Framed vs. Frameless Shower Doors

What Are the Differences Between Framed & Frameless Shower Doors?

Frameless Shower EnclosuresShower door questions are probably on your mind if you’re planning to add or remodel a bathroom. Frameless shower doors are very popular today, and you might wonder what makes them different from the framed shower doors to which you are accustomed. The main differences relate to the glass used, how the unit is supported, and cost.

It is important to first of all note that, for the purposes of this discussion, the word “framed” will be used for any shower unit that includes metal framing, even if it also includes unframed glass (a semi-frameless). Just keep in mind that within the larger category of framed glass showers an important variation is the semi-frameless unit which has a frame around the enclosure but includes frameless door panels.

How Frameless & Framed Shower Doors Are Supported

The most fundamental and conspicuous difference between frameless and framed shower doors is the way in which the glass is secured and stabilized. On framed shower doors this is achieved, at least in part, by aluminum framing. On a fully framed unit, all pieces of glass – including the door panels – are surrounded by metal frames. As mentioned, other units have both framed and frameless glass edges visible. At this point you might be wondering how a frameless shower is even possible – without the aluminum, what holds the glass in place? The glass on a frameless shower doors system is kept upright and in place by means of caulk and small metal fasteners. However, there is another piece to the puzzle, and that is the type of glass used.


Glass Used for Frameless Shower Doors & Framed Shower Doors

Frameless Shower DoorsThe glass used on a frameless shower enclosure is what makes it possible for glaziers to safely build a glass shower without aluminum supports. While shower enclosures with framing can be built from glass that is 5/32” to 1/4" thick, frameless showers have to be created from thicker glass. Known as “heavy glass” this glazing is either 3/8” or 1/2" in thickness and it gives the unit rigidity, stability, and an impressive appearance.


Cost Difference for Frameless & Framed Shower Doors

The price tag is definitely affected by the presence or absence of framing on a shower door. Due to the requirement of heavy glass, frameless shower door units are more expensive than their framed counterparts. In the realm of framed units, the price typically goes up as the amount of framing used goes down. Thus a door in the semi-frameless category will tend to cost more than one on which all the glass is framed.

A final point of difference between shower enclosures with frames and those without is the type of doors available.  Swinging doors can be either frameless or framed; however, bypass doors always have some framing. You can get a frameless sliding door, but it will not be a bypass unit. A shower enclosure with bypass doors has two moving door panels that slide past one another. On the other hand, frameless sliders have one moving door panel that slides past a piece of stable glass.


In spite of these differences, frameless and framed shower doors from ABC Glass and Mirror, Inc. share a number of similarities. All of our doors, whether frameless or framed, have the following features –

Regardless of the style of shower door you want, we hope you’ll call us at 703-257-7150 to set up a free estimate and consultation appointment!


8395 Euclid Avenue, Suite B
Manassas Park, VA 20111-5215
Telephone: (703) 257-7150
Fax: (703) 257-7131

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