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shower door buying guide

Buyers Guide: Shower Doors

Are you on the hunt for a new shower door? Whether you’re installing a brand new shower or upgrading your current one, it’s crucial to get the right one. Although choosing shower enclosure doors may sound simple, there’s actually a lot more to it than you think.

Which design do you go for? How much bathroom space do you have? Which finish should you choose? It may start to feel a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry. The task of choosing your new shower enclosure doesn’t have to be tremendously difficult.

That’s why we’ve created this buyer’s guide about shower doors to help make your decision easy and stress-free from start to finish! We’ll show you how to start shopping for an enclosure for your bathroom and what you should be looking for in your new purchase.

We’ll look at some important factors to consider before buying a new door and what types are typically available.

If you’re still not sure, don’t panic. We’ve prepared a great FAQ section that you’ll find really handy. Want to know more? Then read on to find out how to choose a shower enclosure door.

Things to consider before buying

When you’re shopping for a new shower enclosure door, it isn’t quite as simple as just choosing the prettiest one. There are quite a few things to keep in mind but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a complicated and time-consuming job.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when looking at doors, from measurements and floor space to your budget and the most suitable finish.

Measurements

Getting the measurements right is crucial for choosing the correct shower enclosure door. Get it wrong and you’re inevitably going to experience issues once you’ve bought it. The last thing you want is for your new shower door to arrive and then discover it’s the wrong size!

Instead of guessing, use a tape measure as this will give you the most accurate measurements. Be sure to get the width, depth, and height preferably in millimetres.

If you have an old shower door and are simply replacing it, take the measurements of the existing shower tray to find out what you need.

Location of shower enclosure

Where you have your shower enclosure may also dictate which door you can have. Corner showers may not have as much room for a door as a shower in the middle of a wall.

Take into account where your shower is, or will be, and choose a door that’s most suitable for its location.

Size of space

We know it may be tempting to go big when buying your new shower enclosure door, but this will only lead to hiccups when it comes to installing it! Once you’ve taken your measurements, be sure to stick to them and choose a shower door that will fit into its designated space.

Some common sizes of shower enclosures include 800 x 800mm and 900 x 900mm. Sizes that are outside of this range may need to be made by a specialist bespoke company.

Whatever you do, be sure not to buy a shower door that’s too wide, tall, or deep. Try not to go too big with your shower plans, especially if you don’t have a big bathroom, as it won’t look very feng shui friendly and there won’t be much room to move around comfortably.

On the other hand, if your bathroom is very generous in size, you can go for a bigger size as a small one might look a bit strange. Not to mention a small shower may give you a slightly claustrophobic feel!

Budget

When you’re shopping for anything new, it’s easy to get carried away and start looking at products you just can’t afford. To avoid depressing yourself like that, decide how much you can comfortably afford and stick to that budget.

Having a clear budget will save you lots of time and avoid any procrastination! Many online shops allow you to filter the products by price when searching, which can make your decision a lot easier!

Not only does this keep you more focused on buying a shower enclosure door in your price range, but it helps remove the temptation to overspend unnecessarily. All shower doors have the same function so don’t feel like you’re missing out if you have to lower your budget.

Keep in mind as well, that if you’re installing a new enclosure, you’ll have to look at shower trays too. This could raise the cost even more, as well as other essential shower accessories.

Design

Next, think about the design you want. There are lots of different styles available and it can be tricky choosing just one! Having a strict budget will help you to really narrow your choices though.

The size of your bathroom and your current decor will also be a factor in which shower enclosure door you buy and also, your personal preference. Consider the look you want to create. Do you want a clean and sophisticated look? If so, transparent glass doors will add real elegance to the room.

If you want more privacy, frosted glass is a perfect option. Not to mention they also make very attractive bathroom accessories.

Finish

Your choice of shower door finish typically depends on the decor in your bathroom and your personal tastes. But there are a few other factors.

Clear glass

Clear glass doors are modern, stylish, and suit most bathrooms. Because of their high visibility, they’re perfect for elaborate or intricately tiled shower walls that you want to show off. They can also open up smaller bathrooms and give the illusion of more space.

Frosted glass

Frosted glass doors are given an opaque finish and offer great privacy. They can also turn your shower into a real focal point. However, they can be harder to keep clean because the pattern tends to hide grime and dirt more than transparent glass.

Patterned doors

Patterned shower doors are designed with various patterns, such as rainfall or raindrops. This offers privacy but is more translucent than frosted finishes.

The different types of shower doors

Unlike those having walk-in showers installed, you’ll want to choose a door type to stop the water from escaping. The various shapes and styles allow different shower doors to be installed. Below we’ve compiled the most commonly seen shower door types.

Hinged shower doors

Hinged doors are probably the most simplistic style available. They open and shut on the hinged side, but they can be used with curved or straight shower enclosures.

They provide a secure enclosure to make sure your bathroom doesn’t sustain steam or water damage. It’s a classic and timeless door design and it’s usually available in many different styles, so you’re sure to find one to match your decor.

With that said, a hinged door is better for larger bathrooms as it opens out into the room, meaning you’ll need more space around the shower enclosure. Hinged doors are also an ideal option for rectangle or square shower enclosures.

Pivot shower doors

Another stylishly simplistic door type, pivot doors simply open and shut. They can also be designed to open inward or outward depending on your personal preference and how much space you have.

Pivot doors open super wide and can lie flat against the wall of the shower enclosure. For this reason, be sure not to store anything on that side that could stop the door from opening fully.

Because of how wide they open, pivoting doors are ideal for larger bathrooms as they could make a small room feel very cramped.

Doors that open outward can also result in carpets or rugs becoming soaked if you have them. Pivoting doors work well in wet room bathrooms or those with non-slip floors.

Sliding shower doors

Sliding shower doors can be great for saving space in small bathrooms as they create a slim and compact shower enclosure. You can even get sliding doors that can be used with curved shower cubicles, so it doesn’t matter which shape enclosure you have.

Sliding doors are another great option for small bathrooms as they don’t need any extra room. They don’t open outwards so you won’t have to worry about losing any space.

If you have a guest bathroom, a sliding door would be ideal as these bathrooms tend to be smaller than the master bathroom.

The only downside is that they may have a smaller space for entering the shower enclosure. But guest bathrooms usually aren’t used as much as main bathrooms, so this is usually not an issue.

Bi-fold shower doors

Next, we have bi-folding doors. These are not only very functional, but they ooze style and elegance. You can usually choose from either two or three folds in your bi-folding door, which saves space while being a lot more stylish than a traditional door.

Bi-fold doors look great in modern bathrooms and they can turn shower cubicles into statement pieces. If you want to instantly add chicness and style to your bathroom, a bi-fold door is for you!

Wet rooms

It is possible to do without a shower enclosure door altogether. If you create a full wet room in your bathroom you can install your shower head wherever and not worry about having a shower enclosure.

Another benefit of a wet room is that you won’t need to protect the rest of the room from water. If none of the shower enclosure door options above are appealing to you, consider the option of installing a wet room.

A wet room can also be incredibly stylish, plus they’re great if you or another household member suffer from mobility problems, as there’s no shower to step into and no risk of falling.

They also have the ability to bring a real wow factor to your home, giving a natural and stylish look. There’s something freeing about a wet room too, you won’t be confined to a separate enclosed area and you won’t have to worry about too much splashing.

The different types of shower enclosures

Shower enclosures come in lots of different styles which can make it tricky to choose. Here, we’ve narrowed down the common shapes and styles you may come across to try and make your decision easier.

Quadrant shower enclosures

A quadrant enclosure is a triangular-shaped door and is designed to make use of a corner in the bathroom, saving space. Although it fits perfectly into any bathroom size, it’s particularly ideal if you have a smaller bathroom.

Offset quadrant shower enclosures

Just like a quadrant enclosure, an offset quadrant shower enclosure fits nicely into a corner of the bathroom. The only difference is that it’s longer than regular shower enclosures. It means you can enjoy a bigger shower without sacrificing too much bathroom space.

Rectangular enclosures

As the name suggests, these shower enclosures are in the shape of a rectangle and take up the same amount of space as a standard bath. It’s perfect if you have a spacious bathroom and want as much shower space as possible.

Square shower enclosures

Square shower cubicles provide practicality and style. They use the corner spaces well and you can pick from a variety of shower doors.

D-Shape shower enclosures

Similar to a quadrant shower enclosure, D-shape enclosures have flat backs that sit next to a straight wall while providing the space and chic style of a curved shower enclosure. You can also place it in the middle of the wall instead of in a corner, to make it more of a statement piece.

Frameless shower enclosures

A frameless shower enclosure doesn’t have a visible frame. This frameless style gives it an ultra-modern and contemporary look. It’s the perfect design to add some luxury to your bathroom!

Final thoughts

Hopefully, by now you’ve got a good idea of which door is perfect for the type of shower enclosure you have. Whether you’re just upgrading your old shower enclosure or you’re installing a brand new one, keep in mind the list of considerations we’ve compiled and you can’t go wrong!

It also comes down to your personal taste and what your current bathroom design is. From glass types and finishes to door types, it all depends on what you like. Don’t forget to consider the size of your bathroom too.

If you have a small room, you may be limited as to which door you can have. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a nice big bathroom, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

FAQs

How much does it cost to install a shower door?

Generally, you can expect to pay around £130 – £450 to install a new door for your shower. Keep in mind though that this can vary depending on which type of door you choose.

A good example of this is frameless doors, which will be more expensive than a framed door. The glass type may affect the price as well, especially if you choose tempered glass. This is a special type of toughened safety glass that’s much stronger and more stable than regular glass.

What factors affect the cost of shower enclosures?

Whether your budget is low or you want to splash the cash, this shower enclosure buying guide will help you to pick the best door for you. Here we’ve put together a list of factors that can affect the cost of installing a new shower cubicle.

Glass thickness

You can pick from a variety of shower entrance glass thicknesses. Usually measured in millimetres, standard glass thickness measurements include 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm. Thicker glass is more durable but the cost will also be more.

Shower enclosure size

Needless to say, a bigger enclosure will require more materials to make it. This means the price will go up as your shower enclosure size increases. If you go with a bespoke size this will raise the price even more, as the specialist might have to construct it for you.

Shower enclosure style

Although the enclosure style shouldn’t affect the price too much, some styles may be more expensive than others. Most designs start at reasonable prices and are affected by materials and size.

Shower enclosure brand

Like most purchases, some brands are more costly than others. Be sure to do your research though, because expensive doesn’t always mean good quality.

Accessories

Choosing extra accessories for your shower enclosure will also affect the cost. However, these accessories will make your shower cubicle more functional, practical, and will generally improve your shower experience. Items like shower wastes and handles can raise the cost of your shower enclosure.

What is the best type of shower door?

This completely depends on your needs and your current bathroom decor. Don’t forget to take into account the size of your bathroom as well, as this will dictate the type of shower enclosure door you can have.

With lots of different styles available it can be hard to choose one. Traditional transparent glass doors are great for adding a clean and stylish edge to the room. But for those who want more privacy, a frosted glass door is the best option.

Then there’s the frame too. You can typically choose from three varieties; framed, semi-framed, and frameless. Framed doors come with a frame that goes around the glass panels to give it a defining border.

They’re usually constructed from aluminium or composite material and they’re very aesthetically pleasing. They also usually come in a variety of finishes, meaning you’ll find it easier to match the shower enclosure door to your bathroom.

Then we have frameless doors, which are much easier to clean. They can make even a small bathroom feel more spacious, unlike framed doors which can make the room feel more cramped.

The glass on a frameless door is usually around 3/4 inches thick, making it much heavier and easier to operate. The glass panels can also come with a sturdy towel rail, making your shower cubicle more functional.

Semi-framed doors provide the best of both worlds. They have metal around the edge but the door itself is frameless, giving your shower a very stylish and clean aesthetic.

Here at Bella Bathrooms we have a generous selection of enclosures and doors to enable you to create that dream showering space. If you are looking to create a stylish shower enclosure and don’t know if you need a door or door and side panel setup read our alcove or corner shower door post for further information.