So you’ve heard about shower doors shattering—or perhaps you’ve been unfortunate enough to have one break on you! It’s never fun to find yourself dealing with broken glass, so it’s perfectly reasonable to wonder if it’s possible to invest in a door that doesn’t break.
Some doors are certainly more durable than others, but shower doors are exclusively made from glass. You may be able to assume the answer of if unbreakable shower doors exist from just that, but I’d encourage you to read on regardless if you’d like more information on why this is and what your alternatives are!
Unbreakable shower doors do not exist. Shower doors are made of glass. While the glass is tempered, it is still at risk of shattering. Non-breakable options would be shower curtains or doorless showers.
All Glass Doors Can Break
All shower doors are made from glass—more specifically, they’re all made from safety glass.
Safety glass, or tempered glass, is generally more durable than other types of glass, both when it comes to temperature (like regular exposure to hot water) and shock (like accidentally elbowing or backing into the door).
Despite the “safety” in the name, however, safety glass is still breakable—and when it breaks, it goes out with an explosion!
Thankfully, this isn’t quite as dangerous as it sounds. Another advantage of tempered glass is that when it does shatter, it breaks into small, blunted nuggets of glass rather than long, jagged shards.
That means that although shower doors are large, meaning there’s a lot of material to clean up in the event of breakage, you’re less likely to suffer major injury from the resulting pieces.
Can You Minimize the Risk of Breakage?
Good news; while there’s always the possibility of a door breaking, there are a few ways to minimize that risk.
To understand how to prevent shattering, it’s probably helpful to know why exactly a door might explode in the first place, so you better understand what to avoid!
First and foremost, improper installation can cause an underlying tension on the glass, making any small addition of pressure more likely to break it—like the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” The best way to avoid this would be to have a professional install the door.
The next way to minimize the risk of breakage is to avoid extremely hot showers. Not to say you can’t take a hot shower, but if you like them scorching, it may be a good idea to turn down the heat a little.
While tempered glass is much more resistant to heat than other types of glass, it does still expand and contract. Eventually, over time, this can cause gradual wear and tear that decreases the door’s ability to withstand stress.
Making sure to always close the door gently can also reduce the risk of any jolting causing sudden, uneven pressure that can trigger a break.
Alternatives to Glass Shower Doors
Unfortunately, there isn’t any other particularly viable option for a shower door when it comes to material. Wood would mold and rot and most metals are prone to rusting eventually.
I did wonder about perspex or other plastics, but it would seem that no one makes shower doors from this material. One possible reason is that these materials are more sensitive to higher temperatures and temperature changes.
There are still alternatives to having a glass door, however. So, let’s take a look!
Shower curtains are a common alternative to glass doors. The plastic inner layer prevents water from spilling outside of the shower while the outer layer allows for a level of personalization.
No matter your aesthetic, you can find a shower curtain to fit your tastes. Whether it’s a cute paw print or polka dot pattern, fruits, florals, or color blocking, you have many design options.
Some people prefer glass shower doors for the more expensive look that they can lend to a room. However, you don’t need to give that up if you opt for a curtain instead!
Depending on your bathroom, dark or richly colored curtains, thicker fabrics, a curved shower rod, high rod installation, or gold rings are just some of the many design options available for creating a more high-class look.
If you want a more expensive look to your bathroom but prefer the more open look offered by a glass door, a pale curtain to keep the space bright over darker, traditionally “elegant” colors might be something to consider.
A white or ivory curtain can be given more character with textured fabric or a subtle pattern. The possibilities are truly endless!
Doorless showers are quite common in some places, but virtually unheard of in others. They’re also a very viable option for your bathroom, if you choose not to go for a glass door.
Like showers with glass doors, they enable a space to look much larger and more open—something that cannot be entirely achieved even with bright curtains.
Also referred to as Roman or walk-in showers, doorless showers are designed to make your showers a simple in-and-out experience.
Some walk-in showers have a wall to catch most of the spray and provide privacy, leaving only an opening large enough for a person to enter. Others have no wall at all, and are completely open.
Some have a tub, while others may only have a small raised lip to contain the water. Others still can have completely open, flat floor designs, which may feature multiple drains or a very gentle slope to direct the flow of water into the drain(s) and minimize pooling.
Just like with curtains, doorless showers are extremely varied and can be designed to fit virtually any person’s taste.