If you are trying to save space in your bathroom, sliding doors, as opposed to pivot doors, are a great way to do so. But there is often one side of the shower that is more accessible, and you need the door to slide open on this side.
Whether you are moving your door and need to open it to the other side, or you are trying to pick a new shower door but you aren’t seeing left, right, or reversible slide at first glance, then this article will help you.
Most sliding shower doors come with the option of left or right installation. Most allow this orientation to be reversed after installation. Reversing the orientation is as simple. Backtrack through the installation instructions, then go through them again but install the door to open the other way.
Sliding Shower Doors Can Be Reversed
The majority of sliding shower doors are designed with one fixed panel and one free-moving or sliding panel.
You have the choice of which way you want the doors to slide open. The difference will only come in during installation; the same door is used for left and right slides. If you think about it, manufacturers would be shooting themselves in the foot if they made these doors slide only one way.
Consider how many people would look to another brand if the first brand seems only to stock one direction of sliding door. Or how many returns they would have to handle from people who accidentally bought the wrong slide direction. Or how many doors would be packaged with the wrong parts.
Giving a sliding bathroom door the ability to be installed as a left or right slide is not a difficult design, so it’s much better to mass produce one door.
If you have already installed your shower door, you will have to assess if you can reverse the fittings, etc. Some doors are designed for either orientation at installation, but once you have made the choice, certain steps prevent you from changing to the opposite slide.
Most doors, however, allow you to reverse the orientation after installation.
How To Reverse a Sliding Shower Door
Reversing a sliding shower door can be done, although you may want to rope in an assistant as the glass doors need to be handled with care and can be heavy, depending on the brand and size.
- To reverse your sliding shower door, you first need to remove the sliding panel from the track.
- Depending on your door, this could involve twisting a screw by the wheels, which drops the panel down enough for the top wheels to slip out of the frame. It might also be as simple as unclipping the wheels from the track or just lifting and tilting the panel.
- Carefully place this panel safely away from the work area.
- Unscrew the handle and the top and bottom wheels on the sliding panel and flip the panel around. Fix the handle and the wheels on the new opposite side so that it’s the correct way round.
- Remove the fixed panel (how will depend on the shower door but it should be clear (you can also check the installation guide online to see how it was installed and then reverse these directions).
- Flip the panel around so that the hole for the screw of the clip will be on the opposite side.
- Gently place the fixed panel onto the bottom track (whichever track it was on previously) and slide it to the opposite side of the shower. Reattach it just like you did when you first installed it or by mimicking the attachments you undid on the other side (if you did not do the initial installation).
- Replace the sliding panel and reinstall the handles, etc.
Are Frameless Sliding Shower Doors Reversible?
Frameless sliding doors are still reversible. Instead of an entire frame network they only use a top bar on which the sliding panel is hung with rollers/wheels and the fixed panel is secured with a door track divider among other small pieces.
Reversing a Frameless Sliding Shower Door
For this process, I would recommend getting hold of the installation guide.
Run through it in reverse to take the door off, then go through it again to install the door in the reverse direction. All the parts should be easily reversible.
You will have to fill in old drill holes and drill new holes, so in this way, reversing a frameless shower door is more laborious than reversing a framed shower door.
If your shower has one glass wall in addition to the fixed and sliding glass door panels, and the fixed panels are required to be secured to a wall stud, then you will not be able to move the fixed panel to adjoin with the glass wall.
It can also be difficult if the fixed panel has been custom designed for a particular shape of the original wall (some walls may have raised ledges on one side and not the other) and the glass is cut according to that wall shape.
It cannot be expected to sit correctly on the other side of the shower to reverse your sliding door direction.
Curved sliding doors are also not as easy to reverse.
Choosing Best Slide Direction for Shower Door
Choosing the best slide direction of your shower door will enhance your bathroom experiences tenfold.
There shouldn’t be anything interfering with the entrance and exit to your shower. Typically, this means sliding it open on the side furthest from the wall.
You also need to look at where your shower fixtures are situated. It would be best to choose the slide direction that allows easy access to the faucet so that you won’t need to get soaked while trying to get the perfect shower temperature.
Dual Sliding Option
If you prefer to have both doors sliding, like this Semi-Frameless Bypass Shower Door (amazon link), you would not need to reverse your shower doors as there is no fixed panel that needs to be installed.
This is quite a convenient and time-efficient option, and you wouldn’t need to make any adjustments to your shower door if you renovate the rest of your bathroom. It’s not without its drawbacks, though.
- If both panels slide open, neither are more secure to press against if you unbalance in the shower (Of course, you should avoid putting pressure on shower doors in general; it is possible that regular pressure could trigger breakage).
- It may reduce the opening space.
- It may require more maintenance as there are more rollers/ wheels involved. If one malfunctions, it could cause a domino effect and prevent adequate space for you to enter your shower.