like a vent & can be tilted open to release steam or kept close to keep the steam in. You will want to make sure you have a tile ceiling rather than drywall, due to moisture.
  • Stabilizing floor-to-ceiling showers: If you want a floor-to-ceiling frameless shower, may need a glass transom in your design. The need depends on ceiling height and the weight limit of the shower door.
  • Installing pivot doors: Pivot doors that don't run floor-to-ceiling can be mounted to a header or a glass transom. If you would like to avoid the framed look of a header, you may find a solution by revising your design to add a glass transom. We will help you get the best shower configuration for the look you want.
You will want to make sure the shower door won't be hampered by anything installed on the ceiling when it swings open. If an exhaust fan, vent or light fixture is in the path of a swinging door, a glass transom may be needed to give the door clearance.
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     If your neo angle shower enclosure includes a "knee" wall or wall, make sure that the shower door meets the structure at a 90 degree angle to accommodate the requirements of the hinges. This is not a restriction when glass meets glass at the 135 degree angle.

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