How to Install a Frameless Shower Door

A frameless shower with a glass door can be a beautiful addition to any bathroom. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you can install your frameless shower door in a couple of days with help from a friend and some simple tools.

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In order to install your shower door, you will need your shop drawings, a pencil, tape measure, level, electric drill, screw driver, spray bottle with water, chisel, hammer, shop vac, rubbing alcohol, and silicone. You might also want to rent a suction cup.

You need to take some precautions when installing your frameless shower door. Be careful handling the glass. Even though tempered glass is strong, it can break. Do not allow it to come in contact with tile, marble, concrete, metal, or any other hard surface. If you must set it down, place it on a soft surface, not bubble wrap or plastic wrap. Allow the door to reach room temperature before you install it. Always wear goggles to protect your eyes.

Unpack the door and set it down on a soft protective surface, such as the wood from the crate. Keep the other packing materials to use as shims to protect the glass.

The next step is to mark where you will hang your frameless shower door. Mark the inner and outer edges of where the glass door and panels will go. Use a level to mark the vertical locations of the door up to the door’s height, and then mark the locations of the panels.

Tape down 3/8-inch shims where the door will rest. You can use pieces of plywood from the crate. It is very important that you wait until the next day to install the shower door. The glass needs to come to room temperature.

The next day, set the door into place and use a pencil to mark the screw hole locations for all of the hinges. Draw screw hole circles around your markings. Draw crosshair lines through the hole markings.

Drill through a piece of plexiglass into a piece of wood to create a template to help you start each hinge hole. Use a ¼-inch drill bit. If you have glass tile or another hard wall covering, use a ¼-inch diamond-tipped core bit. If you have normal tile, use a ¼-inch carbide masonry drill bit. Drill the hinge holes, spraying the drill bit with water to keep it cool. Drill the holes 2 ¼ inches deep or until you hit a wood stud or block. If you are using a core bit, use a screwdriver to pop out the core pieces. Finish drilling the holes with a carbide masonry bit. Clean the holes with a shop vac.

Hammer in the plastic anchors. If they stick out, use a hammer and chisel to cut them flush with the tile. Drive a #10 screw in and out of the holes to make it easier to install the door.

Tape protective material over the hinges so you will not accidentally scratch them when you screw them in. Have someone hold the door straight and steady while you screw the hinges into the tile. Step back and make sure the door is straight and sturdy.

The next step is to install the panels. Lay the U-channel pieces in place. Use a pencil to mark the locations for the holes. Drill the holes as you did for the doors, clean them with a shop vac, and wipe the area with rubbing alcohol.

Hammer in the plastic anchors. If possible, use a hold punch or old drill bit to hammer in the anchors an additional ¼ inch. If the anchors stick out, use a hammer and chisel to cut them flush with the tile.

Clean the areas where the U-channels will sit with rubbing alcohol and allow it to dry. Apply silicone where the horizontal and vertical U-channel pieces will meet. Apply silicone to the undersides of the U-channels before you install them. Cut the tip of the tube at a 22-degree angle to make a small bead. Apply a drop of silicone to each hole, and then screw in the U-channels. It will be easier if you dip the tips of the screws into silicone. After you screw the U-channels in place, put a drop of silicone on the heads of the screws.

Use clear plastic setting blocks to shim the panels until they are level. Shim at the sides of the panels and then slide the panels into place.

Screw the outside handle into the door. Then use the supplied screw set to attach the inner handle.

Step back and make sure the door and panels are level and secure and at the same height and the door seal over laps the panel by 1/16 inch. Adjust the panel shims if necessary.

Put a small bead of silicone along the U-channels where they meet the tile and glass. Seal completely on the inside of the shower.

Wait at least 48 hours to let the silicone dry and make sure the hinge screws are tight before using the shower.