If you are considering upgrading your bathroom with a framed or frameless shower door, it is important to understand the differences between them. They are built differently, and each offers several advantages and some disadvantages.
One of the main advantages of a framed shower door is the cost. Framed shower doors are typically less expensive than frameless shower doors.
Framed shower doors use relatively thin glass wrapped in aluminum casing to give extra strength and support. The aluminum frame is attached to another frame, wall, shower header, or ceiling.
Since framed shower doors have aluminum frames to reinforce the glass, it is possible to use a thinner piece of glass than that required with a frameless shower door. Framed shower doors are often available with a variety of decorative glass options. A shower door frame can be painted with a metal or enamel finish.
A framed shower door is usually good at retaining water because of the amount of overlying materials. It can work well as a steam enclosure.
One disadvantage of framed shower doors is that they come in standard heights which may seem too short to many homeowners. The metal in the frame can distract from the beauty of the tile work or bathroom fixtures. A framed metal door can also look outdated.
Many homeowners are instead choosing to remodel their bathrooms with frameless shower doors. Nothing compares to the appearance of a sleek and elegant frameless shower door and attractive tile work. A frameless shower door can give a bathroom an elegant, modern, or minimalist look. It can be accented by a variety of tile designs, hardware, and accessories.
Frameless shower doors can be custom-built to match nearly any need and specifications, meaning that they can fit in virtually any bathroom, regardless of size and design. The variety of design layouts is limited only by the laws of physics.
Frameless glass shower doors are easier to clean than doors with frames because frameless doors have more smooth surface area.
Frameless shower doors are constructed with stronger glass than framed doors, often architectural quality glass. They require more glass fabrication and greater craftsmanship and attention to detail. The costs for labor and materials are higher for frameless shower doors than doors with frames.
One factor that can affect the choice between a framed and frameless door is the location of the showerhead. A framed shower door has a magnetic strip and rubber seals to prevent leaks. If the showerhead is not far enough away from a frameless shower door, it can leak. Splashing is less of an issue with sliding glass doors because the panels overlap.
A framed shower door can be positioned at nearly any angle. A frameless glass door, however, can only be positioned at 90, 135, or 180 degrees to the hinge panel. This can limit design options in some cases.