25 Different Types of Shower Doors (with Photos)
Regardless of how meticulously you plan out the design of your bathroom, the shower door is almost always lacking in terms of privacy and visual appeal. While a basic shower curtain will help to keep water off of the floor of your bathroom, shower doors tend to be a more attractive solution. Choosing the right type of shower door can improve the look of your bathrooms, while also providing easy access to the shower, privacy, and a water-tight seal.
If you’re currently searching for a new shower door for your bathroom, you’ve come to the right place. Shower doors can be broken down into a number of different categories including operation, shape, frames, glass type, style, and additional features. From fixed, sliding, and hinged doors, to corner and round to framed and frameless shower doors, there are many options to choose from.
Continue reading for our comprehensive guide on the different types of shower doors, along with their associated benefits. That way, you can make an informed decision about which variation is best for you and your bathroom space.
Types of Shower Doors by Operation
One of the main ways that you can describe a type of shower door is based on how it operates. Whether you decide on a fixed, sliding, hinged, or folding design will determine its ease of use. It’s also important to select the appropriate design style based on what will function best in your bathroom space.
1. Fixed Shower Doors
Fixed shower doors can offer a wonderful modernistic appeal to your shower, greatly increasing its overall look. However, these doors will also work well in any standard style bathroom. The doors consist of installed glass panels (usually a single panel) that cannot be moved after they’ve been mounted to your fixtures.
Oftentimes, this type of shower door is selected when you don’t want to take away from the look of the shower itself. Or, if you simply would prefer not to deal with the hassle of opening and closing a door when you use the shower, a fixed shower door is for you. The open space offers incredible ease of use, as you can step in and out of the shower hands-free.
While, on their own, fixed shower doors are very modern, there are other options that feature frames, etching, and designs on the glass. One of the main considerations with this type of shower door is making sure it is large enough for the space. The last thing you want is water getting all over your bathroom floor. As such, fixed shower doors tend not to be the best choice for smaller-sized showers.
2. Sliding Shower Doors
Also referred to as “bypass” doors, sliding shower doors functions similarly to a traditional sliding patio door. This type of shower door typically features two glass panels on a track that can be slid or rolled back and forth along the track. In some cases, sliding shower doors have mechanical rollers that are built into the doors to make them more efficient and user-friendly to operate.
This design may also include single or dual handles, or towel racks, depending on the particular model. Aside from being highly functional, these types of shower doors are very appealing to look at. That can be used on both standalone showers and also mounted to a bathtub – dependent on the orientation of your bathroom.
However, since sliding shower doors don’t swing out and don’t require a lot of space to operate, they work best for small bathrooms.
3. Hinged Shower Doors
Hinged shower doors are one of the most traditional designs, operating exactly like the doors that you have in your home. They feature pivot joints within the design that allows you to swing the door open and closed whenever you’re entering or exiting the shower enclosure. While they may be pretty straightforward in both design and construction, hinged shower doors have some of the most versatile options in terms of models.
These shower doors can complement a wide array of bathroom styles – ranging from simple stand-alone enclosures to larger and more expansive family-size restrooms. Generally speaking, hinged shower doors tend to fit larger bathrooms much better than the smaller variety. For best results, opt for a hinged shower door with a glass base. This will add a touch of sophistication to your bathroom.
4. Pivot Shower Doors
Pivot shower doors, on the other hand, may look somewhat similar to hinged doors but they operate much differently. Instead, pivot hinges hinge the shower door at the base and top, rotating the door on a spindle. As such, these types of shower doors offer designs with much heavier and wider doors.
5. Folding Shower Doors
Nothing quite displays a sense of elegance and class than a folding shower door. This type of shower door can make even the drabbest bathroom come alive. They typically come in two main types: bi-fold and tri-fold. These doors operate just as their name indicates, using a unique folding mechanism.
Folding shower doors consist of several glass panels, with only one that is mounted to the wall. The other doors are attached to each other with flexible hinges, moving and folding during use. Similar to folding closet doors, these shower doors operate in nearly the same way and are very user-friendly. Their features are both easy to open and easy to maintain, which makes folding doors a popular choice for a modern bathroom.
Additionally, the fact that they don’t swing makes these doors incredibly versatile and well-suited for small, enclosed spaces (like your shower). However, folding shower doors will work well in virtually any bathroom – regardless of the amount of space you have.
Types of Shower Doors by Shape
In terms of shape, there are typically three main types of shower doors to choose from: corner, alcove, and round shower doors. Let’s take a look at each of these in detail to understand their design, construction, and advantages.
1. Corner Shower Doors
As the name suggests, these shower doors are designed for showers that are situated in the corner of your bathroom. While you might assume the doors are installed at right angles, this is not the case with corner shower doors. Instead, depending on the size and shape of the shower, corner doors will have five or more glass walls.
Although most of these panels will make up the shower surround, the rest are dedicated to the shower door and the glass wall. These doors typically operate on a hinge that allows you to swing the door in and out, with the rest of the panels fixed into position. As a result, corner shower doors are best suited for larger bathrooms as they require a sufficient amount of space for the door to operate properly.
2. Alcove Shower Doors
If you’re searching for a shower door for a small bathroom, an alcove shower door may be your best bet. Generally speaking, they don’t take up very much space. However, you will need some space in the front and enough clearance for the door to swing open and closed optimally on the hinges.
When compared to other designs, alcove shower doors aren’t as spacious and open. In fact, you won’t want to choose this type of door if you tend to feel claustrophobic, as they tend to be very closed off and limited. However, alcove shower doors are the most cost-effective and space-saving option. With that said, it is often seen as a more utilitarian choice for those who still want to have a shower in a small bathroom.
3. Round Shower Doors
While at first glance it may seem like these shower doors operate with a swing-in/swing-out function, that’s not the case. Instead, round shower doors feature a sliding mechanism and are designed to encircle the shower in a rounded glass structure. To close and open the enclosure, the door gently slides in and out along the track.
These doors function very well and can work well in virtually any location in your bathroom, including the corners. They can add a sophisticated touch and enhance the décor of any bathroom design. Since the doors themselves are not flat and the glass isn’t particularly thick, it doesn’t require much space for round shower doors to be functional. They will look wonderful and function equally well in both small and large bathrooms.
Types of Shower Doors by Frames
Another way to categorize showers is based on whether or not they have a frame, or if they are a combination of the framed and frameless design. In terms of frames for shower doors, you have three options to choose from:
1. Framed Shower Doors
A popular choice nowadays, framed shower doors feature a frame that runs along all sides of the glass panels giving them a clear, defined border. The frames are typically made out of aluminum or composite material. When it comes to adding some visual interest to your bathroom, a frame shower door is a great way to do it.
One of the main drawbacks to this design is the fact that these doors feature a track along the base. This track forms a slight edge that catches dripping water and will require regular cleaning in order to prevent mold and mildew growth. However, framed shower doors offer a ton of versatility as they come in a wide array of finishes.
This makes it very easy to match your shower door to the color of the hardware in your bathroom, which is why framed shower doors are so popular among homeowners.
2. Frameless Shower Doors
As the name suggests, the distinguishing characteristic of frameless shower doors is their lack of a frame. When compared to framed shower doors, these are much easier to clean and tend to be a more economical choice. Similar to installing a large mirror in your bathroom, frameless doors can open up the space and make it feel much bigger than it actually is. Whereas, framed doors can make a bathroom feel somewhat closed off and limited.
The glass of frameless doors is typically around ¾-inches thick, which makes them heavier and easier to operate. In some cases, the glass panels will come outfitted with a towel bar. Though, you can very easily mount your own for convenience. Frameless shower doors are a great choice if you want to highlight the design of your shower, or simply want a sleeker, more luxurious look in your bathroom.
3. Semi-Frameless Shower Doors
If you can’t decide whether you want a frameless or framed shower door, you can enjoy the best of both worlds with the semi-frameless design. They feature some metal along the perimeter of the shower, though, the actual shower door is most frameless (except for the base). Depending on the model you choose, semi-frameless shower doors will offer a unique look for your bathroom and leave a lasting visual impact.
Like frameless, semi-frameless doors have a sleek design and can fit well in virtually any style of bathroom. On the downside, they also feature an edge at the base where water can collect and eventually grow mold if not properly maintained. Though, they tend to be much easier to clean than their framed counterparts. So long as you perform regular cleanings, you should have no problems with a semi-frameless shower door.
Types of Shower Doors by Glass
There are a number of glass types that you have to choose from for your shower door. While clear glass will showcase the lovely stonework and tile that make up your shower, frosted, obscure, and patterned glass offers a sense of privacy and a stylistic touch. Whether you opt for a clear, frosted, patterned, or tinted design entirely comes down to your own personal preferences.
1. Clear Glass Shower Doors
Shower doors made out of clear glass are among the most popular models available. Their minimalistic design offers a sense of sophistication. This, paired with the unobstructed view, often makes clear glass shower doors the go-to choice for many homeowners. They are ideal for those who live alone, lock the bathroom door whenever they’re taking a shower, or simply aren’t concerned with being seen.
One of the main advantages of this style of shower is how clean and crisp it looks. Not to mention, the clear glass requires very little effort to clean. If you have a smaller than average bathroom, the unobstructed view will help to open up the space – especially if the lighting in your bathroom is dim or minimal. The clear glass can greatly increase visibility in your shower and create a very appealing showering experience each time.
2. Frosted Shower Doors
These shower doors are semi-opaque, which allows just a small amount of light to shine through. When it comes to functionality, frosted shower doors are the opposite of clear glass doors. They are recommended for those who often forget to lock their door or tend to frequently have a lot of residents at home walking in and out of the bathroom.
Frosted shower doors offer a wonderful sense of privacy for the user. While they may not look as clean as clear glass doors, they’ll maintain their appealing look if they’re cleaned on a regular basis. Also, you’ll likely want to reserve this type of door for a bathroom with bright lights. Since these doors tend to be darker than average, you want to ensure that you have the necessary visibility while showering.
When you choose this style, make sure that you are pleased with the amount of frosting on the door. Some frosted shower doors are more transparent than others and it’s important you select one that best fits your needs. While you can purchase doors that are fully frosted, there are some models with only a particular section of the glass that is frosted (just enough to provide privacy) and the rest is clear. This specific design is displayed in the image above.
3. Patterned Glass Shower Doors
A very creative, unique option for your bathroom, patterned glass shower doors are a wonderful solution for upgrading your space with little effort and little funds. These doors come in a wide array of designs and patterns, making it easy to find one that best suits your bathroom décor. From hexagonal shapes, to flowers, to tree branches, to leaves, the patterned glass options are virtually endless. Opting for this type of shower door allows you to customize your shower area to your liking.
One of the main advantages of having a patterned shower door is that they are generally easy to clean. Simply give the panels a good wipe down with a clean cloth and they’ll look good as new. Though, you will have to clean them more frequently as water and soap scum will collect around the edges and could lead to mold and mildew growth.
For best results, try to choose a pattern that is more on the neutral side. That way, you can ensure you’ll like the design for many years and it won’t go out of style. While patterned glass shower doors will work incredibly well in a large bathroom, the design may overwhelm a much smaller space.
4. Obscure Shower Doors
If you want to enjoy the brightness that comes with a clear glass shower door while still having some privacy while taking a shower, an obscure door may be the best option for you. These doors are designed to make it nearly impossible to see the person that is inside of the shower, offering the greatest sense of privacy.
When compared to other glass types, obscure shower panels tend to be more expensive and also more challenging to clean. To maintain these types of shower doors, you have to clean them much more frequently. If privacy is important to you, an obscure shower door is likely the ideal choice for you.
5. Rain Glass Doors
Rain doors operate similarly to obscure doors, though they tend to be more intricately designed and visually pleasing to look at. If you’re looking for a shower door that will maintain privacy while also adding to your bathroom’s aesthetic appeal, rain doors are a wonderful choice. As the name suggests, rain doors have a rain appearance that is slightly subtler than a patterned or frosted door.
Since the design of a rain door is not as loud as patterned glass, it will never serve as a focal point of your bathroom. Therefore, you can include other design elements in the space to customize it to your liking. These types of shower doors are very versatile and will look great in virtually any bathroom design, but especially those that are more modern or minimalistic.
6. Tinted Glass Shower Doors
Tinted glass shower doors are typically colored and come in a range of hues including black, bronze, and shades of gray. You can determine the opacity of the glass, depending on how much privacy you want. Though, the particular tinted glass that you choose will depend on your space. Especially dark panels will not allow much light, if any, to enter.
Therefore, if you plan to install a completely black tinted shower door, you’ll likely want to have a lighting fixture inside of the shower enclosure for visibility. When it comes to both functionality and privacy, tinted glass shower doors are an excellent choice. While they’re not as crisp and clean as clear glass, they can bring a unique look to your bathroom.
7. Hammered Glass Shower Doors
Hammered glass shower doors can provide a very exciting showering experience in your bathroom. These types of doors are characterized by bold textures on the surface, with specific indentations only on one side of the glass. They get their name because the texture on the glass looks similar to hammered metal. Hammered glass shower doors offer a decorative look to your shower enclosure, while also allow some light to pass through.
The light that does come through the door will create a gorgeous visual effect on the walls of your shower. On the downside, these glass panels tend to be pretty expensive and not as durable as other alternatives. Repeated slams of the door could cause hammered glass shower doors to crack or even shatter upon impact.
Shower Door Styles
Shower doors can also be broken down based on style. Whether you’re looking to go for a traditional look or more of an industrial aesthetic, there’s a type of shower door for that!
An industrial-style shower door can make an incredible addition to your home, transforming even the dullest of bathrooms into an elegant escape. If you want an industrial look for your shower enclosure, you’ll want to opt for panels that are either entirely frameless or have dark metal surrounds. Both of these designs give off an industrial vibe and will help to turn your bathroom into a modern space that works better with the rest of your home décor.
Though, when it comes to choosing specific glass, you’ll want to choose clear over patterned, obscure, or any other style. Clear shower door glass will give you that crisp industrial look you’re going for, offering a wonderful contrast to the moody features in your bathroom. You can purchase these doors from a variety of retailers or have them custom-made to fit your space.
One step above industrial is modern style shower doors, which are more minimalistic in design. In most cases, these shower doors have very little, if any, framing or additional borders. They are designed in such a way that they do not draw the eye of anyone who enters the bathroom. Instead, they are meant to blend into the rest of the space.
Modern shower doors exist in the background, providing subtle sophistication and complementing the rest of the elements in the bathroom. Opting for this style of shower door prevents you from overwhelming and closing off the space. As modern doors will fit virtually any bathroom door, they are an excellent choice to design a bathroom around.
Everyone’s bathrooms are uniquely designed. While some may prefer to have a specific theme, others opt for more of a classic, contemporary look. This style emphasizes minimalism and practicality above anything else. Therefore, if your bathroom has very clean, utilitarian décor, a contemporary shower door is the ideal choice.
To achieve this style, you’ll want to opt for a lighter and thinner type of glass, as anything thicker will take up too much physical and visual space. This type of glass will help to make the bathroom appear more spacious than it actually is. Oftentimes, contemporary shower doors are frameless, since a frame will appear too heavy and bulky. Also, you may find some of these doors with a minimal amount of metal accents.
If your home is more traditional in design, it may be best to choose a shower door that matches that. This is typically the only application where traditional shower doors work, as they would look very out of place in a bathroom with a more modernistic design. Therefore, it’s important that you consider the rest of the bathroom décor before you choose a shower door style.
Traditional shower doors place function above aesthetics and will work very well in an older bathroom. Though somewhat out of date, these types of shower doors still do serve a purpose.
Types of Shower Doors with Additional Features
Last, but certainly not least, there are a select few shower doors that can be categorized based on the additional features that they offer. These include:
1. Bathtub Door
Though it’s more common to have a shower curtain in a bathtub area, in recent years, we’ve seen a rise in glass doors. These types of doors are specially designed to fit atop the bathtub and are an excellent alternative to traditional shower curtains both in terms of privacy and keeping the water contained in the tub.
Unlike shower curtains, they close tightly to keep water from escaping onto the bathroom floor. Bathtub glass doors can also help to make the tub appear more compact, allow easy entry and exit from the shower or tub, and are generally easier to clean. Overall, opting for glass doors over a shower curtain can make your bathroom look much more put together, classy, and even expensive.
They offer a much more elegant touch than shower curtains and can seamlessly complement a range of bathroom designs. However, bathtub doors are a more permanent option so it’s important that you choose the type carefully.
2. Safety and Tempered Glass
If you have young children and are concerned that roughhousing could lead to your shower door glass cracking or shattering, tempered glass is a good solution. While it isn’t exactly notorious for durability, it is nicknamed safety glass for a reason. If someone slams the door or falls into the glass it will not shatter into a million tiny glass shards.
When you have kids running around your house, glass doors that can shatter into little pieces are incredibly dangerous. Therefore, tempered glass panels and shower doors offer a much safer and kid-friendly alternative. Not to mention, they are easy to clean and maintain. While tempered glass may not be as sophisticated or visually appealing as other glass options, it is an affordable choice.
As you’ve seen, there are many different types of shower door styles, designs, and models available on the market for you to choose from. The one that you select will ultimately come down to your bathroom space and personal preferences. However, knowing your options and also taking accurate measurements of your shower will help ensure that you choose the right shower door.
Accurate measuring is crucial to ensuring that your new shower door fits properly in your bathroom space. For best results, you’ll want to measure the opening width and height, and then proceed accordingly. Or, when in doubt, you can always consult the help of a professional. They’ll not only help you find the right shower door for your bathroom, they may even install it for you!
Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.
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