"a practical hands-on
   guide to bathroom


Shower Door Installation

                                                                                                                                                                             Shower door installations can be relatively simple if care and common sense are used.  Make sure you measure twice and cut once (replacement metal is very expensive if purchased by the piece and may take weeks to get).                                                                                                                          
This discussion focuses on sliding tub/shower or stall shower door installations (the most common types) and will not discuss hinged, neoangle or stationary panel door installations.  Also, normally the manufacturer's instructions are quite good - this discussion will be about issues that are not in the instructions. 

To begin, examine the door and all parts against the instruction parts list to be certain all the parts are there (it's not unusual to have missing parts due to packing errors).  Whether you're doing a tub/shower or a stall shower installation, it is
imperative that the tub or shower base be level (discussed on the Shower Base Installation or Tub Installation page).  If your base or tub is not level, you will need a tapered strip that is installed under the bottom track of the door (these can be expensive to purchase and may not be a stocked item with most suppliers).  The same applies to your walls - if they are out of square, a filler may be needed.  Bottom line - be certain all your surfaces are level and square.                                                                                    
Don't be in a hurry to cut your header or tub (shower) track without measuring twice.  I suggest using a chop saw for cutting.  A china marker is best for marking the metal and wall surfaces since it's easy to clean off when done (don't mark grout joints since they are difficult to clean).   

Keep the wall jambs vertical with a level and mark the holes on the wall to be drilled for the
securing anchors.  You may need a good diamond bit to make your
holes in some of the
harder tile (porcelain for ex
ample).  Carbide bits are used for other surfaces.  The last thing you want to do is crack a tile.  Use a piece of duct tape on the wall surface you are going to drill into to keep the drill bit from "walking" on the wall surface.  A "walking" bit on a wall can cause visual damage if the new door frames doesn't conceal the damage.   

Once your wall jambs and header is installed, you may hang the doors.  Normally, the doors have adjustable wheels that allow for a good fit.  Some frameless doors have hanger brackets for the wheels.  It's best to put a small dab of 100% clear silicone caulk on the glass bracket connection (this will prevent potential failure).

When caulking the metal to the walls or the tub (or shower base),
always use 100% silicone caulk (the water clean-up type is not acceptable in heavy water use areas).  Caulking is easy if you do it all the time, but if you are not comfortable or confident about caulking, get a cardboard box and practice caulking the intersections to get the "feel of it".  Do not use your finger to smooth 100% silicone caulk (you can do that with the water clean-up type) - it is not
forgiving.  Neatly caulk the required intersections  and allow the caulk to dry (cure) for
24-48 hours before using your new enclosure.
Regarding cleaning:  two primary materials are used to manufacture shower doors - tempered glass and aluminum.  To assure a long lasting finish on the doors, wipe it down with a towel after each use - never use a scouring agent.  Many over the counter cleaners may harm the metal finish, so it is wise to spot test the cleaner before using on the entire enclosure.  Many homeowners apply a wax-like material on the glass and metal to help the water/soap film run off (this is more work but worth it).  A soft hand-brush used with your favorite nonabrasive cleaner may be used (in a circular motion) with clean shower door glass.  Once doors get a soap film that is "old", it may not be able to be removed.