HomeownerEducational: N-Z

Shower Doors & Mirrors

Shower Doors

Whether a shower is a stand-alone unit or has a bathtub attached, it is imperative that water stays in the bathing area. A glass shower door can let light in more efficiently and keep water out much more easily than a shower curtain. Make sure shower door installers use tempered glass. The tempering process makes glass stronger and less likely to become a safety risk if it unexpectedly breaks. There are two types of glass shower doors available: framed and frameless.

Framed. Framed enclosures, which are made of aluminum, are lighter than frameless doors. The glass is often sealed into the frame, and they are relatively water-tight. Also, they are typically less expensive due to utilizing a lighter grade of glass. Heavy glass is not required because of the support the frame provides.

Frameless. Frameless enclosures eliminate the need for a metal framework and use a heavier, more expensive grade of glass. Although frameless doors may seem like a safety risk, the thick, tempered glass is very durable, making it difficult to break. Frameless doors often come in a wider range of designs than framed doors do. They can give the bathroom a larger, more spacious feeling.


Working with mirrors is a significant undertaking because of the large, heavy pieces of glass involved. An improperly hung mirror can be disastrous. Smaller and medium-sized mirrors can be hung on drywall with toggle bolts or molly screws. If the mirror is light enough, simply using hanging wire or a J-hook might suffice.

Because of its size and possible strain on the wall, a large mirror should be mounted to the studs. If improperly installed, heavy mirrors, such as those mounted above vanities, can become unattached over time. To test if a vanity mirror was installed correctly, apply some pressure against the glass surface. If the mirror gives, call a contractor immediately, because the mirror was most likely not installed correctly and could cause serious damage or injury. If a large pane of glass falls off the wall, it could create a dangerous mess and cause damage to flooring.

Design. Mirrors do not have to be considered for only practical bathroom usage; they also have many decorative uses. They can create a dramatic focal point, add light, and give the illusion of a larger room. Mirrors come in a variety of styles and are either framed or frameless. A mirror can also be made into almost any shape. Adding round or curved mirrors to a room can make a unique design statement. Antique mirrors add visual interest to a room as do unconventional hanging methods. Provided the mirror is light enough, experiment with ribbon, thick twine, or rope as a hanging mechanism for a decorative look. Consider hanging multiple mirrors of varying sizes as part of a stylish accent wall.