Why Can’t Frameless Glass Shower Doors Work With Glass Tiles?

For decades, glass shower doors came with frames and roller tracks so they could glide open and shut smoothly while remaining properly supported. Frameless shower doors entered the market in the last ten years, and while most of these designs can be anchored directly into the wall tiles of your shower enclosure, there is a compatibility issue when you're working with a shower covered in glass tiles. Learn why glass tiles and frameless shower doors clash and how to work around the issue without settling for an old fashioned framed door.

Drilling Difficulties

While all tiles requiring slow and careful drilling to prevent cracks, glass tiles are particularly prone to fracturing when being drilled no matter how careful you are or what kind of drill bit you use. It's more reliable to drill a loose glass tile on a device like a drill press with a block of wood underneath the tile to support it and then attach it to the wall, but taking these extra steps won't prevent the damage that can occur later after the hinges of the frameless shower door is anchored into the tile with screws.

Long-term Cracks

Even if you manage to drill clean holes in glass tiles without cracking them, the weight of the door hanging off of those screws or anchor points still puts a lot of stress on the tile. This means that a frameless glass shower door is likely to crack the tiles eventually. Every time you open and shut the shower door, there's a chance of the tile cracking, which could potentially allow the anchors or screws to pull out and drop the door. You might not mind the look of one or two cracked glass tiles, but the safety issues are not worth the risk.

Tile Alternatives

You can still pair a frameless shower door with a glass tiled shower enclosure if you're willing to replace the tiles that are located along the hinge line for the door. Add a vertical strip of decorative ceramic or stone accent tiles where the hinges of the door will sit to give it plenty of support without giving up on the beauty of glass tiles for the rest of the space. If you're already adding new tiles to the shower for this purpose, pre-drill them before attaching them to the wall since it's easier to get crack-free holes and you can try again with a fresh tile if you do crack one. For best results, you should plan to install the hinges over an existing stud or add a new stud while installing the accent tiles that will serve as supports.

For more information, contact Aladdin's Glass & Screen Products Inc or a similar company.