Sliding VS Hinged Shower Door: Which One is Right for Your Bathroom

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Which is better: a hinged shower door or a sliding shower door?

Answering this question is frequently an important aspect of your bathroom renovation.

When you’ve decided it’s time to update your bathroom with a new glass shower, you’ll have to make several decisions, including door style and operation.

We’ll look at the features and available options for hinged and sliding shower doors, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.  

1. What is the definition of a hinged shower door?

It is critical to understand the products referred to by these terms in order to make an informed decision between a hinged shower door and a sliding shower door.

Because annealed glass is too fragile for this application, hinged shower doors are made primarily of glass. Tempered or laminated glass is always used.

The glass sheet is hinged to an adjacent surface and can swing out into the bathroom or both inward and outward. There are two hinge options available:

Wall mounted hinges connect the glass door to an adjacent wall or glass panel. Wall mounted hinges are common on front doors and most interior doors, so this is most likely the style you’re most familiar with.

Pivot hinges are made up of two hinges that are equidistant from the door’s edge and connect the door’s top and bottom to the surfaces above and below it. The hinges provide a pivot point for the door to open and close.

If you’re not familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each hinge type, the answers to these FAQs should be useful.

What are the advantages of using wall mounted hinges?

Wall mounted hinges have a classic appearance that works well in bathrooms that are modern, traditional, transitional, or historic. They also allow the swinging shower door to seal when closed and do not require the installation of a header.

Are there any drawbacks to using wall mounted hinges on a swinging shower door?

Wall hinges do not have the same “low profile” as pivot hinges. This is only a disadvantage if you want to keep metal components on your shower door to a minimum. You’ll also need to keep the glass clean around the hinges to prevent soap scum or mineral deposits from accumulating.

What are the advantages of using pivot hinges on a swinging shower door?

Pivot hinges make a swinging shower door look more modern. They are ideal for modern, contemporary, and transitional bathrooms. They are less visible than wall-mounted hinges and are easier to clean.

Are there any disadvantages to using pivot hinges?

When the door is closed, pivot hinges do not allow it to seal. Also, because the upper hinge must be attached to something above it, a header may be required on your shower.

glass shower door

2. What kinds of glass enclosures use hinged doors?

Hinged shower doors (also known as swinging shower doors) can be found in a wide range of shower enclosures.

  • Single door – Regardless of stall size, some showers have a relatively small entrance. A single hinged shower door is an excellent alternative to a shower curtain and will significantly improve the appearance of the shower entrance.
  • French doors are a beautiful option if the stall has a wider entrance or if you want to enclose a tub/shower combo. A pair of hinged doors adds a touch of glitz to any room.
  • In-line door and panel – A hinged door installed alongside a piece of fixed glass is another option. If additional glass is required to completely enclose the tub or shower stall, 90 degree return panels can be installed.
  • Corner showers – For many homeowners looking to create a shower stall separate from the bathtub, corner showers are the most space-efficient option. On both right-angle and neo-angle corner showers, hinged doors are used.
  • Enclosures made to order – The client selects the stall dimensions, the number of fixed panels, the angles at which panels meet adjoining surfaces, the number of door panels, and so on for a custom enclosure. Hinged doors are frequently used in custom glass shower designs.

3. What framing options are available for hinged doors?

Frameless, semi-frameless, or framed shower enclosures with hinged doors are available. Let’s take a closer look at each’s characteristics:

  • Frameless enclosures are made of unframed sheets of glass. Thick glass is used to reinforce and stabilize the structure. A metal header may be required due to the structure of the bathroom or to achieve the desired design.
  • Semi-frameless – The door panels on a semi-frameless enclosure are frameless, and aluminum framing surrounds the enclosure as a whole.
  • Framing encases all glass edges on a framed unit, and thinner glass can be used safely with this type of construction.

A hinged door shower enclosure can be framed, semi-framed, or frameless. The frameless design is very popular because it keeps the shower tile visible.

These enclosures also have a modern, flowing design that draws attention to the glass. Finally, the frameless shower enclosure’s simplicity and minimalism make cleaning easier.

Semi-frameless enclosures provide a frameless appearance at a lower cost. (This is due to the fact that slightly thinner glass can be used on an enclosure with some framing.) Traditional framed doors are less popular, but they are an appealing option for those on a tight budget.

However, a new type of framed swinging shower door has entered the market and is now competing with frameless designs in popularity.

Crittall-style shower doors have clear glass, a black U-channel frame, and a black grid on the glass.

The shower tile is visible through the clear glass, but it is partially obscured by the gridwork. However, for a pleasing contrast, this black framing is frequently paired with white or other light-colored tile.


4. What is a sliding shower door?

A sliding glass shower door slides along tracking rather than swinging open on hinges. These are known as bypass shower doors. Each unit has two operable glass panels that can move in parallel tracks past one another. This gives you a lot of flexibility because you can enter and exit the shower from either side. A bypass shower door system has the following characteristics:

  • Tempered (or laminated) glass.
  • Two moving door panels.
  • Sliding door operation.
  • If necessary, 90-degree return panels can be added to either or both ends of the shower.

A Crittall-style sliding door system consists of a single door panel that slides past a fixed panel beside it. This product combines a trendy glass and metal combination with a space-saving door operation.

5. Sliding shower doors are used in what types of glass enclosures?

As previously stated, many sliding shower doors are sold in pairs – two bypass doors on parallel tracks. As a result, these are not used in shower stalls that require a single door. There will be bypass doors on:

  • Bathtub enclosures – Sliding glass doors can be added to an ordinary bathtub with a shower head. If the tub is already enclosed on three sides, a set of bypass doors can be used to close off the remaining wall.
  • Similarly, bypass doors can enclose a shower stall that is already closed off except for a wide entrance that is best served by double doors.
  • Sliding doors as well as 90-degree return(s) – If a tub or shower stall is open on two or three sides, additional panels at right angles to the doors can be installed to complete the enclosure.
  • Homeowners can also use bypass doors on custom glass showers with unique dimensions, angles, panel counts, and so on.

6. What framing options are available for sliding doors?

Because of the metal tracking required for their operation, sliding glass shower doors cannot be frameless. Let’s take a closer look at the various framing options.

  • Semi-frameless – The bypass doors mentioned earlier are typically semi-frameless, which means that the door panels themselves are unframed while the rest of the enclosure is framed with metal framing and tracking.
  • If desired, bypass door systems can also be fully framed.

These three distinct options allow you to select the sliding shower door that best matches the style of your bathroom. Semi-frameless bypass doors, for example, complement streamlined modern decor.

Crittall style glass complements many of today’s most popular home decorating trends, including Japandi, Scandinavian, maximalism, and granny chic.


7. What if I want frameless construction as well as the space-saving benefits of sliding glass doors?

None of the three options discussed above are suitable for all home decorators.

However, what options are available if space constraints necessitate sliding door operation but your design goals necessitate frameless shower door construction? Rolling shower doors are the solution.

These are frameless shower doors that roll along a header that spans the top of the enclosure rather than sliding in metal tracks.

This uses the same amount of space as a sliding door but allows for the use of frameless glass. Let’s take a look at some rolling “barn-style” shower door options.

  • Single-door units have a rolling door in addition to a fixed glass panel.
  • Single-door “barn style” series: 60-Roller, 70-Roller, and 80-Roller.
  • The Dual Roller enclosure features two doors that roll past each other for a highly versatile enclosure. This product comes with a metal header or an innovative glass header that uses even less metal.

8. Is it possible to get the same glass and hardware options for hinged, rolling, and sliding glass shower doors?

When working with a custom glass shop, you can generally select the glass style, hardware style, and hardware finish.

For hinged, rolling, and sliding doors, many of the same options are available. Some series have more limited options in certain areas.

For rolling “barn style” shower doors, for example, the hardware finishes available are polished stainless, brushed stainless, oil-rubbed bronze, and matte black, while hinged and bypass doors have a larger selection.

However, for most shower doors, you will be able to select from the following glass styles:

  • Clear – Probably today’s favorite, clear glass comes in standard and “ultra-clear” varieties with reduced iron content for less green coloration around the edges. Clear glass is easy to clean, shows off the interior of the shower, and complements any color scheme.
  • Acid etching can give the glass a “frosted” appearance across its entire surface or create a design on its exterior. Choose this to create a more private stall or to keep an older home’s vintage feel.
  • Patterned – On the surface of the glass, various 3-dimensional patterns can be formed. This gives the glass a distinct appearance while also providing some privacy.
  • Tinted – ABC carries bronze and gray tinted glass. These have a smooth, easy-to-clean exterior and vision-obscuring properties for privacy.

In terms of hardware, you can typically select from a wide range of door handles, such as small knobs, modern or classic handles, and towel bar handles.

Hinges have either beveled or square edges, and the aluminum framing comes in a variety of widths (if used).

9. Pros and cons of hinged shower doors?

To open, these standard-style doors swing out. There are framed and frameless options available. The two hinges on the side are drilled directly into your bathroom wall to install frameless hinged doors.

Hinged shower doors, like all glass shower options, are a high-end alternative to a curtain. Understanding their specific advantages and disadvantages allows you to make an informed purchase.

  • PRO: Swinging shower doors are more formal than sliding doors and add an upscale feel to your bathroom.
  • PRO: Swinging shower doors can be personalized by selecting a hinge type, glass style, handle style, hardware finish, and so on.
  • PRO: Hinged doors operate in a straightforward manner with few “moving parts,” reducing the need for future repairs.
  • PRO: Easy to clean and maintain: Unlike sliding doors, hinged doors do not have bottom tracks. As a result, cleaning and maintaining these shower glass doors is less difficult than sliding doors.
  • PRO: Larger opening and improved safety: Because hinged doors open to at least 90 degrees, they provide a larger opening into the enclosure. Furthermore, the openings can be made larger by adding side panels, making them safer for people with mobility issues.
  • PRO: Aesthetic look: Because hardware such as tracks, brackets, and hinges are kept to a minimum, a frameless hinged shower door blends into the wall. They contribute to the overall appearance of the bathroom as a unified whole.
  • PRO: Greater Customization Is Available. Because a hinged shower door has more surface area than a sliding door, you can go all out in terms of customization. Black grids in glass and other black framing options, as well as matching door hardware to match your shower and tub fixtures, are some current trends. A pivot shower door is another type of hinged shower door that you can install. Pivoting doors open in both directions, adding to the luxury of the showering experience.
  • CON: According to building codes, shower doors must be able to open out into the bathroom (even if they are hinged so that they can swing into the stall). As a result, there must be enough open space around the shower entrance.
  • CON: Not appropriate for small bathrooms: Because hinged doors open outward, more space is required forward. If you have a small bathroom, this can be a problem.
  • CON: When the door is opened after a shower, water may spill out onto the bathroom floor outside the enclosure. So, after you get out of the shower, you’ll need to spend some time soaking up the water.

10. Pros and cons of rolling and sliding shower doors?

Similarly, rolling and sliding shower doors have distinct characteristics that make them more or less suitable for a particular bathroom. Let’s start with sliding doors.

  • PRO: Sliding doors provide a streamlined modern look that complements many bathroom styles. Sliding glass doors, particularly frameless ones, do not obstruct light and help to transform your bathroom area into a cohesive unit, regardless of how complicated the space design is.
  • PRO: Sliding doors save space by requiring no clearance around the shower entrance.
  • PRO: Sliding doors can be customized with regard to glass style, handle style, hardware finish, framing thickness, and so on.
  • Pro: Ideal for small bathrooms: Sliding shower doors provide an effective space-saving solution because they do not open out. They’re ideal for small bathrooms where every square inch counts.
  • Handles are functional: These shower doors typically include handles that double as a towel rack. Typically, the handle runs the length of the door on one side.
  • Sliding shower doors have two glass doors that slightly overlap and either slide or roll open, making both sides of the tub/shower accessible. This allows access to the tub from both sides. As a result, you can turn on the water without having to enter the stall or tub.
  • PRO: Water stays where it belongs. Because sliding shower doors attach to your existing shower walls with a stronger “seal,” you won’t have to worry about water all over your floor from children or hurried showerers — which means you’ll spend less time mopping up.
  • CON: Sliding doors must be semi-frameless or framed, which are less popular than frameless.
  • CON: Doors that slide along tracks are more complicated. This can make cleaning more time consuming, and there are more components that may cause problems in the future.
  • CON: Doors with bottom tracks are difficult to clean: Sliding shower doors with frames are difficult to clean. Over time, the bottom metal track where the rollers sit can accumulate soap water, grime, and rust. If you don’t clean the tracks on a regular basis, this can cause the doors to stick.
  • CON: Limited space for access: The space to enter the shower enclosure becomes limited as they are fixed and the doors slide/roll into each other.

The benefit of rolling “barn style” shower doors is that they combine many of the “pros” of the other two while eliminating some of the “cons.”

These shower and tub enclosures combine the elegance of frameless glass with the space-saving convenience of gliding door operation. They, like sliding doors, have a more complex operating system than hinged doors.

Furthermore, their appearance is on the modern side, which would not be appropriate for a period home or vintage style bathroom.

11. Which to Select

When deciding between a hinged or sliding shower glass door, consider the size of the room.

Sliding doors are an excellent choice for rooms with limited space. If you want the uncluttered look of a frameless door, the price will be affected, as will the type and thickness of the glass.

Decorative glass and thicker glass will cost more than standard glass with a minimum thickness. With a solid understanding of the various types of shower doors, it’s clear that each style is designed with specific solutions in mind.

Both sliding glass shower doors and hinged glass shower doors have a lot to offer, from bathroom size and door functionality to aesthetic design and cleaning. If you find yourself torn between these two styles, consider the following questions:

  • Did you get a small bathroom? Think about sliding shower doors.
  • Is a large shower opening required? Think about hinged shower doors.
  • Do you value simple cleaning and maintenance? Think about hinged shower doors.
  • You can also seek the advice of a professional to determine which door is best for your bathroom.

12. If I’m still undecided, where can I get personalized advice on which is best for my space?

Still undecided about which is best for your bathroom? You can arrange for a free consultation with a supplier specialist. The estimator will inspect the shower area, take pertinent measurements and observations, show you product photos and samples, answer your questions, and provide tips and suggestions based on years of shower glass experience during this meeting.

With this additional personalized information, choosing between hinged, sliding, and rolling shower doors should be simpler. The rest of the installation process for a glass shower looks like this:

  • Tell the estimator which option(s) you want a quote for.
  • Receive a price quote via email.
  • Make a choice and place your order.
  • Once we have everything ready, schedule the installation appointment.
  • Take it easy while one of our crews installs the glass and metal.

Your Ideal Bathroom Is Just a Phone Call Away!

Whether you choose a hinged or sliding shower door, you can be confident that you’ll be creating an open and modern shower enclosure that changes the entire look of your bathroom, increases the value of your home, and makes showering an incredible experience! If you want to look into shower door options or learn more about the options available, contact Inox Star Hardware today.

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