Buyer’s Guide to a Glass Shower Screen for Bath or Shower Area

Here is your complete guide to buying a glass shower screen. Ordering a glass shower screen for your bath or shower area is an on-trend alternative to hanging a shower curtain. Also, a screen may be ideal if you’re following universal design principals and creating a shower that’s easy for people of various ages and abilities to enter and exit conveniently. In fact, combining a shower screen with an open, zero-threshold entryway is great for both safety and accessibility. Whether your interest in a shower screen stems mostly from aesthetic considerations or practical preferences, read on to learn more about this product and how to tailor it to your unique situation.

  1. What is a shower screen?
  2. Do all shower screens have the same basic design?
  3. How can the glass be customized?
  4. What are the advantages of a frameless shower screen?
  5. Black framed glass is popular – can I get a shower screen in this style?
  6. Where can shower screens be installed?
  7. What bathroom design choices complement a shower screen?
  8. What advantages do shower screens have over shower curtains?
  9. How should I care for a glass shower screen?
  10. How can I order a custom glass shower screen?
Spacious bathroom with a large soaking tub and shower screen.

1. What is a shower screen?

The term “shower screen” typically refers to a single glass panel used for water containment in a shower or bathtub. Modern shower screens are made of tempered glass for safety and durability. Tempered glass is heated and then suddenly cooled, a process that not only strengthens the glass but also makes it react differently if fractured. Instead of breaking into razor sharp pieces, tempered glass dissolves into little chunks that are less dangerous and easier to dispose of. Most importantly for shower applications, tempered glass is around 4 times stronger than annealed glass. A shower screen is strategically placed where it will block rogue water droplets while leaving on open entryway into the shower or tub. If a screen is added to a walk-in shower stall, additional features must be in place to ensure reliable water containment:

  • The shower floor must slope down toward the drain.
  • Both the drain and shower head need to be appropriately placed.
  • If the shower has a curb, it’s crucial for its top to slope gently toward the shower floor.
Example of a modern shower screen.

2. Do all shower screens have the same basic design?

Yes and no. A shower screen always consists primarily of a square or rectangular piece of tempered glass. However, ABC Glass & Mirror offers a few different design options.

  • Square corner: All the corners of your shower screen form 90 degree angles.
  • Radius corner: The unattached upper corner of your shower screen is rounded, while the others remain square.
  • Fixed: The shower screen is permanently installed in a fixed position.
  • Hinged: The shower screen is attached to the wall with hinges that allow it to swing outward into the bathroom and widen the shower entrance.

The choice between radius and square corners is primarily aesthetic. However, practical considerations come into play when deciding between a fixed or hinged screen. Reasons you may prefer a hinged screen include:

  • Being able to swing the screen aside and fully open the tub entrance makes it easier to bathe an infant or assist a young child.
  • The ability to open the screen and extend the shower entrance can enhance the accessibility of the unit.
Examples of hinged bathtub screens, fixed shower screens, square corner screen and radius corner screen.

3. How can the glass be customized?

Your choice of glass style will very much define the look and feel of the shower screen for your bath area. A desire for a free-flowing bathroom ambiance is one reason homeowners may opt for a screen rather than a full enclosure or curtain. In these instances, clear glass is typically chosen to boost this effect. Here’s a closer look at the characteristics of clear glass and its alternatives:

ABC Glass and Mirror comparison chart of glass types

Clear glass has the edge on the other options in every aspect except privacy, so let’s consider some FAQs about all 4 options. 

Why is clear glass more popular than the other types of glass?

One of the most beloved characteristics of clear glass is its ability to visually join the shower area to the rest of the bathroom. Whether you are stationed inside the shower or elsewhere in the room, you will feel like you’re in a larger space, which is not the case if a curtain or privacy glass is used. Of equal importance is the fact that clear glass keeps the tile or marble inside the shower visible throughout the space. Finally, the flat exterior of this glass makes it easier to clean than textured glazing.

If clear glass is so stylish, why might I choose another option?

The desire for a private shower area is the main reason for choosing vision obscuring glass. A secluded shower offers practical benefits in a bathroom shared by siblings or used by guests. At the same time, you may prefer the appearance of patterned, frosted (acid-etched), or tinted glass for a particular bathroom décor scheme.

What are the characteristics of patterned, frosted, and tinted glass?

Each of these glass options provides privacy, but they all have a different appearance.

  • Patterned glass has a delicate 3-dimensional pattern integrated into its surface. Subtle, bold, intricate, and stylized patterns are available.
  • Frosted (acid-etched) glass has been treated with acid to create “frostiness” that can form a design or be consistent across the whole surface.
  • Tinted glass is translucent colored glass with a smooth surface like that of clear glass. Color options vary depending on the company with whom you are working. ABC Glass & Mirror, for instance, offers gray and bronze tinted shower glass.
Master-Carre patterned Glass
Frosted (Acid-etched) glass
Gray tinted glass

4. What are the advantages of a frameless shower screen?

Frameless shower enclosures are made of heavy tempered glass, and aluminum framing is not used around the glass edges. In the case of a shower screen, a piece of unframed glass is attached to surrounding surfaces using clips or hinges (depending on whether you choose a stationary or operable screen). What is the appeal of a frameless shower screen for your bath or shower space?

  • A frameless clear glass screen successfully keeps an open line of sight between the shower stall and the rest of the bathroom. 
  • The absence of framing also preserves a clear view of your chosen shower tile or stone-work.
  • Unframed glass is easier to care for and clean because its design is simple and free of nooks and crannies.
  • Frameless shower glass has been and remains a very fashionable choice in bathroom design.
  • The simplicity of frameless shower glass allows it to harmonize with many different styles, including modern, transitional, Japandi, and more.

5. Black framed glass is popular – can I get a shower screen in this style?

In recent times, clear glass with black framing has also been surging in popularity – especially Crittall style glass, which has black mullions as well as framing. Working with ABC Glass & Mirror, for example, you can choose a shower screen in one of the following styles:

  • Clear glass framed with black metal.
  • Clear glass with black metal framing and horizontal black mullions on its exterior surface.
  • Clear glass with black metal framing and both vertical and horizontal mullions on its outer surface.
  • Clear glass with mullions and colored panels in a modern geometric design.

A Crittall style shower screen makes a gorgeous focal point for a bathroom! Since it includes clear glass, it still helps open up the ambiance and keeps the shower tile largely visible. However, the black framing and mullions give Gridscape glass lots of charm and character, while hearkening back to vintage steel framed windows of the past. Black framed glass pairs beautifully with just about any bathroom style, including farmhouse, vintage, maximalist, Scandi, grandmillenial, contemporary chic, and more. 

Before and after example of glass screen installation

6. Where can shower screens be installed?

Shower screens can be added to bathtubs as well as shower stalls, making them a nice option for bathroom remodels as well as new construction. For instance, a bathtub and shower combo can be very functional, but it lacks the luxurious appearance of a soaker tub paired with a separate shower enclosure. However, you can style up an ordinary tub/shower combination by enclosing it with a glass screen rather than a curtain. Tub screens can be customized in regard to the glass style, corner style, and whether the panel is fixed or operable. 

Likewise, screens work with shower-only stalls as well. A screen should be installed in front of the shower head, and it’s advisable to consult with a glass professional about the best width for your situation. You want to balance water containment with accessibility and visual appeal as you select shower screen dimensions. In summary, a shower screen is typically a viable option for:

  • A bathroom remodel where you’re keeping the original tub/shower combo but want to elevate its appearance.
  • A bathroom remodel in which you are replacing the shower curtain or old framed doors on a shower-only stall.
  • A new bathroom with a walk-in shower stall or a bathtub and shower combo.
Bathtub screen and shower stall screen

7. What bathroom design choices complement a shower screen?

If you want to use a shower screen rather than a full enclosure, certain elements of structure and design are recommended. Of course the glass screen will block many water droplets, but an open shower entrance may allow some moisture to escape from the stall. For optimal results, it’s best to:

  • Consult with a shower glass professional about what type of glass enclosure is ideal for your situation.
  • If the screen is going on a walk-in or curbless shower enclosure, be sure that all tradespersons coordinate their work on the project to ensure appropriate floor slope, drain placement, and shower spray location to keep water off the bathroom floor.
  • Since a shower screen does not fully close off the shower, it’s advisable to waterproof the floor around the bathing area.
  • Likewise, tiling the walls near the shower will provide protection from mold, mildew, and other moisture-related problems.

In summary, be intentional in both your choice of shower enclosure and how you protect surrounding surfaces from water.

In terms of aesthetics, shower screens have a simple design that harmonizes with many bathroom styles. Frameless panels tend to have a more modern vibe, while Crittall style screens can take on a contemporary OR vintage look depending on what they’re paired with. Another nice thing about shower glass is that it will continue to “match” even if you replace your towels, repaint the wall, change the floor color, etc.

Bathroom with pink accent wall and shower screen

8. What advantages do shower screens have over shower curtains?

There are pros and cons to every water containment option for your shower or tub, so let’s take a closer look at curtains vs. glass screens.

Shower Curtain Pros:

  • Shower curtains are relatively inexpensive and are offered in a wide variety of colors, styles, and patterns.
  • Hanging a shower curtain is generally a quick DIY project.
  • When paired with a liner and adjusted properly, curtains contain water fairly well.
Pros of a showe

Shower Curtain Cons:

  • Curtains and liners are prone to bacteria build-up and infestations of mold and mildew.
  • Brushing up against a wet curtain liner is unpleasant.
  • Shower curtains do not elevate bathroom décor the way glass enclosures do.
  • If not properly arranged, shower curtains can allow puddles of water to accumulate on the bathroom floor.
Cons of having a shower curtain

Pros of glass shower screens

Glass Shower Screen Pros:

  • Choosing a glass screen allows you to bring some of today’s hottest décor trends into your bathroom, such as frameless glass or Crittall style glass.
  • A glass enclosed shower styles up your whole bathroom.
  • A shower screen does not need to be carefully arranged and adjusted like a curtain/liner set does.
  • Clear glass screens showcase, rather than hide, marble or tile inside your shower.
  • Glass does not absorb moisture and can be dried after use.
  • Glass can be spot cleaned and sanitized as needed.
  • Since a screen requires less glass and metal than other shower enclosures, it can be a more budget friendly way to decorate with glass.
Cons of glass shower screens

Glass Shower Screen Cons:

  • Shower glass is more costly than a curtain.
  • Professional installation is recommended for most homeowners.
  • Some water may still escape through the open entrance.

9. How should I care for a glass shower screen?

The first step in caring for any glass shower enclosure, including a screen for your bath or shower area, is ordering permanently protected glass. This glass is sealed or coated in such a way that it always stays clean longer and is easier to clean. Reapplication is never required.

Once the shower screen is installed it can be helpful to dry it after each use. Tap water is home to minerals and corrosive elements, and removing droplets promptly prevents buildup and damage to your glass. This may not be strictly necessary with protected glass (depending on the condition of your water), but it can’t hurt, and removing moisture improves the bathroom’s overall environment. To make it a quick and easy task, keep a squeegee or basket of absorbent towels handy.

When it comes to actually cleaning the shower screen, keep these tips in mind:

  • Form a regular cleaning schedule, such as once a week. It’s always easier to clean before the situation has gotten disgusting.
  • Use only soft cloths, sponges, or paper towels on the glass and hardware. Avoid abrasive materials of any kind.
  • Only use approved glass cleaners and stay away from anything harsh or abrasive as these could permanently mar the glass.
  • Most shower hardware can be washed with a gentle solution of water and mild soap. Brass hardware, however, should only be cleaned with a damp, soft cloth.
Examples of shower screens that are protected versus not protected.

10. How can I order a custom glass shower screen?

ABC Glass & Mirror supplies and installs a wide variety of glass and mirror creations – including shower screens for your bath or shower area – in the greater Northern Virginia region. We offer free in-home consultations, so the first step is calling us at (703)257-7150 or contacting us online. Once you’ve met with a glass expert and we’ve taken the needed measurements, the process typically looks like this:

  • Our team works up a quote and emails it to you.
  • You consider the quote and the various options, make your decision, and place your order.
  • Glass is fabricated to the precise specifications needed for a good fit on your shower or tub, and we gather the appropriate hardware in your chosen finish.
  • An installation appointment is scheduled, and a professional team of glaziers puts the screen in place.
  • You enjoy the beauty and convenience of a beautiful glass screen backed by our warranty.

If you’re renovating or having a new bathroom put in, ABC can help with other products as well.

  • We offer custom vanity mirrors in your choice of shape and dimensions. Mirror edges can be polished, beveled, or metal wrapped. We can also cut a vanity mirror to fit in a frame you want to use.
  • ABC provides custom glass shelves to make decorating and organizing your bathroom easier than ever before.
  • If you want a separate toilet area, we can install a privacy screen made of patterned, frosted, or tinted glass.
  • Cabinet glass can take the place of existing wood panels on your vanity cupboard doors to give them a fresh vibe.
  • Back painted glass is available in any color you need, and it makes a gorgeous and functional backsplash, shower wall panel, or wall covering.
  • Along with shower screens, we offer frameless rolling door systems, neo-angle and right angle corner showers, in-line door and panel enclosures, French doors, bypass doors, and custom glass shower designs.

We are veteran owned family company, and our priority is your satisfaction with the finished project. We invite you to contact or call ABC at (703) 257-7150 and learn more.

Order a custom glass shower screen from ABC Glass and Mirror today!

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