What To Do With Old Shower Doors? (Find Out Now!)

Jennifer Eggerton
by Jennifer Eggerton

Whether you’ve recently remodeled your bathroom or are just tired of looking at soap scum, you may be wondering what to do with old shower doors. With a bit of time, you can repurpose old shower doors or get those drab, dreary doors looking new again.

Recycle the metal frame from old shower doors. Restore the shower doors. Sell them online or at a local thrift shop. Donate them to a non-profit organization. Use old shower doors for a glass mosaic, greenhouse, or enclosure for your patio or pool. Glass from old shower doors cannot be recycled.

Let’s take a closer look at the most common types of shower doors and what to do with old shower doors.

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What are the Different Types of Shower Doors?

Shower doors come in 9 basic styles.

  • Framed: The most affordable and popular type of shower door that has a metal frame and glass
  • Curved: Framed, curved glass enclosure that is used to create more room inside the shower
  • Frameless: An expensive option that is made with thick glass and no frame
  • Neo-Angle: Used for corner showers and designed with the door mounted on the diagonal
  • Sliding: Thick pieces of glass designed with rollers that ran along a track
  • Steam: Floor-to-ceiling shower doors that are sealed to hold steam inside the shower
  • Hinged: Thick pieces of glass with metal hinges that are mounted to the wall
  • Bi-Fold: Two pieces of thick glass connected by hinges that allow the shower door to fold
  • Pivot: Contemporary design that uses special hinges to fully open the shower door in either direction

What are Glass Shower Doors Made Of?

Glass shower doors are made of tempered glass. Tempered glass is simply glass that has been treated with a special chemical to make it stronger.

Two other types of glass that are used for shower doors are laminated glass and laminated tempered glass. Both types of glass are used in homes where safety is a higher-than-normal concern, such as homes with young children or the elderly. Laminated glass is made by adhering two pieces of glass to a sheet of clear vinyl. If the glass breaks, the vinyl holds the pieces in place. This prevents against having glass shards all over your bathroom.

6 Styles of Glass Shower Doors

In addition to the types of glass, there are six different styles of glass are used for shower doors.

  • Clear: The most popular option – clear glass
  • Acid-Etched: Frosted appearance that is created with a special type of acid
  • Ultra-Clear: Clear glass that has a reduced iron content to eliminate a green hue
  • Cast: Made with molten glass that is poured into a mold
  • Patterned: Textured pattern on the surface
  • Tinted: Light tint of color

How to Make Old Shower Doors Look New Again

Knowing how to clean old shower doors is important. You can spruce up your existing doors, or save some money on your next bathroom renovation by using doors from thrift shops and online marketplaces.

Paint Old Shower Door Frames

You can paint old metal shower door frames. Use a fine grit sandpaper to scuff up the surface. Apply two layers of primer, and let the shower door sit overnight. Once the primer is set, apply a layer or two of spray paint. You can use a glossy color, such as black or white. You can also find metallic spray paints at your local hobby store for a chrome, silver, or brushed aluminum finish.

Clean the Glass

Heat up some distilled white vinegar and mix it with an equal part of grease-fighting dish soap. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, and apply a thin coat onto the glass. Let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes, and rinse with warm water. Another option is to mix baking soda and dish soap to make a thin paste. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the glass with the paste, and rinse with warm water.

Can Old Shower Doors Be Recycled?

In most areas, food-grade glass is the only type that can be recycled. The tempered glass that is used for shower doors contains chemicals that interfere with the recycling process. Any products that are made from recycled glass shower doors wouldn’t be very durable. Check with your local recycling center to see if they take old shower doors, or you can experiment with ways to repurpose the doors.

Upcycle Ideas for Old Shower Doors

Upcycling is perfect for those times when you are wondering how to revamp old shower doors. Here are some of the best and easiest ways to repurpose old shower doors and keep them out of the landfill.

Get Artistic with a Glass Mosaic

Take the old shower door outside, and wrap it tightly in a thick piece of cloth. Put on work gloves and safety glasses. Use a hammer to break up the glass. Pull out some of the more interesting glass pieces, and make a mosaic on a piece of ceramic tile.

Paint the Glass

Acrylic enamel paint works on glass. The easiest way to paint a design on glass is to print it on paper first. Tape the design to one side of the old shower door. After the design is painted and dried, you can use the glass as a window in your home. Add a wooden frame to make your painted shower door into a piece of art or elegant door.

Make a Greenhouse

Old shower doors are perfect for a small greenhouse in your yard. You can even use the frames and hardware. Build a wooden frame with openings the size of your shower doors. Secure the shower doors to the frame with battens.

You can also make a small greenhouse for seedlings. Build a rectangular frame with plywood. Attach the old shower door to the frame with hinges. Fill the frame with soil, and plant your garden.

Enclose Your Pool or Deck

A stash of old shower doors at a salvage yard or thrift store is a veritable treasure trove! The tempered glass is perfect for a sophisticated enclosure for your pool or deck area.

Donate Old Shower Doors

Housing is a key focus for many non-profits in any area. There are organizations that build or remodel homes to provide housing for families. Check locally to find these organizations, and see if they are willing to take your old shower doors. If you do donate your old shower doors, clean them first.

Shower Door Trends

At some point, it will be time to say goodbye to your old shower door. Here’s a quick look at some of the trends in new shower door designs.

Frameless Corner Showers

As people look for ways to downsize their homes, the bathroom is one room where they tend to cut square footage. Frameless corners showers are attractive and modern. They consistent of two pieces of glass attached to the shower wall with hinges. You can open both doors to get into the shower enclosure. Great space saver!

Partial Enclosures

Partial enclosures consist of a curved piece of glass that extends to about half the length of your bathtub. No door or curtain to close.

Mixed Metal Doors

Mixed metal shower doors are made with individual panes of glass. You can combine two or more metals in the design, such as black and gold. The aesthetic is very sophisticated, even in a small bathroom space.

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Related Questions

Are framed shower doors outdated?

Framed shower doors are still in the top trends for bathroom designs. Other popular options include semi-framed, French shower doors, and frosted glass.

Do shower doors increase home value?

Bathroom remodeling increases home value because modern designs appeal to buyers. Shower doors are preferred to shower curtains because the glass doors give the bathroom a finished look.


Before you throw out those old shower doors, consider cleaning them and painting the frames. Old shower doors are also easy to upcycle. Turn your old shower doors into a beautiful work of art, greenhouse, or entry door. Non-profit organizations may also be willing to take your old shower doors.

Jennifer Eggerton
Jennifer Eggerton

Jennifer L. Eggerton loves being hands-on, whether it's with a home DIY project, making repairs, re-decorating a room, or keeping life organized. She enjoys helping people by sharing her knowledge, insights, and experiences, as well as her lessons learned. In addition to her work as a writer, Jennifer is a Jeep® overlander, self-published author, and nature photographer who loves being outdoors.

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