Shower Door and Enclosure Key Terms 2018-06-14T10:32:18-04:00

Shower Door Design Options

We put this section of the website together to help familiarize you with some terms and design options that your shower door design specialist will go over and explain during the design of your new shower enclosure.

Types of glass shower doors & enclosures

Generally speaking, there are three types of shower enclosures frameless, semi-frameless and framed.

Frameless Shower Doors

Frameless shower doors and enclosures can vary in the degree of frameless-ness and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and opening styles. Generally, if the shower has heavy glass (⅜” or ½” thick) and the finished edge of the glass is visible it is considered frameless.  Regardless if a U channel or a header bar is used it is still a frameless shower door.

Deus™ Family of Frameless Shower Doors

Semi Frameless Shower Doors

Semi-Frameless shower enclosures are generally thinner glass (3/16” or ¼”) that comes separate from the frame, glazed into a metal channel on sight using gaskets or silicone.  There is less metal on the edges of a semi-frameless enclosure than a framed one. Usually, a Semi-Frameless enclosure, the only edge of glass you will see are on the handle side edge of the door and the top. Typically all other edges will have metal channels around them.

Centec Line of Semi Frameless Shower Doors

Framed Shower Doors

A framed shower door or enclosure is one where all edges of the glass are covered by a frame of metal, channel or extrusion.  These can be made of aluminum or in high-end applications solid brass. Framed shower doors typically use a thinner glass and cost less than a frameless shower door.

Lucette Line of Frameed Shower Doors

Shower Door Shapes

Most shower enclosures come in one of three shapes; Neo Angle, Inline and Right Angle. However, there are times when these rules are broken to meet the needs of a client looking for a shower enclosure that is truly out of the box.


An inline shower enclosure is one where there is only one plane of glass that encloses a shower area with 3 walls that are tiled.

Right Angle

A right angle or return shower enclosure has at least two sides,  One side that would incorporate a door or entrance as well as a corner and returns back to another wall.

Neo Angle

A Neo Angle is a corner area that is enclosed with glass on three sides.  A typical Neo Angle scenario is when the side angles meet with the center at a 135 degree angle.  It is important to pay attention to the 135 degree angle as extra complications can arise to non-standard angles.

Shower Door Opening Styles

Below are the shower door opening types you are likely to consider for your shower.


A shower system that uses two sliding pieces of glass in lieu of a hinged swing door, these units may or may not require additional stationary glass panels to enclose a shower space. A popular choice for bathtubs, bypasses are low-maintenance and cost-effective.

View our sliding shower doors.

Double Slider

A Double Slider is simply two doors that both slide. Most common are the traditional sliding enclosures on a tub or shower stall, however, we now have double barn slider option available.

View or double sliding shower doors.

Barn Style Slider

Frameless Barn Style Slider on Tub

A Barn Style Slider is typically an enclosure where one panel (the door) slides open & closed while the other panel will remain stationary. Some barn sliders will have large rollers above and below the header bar to look closer to its distant cousin which is actually a “Barn Door” made of wood.

View our barn style sliding doors.

French Doors

Frameless French Door Barn Stall Slider

French Doors are simply two doors in an opening that hinge from opposite sides and both open in the middle. Handles are placed next to each other one on each door.

View our french shower doors.

Swing Doors

A Swing Door is any door that swings open & closed. This could use wall mount hinges, glass to glass hinges, pivot hinges, piano hinges or anything but a sliding mechanism. A swing door can be framed, frameless or semi-frameless.

View our swing opening shower doors.


A Bi-Fold shower door is one which actually folds into the shower area. Bi-Fold enclosures can be framed or frameless and tend to be bit awkward to use as it takes two hands to open & close. The Framed Bi-Fold doors tend to look very “metaly” and cumbersome. Usually, a Bi-Fold is a “last resort” rather than an aesthetic decision which is designed to overcome an issue that a swing door or sliding door cannot satisfy.

View our Bi-Fold shower doors.

Shower Door Glass

You will have many glass options to choose from including finish, thickness, low iron and or DFI Treatment.

Clear Glass

Clear glass is tempered glass which has been heat strengthened for safety, tempered glass is approximately four times as strong as standard glass. In the event of breakage tempered glass fractures into small particles which do not form sharp edges. This greatly reduces the chance of personal injury.

View Showers that use Clear Glass.

Starphire Glass

Also known as low iron glass Starphire glass is crystal clear, lacking the slight green tint that clear tempered glass can show ever so slightly on the edge. It’s iron that causes this slight hue, so low iron glass is required in situations where clear tempered glass will not suffice.

View More Frameless Shower Enclosures that use Starphire Glass.

Acid Etched Glass

Permanently altered through the application of a hydrofluoric acid solution, this translucent glass has a smooth and even surface. Visually similar to sandblasted glass, but whereas sandblasting provides a relatively rough surface which tends to allow the retention of oil, dirt and dust particles, acid etching provides a much finer surface. This minimizes the amount of fingerprints picked up by the shower glass surface, which has great appeal because acid etched glass continues to look uniform long after sandblasted glass becomes stained, and its fine surface is easier to clean and maintain.

View Showers that have Acid Etched Glass.

Popular Shower Features

Below are a few popular features you may wish to incorporate into your shower door design.

Buttress Wall (Knee Wall)

Any horizontal surface with stationary glass that rests higher than the curb of the shower (i.e., tub decks, knee walls, etc.)

View More Shower Doors and Enclosure that use a Buttress Wall.

Shower Bench Seat

A Shower Bench Seat is exactly what the term suggests, a bench or seat in a shower.  The best way to build a bench seat is to bring it flush to the outside or front side of the shower curb.

View Shower Doors and Enclosure that have a Shower Bench Seat.

Tub Deck

The surrounding edges of a soaking tub, frequently adjacent to a corner unit and requiring a buttressed return panel.

View More Shower Enclosures with Tub Deck.

Curbless Shower

A curbless shower or a walk-in shower is exactly as the name states, it does not have a curb. Curbless showers have to be larger than a typical shower to make them large enough to contain the entire splash zone.

View Curbless Shower Doors and Enclosures.

Transome Panel

A swivel vent, it is used in steam showers to regulate the volume of steam. The operable transom clips can attach to walls, stationary glass, or headers. Alternatively, they can be completely inset in a door or stationary panel.

View More Steam Shower Enclosures with Transom Panels.

Tub Enclosure

Frameless Corner Splashguard

A Tub Enclosure is an enclosure that sits on a tub.  While most Tub Enclosures are sliders, more and more folks are opting to put french doors, barn sliders or other types of swing doors on their tubs.

View Tub Shower Enclosures.

Common Shower Door Hardware

Below are some of the most common shower exclosure hardware used to design a shower enclosure.


A metal clamp or bracket that attaches glass to walls or glass to glass. Made of solid brass and plated in a finish complementary to the hinges, handle, etc., clips can be used to accomplish a more frameless look by stabilizing stationary glass. Ultimately, the tile job determines whether or not clips can be used in lieu of u-channel, as significant, aggressive outages in the plumb and level conditions can make for sloppy silicone seams.

View More Shower Doors and Enclosure that use Clips.


Typically used where glass meets the tile, marble, or granite, it allows for adjustability of stationary panels and neat glass-to-metal and glass-to-wall silicone joints. Its primary function is to stabilize stationary glass panels.

View More Shower Doors and Enclosure that use U-Channels.

FRAMELESS SHOWER DOOR DESIGN TIP: When are Clips used vs U-Channels and what are the ramifications.


Metal support at the top of a shower, it’s used to support the door and any additional panels. It bears the weight of the door, allowing for hinge location adjacent to a stationary panel. It also stabilizes and reduces deflection on stationary panels. Standard headers range from 1 ¼” to 3” thick.

View Shower Enclosures that incorporate a Header.

Glass to Glass Hinges

A solid brass pivot hinge system that allows for hinging a door off of a stationary panel, negating the need for a header. They distribute the weight of the door downward towards the curb instead of having the stationary panel bear the full load of the door weight.

View Shower Doors and Enclosure that use Glass to Glass Hinges.

Pivot Hinge

A Pivot Hinge is a hinge that operates (spins) from a vertical center point (pivot point) on a hinge.  A Pivot Hinge can be either mounted to a wall, to a header bar or glass to glass.

View Shower Doors and Enclosure that use Pivot Hinges.

Free Custom Shower Door Design Consultation

At Absolute Shower Doors, we are committed to helping our customers navigate the many options available for their new custom shower door design. Our unique process ensures our customers receive the best quality products and have a rewarding customer experience.

Schedule Your Design Consultation Today!

What our clients are saying about Absolute Shower Doors

Absolute Shower Doors is an excellent business to do business with.They were very professional from the initial measuring to the final installation. The job is spot on and the product is great. It's not hard to recommend them because it's true.
16:22 04 Sep 19
Joe and Jason did and excellent job on my sliders. Great job gentleman
Infiniti6112 .
01:24 30 Aug 19
Joe and Jason did and excellent job on my sliders. Great job gentleman
01:24 30 Aug 19
Great service and timely installation, very satisfied
Donald Maher
16:45 27 Nov 18
Mac and James from Absolute Shower Doors just left my house...and I was sad to see them go. It's great to watch pros at work--knowledgeable, efficient, and with a great perspective on how people use--and often abuse--the products they work on. I'd get these two guys to work on ANY kind of job.
14:53 08 Nov 18
James and Mac were very professional and polite. The installation went well and they cleaned up after themselves.
Robin Kubikowski
19:13 05 Sep 18
Absolute Shower Doors was a pleasure to work with from my initial visit with Katie, then the measuring process, and through to the final installation by James and Tom. They all take pride in their work and I appreciate that very much.
Gayle O'Donnell
15:57 17 Aug 18
We remodeled our bathroom and used Absolute Shower. They are fantastic. The sales person was very helpful, the person who did the measurements got everything right and the installers were excellent! I think the turnaround time was less then they promised. The install was perfect and after they left, you couldn't tell they were even working in the room, very clean. I couldn't be more happy.
Gary Falkenstern
14:49 05 Jul 18
We remodeled our bathroom and used Absolute Shower. They are fantastic. The sales person was very helpful, the person who did the measurements got everything right and the installers were excellent! I think the turnaround time was less then the promised. The install was perfect and after they left, you couldn't tell they were even working in the room, very clean. I couldn't be more happy.
Gary Falkenstern
19:14 03 Jul 18
Absolute Quality was quick to the job, helpful, and nice. They came out the next day to fix something that was not done by our original shower door company.
Cierra Pius
18:43 08 Mar 18
I am extremely happy with our new glass shower enclosure. The office staff at Absolute Shower Doors was extremely helpful. The installers were very professional and polite. The entire process of ordering and installation was completed in a little over a week.
Cindy P.
21:52 07 Feb 18
We just started a renovation on our master bathroom (total gut out/rebuild). I was referred to Absolute shower doors by our friend who had their shower door replaced by them. So when our contractor also suggested them, we thought it would be a safe bet. They have a small showroom in Yonkers where we live. We were greeted by a young lady toward the back of the store that was very nice. We had no idea so many decisions had to be made in a bathroom and were kind of exhausted from all of the fixtures, lights, tile and everything else we had to put together. We were very fortunate that everyone we've dealt with to this point was very helpful.I thought we were shopping for "shower doors" little did I know we needed a "shower enclosure". Cathy the sales person took us around what appeared to be a small showroom in size but some how was large enough to show us so many different glass options and design layouts that hadn't even occurred to us. We left there with a computerized scale sketch of exactly how our shower enclosure would look and cost. In full disclosure I almost dropped when I saw the price and as much as I liked Cathy and the time she spent with my wife and I, I was still in a state of sticker shock and felt compelled to shop it out. After we visited another shower door showroom not too far away and got pricing from them, I quickly got over my sticker shock and ran back to Absolute!As soon as our tile was finished, they sent their shower tech. (I believe it was the owner of the company) out to laser measure our shower area. Fast forward two weeks, we had a beautiful frameless shower enclosure installed by two gentlemen that were so neat and meticulous. It was so refreshing to see how much care people can still take when providing something so custom like this! I had no idea so much went into a bathroom renovation and no idea how much the glass in the room becomes such an important factor and how custom it can be.I was a bit uncomfortable with paying 100% in advance for an enclosure I didn't have yet but they did exactly what they said they would do and we couldn't be happier with the end result.Can't wait to recommend Absolute Shower Doors to our friends!
John Bear
15:27 07 Jan 18
The install was clean, quick, polite, and punctual. Katie is knowledgeable, responsible and friendly when it comes to helping you pick the glass that is right for you. I'm an interior designer and I will definitely use them again.
Audi Martel
19:00 11 May 17
Excellent service. Door is beautiful and installation was flawless. Very happy with the product and the job.
Loretta Alden
16:51 05 May 17
Over the last decade, whenever Best Tile has dealt with Absolute Shower Doors, Chris and his staff have always conducted themselves on a level of professionalism that continually exceeds all expectations. Their attention to the tiniest details is unsurpassed to ensure the customer's complete satisfaction. We continually recommend them to our clients, and we always receive incredible feedback along with many thanks for referring them. Their staff is always friendly and welcoming during any interactions. We wouldn't consider recommending any other company for servicing shower door needs!
Andrea Galletti
19:18 14 Apr 17
Great customer service! The prices were the best, after much searching! Answered all my questions with professionalism. Was very flexible with working around my busy schedule. The end result was absolutely amazing! I couldn't be happier! Thank you Absolute Shower Doors!
Linda Cottrell
11:05 14 Apr 17
It is always a pleasure to find a business that operates in a friendly, professional and knowledgeable manner. Absolute Shower Doors is such an establishment. From picking the right fit, to measuring, to installing our shower door, the service and caring of the people involved was of the highest order. In today's world you cannot ask for anything more.
Jerry Bell
15:28 15 Mar 17