What Is A Semi-Frameless Shower Door? (Find Out Now!)

Matthew Mountain
by Matthew Mountain

A shower is often the focal point of a bathroom, which explains why a lot of homeowners go above and beyond to customize their showers. An important part of any shower is its door, and these days framed, semi-frameless, and frameless shower doors are commonly used. Here, we’re going to explain what semi-frameless shower doors are, why they’re used, and what their downsides are.

A semi-frameless shower door has metal bars on the top and bottom while the sides are completely frameless. Semi-frameless shower doors are purchased because they’re visually appealing, designed well, affordable, and easy to clean and install. It’s often said that semi-frameless doors combine the best parts of what framed and frameless doors have to offer.

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What Is a Semi-Frameless Shower Door?

The semi-frameless shower door combines qualities of the framed and frameless doors, making it an ideal option for those who want the best of both worlds. The metal frame is subtle, usually running just along the top, and sometimes the bottom, of the encasement. The door, however, is completely frameless.

The metal in a semi-frameless door is mainly there for functional purposes, and it can also control water drip at the bottom of the door. Often, thicker glass is used to manufacture semi-frameless shower doors, but the thickness does come at the expense of the door’s transparency.

Why Semi-Frameless Shower Doors Are Preferred

Since semi-frameless shower doors combine the best qualities of framed and frameless doors, they’re quite popular. Moreover, they can be customized, ensuring there’s no disruption to the bathroom’s decor. Here’s why semi-frameless shower doors are popular these days.

Visual Appeal

Bathrooms are often used to show off a homeowner’s style and creativity. In a nicely arranged bathroom, there should be balance, blend, and beauty. Shower doors play a big role in a bathroom’s decor, and often an out-of-place shower will disrupt the vibe of a bathroom.

Semi-frameless doors are often used to ensure no part of the bathroom is hidden. Therefore, if your shower features unique tile work, a semi-frameless door would be ideal for showing this off.

Moreover, a shower is not always in use, so there’s no reason why it should close off a significant portion of your bathroom. With a semi-frameless door and glass concept, all that distinguishes the shower from the rest of the bathroom is a thick piece of glass, one that can be either transparent or frosted.


The design of a semi-frameless door ensures it can be sturdy without employing heavy-duty glass. This is because the metal frames are only used where they can provide supplementary support. Where the metal frames would provide little to no structural value, they’re removed, ensuring there’s transparency without compromising structural integrity.

Most semi-frameless shower doors are manufactured with aluminum, but of course top-of the line doors can be made with plated brass or stainless steel. The doors are designed to withstand years of use, yet one doesn’t have to exert a lot of energy to open or close them. Lastly, certain shower doors, like bypass doors, are only compatible with a semi-frameless construction.


Of the three kinds of shower door discussed so far, semi-frameless shower doors are between the other two in price. Frameless shower doors are the most expensive and framed shower doors are the least expensive.

Custom semi-frameless shower doors typically cost between $900 and $1,300. A single panel enclosure will obviously cost less than a multi-panel enclosure, and labor for an enclosure installation is usually around $300.

Semi-frameless doors are cheaper than frameless doors because they don’t employ the thick glass that frameless doors do. Installing a frameless door may also cost more, but labor cost is often specific to the specialist who’s installing the shower door and the accompanying panels.

Easy to Clean

Semi-frameless shower doors are generally easier to clean than framed doors, and one can clean a semi-frameless door in the time it takes to clean a frameless one. Since the frames on semi-frameless doors are fitted around glass, there are no hard-to-reach crevices that escape cleaning. There are also filters built into the frames, and these are there to prevent soap scum buildup.

Semi-frameless doors also make accessing the interior of the shower simple, so general shower cleaning will be easier and faster thanks to the semi-frameless doors. Moreover, if you install transparent semi-frameless shower doors—the most common type—then you can be one step ahead of grime and buildup, as you’ll always have a full view of your shower.

Easy to Install

Frameless shower doors can be a pain to install, but semi-frameless shower doors are much easier to install. These can also be installed DIY too, but this isn’t recommended. In short, because semi-frameless shower doors employ glass that’s thinner than frameless shower door glass, there’s no heavy lifting.

Also, with frameless shower doors, measurements have to be precise. That’s not to say measurements can be wildly off with framed or semi-frameless doors, but at least with these two door types precision measurements aren’t vital.

Framed and semi-frameless shower doors also reduce significantly the possibility of one being exposed to rough or jagged glass, both of which are often a result of improper enclosure installation.

Less Mold and Corrosion

Semi-frameless shower doors have only a few seals, so there aren’t a lot of places where water can collect. Therefore, it’s harder for mold and mildew to spawn on a semi-frameless shower door.

And unlike framed shower doors, semi-frameless shower doors don’t corrode quickly, and this is mainly because there’s more metal employed in a framed shower door.

So not only is cleaning a semi-frameless shower easy, but it’ll also protect users from the harmful factors described above.

Semi-Frameless vs. Framed & Frameless

Semi-frameless shower doors are better than framed and frameless shower doors in a few ways, and in some ways these latter doors are superior to semi-frameless doors.

  • Semi-frameless doors have more structural support than frameless doors and less than framed doors.
  • Semi-frameless doors, like frameless doors, can go well with a range of bathroom decors, whereas framed doors often stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Installing semi-frameless shower doors is easier than installing both framed and frameless shower doors, in large part because the glass used for semi-frameless doors is light and there‚Äôs not a lot of metal installation to deal with.
  • Semi-frameless shower doors are better for steam showers.

Related Questions

Since semi-frameless shower doors are purchased often these days, many individuals have questions about them. Here, some of the common ones are answered.

What can be used to clean a semi-frameless shower door?

One can use vinegar, lemon solution, or dish liquid to remove dirt and soap scum from a glass shower door. Non-streak window cleaner can also be used, but this doesn’t work well on some glass. Brushes and sponges will also help with the cleaning process.

Which kind of shower door goes better in a modern bathroom: semi-frameless or frameless?

Semi-frameless and frameless shower doors both go well in modern bathrooms, but a slight edge belongs to the frameless door. That’s because this door lacks the metallic frame, which may stick out pretty noticeably in certain popular bathroom decors.

Should a DIY shower door installation be pursued?

While it’s possible to undertake a DIY glass shower door installation, this is discouraged because of the risks inherent to such an endeavor. A professional will possess the skills and experience necessary to install a semi-frameless shower door correctly, so it’s best to leave this job up to an expert. Experts also possess all the tools and materials needed to ensure an installation goes well.

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Final Note

Semi-frameless shower doors have their draws and downsides, but they’re often preferred because their appealing qualities far outweigh their shortcomings. They’re affordable, accommodating, and visually appealing, which makes them go-to fixtures for those who’re pursuing a bathroom remodel.

Matthew Mountain
Matthew Mountain

Matt loves everything DIY. He has been learning and practicing different trades since he was a kid, and he's often the first one called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt loves to work with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his most favorite pastime.

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