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If you’re a fan of home makeover shows — and scrolling through Pinterest is your favorite way to unwind — you already know that glass shower doors are the quickest way to make your bathroom look bigger and more luxurious. A glass shower may be the single biggest difference between a dark, confining space and a light, airy retreat. 

If you’ve already decided to go with a glass shower, your next big decision is whether you’d prefer a framed or frameless option. At East Side Glass, our technicians create and install both styles, and we’re happy to outline their pros and cons so you can shop with confidence. 

Framed Glass Shower Doors — Pros

framed shower door

Framed shower doors have a lot going for them. Here are the five biggest pros you should consider with this style:

  1. Better stability
  2. More watertight
  3. Easier installation
  4. Lots of style options
  5. Less expensive

Let’s explore each of these in more detail. 

1. Better Stability

The heavy-duty aluminum frame adds stability to glass shower doors, which makes them less likely to break. No glass is 100% unbreakable. But glass shower doors are made of tempered glass, which is specially designed to break into circles — not shards.

2. More Watertight

That aluminum frame does more than add stability. It’s also designed to give you added protection against leaks. Bathrooms and kitchens are obviously expected to accommodate some water and humidity, but framed designs help you keep wet floors to a minimum. 

3. Easier and More Flexible Installation

Framed shower doors can fit over any type of shower material, including fiberglass bays. The installation process itself is also easier. Of course, if you have an experienced pro do the work, you won’t have to worry much about the installation. 

4. Lots of Style Options

Some homeowners worry that framed shower doors will look dated. However, if added stability and water control are important to you, you might want to give framed doors another look. They’ve certainly come a long way in the last 10 – 15 years, and at East Side Glass, we believe framed shower doors can be just as beautiful and stylish as frameless ones. 

Check out our residential gallery for design inspiration.

5. Less Expensive

If you’ve been researching this online, you may have read that framed glass doors are typically less expensive. While that may be true if you’re looking for a budget-conscious option from a big box store, your price will ultimately depend on the style and the quality you’re looking for. Just like most things in life, you tend to get what you pay for. 

framed shower doorFramed Glass Shower Doors — Cons

Framed glass shower doors have a lot going for them, but there are three potential drawbacks you should be aware of when you make your decision:

  1. Harder to clean
  2. Limited motion
  3. Longevity

1. Harder to Clean

Simply upgrading to a glass shower can boost your home’s value and completely transform the look of your bathroom. However, any glass door will require additional cleaning.

At East Side Glass, we offer aftercare products to help minimize the cleaning and maintenance your shower will require to look its best. However, framed styles will nevertheless require more frequent cleaning than frameless styles, as soap scum, minerals, and mildew tend to build up around the edges of framed doors over time. 

2. Limited Motion

While frameless doors can swing either way, framed styles are only designed to open outward. Depending on the design of your bathroom and how rushed your family’s mornings are, this may or may not be an important factor in your decision. A sliding glass door may also be an option, depending on your bathroom’s layout.

3. Longevity

The longevity of your framed shower door will depend more on you than the door itself. If you keep the frames clean and well-maintained, you will be able to enjoy your shower for a good 20 – 30 years. But without proper care, the aluminum will eventually begin to corrode. 

frameless shower doorFrameless Glass Shower Doors — Pros

Frameless glass shower doors are inarguably trendy. But there are plenty of reasons to love this style: 

  1. Appearance
  2. More motion
  3. Easier to clean
  4. Easier to replace

1. Appearance

There’s no getting around this one. Some homeowners have a strong preference for the minimalist, sleek style of a frameless shower door. Without frames to get in the way, it may be easier to appreciate beautiful tile work, and your bathroom may feel even more spacious.

Plus, you can still customize the look of your glass shower with hardware. Feel free to browse various hardware options here

2. More Motion

Unlike framed shower doors, frameless styles can swing both inward and outward. It may sound like a small point, but if your bathroom tends to be a busy place in the mornings, a door that can swing inwards can keep high-traffic areas free and clear. 

3. Easier to Clean

Without a frame, there’s not such an easy place for soap scum, minerals, and moisture to collect. You’ll have to do less frequent cleaning and use less elbow grease with a frameless style. 

4. Easier to Replace

Frameless styles are slightly less stable. But on the remote chance that your shower door ever breaks, finding a replacement for a frameless door is much easier, as you won’t necessarily have to order glass from the original manufacturer.

If you already have a frameless shower door and it breaks, regardless of where you originally purchased it, at East Side Glass, we are happy to help homeowners throughout central Minnesota get it replaced. 

Frameless Glass Shower Doors — Cons

If you love the look of a frameless shower, just make sure you’re aware of these potential drawbacks: 

  1. Stability
  2. Price
  3. Installation

1. Stability

There’s no need for you to worry about safety when you work with a high-quality glass manufacturer — glass shower doors will be made of shatter-resistant, tempered glass. Unfortunately, it’s still possible that your glass may break if it’s not handled with care, and frameless styles are slightly more fragile than framed ones. The good news is — as I explained a bit earlier — frameless styles can be easier to replace. 

2. Price

Frameless shower doors will cost a bit more due to both materials and labor costs. But considering the value that this style might add to your bathroom, paying 10 – 15% more might be worth the investment. 

3. Installation

Frameless styles can’t be installed over every type of material, and you’ll need a pro to install it properly.

The Best of Both Worlds

 If you prefer a frameless style, but your shower can’t accommodate it, you might consider a semi-frameless or by-pass shower door.

For example, at East Side Glass, our experts can create a number of custom solutions to help you get the look you love. As an added bonus, these styles are also lighter, and, therefore, less expensive than completely frameless designs.

But even if you’re not located near us, you might still have additional options if you have glass artisans that will take the time to design a custom solution for your home. 

See Your Bathroom in a New Light

At East Side Glass, we know that there is a time and place for big box stores. But if you’re considering a glass shower, it’s because you understand and appreciate the beauty it will bring to your daily life. It’s so easy to take bathrooms for granted — as a place where basic life needs are met. But they can also be a place of self-care, rejuvenation, and relaxation.

As a third-generation family business, we take pride in providing artisan craftsmanship and sophisticated design concepts to central Minnesotan businesses and homeowners. We know the homes here; in fact, our family started this business before most of them were built. But no matter the age or style of your home, we take great pride in breathing new life into it and making sure the busiest rooms in your home function well for modern families.

If you’re looking for a relatively quick bathroom transformation, our experts can help make your next steps easy.

Talk to a Glass Specialist