For relatively narrow shower openings, a frameless shower door and panel is the most popular layout option. We recently completed this glass shower door installation in Falls Church, VA, and it is a perfect example of this unit type.
The opening is approximately 34″ wide. In smaller bathrooms, openings between 28″ and 36″ are not uncommon. For openings narrower than 32″, we generally recommend a single glass door spanning the entire opening width. Doors of this size can use standard shower door hinges.
Sometimes it can be better to opt for a shower door and panel, however. For openings wider than 32″, we recommend a shower door and panel for two primary reasons. First, single doors between 32″ and 36″ wide (the maximum width) exert more pressure on the shower door hinges. Since we offer a lifetime warranty on our hinges, we want to make sure they perform perfectly for decades. Reducing the weight of the door by engineering it to be 26″-30″ wide is one way to accomplish this.
Second, small shower openings are most commonly found in relatively small bathrooms. This can mean that a toilet or vanity may conflict with opening the shower door. In these cases, having a stationary glass panel inline with the door is a matter of practicality. It ensures that the arc of the shower door opening leaves ample room for other bathroom fixtures.
In the Falls Church area, contractors and homeowners with narrow shower openings choose a shower door and panel layout over a single door approximately 80% of the time for these reasons. During the planning stages of a bathroom renovation, it can be helpful to commit to this layout so the placement of other bathroom fixtures (e.g., towel bars, robe hooks, etc.) can be optimized.
We do have options though when just a single glass shower door is preferable. We can use heavier duty hinges–or even a third standard hinge–to ensure that shower doors between 32″ and 36″ wide operate as they should for the life of the shower enclosure. All of our hinge options can be seen in person at our shower door showroom outside of Frederick, MD.
If you are debating which shower door layout is best for your bathroom project, contact us today! With a few details, we can provide you with a free shower door quote online or over the phone.