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Building a shower is rarely a DIY project but it is still important for homeowners to have an understanding of the basic regulations that need to be met. One important area that may be overlooked if you are not knowledgeable about construction is the width of the shower door. Just how wide should your shower door be? We have done the research to bring you this answer.
A shower door should be a minimum of 22 inches wide to allow for safety codes and overall ease of use. Most standard shower doors are between 22 and 36 inches wide.
While a minimum width of 22 inches is a pretty common rule, there are factors to consider that will help you determine the size door you will need for your shower. Considerations such as your state's building codes, the size of your shower, and the safety of the people using your shower will make a difference in your needs. To find out even more, be sure to keep reading.
Factors That Determine Shower Door Width
Let's look closer at the factors that determine the width of your shower door.
The internet is a great place to start when doing your remodeling research, but it should not be the only place you consult. Each state has a set of building codes that must be followed when building a new home or remodeling an existing one. Before beginning your shower project, make sure that you know your state's regulations. Not checking into this information ahead of time could be costly.
For example, according to California building codes, a shower door needs to be a minimum width of 22 inches. In Florida, a shower door needs to be a minimum width of 24 inches. And in Texas, the entire shower must be at least 30 inches wide.
The size of your shower is going to determine what size shower door you need. If you are adding a door to an existing shower, you will simply need to measure the opening to determine what size door to install.
If you are building a brand new shower, the process will be a bit more complicated. You will first have to determine how much space you have in your bathroom to dedicate to a shower and then choose the structure and materials of your shower. Ask yourself the following questions to get an idea of what you want your shower to look like:
- Do I want to be able to just walk into the shower or will the door be framed and I will have to step over a lip to enter the shower?
- Do I want a shower stall or a shower/tub combination?
- What type of panes do I want to use to build the shower? Will it be a standard box shower or are there features that will require different types of panes in certain sections?
- Do I want my shower door to slide open or do I want a hinged door?
Each of these questions will require additional research to understand what will best work in your bathroom. As you answer these questions, though, you will get an idea of what kind of shower door you want and how big it will need to be.
To help you figure out the best shower door for your home and your needs, check out our post that discusses How To Choose A Shower Door For Your Bathroom.
How you design your shower will depend on the individuals who will be using it. If you have young children, for example, you might want a shower/tub combination. If there are any mobility issues, you will want your shower to be easily accessible. This could mean a shower that doesn't need to be stepped into or a bigger shower to accommodate a shower seat.
To follow ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) specifications for a wheelchair entry, a shower should have a 60-inch wide opening so that a wheelchair can be easily rolled in and out. The lip shouldn't exceed 1/2 inch. If there's no wheelchair, ADA specifies a 36-inch wide entry with a grab bar.
How Wide Should a Frameless Glass Shower Door Be?
Frameless shower doors may require different considerations for installation than standard framed shower doors. However, like the standard framed door, they should be between 22 and 36 inches wide. Since, as the name suggests, it is frameless, the door must be able to support itself.
If you're curious about other aspects of a frameless shower door, read Do Frameless Shower Doors Leak?
What Is The Minimum Size For A Walk-in Shower?
Walk-in showers are a common modification for individuals with disabilities (or simply because you desire more space!). Because of this, there are extra regulations that need to be met. Not only will your state code have rules about a walk-in shower, but the ADA will also have recommendations on the size of a walk-in shower. The ADA recommended that a walk-in shower should be at least 36 inches by 36 inches, which is big enough to accommodate a shower seat.
If you don't have accommodation needs, you can get away with a walk-in shower as small as 30 inches by 30 inches. However, it is recommended to make your shower a bit bigger than that so you don't have to worry about water spraying outside of the shower.
How Thick Should a Glass Shower Door Be?
Your glass shower door should be 3/8 inches thick. This makes it a little bit thinner than the shower panels, which should be 1/2 inch thick. Frameless shower doors typically have the thickest glass since it provides the most structural integrity for the door. Fremed shower doors can get by with the thinnest glass, 3/8 inches.
Want to know more about the glass of shower doors? Check out our post, Is The Shower Door Glass Typically Tempered?
Is A Doorless Shower A Good Idea?
Doorless showers are one of the newest trends in bathroom design. Like every other trend, though, there are pros and cons to this concept. For example, doorless showers are easier to clean and make your bathroom feel more airy and open. They are a good option for accessibility needs as well, and they can be custom made to your preferences.
On the other hand, "custom-built" usually equates to "more costly." Your remodeling budget will have to be significantly higher if you want to include a doorless shower, as they cost an average of at least $5,000 as opposed to $1,000-$3,000 for a standard shower. The lack of a door will also mean less privacy. Finally, you will need more space for a doorless shower than a standard one, since it will need to be bigger to prevent water from getting out of the shower.
A shower door should be at least 22 inches wide, but it is important to remember that this is a minimum requirement and not necessarily a foolproof suggestion. You will consider the size and layout of your bathroom, the type and style of your shower, and your family's specific needs before you will be able to choose your shower door.
Lastly, but certainly not least important, it is imperative to know and understand the building codes in your area. Even a seemingly minute detail such as a shower door has specific regulations that need to be followed so your project remains in code. Taking the time to do all of your research can save you from making costly mistakes.