Installing a Glass Shower Stall Encolsure
Up Close with Glass Shower Stall Enclosures
By Rob Robillard
My brother, a master plumber, always says the shower is the heart of the bathroom. When the shower is bad, it can make you hate your bathroom.
The 5-by-7-ft. utilitarian master bathroom I grew up with is now history. Today’s trends—complete with radiant heat, unlimited on-demand hot water, high-end fixtures, furniture-grade vanities, stone work, music and walls of glass—have transformed bathrooms into private grottos where a homeowner can retreat to relax.
The trend these days is to remodel your bathroom into an oasis of relaxation, and the shower design, more specifically frameless glass shower enclosures, are a key driver in that trend.
A glass shower enclosure gives the bathroom a spacious, luxury spa-like look and feel, but all to often homeowners make a critical timing mistake. When designing the bathroom, homeowners often put off the glass shower enclosure decision until the end of the project, considering it a “finish trim” decision. Big mistake!
According to Greg Weyman, vice president of marketing for Basco Shower Enclosures, a leading shower enclosure manufacturer, “The tile, hardware and fixtures are where most people start and tend to spend the majority of the budget within the shower.”
If you want a glass shower, however, you should incorporate its inclusion from the outset of your remodeling plan.
Types of Glass Enclosures
Semi frame-less and frame-less glass shower enclosures have been around for a while and have always been associated with a timeless look of quality and classic design.
As a remodeler, most of the glass shower enclosure designs I deal with are custom made, which is not usually considered an easy DIY project.
Frame-less glass shower enclosures are made of tempered glass and come in varieties of finishes, styles, glass textures and patterns to satisfy most people’s aesthetic appetite. The glass doors are super heavy and require quality hinges and secure attachment in order to operate properly.
The process of planning, choosing and installing a custom glass enclosure can be an educational experience.
I truly believe that you get what you pay for, so don’t skimp on the products with features that will make your life easier and save you time. On my projects I use glass and fixtures from an Ohio-based company called Basco Shower Enclosures. Basco is an innovative leader in the shower enclosure industry, and has been around for more than 50 years. They are a family owned business, owned and operated, by the Rohde family in Mason, Ohio.
(In fact, Mr. Rohde, now in his nineties, still goes in to work to make an appearance.)
Design the Shower First
The best part of using a custom glass enclosure company is that you can create any type, size or shape shower you want, and then have the glass made to fit it. Custom glass enclosures can be installed with tolerances of 1/16 inch.
Professional glass installers will template the space you create and then have the glass cut perfectly to fit that space. This may include cutting tapered glass panels to fit to and accommodate walls and floors that are not level or plumb.
The installer needs to measure or create a template after the tile, marble or stone is set in place. It takes approximately three weeks to custom-make the glass and get it installed.