What Type of Shower Door Is Best?

Whether you are installing a new shower in your bathroom or looking to add a shower door to an existing shower, you may be wondering which shower door is right for your space. Many options to consider include framed or frameless, sliding, hinged, and frosted or clear glass-paneled doors. Don’t worry, though! We have extensively researched to bring you everything you need to know about choosing the best type of shower door. 

Beyond style, when choosing a shower door for functionality, a sliding glass-paneled door is the best option. Here are some reasons why this type of door may be right for your shower: 

  • Versatility; install on either a bathtub/shower combination or on a shower stall. 
  • Space-saving; ideal for small bathrooms without space for a door to open out. 
  • Cost; simplistic installation is affordable. 
  • Customizable; a variety of framing and glass finish options to coordinate your bathroom aesthetics.

While a sliding door is a logical choice to fit any shower stall, you should also know what the other door options have to offer in terms of style and functionality. Let’s take a look at shower door options, so you are well-informed before making your choice. 

A collage of best bathroom shower door, What Type of Shower Door Is Best?

Sliding Vs Hinged Shower Doors 

The two most common types of shower doors are sliding and hinged doors, referring to how the shower doors open. A sliding door slides along a track, whereas a hinged door opens outward. 

Sliding Shower Doors 

Modern blue bathroom interior with round mrror and sliding shower door cubicle

Sliding doors are the right choice, whether your bathroom contains a bathtub/shower combination or is lacking space. Because the slider is built into the frame of the tub or shower, there is no need to utilize bathroom space for the shower door to open. Sliding doors are specifically designed for wider tubs and showers, so it can be challenging to find a sliding door model that fits a stall less than 60 inches wide.

Which Side Of A Sliding Glass Door Should Open? 

Shower experts suggest that the sliding panel goes on the inside track and opens from where the shower fixture is located, allowing you to adjust the showerhead and water temperature from outside of the tub or shower. However, it is your preference as a homeowner. On most sliding door models, the orientation can be switched. You might even prefer a sliding door model where both sides slide open. 

Are Sliding Doors The Best Option For A Small Bathroom? 

Sliding doors are typically the best option for a bathroom where space is an issue. With hinged doors, a bathroom’s design will have to take into consideration the amount of space the shower door will need to be able to open correctly. However, sliding doors might not be the best option for a shower or bathtub that is on the smaller side. Sliding glass doors are typically designed for stalls that are 60 inches wide. If you have a more narrow stall, you may have difficulty finding a sliding door model that will fit. 

Hinged Shower Doors 

A complete remodeled master bathroom interior with hinged shower door

Hinged doors are the right option for shower stalls too narrow for sliding doors. However, it would be best if you had a bathroom designed with sufficient space for the door to open. 

Hinged shower doors work similarly to any household door, opening either inward or outward to provide access. The double-door variation has hinges on either side of the shower stall and a handle for each door located in the middle. Another popular design is a fixed panel with a hinged door attached, so a panel will protect a portion of the shower while a door provides access from inside and out. 

Should Shower Doors Open In Or Out? 

In most cases, shower doors open out. However, it is possible to install the doors to open inward. For doors opening outwardly, make sure your bathroom has sufficient space to utilize other features like the toilet and sink while the shower door is open. 

Framed Vs Frameless Shower Doors 

Both sliding and hinged shower doors have optional frames, so choosing a frame depends mostly on your style preference and installation capabilities. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of a shower door frame, and how it can affect the aesthetic appeal and functionality in your bathroom.

Framed Shower Doors 

Bathroom with screened shower and framed shower door

A frame is typically made of aluminum and installed as an additional barrier to protect the rest of the bathroom from splashed or dripped water getting onto the floor or other surfaces. You will need extra diligence to clean a shower door frame because it can accumulate soap scum build-up.

If you choose to install a framed door, you will be able to use thinner glass panels for the door because the frame adds extra support. A framed door gives a more traditional, old-fashioned look to the bathroom versus the modernized, sleek look of a frameless door. 

Is A Framed Door A Better Choice For A Small Bathroom? 

The frame does not take up additional space beyond that of the shower door itself, so you can go either framed or frameless for a small bathroom. Mostly, this is a matter of personal preference in terms of style and convenience to clean.

Bear in mind that framed doors have versatile installation methods to fit over any existing shower design. A frameless door requires unique hardware, which can prove difficult if installing on a tiny shower.

Frameless Shower Doors 

Modern shower bathroom with frameless shower door

Because thicker glass is necessary to support a frameless shower door adequately, expect this type to be more costly. There is no room for error to install a frameless door properly. Even the slightest gap in the panels increases the risk of water leaking out of the shower, so be advised that you might need a professional, which also adds to the cost.

However, frameless shower doors are easier to clean since there are fewer areas to trap moisture and soap scum build-up. From a design standpoint, frameless shower doors are visually appealing. 

Do Frameless Sliding Doors Leak? 

Again, we stress the importance of having either sliding or hinged frameless shower doors professionally installed to prevent leakage. With proper installation, frameless doors are not leaky.

Frosted Vs Clear Glass For Shower Doors

A final decision you will need to make when choosing a shower door is using either frosted glass or clear glass for that finished look. 

Frosted Glass Panels

Bathroom with tiles and bright colors of broom shower with frosted shower doors

Tinting of glass shower door panels gives the appearance of frost, similar to frost gathered on your windows on a cold day. Frosted glass panels are beneficial to provide privacy. Typically, expect the frosted glass to be more expensive compared to clear glass because of the added finish. 

Is Frosted Glass Easier To Clean? 

The frosted glass needs to be cleaned less frequently than clear glass because the tint conceals water spots and grime. If you are looking for a lower maintenance option for your shower door, frosted glass panels may be the way to go. 

Clear Glass Panels  

Coral bathroom with clear glass shower door and tub

Crisp, clear glass panels do not provide any privacy for the user, but the transparent finish gives the illusion of a larger bathroom. Clear glass also tends to be cheaper than frosted glass. 

Can You Frost A Clear Shower Door? 

If you are having trouble deciding between frosted or clear glass panels, use clear glass because you can frost it yourself with these DIY techniques:

Window Film

Apply similarily to applying decals, and if you don’t like the look or you make a mistake, you can remove this tint. Click here to see this on Amazon.

Spray Paint

Apply a frosty finish to shower doors using specific spray paint, labeled for use on glass. Click here to see this on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Sliding or hinged; frame or frameless; frosted or clear; there are countless shower door combinations to create the perfect look within your budget. Now that you know a little bit about each option to choose the shower door of your dreams. 

Starting from scratch and not sure if you want a shower/bathtub combo or a shower stall? We’ve got you covered with everything your need to know about shower stalls here. And when your bathroom renovation is complete, don’t forget to check back for our stunning bathroom decor ideas here

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