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If you are looking to remove a hinged shower door to replace it with a new door or stationary panel, rest assured that it is not a difficult job, and most homeowners can do it easily with just the ordinary tools they have on hand.

Before You Remove a Hinged Shower Door

Before you start the project, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

Have a second person

Shower doors can be heavy and awkward to handle. Removing a hinged shower door should be done with two people, for extra stability and security.

Protect the bottom edge and corners

Shower doors are usually made from tempered glass, which is prone to shattering. The glass can shatter from even seemingly light impacts, particularly on the edges or corners. Always set your shower door gently down on padded surfaces, using blankets, towels, or a drop cloth to keep the edges from impacting hard tile and flooring.

If possible, wrap or tape cloths or foam around the bottom corners for additional protection. Having a second person will help prevent knocking the door against anything and shattering.

Wear gloves

Wearing gloves will protect you in the event that the door does shatter.

Use a stepladder

Removing a hinged shower door involves unseating the top pivot pin. Even if you are tall enough to reach this pin, using a stepladder will give you better access and visibility for this hinge, and make the job safer and easier. 

Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions

If possible, refer to any instructions from the manufacturer regarding how to remove your shower door. These instructions are often available online, and will help you remove your specific door more efficiently.

How to Remove a Hinged Shower Door

There are two basic types of hinged shower doors: doors that are supported and hinged on a pivot pin, and doors that are supported and hang on hinges attached to a frame or panel.

No matter what kind of shower door you have, in order to remove a hinged shower door, you will need: 

  • A second person
  • Towels or a drop cloth
  • A stepladder
  • Screwdrivers (usually Phillips, but your shower door may differ)
  • You may need a thin putty knife
  • You may need lubricating spray for old screws that have a lot of mineral buildup

To remove a hinged shower door, follow these steps

  1. 1
    Place a drop cloth on the bottom of your shower enclosure, to protect the surface from the feet of the stepladder, and to prevent any loose screws or parts from falling down the drain.
  2. 2
    Open the door halfway, so you can access the hinges, and have a second person hold it in that position.

If your hinged shower door is within a frame

  • You may need to remove some of the frame hardware in order to access the hinges or pivots that support the door.
  • If you need to disassemble some of the frame, start by removing any screws and carefully breaking the seal with a putty knife.
  • Do not attempt to pull any attachments from the wall or floor, because you may damage your shower surfaces and introduce leaks.

If your shower door has a pivot pin

  1. 1
    Standing on a stepladder, find the screws that secure the pivot cap at the top of the door. This cap conceals and protects the pivot mechanism.
  2. 2
    Using a screwdriver, remove the pivot cap
  3. 3
    In some shower doors, there are more screws to remove before you can access the pivot pin. Remove everything until you can reach the pin.
  4. 4
    With your companion holding the door steady, slide the pivot post down to free the top of the door
  5. 5
    Tilt the top of the door slightly away from the jamb
  6. 6
    With your companion, lift the door vertically to free the base pivot pin from its seating
  7. 7
    Set the door aside on a padded surface.

If your shower door hangs directly from hinges

If the weight of your door is supported by hinges instead of a pivot pin, it is best to start at the bottom and work up instead of top down, so that you have more control over the door. It is essential to have a second person holding the door while you remove the hinges.

If you are replacing a hinged shower door with the exact same make and model of door, follow these steps

  1. 1
    Starting at the bottom, carefully unscrew the hinges from the door. You may need to use a putty knife to break the seal and free the door.
  2. 2
    Have your companion support the weight of the door and hold it in position as you work your way up to the top hinge.
  3. 3
    Gently pull the door sideways away from the hinges to free it.
  4. 4
    Set the door aside on a padded surface.

If you are replacing a hinged shower door with a different make and model of door, it is better to detach the hinges from the wall or attachment point, rather than from the door itself. The hinges remain attached to the door, as you free the door and move it aside. This may be more difficult, and involve more use of the putty knife to break the seal and free the hinge, but reduces the chance of the door shattering. As above, work from the bottom to the top, and have someone hold the door steady as you go.

Conclusion

Removing a hinged shower door is mostly a task of locating the screws that secure the door in place, and removing them. It's a very simple job, only made difficult by the need to hold the door steady and support its weight as you detach it. With some patience, you can easily remove an old shower door and replace it with a new one, improving the look and functionality of your shower.