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Do Frameless Shower Doors Leak?

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Do frameless shower doors leak? I get that question all the time. Yes they can but, they don’t have too. Where we are going to start is in the beginning of the remodel. Whether you are installing the shower stall or having a contractor do it there are things you need to know if you are planning on having a totally frameless shower enclosure put in. Make sure you read my post about “Frameless Glass Shower Enclosures before proceeding to hiring a contractor. There are so many factors that are involved to having a bathroom remodel. Frameless shower doors function much better if the guidelines below are followed.   Here are a list of things and I will talk about each one.

  • Straight tiled walls
  • Buttress pitched to the inside of the shower stall
  • Shower dam pitched to the inside of the shower stall
  • Location of shower head
  • Type of shower head
  • Measurements of shower door contractor

Straight Tiled Walls

When building a shower stall for a frameless shower enclosure it is very important to float the wall if possible to make the wall straight. Let’s face it most the walls in our houses are as crooked as a well….. You know.  Gaps in the door will result in spaces for water to escape. Plastics can be added but they are ugly and Deteriorate very rapidly. When putting the stationary shower glass panels on the walls or shower pan. The walls and shower pan need to be straight also. There are a lot of misconceptions that silicone can take care of gaps. If water sits on silicone it will eventually eat through while making the silicone turn white.

Buttress pitched to the inside of shower stall

First of all what is a buttress? Shower door-Glossary Ok. We all know that water will run downhill. Well, your buttress is that hill and if it is pitched to the outside of the shower it will sit on the silicone eventually eating its way through. So pitch your buttress or seat to the inside of the shower stall.

Shower Dam pitch

The shower dam is the small little wall that is about 5”-6” high that separates the inside of the shower stall from the outside. The pitch makes all the difference in a frameless shower door install. The shower door has no frame under the door. The shower door has a polycarbonate sweep that attaches under the door but, it doesn’t stop all the water. A good pitch is about 1/8” and pitches to the inside of a shower stall. Remember not to pitch too much, for it will result in a big gap under the door to allow door swing. The pitch will make the water run back into the shower stall. Water runs downhill.

Location of shower head

The location of a shower head is a big deal! A shower head should never be placed across from the door. The best location is beside the door. Shower heads that face the door will spray water right out the gap that is between the door and the wall or stationary panel. If you have a shower head that faces the door make sure the shower door company puts a polycarbonate strike jam to stop the water. Also dam pitch plays a big part too.

Type of shower heads

The best type of shower head to use for a fameless shower door is a rain shower head. It will shower down water vertically rather than horizontally. Vertical water will stay in the shower better because the dam pitch will return the water to the drain. Horizontal water flow is usually stronger and will push its way through the door. Detachable shower heads can be a problem if the user does not use good water control. There is a responsibility for shower takers when showering in a frameless shower enclosure. A shower head on a flexible shower line can be moved to spray out a door and it will result in water leakage. Water leakage can ruin baseboards and second story ceilings.

Measurements of a shower door contractor

The measurements of the shower glass can make a big difference but, it plays a smaller roll that most of the issues. The shower door contractor should fabricate the shower door tight enough that it will look good and keep most of the water from going through the gaps. The water that makes its way through the gap should be returned by the shower dam and that is why it is important to install correctly. Most shower door contractors use a lot of plastic on their shower enclosures to hide bad measurements and inexperience.


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