Glass shower enclosures can be configured in hundreds of ways to fit any bathroom design. Most kinds of glass will work in framed or frameless shower enclosures, so the possibilities are nearly endless. When planning a new enclosure, there are several glass options that will customize the look of your new shower. Whether you’re planning a remodel or an entirely new bathroom, here are the five most common kinds of glass you can use to create a custom enclosure.
High-end hotels and home builders turn to clear glass for its classic, crystal-clear appearance. Clear glass has a slight green tint due to the natural iron content, but most people either don’t notice it or enjoy the slight coloration. Clear glass allows a lot of light to stream into the enclosure, and it can make a small bathroom seem larger. It also showcases custom tilework and shower fixtures.
One negative to clear glass is you’ll need to stay on top of cleaning and maintenance. Soap residue and hard water stains will be highly visible. Consider ClearShield protected glass to maintain the life of your shower and keep clear glass looking new.
Also called HD glass, the iron content is reduced in low-iron glass. This removes the slight green tint from clear glass and gives a “high-definition” clarity to the enclosure. You’ll get the highest amount of light filtering in and the clearest view with low-iron glass. The ultra-clear glass is especially beneficial in maintaining the color of your shower surround. Green tinted glass tends to distort the colors of the shower when looked through, especially when using white tile.
The trade-off is any residue, smudges or fingerprints will be very noticeable. Low-iron glass is among the most expensive options, but the crystal clarity is worth the cost for some designs.
If you like the look of transparent glass, but you’d like to customize the color of the shower enclosure, tinted glass is a good option. Dark gray or bronze glass is commonly used to create a retro look while providing a bit of privacy. You can also find light blue and green glass to create a relaxing beach-themed or spa-style enclosure. Tinted glass will hide some soap and hard water residue, although you’ll still need to squeegee after each use or use a protective coating like ClearShield.
Frosted or Etched Glass
Shower privacy is important for places like gyms and some home renovations. Frosted or etched glass is a perfect way to let in light while providing an opaque, private enclosure. Glass can be frosted or etched into designs using an acid process or sandblasting. One side of the glass is textured and the other is smooth, so it easily hides fingerprints and soap or hard water buildup.
Painted Grid Glass
Flip through the pages of architectural design magazines and you’re likely to see painted grid glass shower enclosures. Painted grid glass adds visual interest and brings a paned, grid-like style to your bathroom. It’s popular in modern industrial bathroom designs because it adds a bold “wow” factor without taking away from the bright transparency of a clear glass enclosure. The grid can be customized in a variety of sizes and pattern shapes.
Finally, rain glass has been a popular design option in recent years. This patterned glass offers a bit of privacy, like etched glass, but the pattern is specifically created to resemble rain falling down the pane of glass. It’s often used in spa-inspired bathrooms where the rain texture creates a natural look while providing privacy. There are many different styles of rain glass with different levels of opacity, which makes it highly customizable.
At UPG, we’ve been family owned and operated since 1980 – and we’ve installed a lot of shower enclosures. We can help you find the right glass for your shower remodel or new build, and we’ll make sure it’s installed right. Give us a call to explore options and start your installation.