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If you're trying to give your renovated bathroom that WOW factor, get creative with your new shower doors. After you've figured out whether to go frameless or not, consider using decorative glass, either for the entire doors, or simply as accents. The following is a brief outline of the basic types of shower doors and three types of decorative glass that can make your bathroom stand out.
Three Basic Types of Shower Doors
The first thing to decide is whether to go with a framed or frameless shower door.
Framed Shower Doors
Framed shower doors are the ones you are probably most familiar with. Glass panels are put inside of a frame, usually metal or vinyl, and then put together to form shower doors or fully enclosed shower boxes.
Semi-Frameless Shower Doors
These shower doors have minimal framing, usually just on the top and bottom of the panels. The panels may slide side to side, like on bathtub/shower combination doors, or swing out or in, such as on a deep cave-like shower.
Frameless Shower Doors
Frameless shower doors are designed to be "barely there." The only hardware are the entry panel hinges and a door handle. The hardware is usually minimalistic and often made of clear materials. The idea is to give your entire bathroom a seamless look, which does make it look larger.
Three Types of Glass That Add Something Special
It is quite common to use tinted glass in bathrooms to offer some degree of privacy, especially with the frameless shower door option. These three types of glass offer that privacy, but with an added sense of style.
If you look at an old Victorian home with its original windows, you might see dimples and other shapes in the glass panes. This was a natural result of the glass making process. Today, if you want these textured effects, they have to be intentionally created. Some of the effects are barely noticeable, such as in the Victorian glass noted above. Other glass makers incorporate patterns, imitating stands of bamboo, or ripples like you'd find on a serene lake.
Some textured glasses have a slight tint, usually of rose or bronze. The glass appears a little darker, but the only way to really tell the color is to hold something white in back of it and look through it. Textured glass, especially the lightly tinted variety, works well for showers. It can be matched with different tiles and marbles to create a coordinated look. Textured glass, depending on the degree of opacity, does offer some privacy.
Screen Printed Glass
Screen printed glass is also patterned. Instead of the design being created when the glass is made, it is applied after the fact. The process is much like that used for T-shirts. The material is put in a frame or on a hard surface and different colors of paint are applied, one after the other.
This is one way to refurbish your old shower doors. Pull them out, create and apply a design and, after they've dried, put them back in. If you have artistic talent, or even an idea of the design you want, let the contractor know. These are really fun for children's bathrooms because you can print a parade of animals or cartoon characters on the shower doors. Anything that encourages kids to spend time in the shower or tub is a plus.
Stained glass has been around since the 7th century. Archeological digs in Britain turned up pieces of old windows with bits of the glass still intact. For centuries it was used primarily in churches and in wealthy homes, intending to impress all who stepped inside. Victorian homes are known for their stained glass panels and windows.
In bathrooms, this type of glass is usually used as an accent. The advantage is you can create intricate designs and a rainbow of colors. But, stained glass is heavy, consisting of tiny pieces of glass held together by soldered metal, usually lead. One way to use the stained glass is to add a thin accent panel around the top of your shower doors. Use a repetitive floral pattern to match a Victorianesque bathroom, or perhaps a geometric series of circles and squares for something more contemporary. A skilled stained glass artist can create something that complements your bathroom décor.
Click here for more info on glass shower enclosures, or contact a local contractor.