By Marty Austin, Owner.
We have a lot of customers ask us the main difference between a semi-frameless and fully frameless shower glass when designing a new bath. The issue is confusing to customers because different sellers of shower glass define a frameless shower differently due to the lack of standards in the industry.
The difference in the type of glass(semi-frameless vs fully frameless) refers to the hardware being used to secure the glass to the wall. Some shower glass companies use U channels at the bottom or sides of the glass to secure it. While some manufacturers say this is a frameless door the more accurate term agreed on by many in the industry is semi-frameless. Other frameless shower glass doors use heavy duty clamps to secure the glass door to the wall This is what many refer to as a fully frameless shower door.
When searching for a shower door, ask the seller whether the door uses U channels or clamps (sometimes called clips). Clamps generally have a more minimalist look compared to U channels.
Another very important question to ask is the type of hardware being used to secure the glass, specifically the material used in the U channel (for semi-frameless glass doors) and in the clamps (for fully frameless glass doors) as well as any other component including the hinges.
Hardware can be made of brass construction, aluminum construction and anodized construction. We recommend
using brass hardware as most shower glass doors are quite heavy, sometimes weighing up to 200 lbs. The hardware used must be able to safely bear the weight and ensure structural integrity. Brass is heavier duty than most aluminum or other metal alloys and is a good fit for most 3/8 or 1/2 inch shower doors.
Both frameless and semi-frameless shower glass has its benefits. Making sure you choose the right hardware and type of glass for your remodel will make a long lasting impression.