Skip to content

Sliding vs. Pivot Shower Door: Which One is Better for You?

Whether you’re performing a floor-to-ceiling bathroom remodel or just installing a new shower, you’ll need to decide which style of shower door to equip your shower with. Two of the most common glass shower options are pivot-hinged doors and the sliding door style.

So which one of these choices is the perfect glass shower door for you?

Sliding Shower Doors

Just like the sliding glass door that many people have on their back patio, a sliding shower door runs along a floor track. Unlike a typical exterior sliding door, however, it is possible to install a set of sliding shower glass doors known as “bypass doors.”

Bypass glass shower doors allow either of the pair of doors to slide along their parallel tracks. This means that you can enter or exit the shower from either direction. Other features of sliding shower doors include laminated or tempered glass.

If you prefer a patio-style sliding glass shower door, you can also install sliding shower doors that feature one fixed panel and one moveable panel that slides along a track. 

Framing Options for Sliding Shower Doors

Since sliding shower doors need a metal track to operate, they can’t be completely frameless shower doors, unlike some other shower door options. Instead, sliding shower doors can be either fully framed or semi-frameless.

If you decide to go semi-frameless, your shower door panels will be unframed, with metal framing covering the tracking at the bottom of the door. These frames can be turned into a design choice with metallic finishes suitable for the rest of your bathroom’s style.

Either option will suit you well, though the semi-frameless style works well with modern bathroom décor trends, especially if you install bypass shower doors. Framed shower glass doors typically work well with more historic bathrooms.

Pivot Shower Doors

Similar to the hinged doors located throughout the rest of your house, a hinged glass shower door swings inward and outward around a hinge. Hinge options include wall-mounted hinged shower doors and hinged shower doors that use a pivot.

A typical wall-mounted hinged door shower enclosure is similar to the style of your front door, whereas pivot hinged doors are located at the top and bottom corners of the shower door.

Pivot shower doors work well with more modern bathroom styles, with the pivot hinges themselves being less noticeable and lower maintenance thanks to easier cleaning. Like sliding shower doors, pivot shower doors rely on tempered or laminated glass because the constant movement of the doors requires sturdier material than annealed glass. 

Framing Options for Pivot Glass Shower Doors

Pivot-hinged doors work well with frames, without frames, or with a semi-frameless design. Semi-frameless and framed pivot shower doors are both surrounded with aluminum, though the door panels themselves are unframed in the semi-frameless setup.

Frameless glass shower doors and semi-frameless designs each allow for a more modern look that matches the trendy style of pivot hinges. Like with sliding shower doors, framed pivot shower doors work better for vintage-style bathrooms.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Sliding Shower Doors

One of the clearest perks of bypass-style sliding shower doors is the versatility provided by being able to open the doors on either side, rather than having to contend with one moveable door and one fixed door panel.

For example, with a bypass sliding door, you can open one door to reach your shower’s knob, get the water running, and enter the shower through the other door instead of getting blasted with not-yet-warm water on the door nearer to the shower head. This is similar to the versatility of a shower curtain.

If you’re worried about the long-term maintenance of your home, sliding shower doors also offer an advantage by minimizing or outright eliminating the amount of water you get on your bathroom floor during a shower.

Instead of needing to sop up any water that slipped through the bottom of the door (as may be the case with pivot shower doors), you can shower knowing the water will stay enclosed within the sliding door structure.

Finally, another benefit is the lower cost associated with buying and installing sliding shower doors versus pivot doors.

However, sliding shower doors aren’t completely without faults. For instance, sliding shower tracks are notorious for attracting all manner of dirt, grime, and debris, which means extra work to produce a clean shower whenever you’re giving the bathroom a good scrubbing down.

In addition, sliding shower doors don’t offer as large of a gap to enter the shower because the two door panels need to overlap in the middle. Plus, the horizontal space needed for the sliding tracks means that this kind of shower door won’t be a good fit in the corner of your bathroom the way a typical shower stall might be.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Pivot Shower Doors

As you may have guessed, many of the weaknesses of sliding shower doors are the benefits of pivot hinges. For example, pivot doors are great if your bathroom is hurting for space. You can fit a stand-alone shower stall with pivot hinges in a corner with little issue, which can be a lifesaver for tiny bathrooms.

Plus, pivot-hinged doors allow for a bigger opening into the shower stall itself, since there’s no need for an overlap between separate door panels.

Another perk of pivot shower doors is that their upkeep is easier than that of sliding shower doors. Since they don’t have a track for the door to run along, pivot shower doors require less cleaning. In addition, you never have to worry about a door bumping out of its track or otherwise getting misaligned, which sometimes happens with sliding doors.

On the other hand, pivot shower doors do require a bit of cleaning up after each individual shower. Because pivot showers open out into your bathroom space, they drip water from the shower stall directly onto your tile or another type of floor surface. This requires laying out a towel and possibly needing to dry up after every shower.

Apart from going in and out of the shower entrance, pivot shower doors can also allow water to escape through the gap that runs parallel to the pivot hinges. This gap isn’t large, but the fit still isn’t as tight as with a sliding shower door set, meaning that water can still escape during your shower.

Lastly, while pivot shower doors are great for small bathrooms, they can also create some discomfort if you need to use your bathroom at the same time as someone else. Because they swing outward, pivot shower doors can bump into other people, or even into your sink or toilet (depending on how close together everything is!). 

Contact GCS Glass & Mirror to Get a Quote!

Finding the right shower door style for your bathroom is a big decision, but it’s one you don’t have to make alone. Don’t be afraid to let the bathroom renovation experts at GCS Glass and Mirror guide you through the process of designing, customizing, and installing the shower of your dream.

Whether you like sliding or pivot glass doors, frameless shower enclosures or fully framed custom glass showers, we’ve got your back! Contact GCS Glass and Mirror today to get a free quote.