Framed vs. Semi Frameless Shower Door – What’s the Better Option

Shower doors are an essential part of a bathroom. They improve the appeal of your bathroom as well as the overall value of your property. Additionally, a shower door plays a critical functional purpose of ensuring privacy and preventing water spillage.

There are three main types of shower doors; framed, semi frameless, and frameless. Each has distinctive features, pros, and cons. As such, the big question on most homeowners’ minds is whether there is a particular type of shower door that is better. Well, it all depends on your preference.

In this article, we evaluate which is better: framed or semi frameless shower doors? We break down the similarities and differences between framed and semi frameless doors, their primary features, and their pros and cons to help you decide which one you prefer.

Framed Shower Door

As the name suggests, a framed shower door has a metallic frame around the glass panels.


  • Since they have a thick metallic frame all around the glass panel, framed shower doors tend to be sturdy.
  • Lower risk of shattering. Aside from the glass panel being tempered, the thick metallic frame keeps the door’s structure and integrity, preventing shattering.
  • Prevents water spillage outside the bathroom. Frame doors have a layer of caulk that prevents water spillage.
  • A wide variety of frame designs to choose from for your ideal bathroom style and feel. For instance, you can choose between a nickel, brass, copper, and steel frame finish.
  • Affordable. Compared to frameless and semi frameless doors, framed doors tend to be cheaper. However, the price range for framed shower doors varies depending on the finishing, size, and manufacturer.
  • An excellent option for off-square walls. Shower doors specifically modeled for off square walls can be quite expensive. However, a framed shower door that fits the dimensions of the walls is an affordable option.
  • Easily available. There is a wide range of framed shower doors available both in online stores and at your local home improvement stores for you to choose from.


  • Frame corrosion. Framed shower doors have a metallic track at the bottom and top that holds the door in place. The tracks can collect water, which may eventually lead to corrosion of the frames.


  • Risk of mold growth. Like frame corrosion, the water that collects on the tracks of the shower enclosure serves as an ideal breeding ground for mildew and mold.


  • Maybe too traditional. The shower door manufacturing industry has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade. As a result, numerous innovations in frameless shower design make the framed shower door seem outdated.


  • Thin glass. Generally, framed shower door panels have a thin glass due to the metallic frame’s extra reinforcement. Therefore, if you are particular about a thick shower door panel, a framed glass shower door may not be a great option for you.


  • Requires professional expertise to install. Framed doors are heavy and require professionals to install them properly.

Semi Frameless Shower Door

On the other hand, a semi frameless shower door has a metallic frame only on some of the edges and not all. It is an excellent option if you are looking for an in-between framed and frameless shower door.


  • Offers a clean look. Semi frameless shower doors have a thinner metallic frame, which gives a clean feel together with the frameless edges. The clean look gives the illusion of spaciousness.


  • Offers an uninterrupted view of the bathroom walls and fittings. Since semi frameless shower doors have fewer metallic structures, they offer a great view of the bathroom walls.


  • Cost-effective. Semi frameless doors are generally more affordable than frameless ones.


  • Modern. Semi frameless doors are an upgrade of the framed doors.


  • Wide range of styles to choose from.


  • Sturdy. While semi frameless shower doors do not have as many metallic frames as the framed shower doors, the metallic frames available help maintain the door’s structural integrity.


  • Risk of leakage. Water is likely to leak through the frameless edges.
  • Frame corrosion. The metallic frames may hold water leading to corrosion and rusting.
  • Mold and mildew growth due to water accumulation on the metallic frames.
  • Generally, semi frameless shower doors are more expensive than framed ones.


  • Both framed and semi frameless shower doors have glass panels
  • Both offer a wide range of styling options
  • Both are available in different shapes and sizes
  • Both require professionals to install
  • Their price range varies depending on the manufacturer and the product specifications
  • Durability depends on the quality of materials used to make the door

Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Shower Door

  1. Budget. Shower doors are available at almost every price point. Decide on your budget and shop around to find a shower door that fits within your budget. Be realistic with your expectations. For instance, you cannot expect a luxurious shower door at the lowest available price
  2. Functionality. How well will the shower door fit with your bathroom size and dimensions?
  3. Preference and style. Think about the door type that would fit well with your bathroom décor
  4. The material used to make the door. For any glass door, always ensure that tempered glass is used to make the panels. As for the frame, you can choose from a wide range of materials, including brass, copper, nickel, and steel
  5. Shower door operation mechanism. Consider whether you prefer a particular shower door opening mechanism such as sliding and pivoting mechanisms. For instance, most framed shower doors utilize the pivoting mechanism; hence it may not be ideal if you prefer sliding doors

A semi frameless shower door is a hybrid of a framed and frameless shower door. While semi frameless doors still have a bit of metallic frame, it gives your bathroom a more modern feel. On the other hand, framed doors are quite sturdy and are less likely to break. With that said, when it comes to choosing between a framed and semi frameless door, it all boils down to your preference, budget, and the size of your bathroom.

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