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What Kind of Glass Is Used for Shower Doors?


Although there are different types of glass for shower doors, the International Residential Code requires residents to use safety glass in the shower area. However, what exactly is safety glass? Below are the different types of glass and the best option for your glass shower door.

Tempered Glass

Shower doors and enclosures are usually built from tempered glass. While you’ve probably heard this term, you may not know how exactly tempered glass differs from “regular” glass (technically referred to as annealed glass).

During the manufacturing process, glass is heated and then rapidly cooled to make tempered glass. This procedure of heating and cooling makes the glass much stronger overall. Furthermore, the process changes the characteristics of the glass so that it reacts differently to breakage.

If a sheet of tempered glass is broken, it will basically disintegrate into many small chunks that are not as sharp and hazardous as shards of annealed glass.

Enhanced durability and safer fragments make it clear that tempered glass is the best type of glass for shower doors. When a piece of glass operates as a swinging or sliding door, or even when it simply functions a wall in a shower enclosure, personal safety becomes a key issue since the individual who is showering will be in such close proximity to the glass.

Related: How Much Do Glass Shower Doors Cost

Tempered vs. Laminated

Laminated glass, on the other hand, is really two sheets of glass adhered to a thin central layer of clear vinyl. It looks like normal glass, but if it gets fractured the sheet of glass remains intact because every broken piece is still stuck to the vinyl.

Glass Thickness

Glass shower doors and enclosures can be built from glass of varying thicknesses, although this is somewhat determined by whether it is a frameless, semi-frameless, or framed unit. The thickest glass is also known as “heavy glass,” and this is used on all frameless and some semi-frameless units.

Thinner glass can be used when the unit is framed because the frame both adds structural support and safeguards the vulnerable edges and corners of the tempered glass.

Related: Why You Need A Custom Glass Shower Door

Glass Appearance

Within the realm of tempered shower glass, modern homeowners can also choose from  various looks and textures. Simple clear glass is actually a very hot item today, but alternatives include:

  • Frosted glass (acid-etched)
  • Patterned glass
  • Colored glass
  • Cast glass

Privacy glass that obscures visibility by means of frosting or heavy texturing is popular for bathrooms shared by siblings and other high traffic restrooms.

Related: The Complete Guide to a Glass Shower Enclosure Upgrade

Glass Protection

A final variable that should be addressed when considering what types of glass are used for shower doors is glass protection. When a new glass shower installed, you don't want to spend a lot of time and effort cleaning it. Frameless shower doors are the easiest to clean. Not only does this contribute to the popularity of frameless units, which have fewer nooks and crevices to clean, but it pulls many consumers toward glass with a protected surface.

ShowerGuard glass is glass that has been treated with ion-beam technology during manufacturing. This leaves it with a permanently sealed surface, free of the pores where corrosive and unsightly elements so often build up. However, you can also consider a high-end sealant, such as EnduroShield, that is applied to the glass after manufacturing.

EnduroShield is a spray-on compound that bonds to the glass and makes it water and oil-repellant, thus protecting it from corrosion and staining.

If you're looking to install a new glass shower door, contact Arrow Glass & Mirror today!

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Arrow Glass & Mirror, Inc. has proudly been serving customers in Central Texas since 1994.


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Susan Agcaoili wrote:
2 Jun 6:38pm
Do you have a 36” to 3’ or 2’ glass (tempered) with mounts putting in wall for my shower

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