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Leakage of water from a shower cabin with glass wall that is damaged

Busting the Myth: Do Frameless Shower Enclosures Really Leak?

When requesting bathroom remodels, many people are drawn to frameless shower enclosures. They are aesthetic, come in different sizes, and allow natural light flow. Despite all the good things going for it, there have been claims of leaks along the sides of the shower glass doors. We will demystify this myth and explain why some enclosures leak and why this is not the norm.

Understanding Frameless Shower Enclosures

Frameless shower enclosures are glass panels without metal frames. The standard for shower enclosures is thick and heavy tempered glass. The ½” (1.27cm) glass is the thickest and the most expensive. The glass is exposed to heat and rapid cooling to strengthen it. Tempered glass will shatter and disintegrate in case of an accident.

Frameless enclosures are spa-like, elegant, and perfect for bathrooms of different sizes. Homeowners often choose them because they make the room appear larger and draw attention to the bathroom tiles and fixtures.

The decision to get a frameless shower is the first of many. For example, you will need to choose the type of glass. Do you want a transparent or opaque glass shower enclosure? Would you like a swinging or sliding door? Your preference and the size of the bathroom will influence your decision.

For example, if you prefer privacy while showering, we recommend opaque glass. Clear, frameless shower doors bring in more light and visual appeal. You can also choose patterned glass or one with a little tint. Custom shower enclosures are built to accommodate structural irregularities and design preferences.

Addressing the Leak Concern

The beauty of a frameless glass enclosure fades quickly when you encounter a puddle after your shower. With so many complaints about leaks, frameless glass showers have earned a bad reputation. At GCS Glass & Mirror, we address this common misconception because there are several reasons behind the leakage.

  • Poor installation method. Shower enclosures sometimes leak because of improper installation. The panels may be misaligned when installed, resulting in a gap at the joint, which allows water to splash outside the enclosure.
  • Low-quality caulk. Shower experts usually use silicone caulk because it is durable and has good thermal stability. Unfortunately, some people use low-quality caulk that wears out, resulting in water leaking through the gaps.
  • Uneven surface. If the wall is not straight, there are bound to be spaces between the glass panels and the wall. This sometimes allows water to pass through. Shower experts usually check for these imperfections so that they can use wall substrates to improve the joint.
  • Poor shower curb gradient. Some of the water flowing out of the frameless shower comes from the curb and not necessarily at the seams of the shower glass. Ideally, the curb should lean inwards to redirect it back to the shower drain.

If your frameless shower is leaking, you don’t have to give up on it. We will help you identify the problem and fix it. Sometimes, getting shower doors with adjustable hinges and a good seal will give them a watertight fit.

Expert Design and Installation

When you come to us looking for frameless showers, we will first want to know your bathroom size and the design you want. Our shower experts will measure the space to determine if what you want is feasible or if a custom glass shower enclosure is preferable. We will discuss the various options and their limitations to help you choose the best design.

For example, if you have a small bathroom, a swing door may not work because you risk banging it onto the wall whenever you open it. If you have children, the risk level increases. In this case, a sliding glass door is the better choice.

Other factors that we will consider for custom designs include;

  • The number of glass panels.
  • Shower door options. Do you want one glass door or more?
  • The angles where glass panels meet. Most people go for 90-degree angles, but if your bathroom has a unique shape, shower experts can use alternative angles where the glass panels fit against the existing walls.

When preparing the glass panels, we consider all wall imperfections. The installation method also matters because, when done improperly, leaks will occur. We understand the need for precision and panel configuration since the glass panels were measured to fit.

Quality Materials Matter

Typical shower doors are made using tempered glass. However, there are other materials to consider if you want something cheaper. However, there will be trade-offs that you should consider. Glass showers are inviting and stylish. The ½” (1.27cm) glass panels are currently the heaviest gauge. The lighter alternatives, such as the ⅜” (0.95cm), are cheaper, but you will be sacrificing longevity.

If you choose high-quality glass, you won’t have to worry about water leaking when it is correctly installed. Low-iron glass is clear and has excellent light flow. Textured glass offers a middle ground between privacy and clarity. Frosted glass is opaque and allows very little light into the enclosure.

Unfortunately, glass carries risks and may not be the best choice for some households. If you have safety concerns over glass shower enclosures, you can try other materials, such as acrylic and fiberglass. These do not break easily, but they need more clarity of glass doors.

Acrylic is lightweight, budget-friendly, and shatter-resistant. It is also cheaper than glass. Fiberglass is scratch-resistant and equally durable. It is also the best choice for high-traffic bathrooms. You should also consider the quality of the hinges. For example, brushed nickel and satin brass are easier to clean.

Maintenance and Upkeep

When looking at a shower enclosure, you need to consider how easy or difficult it will be to maintain it. Some designs are easier to clean than others, so you should have this in mind, especially when it comes to a custom shower enclosure. When it comes to shower door options, a two-panel shower door is easier to clean than a swing door.

You should also check the hinges and imagine how easy or difficult it is for you to clean them. Some hinges have spaces that can collect a lot of dirt, yet they are difficult to clean if there are any removable parts that you can occasionally remove and clean.

Hard water build-up tends to leave unattractive water marks on glass shower doors. Find out if the glass company applies protective coatings on their glass shower enclosures. These help to keep shower doors clean since they prevent water spots. Our protective glass coating also prevents scratches. You can also get special cleaners to deep clean shower enclosures.

Find out if the protective glass coating has a warranty, which will give you an idea of the quality of the coating. Some coatings, like the GCS Armor that we use, come with a lifetime warranty.

Conclusion - Myth Busted

Undoubtedly, there is a misconception about shower glass. Some frameless glass enclosures leak, often because of the installation method. When you use shower experts, you don’t have to worry about water leaks. At GCS Glass & Mirror, we go out of our way to ensure you have a different experience. Call (623) 400-5707, and we will discuss how you can modernize your bathroom with a frameless shower enclosure. 

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other articles about Glass Showers:
The Advantages of Corner Shower Enclosures for Smaller Bathrooms

What People Are Saying About Us

I did everything from my iPhone! Easy peasy!

The team at GCS was so easy to do business with. I did everything from my iPhone. I received quotes for my project with options to choose from. We scheduled appointments by text. Measurements were precise and the glass install looks great. When it was all done I made payments through an app on my phone. Easy peasy.

– Philip Capizzi

Very Accommodating!

Just had our new shower glass and frame installed and we are very pleased. Brendan and Tyler did a great job and we really appreciated them working around the other flooring project we had going on at same time. Very accommodating. The glass and framework looks great. I'm looking forward to using the shower tomorrow with the new look. VERY pleased. The company is very responsive, quick to come out and measure, and got the job done. Thanks!

– Steve Gerhart

A Great Experience!

A great experience from the first estimate, measuring and install. Really well priced and was surprised at how quickly the shower doors were delivered and installed an entire week early. Was very pleased with the entire experience from start to finish.

– Kathleen Ruhl

Super Fast Turnaround Time!

I found this company after looking at many top-rate glass companies in Denver and seeing that I had to fill out forms and wait for them to get back to me. Some took days, and others have yet to call or email back. GCS was easy to text in from the website and talk to someone and get a quote rather quickly with examples over the text message. Within a few mins, I had a quote and an appointment set! That's how you earn the business! Make the initial request EASY and prove what the client is looking for! They were on time for every appointment and were professional. The glass took a few weeks to arrive, but the team kept us in the loop via text and never missed a detail. We are so happy with our choice, and the glass looks fantastic! They even added a complimentary glass coating to keep the soap scum at bay for two years. I'm starting a new project and will use them again in the next few weeks! Highly recommend.

– Alex Tooke

Look No Further!

No need to search any further for a new shower door. Not only is GCS very fair on pricing (believe me, I did my due diligence) but their customer service is out of this world (so rare these days). From working with Chance on pricing, Austin on installing, and Tom on measuring and follow through, everyone was extremely professional. Tom is a perfectionist in the best of ways. His attention to detail is reflective in the quality of work. Thanks team!

– Caitlin Kinnett

Best Experience Ever!

We had the best experience work with GCS Glass! We knew going in some of our product was on back order and would take awhile. We were so impressed with GCS Glasses communication! They always communicated what was going on every time they got an update. We never felt like they “forgot about us” because they were in constant contact. Their workers were great and professional. Price wise they were slightly cheaper than competing companies. We could not be happier with this company.

– Jessica Laue-Flint

Highly Recommend Company

I would highly recommend this company for your shower door. Brandon was quick to respond to my request for quote. He provided excellent details about the options and prices including pictures, all in text so was very convenient.

– Teresa Hastings

Professional staff, Outstanding installers

GCS Glass is the premier company in AZ. Professional staff, outstanding installers. I ordered 3/8" Starphire clear tempered glass, brushed nickel hinges and hardware to match my bathroom fixtures. Emily sent me a detailed invoice with photos of the hardware. This was the finishing touch to the custom bathroom I built. If you want the absolute best GCS will deliver.

– Mark Plennes

Smooth Process, Amazing Quality

We absolutely Love our Glass from GCS Glass Supply. The whole process went so smoothly and the quality is Amazing. Joe and Tim were very responsive each step in the process. The install by Junior and Camden was above our expectations. They were very polite, clean and provided quality craftsmanship. Many thanks GCS Glass. Best regards, Jim & Susan M.

– Jim Mohrig

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