Bespoke Glass Shower Doors | A Comprehensive Guide
If a Glass Shower Door is required, either on it’s own or as part of a multi panel enclosure or set up, then you’re in the right place. Frameless and Custom Made to the Sizes You Require.
At Marvin and Pinch we’ve been providing glass door solutions for years, the aim of this guide it to examine the various elements of and frequently asked questions associated with the subject. Whether you're an interior designer, architect, installer or homeowner, after reading you should have a more informed understanding of frameless glass shower doors and the associated options relating to door knobs, hinges. seals and how doors are used in shower enclosures.
What glass is typical for a glass shower door, and what height and width is most common.
The most common thicknesses used for glass shower doors is either 8mm or 10mm. The height is generally between 1850mm and 2100mm, the width between 600mm and 900mm. The average size is around 2000mm by 700mm. As every scenario is different the height and width required will vary, and as we produce glass doors to the size you require, every job is bespoke in nature.
Let’s first examine a single glass shower door to be hinged from a wall. Currently you have an opening where a single glass door needs to be, so where do you begin?
The first thing to do is measure the opening, we recommend doing this once the area is tiled and finished, so that accurate dimensions can be obtained. Then decide on is what size the door needs to be, given the information above, a single glass shower door is never more than 900mm in width and 2200mm in height. A prime reason being that hinges require to work within a weight tolerance and have a suggested span load at which they can safely operate. We always advocate hinging the door directly to the wall or solid surface (where possible), in order to do this you need a hinge, or hinges.
Broadly speaking there are four types of hinges. An offset wall to glass hinge, and inline wall to glass hinge, a full height pivot hinge and a bi-folding action hinge. The first two types work with 8mm, 10mm and 12mm thick toughened safety glass. The full height pivot hinge requires 8mm thick glass. The bi-fold action hinges can accommodate 6mm, 8mm and 10mm thick glass. All types of hinge allow for a 90deg in swing and out swing by default, aside from the bi-fold which is more specific in it’s use.
What is an offset back plate wall to glass hinge?
It is a hinge which has the articulation point to one side of the back plate, the back plate being the rear of the hinge and what is secured to the wall. This type of hinge is favoured when you require the front face of the glass door to be as close to the edge of the shower tray or in a specific place on the wet room floor. The offset back plate enables the glass to articulate from the front of the hinge when opening and is perfect when you have no further room to bring the door forward due to a wall or tiles ending for example.
What is an inline back plate wall to glass hinge?
An inline back plate wall to glass hinge is in essence the same hinge body, except with the articulation point of the glass door in a central position in relation to it’s back plate. Meaning that if the tile run is continuous or there is adequate space, then the inline hinge is a great option.
Overcoming a wall that is not 'true' and out of plumb, lateral tolerance for hinges, and options to rake and shape the glass door if required.
There is a varying degree of lateral tolerance these types of hinges can accommodate, so for example if the wall to which the door needs to by hung is out of true and not plumb, they will work. However it is recommended that if the wall is out of true significantly, over 10/12mm then the hinges may need to be packed off the wall or in more extreme cases the glass door itself can be raked, this evidently increases the cost of the glass by approx. 25% to 35%. It is also common for attic and loft space glass shower doors to need a section of the door shaped, to coincide with the roof line. Most often two hinges are required, however depending on the height and proportions of the glass door, a third hinge can be needed.
Shaped wall hung shower glass door, with three Chrome inline wall to glass hinges and a door knob.
What is a full height pivot hinge?
Full height pivot hinge used in an attic shower enclosure.
As an alternative to either the offset or inline hinges, a full height pivot hinge can be used to create a pivot shower door. The term ‘full height’, relates to that fact that the hinge is cut down to the size of the glass door (the stock length it arrives in is 2200mm), it is a continuous hinge which runs up the wall. This type of hinge works specifically with 8mm toughened glass up to a maximum width of 900mm and weight of 36KG.
What are bi-folding hinges?
The wall to glass bi-fold action hinge is typically used when space is very limited, often when the ‘glass door’ is made up of two pieces of glass, which independently fold in the desired manner. The specifics of this articulation are configured by orientating the bi fold hinge in the required way, so that the folding motion of the hinge, suits the direction the glass needs to fold. The wall to glass option can be used on it’s own, but is more commonly used in conjunction with it’s glass to glass bi-fold counter part. As a general rule, bi folding hinges are used with a maximum span of 810mm in width (this requires approx six individual hinges to achieve), more commonly a 700mm width is accommodated with two sets of hinges. If the opening size is wider than this, it is best to consider a fixed panel, with a bi folding element attached, as per the following examples. A 'flipper' panel which bi folds is a common solution for over bath folding glass screens. Depending on the proportions of the glass sections, a support arm to add strength is regularly required. In these scenarios, the Chrome U Channel used to secure the 'fixed' section of glass is placed on two sides, the vertical wall and along the bath top, wet room floor or shower tray respectively.
The opening size is confirmed, the height and width of the door established, the hinge type has been chosen, what next? How do you actually open the door?
Simply put the glass door is opened with either a door knob, a pull handle, either square or rounded which is typically either 6” or 8”, or a polished finger pull (a hole in the glass itself). The choice is often one relating to the size of the door and personal preference. Our high quality components are available in a variety of finishes ranging from Matte Black, Chrome and Brushed Nickel to Satin Brass plus more.
Once the hinge and door knob or handle choices have been made, what actually helps prevent water from escaping around the edge of the shower door? Seals are the answer.
There are a variety of different seals used in a multitude of ways, depending on the needs of the door. Most commonly a door will consist of a ‘drip seal’ which is placed on the underside of the door to aid in preventing water tracking out underneath, a ‘bulb’ seal and a ‘h’ seal, these seals are placed on the vertical sides of the door where the glass meets the respective walls. All seals come in a 2.41m stock length and need to be cut to size by whoever is installing the custom glass shower door.
These shower door seals offer a water-resistant barrier around the perimeter, they can also from time to time need cleaning, as they simply clip on the edge of the glass, they are easily removed and put back in place. They can bridge uneven and irregular gaps if required also, so if the wall itself is slightly concave or convex, the seal is simply pulled off the glass door edge by the required amount. They are versatile and important. In conjunction with the 'drip seal' a clear threshold (like a speed bump) can be siliconed to the wet room floor or shower tray, if there is an issue with water escaping over time, essentially forming a double barrier with the vertical fins of the drip seal. Securing a threshold, is also a retrospective option if a significant amount of water is escaping.
Aside from a single glass shower door, a bespoke shower door as part of a cubicle or bespoke shower enclosure design remains broadly the same, but there are some key considerations to keep in mind.
The obvious difference is how the glass door is attached to another glass panel. Glass to glass hinges are the answer. There are three main types of glass to glass hinge, an inline glass to glass hinge also known as a 180 degree glass hinge, a 90 degree glass to glass hinge, this second type is used when the glass shower door element of the enclosure needs to hinge from an end, or return panel in the design. There is a further variation of the glass to glass hinge, this is a 135 degree hinge, used when a glass door is being used on a quadrant shaped shower tray, or design configuration. The third type is again the bi folding action hinge, often used on over bath folding glass panels and as part of a door with reduced space.
What is an inline glass to glass hinge?
What is a 90 degree glass to glass hinge?
What is a glass to glass bi folding hinge?
This particular glass to glass bi folding hinge has cover plates to cover the screws, and has a limited colour finish. It comes in either Chrome or Matte Black.
The door opening hardware is the same in terms of choice, however it is common for bi folding panels to either not have a door handle, or to have a polished finger pull. This is because the panels are generally required to be folded away, and a door knob for example would restrict this glass door or folding glass panel operation.
How to add stability to your configuration, when including a shower door using glass to glass hinges. Through the use of glass clamps, U Channel and support bars, or a combination.
Shower glass doors obviously move, and this articulation means that movement can be present throughout the overall bespoke glass shower enclosure structure. In order to minimise this, there are several ways in which this is handled. Through the use of U Channel, clamps and support bars, and combinations of these.
Door hinging from a fixed panel secured with U Channel and a 45 degree wall to glass support bar for stability.
This option is quite common, U Channel is used on the vertical and under side of the glass panel of which the door is hinged with glass to glass hinges. The support bar has been orientated at a 45 degree angle, so that the door, when opening and closing, has minimal effect on the overall two panel bespoke glass set up.
The above three images highlight inline frameless shower configurations, all comprising of a central shower door. The side panels were secured in place by recessing the shower glass U Channel into the walls, and a 'toe clamp' was positioning at the base of these panels to ensure stability. These configurations were rigid enough to not need any additional support bars or braces.
This configuration required a combination of clamps and U Channel to secure the shaped fixed panel in place. The glass shower door could then be hung in position.
Shower door hinging from a fixed panel secured with U Channel and a T section support bar, tied into the return panel.
This particular bespoke shower enclosure required a T section to be added to the support bar set up, this enabled the support bar to be secured to both the wall, the panel of which the glass shower door is articulating from, and the return glass shower panel.
Various shower glass clamps can be utilised as part of a design to ensure the structure is sound and also visually appealing.
This custom glass shower enclosure utilises various clamps to give strength to the design, the 'toe' clamps are important, as they prevent the door from working loose any silicone. A mechanical clamp in this position (the lower section of the fixed panels) is tried and tested, we recommend this approach when wanting to use just glass clamps in the overall design. In the following three sided shower enclosure examples, support bars which are orientated 'glass to glass', have also been used to give strength above the door itself. The support bars and arms we supply can all be retro fitted, so a decision can be made once the glass enclosure has been installed if needed.
Frameless sliding glass doors can be a great way of utilising restricted space. Simple and effective.
Aside from the more common pivot shower doors, when space is limited, a sliding door solution can be a great alternative. These custom shower enclosures comprise of a fixed panel element, which is secured in pace with U Channel, and then the sliding glass shower door itself. As a guide, the door and panel proportions are 50/50, meaning that a an overall opening of 1000mm, would typically have a 500mm wide panel and a 500mm wide sliding shower door.
Additionally privacy can often be required for a shower door or a toilet door, so how can this be achieved?
To ensure privacy, and typically to protect modesty, the glass door itself can be frosted, this happens through a process we refer to a 'sandblasting'. The end result for the glass is a frosted appearance, which allows for some light to travel through, but not to see the subject clearly on the other side of the door. This approach is common in leisure facilities and public establishments.
These particular glass doors were sandblasted, the left hand door was a shower, the right hand for a toilet. The effect of a direct light behind the door can be seen also, in contrast to no light. There is essentially a single 'grade' of sandblasting, and the above image shows the result.
Sometimes a door stop can be required, to signal a door can't be pushed or pulled beyond a certain point, and a wall to glass lock can also be added if needed.
Saloon style glass doors can at times be a perfect solution, as part of a glass partition, shower glass enclosure or as an alternative option to a single door.
A pair of double, or saloon style glass doors can be very functional depending on the space at hand, and they can look stylish too. As part of a larger enclosure or glass wall, the doors are hung using inline glass to glass hinges, crucially where the doors meet magnetic seals are used, so that when the doors are closed, or 'inline', the glass doors stay closed. As mentioned above, the glass panels of which these doors are hung will likely need additional stability, when being used as per the following images, in the form of support bars orientated either vertically, horizontally or at a 45 degree angle. It is important also to ensure the fixing to the floor, in the form of either U Channel or a toe clamp, is not omitted. using just silicone to hold is advised against as it will very likely work it's way loose over time, causing an issue and inconvenience later on. The scenario in which a double, saloon style glass door is being used will differ, if being used in a more enclosed space, then U Channel is often the most cost effective and versatile.
Using a glass panel as a deflector, or an over bath movable glass screen. We can provide the solution.
Aside from a 'proper' glass shower door, a hinged panel can be used in multiple ways, as a deflector, which can fold flat to the wall, or as a solution when the bath tub has been recessed into a cavity. In the second example, the offset wall to glass hinges were orientated, so that they were on the external wall face, cover plates were used to hid the screws.
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There are multiple ways in which our custom, made to measure glass shower doors can be made and tailored to suit your needs. We're here to assist whether the glass shower door is required for a domestic or commercial application. All our quality components, fixtures and fittings are available in a variety of finishes and attention to detail relating to your requirement is paramount. However it all starts with either an email or a phone call to us to get things moving in the desired direction.
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