A frameless shower door can serve as a luxurious finishing touch for a recently remodeled bathroom. Although the installation process is normally best left up to the professionals, it's not out of the ordinary for homeowners to tackle this as a do-it-yourself project. Not only does it give you an opportunity to save money, but it can also hone your home improvement skills and provide you with a sense of accomplishment
However, there are plenty of things to keep in mind as you attempt to install your frameless shower door. The following highlights a few challenges you might run into along the way.
A Shattering Situation
For obvious safety reasons, frameless shower doors are made from tempered glass, a type of safety glass created through rapid heating and cooling during fabrication. Unlike ordinary glass, tempered glass is designed to break into thousands of very small and relatively blunt pebbles, as opposed to the very sharp fragments created by breaking ordinary glass.
The good part is that you won't hurt yourself if you manage to break your shower door. The bad part, however, is that tempered glass is always under tension and that the right amount of damage in the right place could cause the entire thing to shatter spontaneously.
You can see how this could cause problems during a DIY installation, especially if you accidentally chip or bump the glass while handling it. Any sort of damage could weaken the glass and cause it to significantly lose tension. Even if nothing happens after you've damaged the glass, temperature changes and other variables could cause it to suddenly fail later on.
This also means that you can't have your glass trimmed if you discover the dimensions are slightly off. If you don't have the measurements right the first time, you'll end up spending a lot more money replacing the glass itself or making drastic modifications to the shower doorway.
Other Issues to Consider
The problems that come with handling tempered glass aren't the only ones you have to worry about during a DIY installation:
- You may run into walls that turn out to be off-plumb or not completely vertical. This can make a flush installation much harder to pull off.
- Frameless shower doors also need to be installed with very tight tolerances in mind in order to keep leaks from becoming a problem. Gaps caused by poor fitment or off-plumb doorways can allow water to leak through to the surrounding bathroom area.
Also keep in mind that your local municipality may also have its own regulations regarding shower doors. Some places actually regulate the maximum width and height of frameless shower doors, namely to prevent accidents and lessen the chance of serious injury.
Look for a Professional's Touch
Unlike their framed counterparts, frameless shower doors can be challenging for the average homeowner to install. If you get stuck somewhere during the installation process or if you don't feel confident enough to pull it off, you can have a professional installer, such as those at Mitchell Window & Door, step in. Your contractor not only has the right tools to deal with the job in a reasonable amount of time, but they also have the knowledge and expertise to handle special challenges that could pop up during the installation.
Not only that, but a professional installation also gives you something that you wouldn't have after a DIY installation – a long-term guarantee on the work performed. That means your contractor is responsible for making any repairs that are needed during the warranty period, often at little or no cost.
That shouldn't discourage you from tackling the installation on your own. However, you might find it a bit less hassling to have a professional take care of it on your behalf.