Replace a Hinged Shower Door

Lead Image
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Utility knife
Heat gun
Denatured rubbing alcohol
Mildew cleaner
Hinge mount
Adhesive caulk
Mounting strips

With time, a hinged shower door may need replacement. Hinges often sag, rust, or bend with misuse. The doors themselves become corroded or simply unattractive. Replacing a hinged shower door can be done relatively easily, with the appropriate amount of care.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Frame

Remove the door and the frame hardware attached to the walls and threshold of the shower. Beginning with the door hinges, disassemble the parts carefully to avoid damaging the shower enclosure. Some doors have single, long, piano-style hinges. If the door has several individual hinges, they will need to be removed one at a time.

Continue removing screws and hinges until the doors are down. Then remove any remaining parts from the side supports and threshold of the enclosure.

Step 2 - Remove Strips That Remain

After removing all the hardware and screws, you will have a “U” strip on each side of the enclosure. If there are screws in the strips, remove them first. Do not pull the strips off of the wall, because you may damage the enclosure surface.

Using a thin putty knife (1 inch size works well for control), begin breaking the adhesive holding the strips to the wall. Slide the putty knife under one of the strips and work your way down gently. If they are attached to tile, you may loosen or pull off tiles. Repeat for the strip on the other side of the enclosure, and then remove the strip on the bottom of the threshold.

Step 3 - Clean the Surfaces

After removing the strips, there will be adhesive caulk residue left on the shower surfaces. This has to be removed before installing the new hinged shower door. Caulk removal should be done in several steps. First, use a razor blade in a holder, angled low to avoid scratching the surface of the enclosure. You can also use a utility knife to get into corners or pockets. This will remove the majority of the caulk build up.

You can soften caulk that is hard to remove by using a heat gun set on a low temperature. Use denatured rubbing alcohol to thoroughly clean the surface after you have scraped off all visible caulking, soap scum, and grease. Alcohol has no effect on mildew; so if mildew is an issue, use mildew cleaner. Dry the surface thoroughly before installing a new hinged shower door.

Step 4 - Install the New Doors

Carefully follow the installation instructions that come with the new door. The hinge direction can cause problems if you don't remember to check how the hinge will swing. It’s easy to make a mistake about which way the hinge faces. This mistake will have the door swinging the wrong direction. Be sure to put the hinge mount on the proper side of the door so that the door swings the way you want.

Use plenty of adhesive caulk on the mounting strips. Even if the installation calls for screws and doesn’t mention caulk, use caulk anyway. Use a long bead of caulk, about ¼ inch wide, all the way up the mounting strips and across the bottom threshold strip as well.