How to Choose a Shower Door in 5 Easy Steps

If you’re remodeling your bathroom, choosing the type of shower door you want may seem like a difficult task, but it’s actually quite easy if you break it down into five simple steps. At Janssen Glass, we specialize in custom shower enclosures, so we know the process inside and out. Let us walk you through the decisions you’ll have to make, throw in a few pro tips and help you choose the right type of shower for your bathroom, your style, and your budget. 

  1. Shower Door Configuration

Once you have an idea of where the shower will be and what size it is, you’re off and running. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is what kind of opening style you prefer. There are only three basic designs, so it’s not difficult. 

shower doorInline Doors

If your shower has a single flat opening, you can install sliding doors, a single swinging door or any door/fixed panel combination. As long as it doesn’t have any angled panels, you’re good. You have plenty of choices.

janssen shower doorReturn Doors

In this style, the fixed panel and the door sit at a 90 degree angle. The glass forms a box around the shower. You can choose from a swinging door or, if your shower is large enough to have two panels on one side, you can choose a sliding/rolling door that slides over a fixed panel.

shower door Corner Doors

If your shower is in a corner and you want the door to face outward in the center, you can have two panels at 135 degree angles that line up with a swinging door in the center. With this option, your shower door is located in the center of two panels, both of which are angled at 135 degrees.

There are some exceptions to these configurations including curved shower doors and custom glass designs as well. With the luxury shower trend, we’ve been designing larger shower enclosures with more custom features. If you have something like that in mind, our glass experts can create it in our custom glass shop.

2. Shower Door Opening Style 

The size of your bathroom and the space you have to work with will help determine the way your shower door can open. Keep that in mind when comparing styles. 


This type of door is usually split into two even panels. One panel slides in front of or behind the other panel. You can also have both panels slide. These doors can either slide along a track at the bottom or be suspended on a rod above. Because the panels must slide on the same plane, you must have an inline configuration. This style is ideal if the bathroom is small as the door won’t intrude into the bathroom space.


A swinging door is hinged on one side only (like other doors in your home) and swings outward to allow space to enter the shower. A swinging door will work with any of the shower configurations.

Fixed Panel

A fixed panel door serves more as a wall. You do not need to move it to enter as there is a space already left open. Shower head placement is critical in these showers to ensure that no water escapes through the opening. Be aware that there is more air movement in the shower enclosure as well because there is no door to keep the air inside. 

3. Glass Type

At Janssen Glass, we have over 20 beautiful glass patterns to choose from – leaf, glacier, cross reeded & more. Depending on the level of privacy you desire and your personal taste, glass patterns are just one way to personalize your shower enclosure. Clear glass is also a very popular option today. It’s a great choice if you have beautiful tile work you’d like to show off. Visit our showroom to see all the styles in person.

4. Frame Type

There are basically three different types of frames you can choose for your shower door:

Framed Shower Doors
Whether swinging or sliding doors, framed shower doors have a metal frame surrounding the entire door. These doors are made from traditional glass which is thinner and needs the frame to keep it rigid when opening and closing. 

Frameless Shower Doors
Frameless shower doors were made possible with the invention of heavy glass. Heavy glass is thicker (and heavier) than traditional glass and therefore doesn’t need to rely on a frame to keep it from wobbling when being opened and closed. Heavy glass doors require minimal hardware, creating a sleeker appearance. The lack of a frame really opens the space up visually and can make cramped rooms feel more open and average size bathrooms feel spacious. They also showcase your shower’s interior, so if you’ve upgraded your tile work, it becomes the focus instead of the frame. Frameless shower doors are more expensive than framed shower doors, but are considered more modern and desirable by most homeowners. 

Semi-Frameless Shower Doors
Semi-frameless doors fall somewhere in between framed and frameless. They have less framing – maybe just a frame at the top, bottom, and/or side where they attach to the wall. They also cost somewhere in between the two as well. If you’re concerned about frameless doors at all, the semi-frameless may be better at keeping water inside especially if you have children using the shower. You can get a sleeker look with some of the benefits of both framed and frameless shower doors.

5. Hardware for Your Shower Door

The last choice you have to make is what style of hardware you’d like. Even with the frameless style doors, you still have a few clips and handles, so you’ll have to choose which finish matches your existing fixtures or perhaps update them all. We have many styles to choose from at Janssen Glass including classic chrome, and some more updated finishes like polished or brushed nickel, polished brass, or oil-rubbed bronze. 

That’s about all there is to it. Five fairly simple decisions and you’ve got it figured out. If you need help redesigning your bathroom or even just your shower door, give us a call. But if you really want to be inspired, visit our residential gallery and see how beautiful heavy glass shower doors can be. We can design and custom cut glass for any kind of shower enclosure you may need.

Call Janssen Glass & Door at (913) 677-5727 in Kansas and (816) 472-5330 in Missouri when you’re ready to remodel your bathroom. We can help you create a custom shower that’s perfect for you.