Bathroom Upgrades: The Case for a Glass Shower Panel

With so many things to do around the house and so little time, I’m sure many women like me would be more than glad to eliminate a chore whenever possible. The bathroom is one room I’m not all too excited to be cleaning – it’s where I like to go and do some pampering, not scrubbing tiles for hours.

While I love my rain shower head because of the refreshment and relaxation it provides, it used to get very watery every time my hubby or son went for a nice splash. The lack of shower curtains and cubicles certainly enlarged the room, which was a positive feature I enjoyed. However, cleaning up afterwards was more of a hassle than I had imagined.

As it happens, most tiles are difficult to clean because grout is more porous and tends to collect a great deal of moisture, dirt and mould. My two mistakes were not choosing tiles that were either smooth or big enough – both of which are ways to handle the issue. My solution? Instead of new tiles and undertaking a massive bathroom upgrade, I decided to opt for the sleekness of versatile shower panels. And I’ve certainly noted the difference!

What Exactly Are Shower Screens?


They’re glass panels added to prevent water splashes, to put it simply. Much like a room divider, they divide the shower area or bathtub from the rest of the bathroom. While you may not think this to be that big of a deal, keep in mind it’s not only floor splashes you might end up handling.

Some can affect the nearby furniture pieces, such as the vanity units, the sink, and even some other features you could have for décor. That was one reason why I had to give up my plush bathmat.

What Are the Types of Shower Panels?


Simple, but not as simple as the old-fashioned curtains, or tiles, the screens are high-end (especially if you pick tempered, i.e. safety glass) and look rather sophisticated. This is true, in particular, for the opaque and patterned styles that bring about more decorative interest.

The minute you install them, your bathroom gets a touch of elegance. This is true both for the framed and frameless types of panels that come with a range of opening possibilities (if you choose doors and full enclosures) so you can’t make a wrong decision. But, keep in mind they do come with pros and cons of their own.

Framed Glass Shower Screen

As the name implies, this type consists of a glass panel with a frame. Thanks to the addition of the frame, there’s no need for the glass to be as thick as with the frameless for support and durability. This means this kind of design is easier to handle due to the thinner glass which adds to its stability.

It’s also thanks to this that framed shower panels are easier to install, and much to the convenience of DIYers, they fit over any shower material. The other advantage of having them is trapping the water within that area due to the frame, plus the layer of caulk which is great if like me you’re tired of the spills and water mess.

Frameless Glass Shower Screen

The name here implies what the design is like too – a shower glass panel without a frame. Although it tends to be slightly more expensive than its counterpart, there’s a reason for this: the need to create a thicker panel for support and stability. It’s easy to overlook the extra dollars you’d get to pay for this type if you care about ease of maintenance.

The lack of a frame means you won’t get to deal with unpleasant soap scum, dirt from bodily oils, water droplets and eventually mildew as well so cleaning will be done in a snap. Also, the frame itself is susceptible to water damage if it’s made of rusting metals that can change colour over time which could call for another touch-up or upgrade, so this is one more plus for the frameless screens.

And, one of my favourite reasons in favour of this type, is it leaves you with more flexibility with the shape too. For instance, since there’s no requirement for a frame, the edges, or even the whole upper side, can be arched. This ends up being a very stylish and unique feature, perfect for adding some more sophistication to the bathroom.

Which Type Did I Choose?


Well, it was a tough call after weighing the pros and cons of both types of shower panels considering they’re equally valuable elements. After giving it much thought, going over the fact the framed makes for more maintenance, and the frameless is heavier which poses more risk for my son Matthew in case of breakage, I chose the middle ground.

Instead of covering the whole area, and closing up the space entirely, I decided to cover only the shower area on the side that faces the rest of the bathroom with a frameless screen. This works for us since we don’t have to worry about my son getting hurt, and I don’t have to face cleaning stubborn frame stains. Even though not fully covered, there’s still enough protection from splashes. And, most importantly, the mopping up is way easier and quicker!