Traditional shower doors used metal frames made from brass, nickel, or steel to support the weight of the glass and add strength and structure. While many homeowners still choose framed doors, they're no longer the only option when it comes to designing your bathroom. Frameless shower doors completely change the look of a shower, eliminating the metal and using thicker glass and more advanced hardware to support the door. Understanding the pros and cons of these two options can help you balance budget, style, and performance to find the right shower door for your home.
Framed Door Pros
If you're building or renovating your bathroom on a budget, framed doors are considered a stock item, and come at a much lower cost on average than frameless doors. Framed shower glass doors also appeal to homeowners who prefer to minimize maintenance, as the metal frame is quite effective at keeping water contained within the shower where it belongs, minimizing the risk of leaks.
Framed Door Cons
While the stock nature of framed doors helps keep the price low, it also means less selection. You're limited to set sizes, shapes, and profiles, which could force you to redesign your space to accommodate the set door sizes. Some buyers may also feel that the frames on shower doors make the shower or the room itself appear smaller or more compartmentalized. While some lament the dated look of framed glass doors, others may prefer the more traditional style.
Frameless Door Pros
With no frames, frameless shower doors offer virtually unlimited design options, letting you decide on the size, shape, and profile you prefer. With no frames to get in the way, these doors offer a clean, modern look, allowing you to show off fancy tile work or simply make your shower appear larger and more open. A lack of frames can also make it easier to clean the glass.
Frameless Door Cons
Frameless shower doors cost more than framed models, which might put them out of reach for buyers with a strict budget. These doors are also more likely to leak due to the lack of metal frames helping to contain the water. Depending on the design of your shower, you may be forced to reposition the door or the shower head to help keep water contained and reduce cleanup.
If you simply can't decide between framed and frameless shower doors, consider a semi-frameless compromise. These doors use metal frames around the actual enclosure, but use only pivots or hardware to support the door itself. This gives the room an updated look without the expense of a fully-frameless door. To discuss your options fully, talk to an expert like Superior Glass & Mirror.