Shower doors may seem like a petty part of the bathroom shower but nothing can be farther from the truth. It’s a crucial part that affects the level of privacy you’re comfortable with, the amount of time you’re willing to invest for a daily cleanup and not to mention your lifestyle and budget.
For these reasons and more, there are different types of shower doors to serve your needs. The types cover a wide range from functions to styles.
Table of Contents
Also known as “bypass” shower doors, these doors operate very similarly to a sliding patio door. They have two glass panels that slide, although there are sometimes additional glass panels that are fixed in place. These panels easily roll on tracks that are attached to the enclosure. The door itself may slide in the track but there are also sliding shower doors that have mechanical rollers to make the doors easier to open and close. They can be used on showers that are stand-alone as well as mounted on a bathtub, depending on the configuration of your bathroom. They are great for smaller bathrooms since they don’t swing out and you don’t need a lot of space to operate these shower doors.
Source: Home Depot
If you have a gorgeous shower in your bathroom that you want to show off and don’t want to deal with the hassle of operating a door each time you get in and out, then you may benefit from a fixed shower door. These are glass panels that do not move once they are installed. There is an open space that is left so that the user can easily enter and exit the bath. While these shower doors look modern enough as they are, some people prefer to buy and install ones that have designs, frames, or etching in the glass. It’s important to measure your shower to make sure that it is large enough that you won’t have to worry about water getting all over the bathroom before you install a fixed shower door as they aren’t a great choice for smaller showers.
These shower doors operate much as regular doors in a home do. They have pivoting hinges that allow the door to swing out and open whenever someone wants to enter or exit the shower. This hinge can easily be attached to the wall, the shower surround, or even to an immobile glass panel that is part of the shower. While these shower doors are very common on stand-alone showers, the bathroom itself has to be large enough to accommodate them. Without the right clearance, you won’t be able to open the shower door all of the way, which can make it very difficult to use the shower.
“Bi-fold” or “tri-fold” shower doors operate just the way that their name implies. There are several glass panels as part of these shower doors and while one is fixed, others will fold up on themselves, thanks to their hinges. They operate the way that many folding closet doors operate and are very easy to open and close. Because they don’t swing out into the bathroom, they are great in smaller spaces but their interesting design works well no matter how large your bathroom is.
Source: Home Depot
These shower doors are used when the shower is located in the corner. The doors are not installed at right angles to the wall the way that they may be for an alcove door. Rather, the shower will have five walls when finished. Two of them will be the shower surround while the last three will be two glass panels and the shower door. These doors usually operate with a hinge so the door swings out. They are best in larger bathrooms where there is not only enough room for the door to swing all of the way open but also for the shower since they tend to be a little larger. They have the added benefit over some other showers of appearing very big due to the amount of glass that is visible.
Source: Home Depot
If you have a smaller bathroom but still need to install a shower, then an alcove shower and door may be the best bet for you. They take up very little space in a bathroom but you do have to plan for clearance for the door to open as it does operate on a hinge. These showers do not feel as open and luxurious as other open plans but the shower doors can be just as nice and even decorative if you want, which will instantly improve the space.
Source: Home Depot
These are sliding shower doors but are not flat the way that most shower doors are. They enclose the shower in a rounded piece of glass that will gently slide along its track to be opened and closed. These doors work great in a corner of the bathroom where you need to have a shower but still want to keep your bathroom looking classy and improved. Instead of bulky doors that swing out, round doors are very aesthetically pleasing.
Source: Home Depot
Shower doors that are framed have a frame that runs all the way around the glass. This frame can be made of composite material or of aluminum. These doors also have a track that will catch dripping water and needs to be cleaned on a regular basis so that mold and mildew do not grow in it. There are many different finishes that you can choose for your framed door, making it easy to match the rest of the hardware in the bathroom.
For a sleeker look that is easier to keep clean, frameless shower doors are an excellent choice. They make the bathroom feel a lot bigger and more spacious. The glass can be up to 3/4” thick, which offers just enough weight to make the door easy and comfortable to operate. They have towel bars that can actually be mounted through the glass of the shower door itself. This means that the bar will be very sturdy and there won’t be any concern of it breaking or becoming damaged.
These showers do have metal around the actual structure of the shower but the door itself does not have a frame. The metal around the door is on the bottom, which will catch drips off of the door. While they are sleeker than framed shower doors, they do still come with the necessary cleaning of that bottom track so that no stagnant water catches there and causes problems.
Source: Home Depot
Clear shower doors are among the most popular throughout the world. They offer an unobstructed view into and out of the shower. If you live by yourself, are in the habit of locking the bathroom door when you shower, or aren’t afraid of being seen, then this shower door is great for you. One of the major benefits of this shower door is that it looks very clean and new. People love clear shower doors because they open up the space in the bathroom and allow the light from the room to enter into the shower. If you have a smaller or darker bathroom where you struggle to get enough light, then you may want a clear shower door to help combat that problem.
Frosted shower doors still allow some of the light from the bathroom to enter into the shower but offer more protection from people in the room. They are a great choice if you want a little privacy while in the shower, are worried about someone walking in on you, or know that you have to share the bathroom with other family members. While frosted shower doors don’t tend to look as clean as clear shower doors do, they can improve the space if they are cleaned on a regular basis. Make sure that you are happy with the amount of frosting on the door as some are more see-through than others and you will want to pick one that will best meet your needs. Frosted doors are beneficial in a number of applications but are darker than other options.
Patterned shower doors come in many different options and are a great way to update the bathroom without a lot of effort. From ones with plants, trees, or flowers on the door to others that have framework complete with clear glass panels running through the door, there is a patterned shower door available that will appeal to everyone. These doors are generally easy to wipe down and to keep clean, although it is a little more important with them than with others as soap scum and mildew will obscure the pattern on the door and make the door look old and unkempt. When completing a bathroom remodel, it’s a good idea to pick a more neutrally patterned door so you can be sure that you’ll like it for years to come. Be careful when choosing a patterned shower door or one that has an etched design as it is likely to become the focal point of the bathroom. While this can work very well in a larger space, if your bathroom is quite small, then it may overwhelm any other design elements that you want to include in the space.
Source: Home Depot
If you want the brightness of a clear shower door without having to worry about anyone seeing you while you are inside, then you will want to choose an obscure door. These have been specifically designed to make it very difficult, if not impossible, to see the person inside the shower. This is a great choice if you share your bathroom, live in a busy home where everyone wants to be in the bathroom at once, or are simply worried about your privacy. They are able to let in light from the bathroom so you won’t be showering in the dark but do an amazing job at keeping prying eyes from seeing you while you are in the shower.
Source: Home Depot
Similar to a frosted door, ones that have a rain appearance offer protection from someone seeing into the shower. They are a little less obviously patterned than frosted doors are and many people appreciate their sleeker look. These doors look great in any bathroom but especially ones that have been designed and decorated to have a more modern feel. Opt for a rain shower door when you want privacy but want to maintain the beautiful room that you have worked hard to achieve. These doors do a great job at blending into the bathroom. Unlike ones that have designs etched in them, your rain shower doors will never be the center of attention in your bathroom, which allows you to bring in other design elements without worrying about overloading the room.
If you have any concerns over your shower door shattering, then you are best off with one that is made of tempered glass. While it is very unlikely that your shower door would ever break, much less shatter into dangerous pieces of glass, the possibility is always there. This can happen sometimes because the door is slammed or someone falls into it. While tempered glass can still break if exposed to enough trauma, this is an extra precaution that is sure to help keep you and your family a little bit safer. No matter if you live alone or have a number of children using the shower, opting for tempered glass is a great way to stay safe.
While many people use shower curtains in conjunction with their bathtubs, shower doors that are specifically designed to fit on top of the tub are a great alternative. They allow easy entrance and exiting from the tub or shower, and close tightly to keep any water from escaping. These doors also make the bathroom look much more put together than using a shower curtain, are easier to clean, and last longer. Having a bathtub door professionally installed in your bathroom will also raise the value of your property as it is a much more permanent fixture than a shower curtain is. Of course, it is also more permanent so it’s important that you take time when deciding which bathtub door is right for you as you can choose from different colors of hardware as well as frosting on the glass.
Every home has its own unique style and incorporating that style into the bathroom is a great way to make your contemporary space flow and feel connected. Instead of choosing a bulky, weighed-down shower door, when you want to keep the contemporary feel of your home flowing through your space, then you will want to opt for a contemporary door. These are light and airy, have very minimal metal, if any, and are usually frameless as a frame will make the door feel bulky and heavier.
These shower doors are probably similar to the ones that you had growing up. While they will fit in most any home, they will look out of place in a bathroom that is very modern or eclectic. If you are going to be trying to remodel your home in order to sell it, then traditional shower doors are generally a fairly safe bet as they are not offensive, not too modern or advanced, and perfectly functional. They are often etched and the designs are going to be traditional and not at all modern.
Industrial shower doors will instantly add a lot of visual interest to the bathroom. If you are trying to achieve this look in your home, then you will want to look for dark metal surrounds or a bathroom door that is completely frameless. Both of these looks appear industrial and will help you to update your bathroom into something that flows with the rest of your home. When choosing an industrial door, make sure that it is clear as this will give you the crisp look and the high contrast to the dark fixtures in your bathroom that you need to really bring the look and feel to life.
These shower doors are going to be clear, crisp, and clean. There won’t be any extra lines or framing that doesn’t need to be there and all of the hardware will be chosen so that it doesn’t stick out or draw a lot of attention to the door itself. When shopping for a modern door, make sure to choose clear shower doors, carefully match your hardware to all of the other hardware in the bathroom, and consider a frameless or semi-frameless style as this will allow the eye to move over the shower door without obstruction.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.