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How Much Metal is Too Much When It Comes to Shower Enclosures?

If your company does work in the shower door segment, you have probably become accustomed to your customers asking for less metal. In the shower door business, we are constantly pushing the limits of what can be accomplished using less hardware, channel, and fasteners. Of course, we have to draw the line at what is safe. After all, shower doors do require some amount of hardware in order to be structurally sound. The following are some examples of products that are pushing the envelope in terms of materials, structure and style.

310 Tempering in Louisville, Kentucky is pushing the limits when it comes to more glass and less metal in shower enclosures. The “Phantom” features an all-glass header rail that can support two 3/8-inch frameless rolling doors with ease. At first glance it’s almost hard to believe. The header is constructed using strips of tempered glass that are laminated together. The polished edges of the glass are staggered to create raised surfaces. These act as rails for the rollers and provide a unique solution for customers clamoring for more glass and less metal.

Another innovation that brings more glass and reduces hardware is the Essence enclosure by C.R. Laurence. It features a single rolling door with the wheels on the bottom, rather than the top. The wheels run on a bottom track and the guide mounts to the top of the door. It turns what we normally think about rolling shower doors upside down. The Essence can be constructed using two half-inch panels of tempered glass. The guide rides along the top of the fixed panel, which also provides support. To be sure, this product offers a lot of glass with very little hardware.

So now let’s talk about the other customers. The ones who want more metal on their shower doors than we have ever seen before. The Gridscape enclosure made by Coastal Shower Doors fits the bill. This product has the look and feel of true divided lites. As the name implies, they are clear glass with black grids, and the crazy thing about these shower doors is that they are incredibly popular. In a world where many customers are demanding less metal, these customers want more. Other vendors are coming up with similar products to meet the demand, but Coastal Shower Doors seems to be the company that was first-to-market.

It’s fun to be involved in a part of the industry that is constantly innovating. Our customers always keep us guessing about what they are going to want next. It’s easy to have preconceived ideas of what our customers want, but it’s vital to listen to what they are saying to us. They may be giving us a clue about the next hot trend. I would love to know what you think about it.


Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips has deep roots in the glass and glazing industry. His family featured some glaziers (including his dad) and Chris followed their path into the industry. First Chris completed his apprenticeship in Las Vegas in the early 90’s and worked on many of the landmark buildings there including Caesars Palace, The Mirage, The Rio, the Luxor and more. He then started Showcase Shower Door Co. in Santa Cruz, California in 2005. He has personally installed more than one thousand shower installations in his career with that number being added to daily.