Frameless Shower Enclosure Installation

What You'll Need
Glass door
Measuring tape (with 1/32 hash marks)
Electric drill
Masonry bit
Masonry anchors
Vinyl sweep

A frameless shower enclosure provides a cleaner, more elegant alternative to the old framed shower enclosures. The old fashioned framed shower enclosure looked great after installation, but the hard-to-get mold build up in the tracks would make homeowners question the wisdom of installing the enclosure in the first place. Even worse was having to deal with the doors running off the track as the enclosure framework aged.   

So if you have had it with an old moldy framed shower enclosure and decided just to rip the whole thing out, don't despair. You don't have to revert to a shower curtain. The frameless shower enclosure is a great alternative to the old style enclosures. The thick stylish glass of frameless shower doors can make your bathroom look larger, and are easier to install than you think. 

The most important key to setting up the installation is getting an accurate measurement (it should be within 1/32 of an inch) of the shower enclosure area. The glass must also be handled very carefully. This is not a project to undertake with screaming kids in the house. Have at least one other person with steady hands and patient demeanor helping you. 


Step 1 – Getting the Accurate Measurement 

Measure the enclosure after the tile is completely installed, grouted and cleaned. Have someone hold the bottom of the tape on the edge of the tub where the glass door will hang. This is not a bend-the-tape-at-the-top type of measuring job. Measure about half way up, and mark an accurate line with a pencil. Then have your partner hold the tape at the top of the enclosure and measure down to the pencil mark. Each time record to within the closest 1/32 of an inch. Add the two measurements. Do the same for the other end of the enclosure. 

Step 2 – Checking the Squareness of the Enclosure area 

Take a long level to check how square or level the enclosure is. Afterwards, determine where the door will be wider and narrower. Remember, the supplier can only make the door as accurate as your measurements. You may also want to measure the door at the supplier, before purchasing, to make sure the cutter made an accurate measurement. 

Step 3 – Drafting the Sketch for the Door Supplier 

Layout a drawing of the top and front views of the shower enclosure area, with the measurements indicated. Take the drawing with you when you go to order the door. 

Step 4 – Positioning the Hinge

Make sure you position the hinge in the center of the hinge cut-out. Very carefully tighten the rear screws with your finger –screw until firmly in place –but not too tight, and then attach the handles.

Step 5 – Positioning the Door

This is a very crucial step that will determine the water-tightness and fit of the door. First, mark your shims so that you know where the 3/8 inch clearance point is, then position the door on top of the shims. Double check the clearance along entire door. Mark the positions for the holes.

Step 6 – Drilling the Holes

Drill the holes with the ¼ inch masonry bit. You will want to use good masonry anchors if you are not drilling into the stud.

Step 7 – Attaching the Vinyl Sweep

After attaching the vinyl sweep to the bottom of the door, trim the vinyl at a 45 degree angle so that there is a 45 degree tab extension at each end of the door.