Spacious bathroom and Corner Shower

Guide to Shower Door Installation

Installing a shower door may seem like a hefty task, but when you break it down into phases, you can get the job done in as little time as one weekend. The key to a quick and easy shower door installation is planning, organizing, and executing. Devise a plan, organize the plan, and execute the plan. This will help the shower door installation go flawlessly.

Before getting started, ask yourself which type of shower door you will be installing. Not only are there three types of shower doors, but you can also choose between a framed and frameless door.

Framed or Frameless? That is the Question.

Framed shower doors have just that: a frame. This means that the shower door itself sits in a frame. There are pros and cons to both framed and frameless shower doors.

Framed shower doors provide more resistance from water escaping the shower, whereas a frameless shower door is more likely to leak. Framed shower doors are also more stable and affordable, unlike frameless shower doors that provide a luxurious look at sometimes twice the cost.

Shower Door Types

There are three types of shower door styles: sliding, pivot, and hinged.

Sliding Shower Door

A sliding shower door will have two glass panels that are aligned in a track on the top and bottom that allows it to easily slide from one side of the shower entrance to the other. Oftentimes, both glass shower panels are made to slide, letting you open one door when getting in the shower and using the other door to slide open when exiting. Sliding shower doors are ideal for wider showers between approximately 45 to 59 inches wide.

Pivot Shower Door

A pivot shower door will open and close by pulling/pushing the door in either direction. The pivot hinges on the shower door will pivot and allow the shower door to open in both directions, whereas a hinged shower door only opens and closes in one direction. If installing a pivot shower door, you will need to make sure there is enough depth for the shower door to open and close in both directions, should you choose to take advantage of that feature.

With pivot shower doors, it is important to remember that building codes require the shower door to be able to open outward. Therefore, if you want to take advantage of the pivot shower door by allowing it to open inward, it will be required to open outward as well.

Pivot shower doors are ideal for corner showers, as they give you more versatility to be able to open and close than a sliding or hinged shower door.

Hinged Shower Door

A hinged shower door will only open in one direction, which will typically be away from the shower and into the bathroom. Hinged shower doors use two or three hinges to hold the door in place and allow it to swing in one direction only, depending on the side of the shower door they are installed. A hinged shower door is ideal for small, narrow showers that may not be able to accommodate any other type of shower door.

Step 1: Devise the Plan

First, you will need to choose what type of shower door you will be installing. How do you want it to look? Will you have room to install the shower door of your choice, or are you limited on space? Are you aiming for functionality over appearance, or is luxury your end goal?

Look at the styles of shower doors you want to install and research the different dimensions of the doors. Write down those measurements so that you know the options you are considering are feasible.

Once you have decided on the style you like, it is time to begin to organize your plan.


Step 2: Organize the Plan

This is the stage where you will need to purchase all the necessary materials and equipment for the job.

Some materials you will likely need for the door installation job include the following:

  • Tape measure
  • Shower door seals
  • Caulk & caulk gun
  • Drill
  • Anchor and screws
  • Level
  • Hacksaw (for cutting frame, if applicable)

You will need to take measurements of specific areas of the shower to determine the exact size shower door you will need.

If you are installing a sliding shower door, you will need to measure the entire width of the shower; however, if you are installing a pivot or hinged shower door, you will need to measure the shower where the opening will be. This will give you the exact width of the area you are working with so that you can order the shower door that will fit your measurements.

Another measurement you should note is how far out into the bathroom the shower door will swing. Knowing this before installing the shower door will keep you from being surprised or unprepared when you see how far out the shower door will extend when opened.

Once you have made all of your measurements and purchased all your equipment and materials, it is the moment you’ve been waiting for: installing the shower door.

Step 3: Execute the Plan

Now that you have all your materials, equipment, and measurements laid out before you, it’s time to get to work!

  • If installing a framed shower door, your first step will be to install the frame. Using a hacksaw, cut the frame to fit the measurement of the entire shower. Then install the frame by positioning the base frame to the threshold of the opening of the shower door, making sure it is centered. Once installed, take the side jambs of the frame, and place them on the sides of the shower wall, using your level to ensure they are straight. Mark the holes of the frame with a pencil, so you know exactly where to drill your anchors to secure the side jambs. Place the side jambs back on the shower wall to install the anchors and securely fasten the side jambs in place using screws. The last step in installing the frame for the shower door is to install the header. To do this, you will simply drill a hole on the bottom of the header that lines up with the top of each side jamb and secure it in place with a screw.
  • Now it is time to install the door. If Installing a sliding shower door, most of the work is done when installing the frame, At this point, simply place the door in the track of the frame with one handle on the outside and one handle on the inside. Add seals or drip rails, if necessary. If installing a hinged door, you will need to fasten the hinges of the door into the side jamb using this same process so that the door opens outward into the bathroom. You will want to make sure you install seals and drip rails to keep the water inside the shower.
  • Apply caulk to the seals of the frame of the shower door. This will keep the shower from leaking, making it completely waterproof.
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