The Ultimate Guide to Frameless Showers
Shower screens are not something that usually grabs your attention. They are not normally considered to be a feature of the bathroom, which is interesting considering they often take up the most space within standard sized bathrooms. They are often overlooked in favour of other features and fixtures such as tapware, vanity units, tiles and flooring. However, selecting the right showerscreen when designing a new, or renovating an old bathroom can be crucial to the aesthetic of the picture perfect bathroom. When it comes to showerscreens, there is an endless selection of options out there. But the frameless shower screen is easily the most popular, and best looking option in Australia.
What is a Frameless Shower Screen?
As the name suggests, the frameless shower screen is a screen made of toughened glass with no frame, allowing light travel through the edges of the glass and creating a much lighter and brighter feel to the space. While traditional framed shower screens deliver function, a frameless shower door goes a step further by enhancing the overall appearance of your bathroom.
The main reason that many people prefer frameless shower screens in Australia is because of the minimalist appearance that is a great alternative to fully-framed shower doors. Australia is still a very young nation in terms of architecture and design, which allows designers the freedom to design modern and cutting edge spaces. The simple, yet modern design of a frameless shower screen means that they can easily blend in with a variety of colours, fixtures and design elements, which makes them the most common choice for architects.
Pro's and Con's of a Frameless Shower Screen
|the price relative to other options||difficult to keep clean|
|design capabilities||soap scum is visible|
|longevity||difficult to seal - water can leak out|
|easy maintenance||require specialist to install|
|variety of options||often the more expensive option|
Benefits of Getting a Frameless Shower Screen
Thanks to the growing popularity of frameless showers, they are now an affordable and cost effective option for both renovators and new home builders. While they are usually slightly more expensive than framed, or semi-frameless screens, but you are paying for a premium product which will add value to your home.
Design and Function
The main reasons why many people prefer frameless shower screens as compared to other options is because of the unique aesthetic appeal of frameless screens. Since frameless shower screens do not require a thick metal frame that can spoil the look of the bathroom, you can make your bathroom look more spacious and modern with little effort. Frameless showers are also just a highly functional and solid option for any bathroom. They are a design that is sure to be timeless for many years to come.
Low Maintenance and Long Warranty
When investing in a frameless shower screen, you should also be mindful of the maintenance requirements of these screens. One of the benefits of using frameless shower screens in your bathroom is that there aren’t many moving parts with these screens, which means there are fewer chances that parts are going to break or malfunction. Forge Hardware offer a 7 Year Warranty on all showerscreen products which gives great peace of mind that these screens will stand the test of time.
Regardless of the size or colour of your bathroom or the design you’re going for, the many options and styles make frameless shower screens the go-to choice for homeowners who are looking to create an appealing bathroom. Any finish is possible but our most common finishes include polished chrome, satin or brushed chrome, matte black, brushed nickel and brass.
Types of Frameless Shower Screens
There are almost an endless number of possibilities for frameless shower installations. There is no one recipe, and a frameless shower can be used in any and every bathroom. However, a few of the most common layouts include.
Fixed Panel Shower Screens
This is, as the name suggests simply a single panel with a thick piece of glass. Often 10mm glass is used, but we are starting to see much thicker glass up to 15mm thick that immediately captures the imagination of the entering guest or potential buyer! Fixed panels are usually either recessed into the wall and tiles, or fixed using an aluminium U-Channel. Depending on the desired width, brackets may also be used to add extra support, but the best looking option is the recessed installation.
Fixed panel showers are also very simple and fast to install, as there are no doors or other panels to align. Turn around is also usually pretty quick for these style screens, as it's just one piece of glass with no holes, and a quick installation.
Wall-to-Wall Shower Screens
When there is a wall on each side of the proposed screen, a common choice is to have glass across the hole span with a door in the middle, or a door on either end. Wall to Wall applications are usually suited to a sliding shower system, to save space.
Alternatively, if hinges are preferred, the door can be hinged off panels next to the door or directly to the wall. It all depends on the other circumstances to deal with in the space.
Corner or L-Shaped Shower Screens
The L-shaped or corner shower screen is one of the most common options when it comes to frameless shower screens. In existing bathrooms, most showers will be positioned in the corner of the room, making this layout very common for renovations. Again this type of layout could be suitable for both a sliding or hinged door system depending on the room.
Over Bathtub Shower Screens
For extra small bathrooms where the bath and shower are integrated as one, The one side over bathtub shower screen is the ideal option. This system still allows for a frameless shower, and can make the room feel a whole lot bigger and brighter than the old framed bifolding screens. We have found these screens to be very popular especially in the renovation market.
Since the height of the bathtub and the floor next to the door will differ, it is crucial to hire a professional to make sure the panel is perfectly horizontal.
Sliding Door with V2 Opto Sliding Shower System
If the design of the bathroom is such that using a pivot door is not an option, then you can go with a V2 Opto Sliding sliding door system. This sliding frameless shower door is installed in those bathrooms where space for a pivoting door is not available.
Sliding door installations can be a little bit more complicated that a hinged system, but they really do look great. The opto sliding shower system is very versatile and can be adapted to suit wall to wall, square, and corner applications, making it a great option for any bathroom.
Frameless Showers are made up of a variety of components, but all will include:
The most common glass used for frameless shower screens in Australia is 10mm clear toughened safety glass. Safety glass is also tempered, which means that it is durable and long-lasting compared to the traditional screens which were prone to cracking and chipping. Frameless showers also use considerably thicker than glass used in framed or semi-frameless shower screens, which definitely adds a sense of quality and sturdiness to the bathroom.
Also used in frameless showers is Low Iron or Crystal Clear, which is a variation of the standard clear toughened glass. This glass has a lower iron content, which removes some of the green tinge which can often be seen in glass during certain light conditions. For a bit.
Also becoming more popular is the use of thicker glass sizes in showersceens including 12 and 15mm glass. Over the coming years, it is expected that architects will begin to demand even thicker glass that can be used in showerscreens!
The choice of showerscreen hardware will normally come down to the desired layout being used in the bathroom. If the screen will be fully enclosed on all sides either by walls or glass, a door will be required. Doors can either be hinged off walls, other panels of glass or slide parallel with support from side panels.
Hinges are the most common hardware used for doors, as they provide a simple installation solution and are long lasting. They also don’t require any ongoing maintenance apart from cleaning the exterior of the hinges. High quality hinges will be manufactured from brass, with a durable coating to ensure longevity against corrosion and deterioriation. You can view our range of shower hinges here.
Sliding Shower doors are also a possibility, thanks to our Opto Sliding Shower system. This system is also suitable for a variety of layouts. Sliding showers are a great option where space is limited, as it can reduce the “dead space” which sometimes exists in the opening arc of a standard hinged shower door.
Brackets are often used to support fixed panels of glass either to the wall, floor or between panels of glass. Good quality brackets will be manufactured of brass, and some will provide a mechanical fixing through the glass to provide added strength and stability to the glass. It is not always necessary for a mechanical fixing bracket, but for large and heavy panels it is the safest and best option. Brackets will always be available in the matching finish as the hinges to ensure a uniform and a perfect finished product. Brackets are required for both operable showerscreens with doors, and also for fixed panel only showers where there is simply a thick piece of glass only.
Also available for showerscreens is a variety of knobs and handles to complete the shower door. Knobs and Handles are available in matching finishes as the hinge and bracket hardware and in a variety of shapes, sizes and profiles to suit the clients preference and the design of the bathroom.
Other accessories which complete a showerscreen are water seals and bars which help prevent water running out of the shower enclosure. These are not always required, but for areas where floors or walls are uneven, or tiles cause gaps underneath the door they can help improve the functionality of the shower.
Forge Hardware also allow you to shop for your frameless shower hardware by finish, depending on what end result you are going for. Currently we are stocking
How do I get a frameless shower?
If you are a homeowner who wants a frameless shower screen installed, Forge Hardware can help you through each step of the process. We are a team of industry professionals with extensive experience in the glass game. We can organise one of our trusted installers to measure and quote for the supply and installation of a Forge Hardware showerscreen. We will then supply all parts to our installer who will complete the job for you. You only pay our installer, not us directly, so there is no need for multiple payments. We want to make it as easy as possible.
Forge Hardware are specialists in frameless showers, and our extensive industry knowledge allows us to provide the best advice you need and support you require to organise your frameless shower installation. Feel free to get in contact with our technical team via email or phone and we can get the ball rolling!
If you are a trade customer such as a professional glazier, builder, plumber or other trade who wish to purchase directly from us, please get in contact and we can get you set up as with a trade account!