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Framed Vs Frameless Shower Doors

We look at the pros and cons of framed and frameless shower doors for your home.

by Caitlin Shaffer

Framed vs. Frameless Shower Doors

Bathrooms are the most important spaces of homes that allow us to take care of our personal hygiene. Thus, everyone strives to add a personal touch to their bathrooms while designing it.

Irrespective of your design preferences and style, one of the basic decisions you would make while designing your bathroom is the type of shower door.

This article aims to ensure that you make the right decision while choosing a framed or frameless shower door.

Shower Doors

Shower doors are some of the more recent introductions into bathroom designs. Before now, the shower areas of bathrooms were designed as cubicles until shower doors came onboard.

Shower doors and tub enclosures are now bigger and more stylish. Shower doors have thus become a central part of bathrooms. These modern shower doors have particularly broadened the range of styles that could be achieved with bathrooms.

A shower door does not only provide an enclosure to prevent splashing of water but it also majorly influences the style of a bathroom. Shower doors have also served as an alternative to shower curtains, causing shower curtains to become a thing of the past gradually.

Types of Shower Doors

Shower doors can basically be classified into two groups: frameless shower doors and the framed shower doors. This classification is based on their basic design. While shopping for shower doors, you would find a wide range of options based on other classifications and preferences. The basic material for making a shower door is glass.

Framed Shower Doors

Framed Shower Doors

Framed shower doors are shower doors with frames that support the basic structure of the door, just as the name suggests.

Glass is typically the basic material for making framed shower doors. The glass could be tempered or textured.

The frames are made of a variety of materials, which include aluminum, chrome, bronze, and nickel. The frames are usually incorporated in the different parts of the shower doors, such as the joints, tops, and sides.

These frames are also well incorporated, in the operable parts and other parts, to prevent spills and water leakage.

Pros of Framed Shower Doors

The frames incorporated into framed shower doors make them particularly flexible and adaptable to different styles and sizes of bathrooms. This is a notable advantage because shower doors are usually designed with broad specifications.

The frames added to these doors make them suitable for situations where the shower door does not fit perfectly. If you're looking to get a functional and basic shower door, a framed shower door is a suitable option. The functionality of this type of shower door is linked to the excellent seal and leakage prevention provided by the frames.

It is also important to mention that framed shower doors are better suited for off-square walls. For off-square walls, a shower door, specially molded to the specifications of the shower, can also be used. However, such shower doors are usually expensive; hence, the general preference of off-square walls in such situations.

In a scenario where a shower door is needed for an existing shower tray, a framed shower door is also suitable. With the frames, the door can be adapted to the existing tray, even with broad specifications.

Over time, framed screen doors have been modified to make style and design statements. This is because the frames are available in a variety of colors, shapes, and designs. An easy way to make a design statement with a framed shower door is thus to choose one with statement frames.

The variety of design options available with framed shower doors is linked to the fact that the glass used must not necessarily be sturdy. The frames provide extra support; thus, the glass used can include different designs.

Because framed shower doors are easily available, they are also affordable and can fit into a variety of budgets. The cost of installation of framed shower doors is also low.

Cons of Framed Shower Doors

The frames associated with numerous pros are also associated with a number of cons. For example, framed shower doors have a limited layout. This is because these doors open out in most cases.

Also, framed shower doors could be described as outdated, especially for modern bathrooms. Because a lot of focus is not placed on the structure of the glass for making framed shower doors, these doors may shatter easily.

The durability of the door is also dependent on the type of door frame. Frames of framed shower doors may be made of materials that are not durable. The frame may also get dirty that can hasten the deterioration of the door. Framed shower doors are also harder to clean. The frames make the cleaning of these doors more complicated.

Frameless Shower Doors

Frameless Shower Doors

As the name suggests, frameless shower doors differ in a way that frames are not particularly incorporated into the design.

These doors are made of tempered or textured glass, as well.

However, unlike the framed shower doors, frames are not incorporated into the operable parts of these doors. 

Other parts of these doors also do not have frames. The heavy-duty doors are supported only with pivots that are incorporated into the design.

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Pros of Frameless Shower Doors

Frameless shower doors are some of the most durable shower doors available in the market. This is because the glass used in making these doors has significant strength, as there is no frame support.

These doors are also known for their modern style and appeal. You can get frameless shower doors in different styles and specifications, even tailored to the shower area. Maximum customization can be achieved with a frameless door. Irrespective of the style and type of your home and bathroom, you can find a fitting frameless shower door.

The modern appeal of these doors is also notable. Frameless shower doors are especially suitable for a simple and minimalist style because of their clean look. The simplicity of frameless shower doors creates a timeless appeal.

Generally, frameless shower door is more durable than a framed shower door. This is because a frameless shower door does not have frames that contribute to deterioration. The durability of frameless shower doors can also be associated with the ease of cleaning.

Cons of Frameless Shower Door

First off, it is important to mention than frameless shower doors are expensive. The cost of the glass, as well as the installation cost, makes them pricey. The installation of frameless shower doors is also particularly labor-intensive. It takes an expert to get the installation of frameless shower doors right as they must be precisely installed. Even the cut of these doors must be precise for proper fitting of shower trays.

Another quality of frameless shower doors that could be regarded as a con is the fact that they require very thick glass. Although known for its durability, frameless shower doors are also prone to shattering.

Frameless shower doors lack frames and seals. Thus, they are prone to leaks, especially if they are not installed properly.


Irrespective of the type of shower door you choose, it is important to consider several features that determine the overall quality. These features include materials, risks, and lifespan. The cost of a shower door is another important factor to consider.

The points highlighted above should guide you in making the basic decision about shower doors.

Caitlin Shaffer has been traveling & working as a content writer & SCUBA dive instructor since 2014. Having lived in Central & South America, Southeast Asia, India, & Australia, Caitlin has had many years of experience with a variety of kitchen, bathroom, plumbing systems & common household products. Other than writing about her plumbing experiences & knowledge, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, & sustainable development.