There are dozens and dozens of different types of shower doors out there. But there’s only one thing that matters as you begin the search for your shower doors – the ones you’ll see and use every single morning for the next 10 to 20 years of your life; the ones you’ll spend a small fortune personalizing to your tastes and needs.
It’s the layout of your shower space.
This is the very first variable you have to establish to kick off the search for your perfect shower doors, because the types of shower door units that are available to you are limited by the layout of your shower or tub. Fortunately, this in itself is the first thing we have to establish. And it’s the simplest question you get to answer during the entire shower-buying process!
Do you have have a:
Shower? Or Tub?
So far, pretty simple, right?!
Your shower door search starts with this binary choice – tub or shower – but then things get a little more complicated. Because both options have their own layout variables that determine which specific shower door products and options are available to you.
There are, in fact, six distinct layout variations (four shower layout variations and two tub layout variations) that determine which unit types are available to you!
A shower alcove layout is basically a stall; it’s a simple wall-to-wall opening. Common unit types are single doors, door and panel units, panel-door-panel units, or sliding systems, depending on the total opening width.
A shower corner layout has glass on two sides, meeting at 90-degrees. Many (like the example shown below) set beside a tub deck or knee wall, requiring a half panel running to the back wall. Some shower corner layouts have full height return panels though as well.
Neo angle shower layouts usually have three sides of glass (but sometimes only two sides in what’s known as a 2/3 neo angle layout) where the sides meet at 135-degrees. From a birdseye view, this can almost make the layout look like a diamond or a pentagon. Neo angle layouts are popular ways to situate shower pans in a corner of a bathroom.
Custom shower layouts can be some of the most fun and attractive layouts to work with. But, by definition, they can’t be defined, as they’re limited only by the designer’s imagination (and the customer’s budget!). Custom layouts can be difficult to quote without a drawing or site visit, simply because there are so many variables.
Tub alcove layouts are just your basic tub setup: a bathtub setting in between two walls. People who forgo glass tub doors typically use shower curtains for these layouts, because there’s just a single open plane that needs protection from water escaping.
There are tub corner layouts too though, where the end of the tub opposite the wet wall (where the shower head and faucets are located) is left open instead of tiled, so a piece of glass can meet the front tub unit at 90-degrees and allow in more light.