Showcase Shower Door Company

Phone: (831) 464-3899   FAX: (831) 477-0760

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December 19, 2012

Subject: Am I crazy?
 
I just had some glass installed in my shower. It took me 8 months to complete the shower and in one day these guys have destroyed the look. Tell me this - Do you silicone around the glass clamps? After all the shower really isn't water tight,  why would you smear silicone all over the place. It is as if the guy had never done it before.  He even used the alcohol spray but maybe he sprayed it after smearing the silicone and not before. The glass clamps just look bad - Not lined up - washers poking out. I have told them to come back to fix the transom (as it does not swing 180 degrees without hitting the door.  What should I be requesting from these guys as far as the sloppy silicone. Any ideas would be appreciated.  thanks in advance.

Nick Stocker
Creative Director
Morange Design Inc

www.morangedesign.com

 

      

 

Hi Nick,

No, you aren’t crazy. I always try to talk customers out of having a lot of exposed silicone caulking in their shower. Even if the caulk bead turns out perfect, it will still get kind of gross after a couple of years of use. At that point, the caulking needs to be cut out of the joints and replaced with fresh silicone, etc. I always try to steer people towards using U channel to secure the fixed panels rather than the clamps. If they insist on the clamps, I try to talk them into trying the shower without any caulking (except maybe at the bottom of the enclosure) first. As you know, it’s always easier to add silicone where it is needed than it is to remove it from where it is not.

At Showcase Shower Door we are all about service after the sale. I have no problem coming back to add a length of plastic edge seal or a bead of caulking if it is determined to be needed after some use. You are buying a frameless shower because you want to limit the amount of stuff you put on the glass, right? Chances are, you may not need silicone to keep a sufficient amount of water contained. I think it is reasonable to ask the installer to clean up the caulking… there is also no shame in using masking tape if an installer is unable to caulk in a straight line.

Best of Luck!

-Chris

 


 

December 6, 2012

Hi Chris,

We had a beautiful low-e frosted glass frameless shower installed. However, the glue used to adhere the two panels shows through on the mitered edges/corner. The contractor says he cannot "overfill" the seams with glue to get complete coverage, because if it oozes out and gets on the glass, it cannot be removed and will ruin the frosted surface. As you can see from the pictures, the bead of glue is unsightly and totally detracts from the beauty of the shower.
Is there an adhesive made for use with frosted panels of glass that can solve this problem? Is it a matter of application or product or lack of experience? Thanks for your help. So glad I found your blog.

Sincerely,

Andie
 



     

 


Hi Andie,

First of all, I’m sorry to hear about the problem you are having with your shower enclosure. I see what you mean about the glue showing through the mitered edges of the glass at the corner. It is true that the type of obscured glass you are using is difficult to work with. The etched surface is very unforgiving, and is easily stained. I can understand your installer’s hesitance to get any glue on the surface of the glass. It could be very difficult, if not impossible to remove.

I find that it is unnecessary to put glue between the two pieces of glass at the corner. Our method of dealing with the corner is to use a bead of silicone in the corner where the two panels meet, rather than sandwiching the adhesive between the two pieces of glass. I think this method looks nice and clean, and provides enough adhesion to keep the glass together and prevent leakage. This is just my experience… I know that there are a lot of shower installers who use the “UV cure” type of glass glue for shower doors, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just haven’t found it useful.

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

 


 

October 22, 2012

Chris,

Great website and lots of good information.  Thank you for keeping this up.

I had a glass shower enclosure built into a small, corner shower.  The door is attached to the wall and is firmly in – no problems there.  The fixed glass wall enclosure is where my questions lie.  It consists of two panels, one is 80” x 32”, the other is fitted to the larger panel in an L and is 80” x 6”.  They are mounted to a U channel that appears to be properly installed, on the bottom and wall, and are freestanding on top and where they meet the shower door. 

The problem is that the glass L wall is not solid.  It moves with very little force – The door to glass gap is 1/8” at rest and opens to half an inch with only a finger pushing on the fixed glass wall.  With the glass door closed only a slight bump to the wall will cause it to spring back and impact the door.  I have not tried anything beyond light forces on this.

I have two questions.

1) I know that the 3/8 tempered glass is not in danger of breaking due to the bending movement of the wall. However, is there safety issue with a spring back of the wall into the door (glass to glass contact) causing material failure? Is this safe to use?

2) This was the design recommended by the glass company.  No mention was made of it requiring additional structural support when it was designed or installed. Now they want an additional $200 to install the required support piece. Is this my bust or theirs?

Thank you for your time.

Kurt

 

      

 

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for the email… this is a great question. First of all, I have to tell you that your shower enclosure looks great. It looks like they did a really good job. The fact is that glass does flex a bit when you put pressure on it. 1/2” glass is a bit more sturdy, but only marginally. What you are experiencing is not out-of-the-ordinary or unexpected. Frameless shower doors are desired because of the minimal hardware that is required to install them. It is the very absence of hardware in your enclosure that is the source of your concern. It doesn’t look like your installer has done anything wrong here, other than maybe take it for granted that you would assume that there would be some movement in the glass.

When people ask me about the structural integrity of a shower enclosure that is frameless, I always walk them through the whole concept that there is a point where form meets function. Frameless enclosures are, by nature, going to lack what a frame would provide… it’s just common sense. One aspect of this is waterproofing. A frameless enclosure is not going to be as waterproof as a framed shower enclosure is. It’s not reasonable to remove the frame and still expect to have the same water-tightness and structural stability. Just like everything else in life, there is a give-and-take that comes in to play. You have to sacrifice one for the other.

Having said all of that, I think you can solve the problem without adding hardware. A simple clip-on polycarbonate edge seal in the troublesome joint would prevent the two panels from hitting each other in the case of a mishap. You can purchase one for under $20.00. This will also improve the water seal at that joint. If you need any additional information about edge seals, just let me know.

Thanks again!

-Chris

 


 

September 22, 2012

HI Chris,

I am so glad I came across your website/blog. We purchased a home in April 2012 and are renovating 2 bathrooms. We are now getting estimates for glass shower doors and one of the companies recommended Clarvista glass for an additional $200.00. This was a company that the tile installer recommended, but the shower glass company that my GC recommended said its bull and all I have to do is use Rain-x. I'm not sure who to believe or trust. I have tried doing some research, and wanted to ask you your expert advice.

Thank you,

Nancy

 

          

 

Hi Nancy,

Thanks for writing! I’ve heard of Clarvista, but really don’t know much about it. I’m guessing that it’s on the the many glass treatment products that are available to prevent water spots. As you can imagine, I have a bit of experience with various products that claim to protect glass from hard water stains. Over the years, I have seen a number of different products come and go. The best product that I have seen, and the only one I recommend is the “Diamond Seal Systems” group of products manufactured by the MicroMed company in Santa Clara, CA. 

“Rain X” is a temporary treatment that needs to be reapplied on a regular basis as it wears off. There are several other companies that produce a product similar to Diamond Seal, but none of them offer the lifetime warranty that MicroMed does, at least, not that I am aware of. When properly maintained, the Diamond Seal treatment will continue to prevent hard water stains forever. For more information you can visit their website at diamondsealsystems.com. You can also give us a call to order Diamond Seal Systems products from Showcase Shower Door. 

Best of Luck!

-Chris

 


 

August 16, 2012

Here's a video testimonial from one of our favorite customers...

 

 

 

 

 

July 31, 2012

Hi Chris,

We are going through a bathroom remodel. Our designer recommended Starphire as the shower glass. Our glass installer is from NH but the it is templated in Canada. The first glass was shattered in transit. The second glass was shattered upon installation. We are very leery of using this type of glass, as you can imagine. Are we the victims of bad luck or is there more to it?

Thanks for your thoughts on Starphire glass for showers!

Kind regards,
Victoria



         


Hi Victoria,

Sorry to hear that you are having such bad luck with your shower door. Starphire extra clear glass has less iron content than regular clear glass. It's the iron in glass that gives it the green tint that you can see if you look closely enough. I have never heard that Starphire tempered glass is any more fragile than regular glass, although it is definitely softer. This usually contributes to the glass being easier to scratch. Naturally, more iron in the glass means more hardness. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Starphire being easier to break than normal glass. It is possible...

Hope the "third time is a charm" for you!

-Chris

 


 

July 13, 2012

Today is the day that we are getting the carpet put down in the front "showroom" area at our Live Oak store location. Next, we'll put down the baseboards, touch up a little paint, and move everything in. We'll have it all set up and ready to go by next week... Naturally we are very excited to be able to offer our customers a showroom where they will be able to come and look at products, have a cup of coffee, and ask any questions that they might have about shower doors (or whatever else they want to chat about.)

 

       

 

These photos show what the room looks like today. Once the carpet and trim is finished we'll start moving in all of our samples, mirrors, and the rest of the products that are available for retail sale. Starting next week, we will have our inside sales person available to greet you mornings, Monday thru Friday to start. Over time, we hope to expand that. For years, Showcase Shower Door has been primarily a mobile service. We will continue to come to your home and provide a free estimates. It will be nice, however, to have a comfortable, friendly place for you to visit. It will give you the chance to see us in our own element...

We'll keep you posted!

 


 

June 14, 2012

Good morning Chris,

We are installing a few frameless unit in my house in Hollywood. In all cases, with no doors......just a fixed panel. I am experienced with construction, but certainly no expert with glass showers.

We are confident our hot mop was properly installed and will be effective.

We are floating the floors and the walls.

I will install a fixed panel with a carrera marble floor......and a 4 X 4 X 3/16" glass walls.

I would like to eliminate the "clips" that hold the glass and simply "inset" the glass in the floor and wall.

SO I would have most of the floor and wall tile installed but leave an uninstalled space to install the glass.

I will secure the glass with a top quality silicone and bond to the concrete dry mud pack substrate and to the lathed and floated wall then the tile installer comes back and installs the tiles around the glass.

Do you have any recommendations to ensure success on this project?

Thanks,
Great Blog!
Rudy d
Hollywood Hills




Hi Rudy,

Whenever I do an installation of the type you are describing, I will "hide" a channel in the substrate. I would use the process that you described in your email, but would add the step of including a "U" channel for the glass to actually sit in. You can then float the tile to be just a tad bit higher than the channel, thus hiding it completely. Using dark channel (oil rubbed bronze or black) will make it hide even better.

The reason I suggest this is because the aluminum channel allows me to control the waterproofing process completely. I can fill the corners and joints of the channel with silicone to insure a good seal. Otherwise, I am never really at ease about whether I have successfully sealed the enclosure at the base. The end result is a really clean look that people love.

Thanks for writing!

-Chris


 



 

May 17, 2012

A big part of what makes Showcase Shower Door the best choice for shower doors and enclosures in the Monterey Bay area is the fact that we use the latest technologies to come up with the best solutions for our customers. One great tool available for frameless shower enclosure design is a product from C. R. Laurence called "Showers Online." This software makes it possible to design each frameless enclosure using a limitless variety of options and styles. The computer automatically warns of engineering issues that may pose a problem, and offers a variety of solutions.

 

         



Using high-tech lazar leveling and layout systems, having the latest state-of-the-art tools, utilizing mobile technologies, and keeping up with the latest trends, are some of the things that keep local contractors coming back to us with their projects. There is no reason to settle for less... Showcase Shower Door's prices are competitive, even though our products and services are superior to the competition. Always remember that, when it comes to your frameless shower enclosure, you don't want to compromise on quality. Showcase brand shower doors are like jewelry for your bathroom!

 


 

March 30, 2012

Hi there,

I just had a look through your blog and realized that you are the man to answer this question.
I have got a simple aluminum frame shower door and enclosure that is attached to the wall with 'u' shaped aluminum channel.
Progressive leaking over 5 years has had me on my knees this Sunday morning ripping out the surrounding rotten tiling and timber.
Standing on a chair and shining a little torch down the channels from above I can see the water filling up inside the channel at the base when the shower is on.
Even though I know it would be the best course of action I do not want to rip put the whole unit as this will be a major operation.
I am considering a serious DIY intervention, or as we describe it here in the UK 'a bodge job', and I wanted to run it past you to see what you think, and give you a giggle.

Dry out the base of the channels with a heat gun.
Drill some discreet holes in the lower section of the chanel.
Using either top quality silicone or water cured expanding foam FILL UP the aluminum channel from the base up.
Just keep on pumping the gear in with a mixture of vengeful cursing until I find myself whistling Dixie, all delighted with myself.

I realize that this sounds like the work of a crazy person, call it unconventional. I think it might just work. What do you think?

Kind Regards
Carl Smyth

London, England



         

 

Hi Carl,

You sound like you are on the right track. If you are willing to disassemble the entire enclosure in order to solve the problem, then there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to completely resolve the issue once-and-for-all. The best solution, one that you have already cited, is to drill holes at the bottom of the aluminum channel that will allow the water that gets into it to “weep” back out into the shower. This is something that can be done in place, but you need to be very cautious not to nick the edge of the glass in the process. With tempered glass, the edges are the most vulnerable, and even a comparatively small impact there can cause the glass to explode into a million tiny fragments.

One important thing to remember about weep holes, is that they need to be large enough in order to work. The rule of thumb on this is that a ¼” round hole is NOT big enough to allow the air and water enough room to displace each other, and will not be effective. The best way to approach this is with multiple, oblong shaped holes, that are wider than they are tall. Once again, if the glass is out of the channel you can “drill-baby-drill” all you want! If the glass is still in there, be very careful. Filling the entire channel with caulk of some sort may or may not work, but anything you do in conjunction with the weep holes is a winning strategy.

Best wishes for much success!

-Chris


 


 

March 22, 2012

Chris,

I have a Kohler Salient Porcelain enamel cast iron shower pan. My wife wants a frameless pivot door for this. With a 60" opening, is there adhesive strong enough to bond to the pan without a mechanical screw connection? One installer claimed he "routinely" screws into the cast iron base. I am concerned about chipping and rusting. Any suggestions?

Jeffrey

 

         



Hi Jeffrey,

Your shower opening is going to require a fixed panel and a door. The door will not pose any problem, as the hinges will be anchored to the wall, and not to the shower pan. The fixed panel is the part that is going to be at issue. You have a couple of standard options for your fixed panel… it can be attached using glass clamps, or it may be attached using a channel. I would say that, in my experience, people are evenly divided between these two options. There is no doubt that the channel offers a more waterproof solution than the brackets, but many people feel that the clamps give the enclosure a more “frameless” look. Either way you should be able to avoid drilling your pan, if it’s really important to you to do so.

If you decide to use an aluminum “U” channel to secure your fixed panel, you can definitely have the bottom channel glued into place with silicone or a high-strength epoxy. That is providing the vertical channel is anchored to the wall using screws. If using glass clamps, you can place them on the vertical wall edge only, and use clear silicone to secure the bottom edge. A third option is the “saloon door” style enclosure. In this configuration, both panels are hinged, eliminating the need for any bottom attachment.

Now, all of that being said, I also routinely use screws in cast iron tubs and pans. Using stainless steel screws and plenty of silicone to keep the area dry is the key. You shouldn’t have any issues, providing the installation is done properly.

Thanks for writing,


 


 

March 5, 2012

Hi Chris,

We are looking to install a frameless shower in our bathroom that has very high ceilings. I was hoping to put a glass ceiling on it to get more of a steam room effect.

Is it possible to do this?

Brad

 

         

 

Hi Brad,

Yes, we did a project just like that in Carmel, California a few years back. The bathroom had open rafters, and the homeowner wanted to contain the steam with a glass ceiling. The "lid" needed to slope a little in order to allow condensation to run-off into one corner. That posed a couple of other challenges as well.  We accomplished this by having a custom unit made that was comprised of two 1/4" pieces of clear tempered glass laminated together.

The result was a single unit that was 64-1/2" X 43-1/4" and 9/16" thick. Having the glass both tempered and lamented insured that if it was ever to break due to an earthquake, the glass would not fall into the shower. The panel fit perfectly, and the result was more incredible than we had imagined. The house we were working in was just beautiful, and the homeowners were so nice. It was a great experience.

Thanks for your question, Brad... It has brought back some really nice memories.

-Chris

 


 

February 21, 2012

I have to redo my shower enclosure because the installer did not waterproof the wall and it started leaking into the basement. My question is how do I remove the glass? Use a knife and cut the seams, or is it a special too that I need? I looked on you blog and didn't see this answered. ...I have to take to doors out completely to repair the shower because the installer didn't waterproof and after 15 years the wood under the tile was all rotted.

Any help would be appreciated.

Demo
 

         

 

This is a serious issue, and needs to be addressed. I am always hesitant to talk about how badly a shower enclosure installation can turn out if done incorrectly. I never want people to think that I am using scare tactics to make a sale. Any time a customer tells me that another company has given them a much lower bid for a project, I have to wonder what corners they plan to cut in order to do it for so little.

I had 20 years of experience in the commercial glazing (glass) industry before I started Showcase. I have seen all types of glass systems, and a wide variety of problems. A water leak is one of the most common, and potentially serious issues in the glass business. Water has an amazing ability to penetrate even the smallest opening. Once water finds its way in, it will increase over time. The result is rot, mold, rust, etc.

Bathroom renovations can be very expensive. You don't want to have to do it twice. There are a lot of areas where you can save money when doing your bathroom remodel. If you buy inexpensive fixtures, they will be easy to replace when they wear-out in a few years. A shower enclosure is not. Don't compromise on your shower glass. A frameless enclosure can last 20 years, easily! Budget enough to buy a good shower door from an expert installer. It may save you a BUNDLE in the long run.

-Chris

 


 

February 16, 2012

Hi,

We have a rental with a handle that has come off an 18 year old glass shower door. One end is bolted on the frame of the with a single bolt and the other end was glued directly to the glass with what appears to be a HS double sided 1.5" diameter clear tape. The handle has separated from the glass leaving the impossible to remove HS tape on the glass and the handle hanging.

Three questions:

1) Can another HS double sided tape be placed over the top of the old tape, which is smooth and unscathed, on the door with out loosing strength ?

2) Where can I find this tape, numerous phone calls here in San Jose have revealed that no one here has any idea of what I'm talking about?

3) Is there an alternative method of removing the old double sided tape from the glass and gluing the handle to the glass, if i can't get the tape?

Thanks in advance.

Cheers, Doug





Hi Doug,

If it were me, I wouldn't bother trying to replace the hi-bond tape. It will end up being more trouble than necessary. There are some great adhesives available... some are made especially for the purpose of gluing metal to glass. The "Lock-Tite" company makes some that are activated by ultraviolet light, and are widely used in the industry. In your case, the most simple and economical way to approach it would be to do one of two things:

1) Go to the hardware store and find a repair kit for gluing a rearview mirror on to a windshield. This is an excellent way to buy a small amount of the same adhesive that the automakers use to attach rearview mirrors. It's great stuff.

2) Try some of the fast curing two-part epoxy that is available. It also will be just fine for your particular application. Just read the instructions to make sure that it works on glass and metal, and do the necessary preparation proscribed by the manufacturer.

Good luck with your home project!

-Chris

 


 

February 7, 2012

Hi,

We have a 5 yr old sterling shower door that has some mold growing under the clear seal that holds the glass in the aluminum frame.  I was thinking of taking this apart (it has screws in each corner holding it together) and cleaning it.  The gasket looks ok.  My question is, is the gasket reusable, and if not, where could I buy one?  Would I be ruining the integrity of the door by taking it apart?  When I bought it, the panel came sealed and assembled. Thanks!

Pete

 

         

 

Hi Pete,

If your door is only five years old it is probably in good enough shape to survive being disassembled and reassembled again. Generally, the gaskets hold up well, and can usually be reused. If for some reason you are unable to make the old gasket work, I'm sure you can contact the manufacturer of the shower door and order a replacement part. Sterling is a Kohler company, so you should have no problem getting help from them, if you need it.

Best of luck!

-Chris

 


 

January 16, 2012

Hello!

I saw you through Google and hoped you may be able to answer my question.  I am re-caulking my shower enclosure and I noticed that there are some slots along the bottom of the inside of my shower enclosure.  Before removing the caulk, these slots were harboring mildew and mold and spewing it out in gobs.  the caulk ran right under these slots and it too became black and ruined.  My question is whether these should be caulked over or not.  Since water seems to be getting in there and it never dries out, I assume that it is getting in there primarily from the front.  But, if there is some other reason why these need to be open, such as draining water that gets in there from elsewhere, then obviously I wouldn't want to caulk over them.  What do you think?  Thanks!

Daniel Wells

         

Hi Daniel,

Yes, those are what we call “weep holes.” They are necessary, as you guessed, to allow the water to drain out of the frame and into the shower. I would suggest spraying a bleach solution into the holes from time-to-time to try to inhibit the mold growth in the framework. If the base of the shower itself (shower pan or tile curb) doesn’t slope into the shower properly, the water will never completely drain out of the aluminum channel at the bottom. There will always be some standing water in there, and that is going to create mold.

There are a few ways to get the water out manually. One is to use a shop-vac or some other vacuum that is approved for wet situations. You could also use a blow drier to force the water out of one hole by directing the flow of hot air into another hole. One other low-tech method of drawing water out is by using a cotton wick. This is simply a piece of string (yarn?) that draws the water out of the channel… you simply work one end of the string into the weep hole, and let the other end hang down into the shower pan. The capillary action of the water being absorbed will actually siphon the water out of the channel and down the drain.  

Best wishes,

-Chris

 


 

January 9, 2012

Chris,

I was told by a friend that I could use the current glass I have in my shower to create a seamless or frameless shower.  Can that be done? I have a gold frame now, but want it frameless.

Thanks,

Terry

 

      

 

Hi Terry,

It may be possible to reuse glass from your framed shower enclosure to create a frameless one, but I have never heard of anyone doing it. There are a lot of reasons why used glass from a manufactured enclosure wouldn’t work well in a frameless one. Here are a few things to consider:

1) The glass in a framed enclosure is (or should be) tempered safety glass. Tempered glass is impossible to cut, drill, or otherwise fabricate. You will be stuck using the glass exactly as it is in terms of its size and shape.

 

2) The glass in a framed enclosure is thin. Normally 3/16” to 1/4”. Much too thin to be practical in a frameless shower enclosure.

 

3) Once you get the glass out of the frame, you are likely to find that the edges are much different in appearance than the rest of the panel. Since the part of the glass that has been hidden from view has also been spared from exposure to the elements, there is going to be a visible difference.

 

4) Consider the hazards. Even though tempered glass is safer than regular plate-glass, it can still cut you. I have an employee who had to get a few stitches from a broken piece of tempered glass. Reusing glass in a shower enclosure would be a lot of work for even an experienced glazier, and would yield results the probably wouldn’t be all that impressive.
 

In my opinion, it just isn’t worth the effort that it would take to take on this kind of a challenge. You may get it to work, but you aren’t going to end up with the beautiful frameless glass enclosure that you really want.

Thanks!

-Chris

 


 

December 31, 2011

Read your blog and hope that you can help. My husband and I are HOPING to retire next year and want to “freshen up” our house a bit before we put it on the market in the spring. I have searched the web extensively, but can’t seem to find out if it is possible to order metal strips to replace the existing SHINY GOLD frame on our shower enclosure --- as opposed to replacing the entire structure, which costs major $$$. Do you have a resource for purchasing replacement frame strips????

Trina & Ted Williams
Franklin, TN
 

 

               

 

Dear Trina and Ted,

This is actually a fairly common question. Customers ask me pretty frequently if it is possible to reuse the glass from a shower enclosure and replace just the aluminum. Of course, the glass lasts virtually forever, while the aluminum framework starts to break-down after about ten years or so. People are usually pretty surprised to learn that the aluminum frame on the shower enclosure is actually the most expensive part. There is too much work involved to disassemble the enclosure and reassemble it using the old glass and new aluminum. There is no chance of saving any money by doing this.

It is possible, however, to install new aluminum strips over the old metal. In the glass industry this is known as "cladding." The finish you are looking for (bright gold) is available in a couple of different sizes. The first is a 5/8" wide strip with a beveled edge on one side. The second is a 1" extrusion that is "L" shaped. A combination of these two shapes should be satisfactory to clad an existing manufactured shower enclosure. The aluminum strips are actually designed for use in the installation of mirrors, and come in 12' lengths.

Now, hiring a glazier to come out and do the cladding would end up costing at least as much as the enclosure is worth. It is possible to do it yourself more affordably, though. You can purchase these parts from Showcase Shower Door. I will be happy to give some instructions on what you will need and how to do the work.

Happy New Year!

-Chris

 


 

November 29, 2011

Hi, Chris.

My father is 86 years old and of the generation that fixes the old instead of buying the new.  He has torn apart a framed door with fixed glass panel on a 30 year old shower in his house.  As we expected, he is having a hard time finding a silicone tubing drip seal for this door.  Are they not available anymore?  Or will he be forced to cave in to buying a brand new door for this shower, probably also needing to be custom sized for width?

Thanks for a quick response, because the shower can't be used now that he has hastily torn it apart, thinking he would easily find replacement parts!

 

 

Hi Karen,

There are so many different manufacturers of shower doors that it would be really hard to tell you where to start looking for parts. If the door is 20 or 30 years old, there is no chance that the same parts are still available. There is also a good possibility that the glass in the door doesn’t meet modern building safety codes either. I’m guessing that what you are talking about when you say “silicone tubing drip seal” is the rubber gasket that goes in the aluminum channel between the glass and metal. There are a lot of types of gasket (and I mean A LOT!) and it would probably be possible to find something that would work, if you had a good supplier of gaskets (a local glass shop?) and a lot of time to spend sorting through them.

If your dad is dead-set on doing this himself, I would suggest using a tube of silicone sealant from the hardware store. He could use a caulk gun to pump the silicone into the aluminum channels, assemble the door around the glass, and wait 24 hours for it to set up before reinstalling it. It probably won’t look that great, but I’m guessing that your dad’s 30-year-old shower door isn’t very beautiful anyway. I always advise people that it’s not worth their time to try to fix their own shower doors. A professional can do it so much faster and more efficiently. On the other hand, if your dad doesn’t really have anything else to do, and no-one gets hurt in the process, what the heck! There’s nothing like a good challenge.

Thanks for writing,

-Chris

 


 

November 1, 2011

Hello there!

We just replaced a shower door in a very small bathroom with no wall space for a towel bar.  Without realizing it, our contractor purchased a lovely shower door which has 'knobs' rather than the shower handle/towel bar.  Is there any way to retrofit a handle onto the door?  Does such a product exist?  I've called around many places, and then while "Googling" found your website.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Anne Forte

 

 

 Hi Anne,

 As you probably know, shower doors are made using tempered glass, and tempered glass cannot be cut, drilled, or otherwise fabricated. There have, however, been some impressive advances in glass adhesives. Today, it is possible to glue on a handle or a towel bar. Having at least one hole in the glass to run a bolt through helps to give you a firm anchor point. We have used high-strength glass adhesive to install handles and towel bars on a number of occasions. There are even glass hinges that are designed to be used with hi-tech glass glue. Most people aren’t ready to trust the actual mounting of their heavy glass door to glue, though. At least not yet…

 There are a few types of adhesives that work excellent with glass and metal, and create a strong, permanent bond. You can contact your local high-end glass shop to get more information about the types of glass adhesives that are available. Most are activated by ultraviolet light, and take a little expertise to use. If you have any trouble finding what you are looking for, you can always contact us directly at (831) 272-2341.

 Best Wishes,

-Chris

 


 

October 22, 2011

Hello, I am wondering if you could give me the information explaining the basic difference in Diamond Seal and Clarvista Glass? I understand that Clarvista is comparable to Showerguard Glass but need to be sure of the differences?

Thank you,
Jana

 

Hi Jana,

That is a great question. I have to admit that I don’t know a great deal about Clarvista or Showerguard, but my understanding is that they are basically different brand names for the same product. Years ago, when I first began looking at hydrophobic glass products and coatings, Showerguard was one that I considered. I never did use it for a number of reasons. One: it was just WAY more expensive than the competing products. Two: The samples that I was sent by my glass supplier looked very different than clear glass to me. Three: it came with a ten-year warrantee, and couldn’t be re-treated to improve performance if the need ever did arise.

 

 

 

At the time that I first started specializing in shower doors, there were a couple of competing products. One was called “Diamon Fusion,” another was called “Tekon.” I actually steered clear of using these products, for the most part, until it was clear which product was the best. Eventually it became obvious that Tekon (now called “Diamond Seal”) was by far the best product. Diamond Seal comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warrantee, and the folks at Micro Med (manufacturers of Diamond Seal) stand behind their product 100%. This means that if a customer has a problem with the treatment (something that almost never happens) I am able to send them to the Diamond Seal people directly. That, in itself, is a huge source of peace-of-mind for us at Showcase Shower Door.

 It may be that Clarvista offers all of the same warrantees and services, but if they do, I am not aware of it.

 I hope this helps!

 -Chris

 


 

September 4, 2011

In new construction our builder chose an Akers s-60 shower, which has a 52 inch opening....the doors we like are made by Kohler which only go down to a 56 inch opening or Sterling will go down to 54....

We were told at Lowes if you cut the door you lose your warranty...given the fact that the doors fit a variety of openings I assume that the frame gets cut but the doors stay the same which is natural....if you used a Kohler with a 56 minimum opening and cut the frame down to fit the 52.....wouldn't the doors just overlap a bit more and the opening (getting and out) be a bit smaller? 

Thanks,

JD

 

    

 

Hi JD,

Thanks for your question. You are correct, using a standard size enclosure in a smaller opening will simply allow the doors to overlap a bit more in the center. As you pointed out, it will also make the opening smaller. If you are going to purchase the enclosure from Lowes, you will have to settle for the size of the panels that they provide, as it is impossible to cut tempered glass (warranty or not.) On the other hand, your local glass shop may be able to offer you a larger selection of shower enclosures at a competitive price. They are also able to order the door panels at the exact width you want. If you have a number of glass shops in your area, you can shop around a bit. At any rate, I NEVER recommend ordering an enclosure from a home improvement store. They just don’t understand anything about glass… The comment about cutting the doors you got from Lowe’s illustrates this fact.

Good luck!

-Chris

 

 


 

 

August 12, 2011

Hello Chris -

I have found your website most informative and helpful, and appreciate your experience and goodwill! We would currently like to install a new frameless glass sliding tub door across our standard 60 inch bathtub. We have an existing architectural detail that is challenging us. The tile listel and borders on either side of it protrude out where the sliding doors need to meet flush with the sides of the other tiles. I have enclosed some pictures that highlight our dilemma. Do you have any experience with a similar situation? Should a tile person cut a channel in the area of concern? If so, should the channel be lined with metal or finished in some other way? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, Barbara and Scott

The protruding tile border near the top of the tiled bath enclosure requires slots to be cut into them on both enclosure sides so that the shower door can be installed flush with the vertical enclosure wall.

I've attached photos of the existing bath enclosure and of the proposed shower door.

So that the slots have a more finished look, I proposed to also install aluminum or stainless steel "U-brackets" inside the slots to cover the exposed cut tile. The U-bracket sides could be shaped (by me if necessary) to match the contour of the tile header. Does this sound reasonable to you? Or would the tile person create a "finished" surface to the channel?

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards,

Scott and Barbara

 

    

Dear Scott and Barbara,

Thanks for writing. Yes, this is a common issue, and normally, the trim tile does get notched for the glass to sit flush with the adjacent tile. I have never seen a situation where the area was inlayed with a channel, the way that you are proposing. It sounds like a pretty good idea, though.

The biggest challenge is always getting the notches laid out correctly, assuring that they are in the proper location before the cutting begins.

Feel free to contact me if you have any additional concerns.

Thanks again,

Chris Phillips - Owner

 

 

August 3, 2011

Over the past few months, I have been receiving emails from visitors to the website who have shower door related questions. Here is an example of one recent exchange:

 

Dear Chris,


Just studied your great web site. I have a question for you.

I have the standard 60 inch wide walk in shower and want to replace the sliding framed doors with one fixed clear glass panel and one hinged panel.

Can the fixed say 30 inch wide by 82 to 84 inch tall panel be attached to the wall with two or three of the typical glass panel attachments, and likewise to the floor WITHOUT any top support and still be steady ? Should both panels be 1/2 inch thick in order for the fixed panel to be steady?

Thanks in advance for your advise to a former California resident, now retired in Florida.

Sincerely,

Herman Bergman

 

 

Hi Herman,

Thanks for writing! I guess “steady” is a relative term. 3/8” glass does flex a bit, especially when it is more than 80” tall. We install 3/8” glass that is over 80” tall on a regular basis. If the glass is tempered, it is definitely strong enough for the application.

 On the other hand, it really isn’t that much more expensive to go ahead and use 1/2” glass instead. Half inch glass will give you the added strength that you are concerned about, and also an added touch of elegance that is really worth it.

 I hope this helps,

 -Chris

 


 

July 23, 2011

Wow! I can't believe how long it has been since I updated my blog. There has been so much happening in the past 30 days that I have been forced to prioritize everything that I do, and I'm afraid that my blog simply didn't make the top 20 (sorry.) My wife, Tiffany, and I (along with our dog Cecilia,) relocated our residence this month. The move went very quickly and quite smoothly, thanks to our awesome friends. They showed up in droves to help us load, unload, and move our stuff! We are really blessed to have such a great bunch of people in our lives. At the same time, we moved our business delivery address to a different part of Live Oak (in Santa Cruz.) The new delivery location is working out great for us. And in addition to all of that, we also signed a lease for our first commercial building, right here in Santa Cruz! The new 1200 square foot location, at 1970 17th Avenue, is large enough to house our shop, office, and showroom.

 

 

         

 

 

Of course, we just moved in, and all of those things are still in the process of getting set up, but we are operating out of the new store right now. We're fixing up the front "showroom" area, where we will be able to meet with customers, display some product samples, and stuff like that. We still need to get our sign for the front of the building, and finish getting stuff organized, but we are making excellent progress. We have been staying pretty busy with installations at the same time, so the move has been a bit challenging. I'm not complaining, though... You guys know how much I love shower doors, so this is a pretty exciting time for me. Expect a lot of new and exciting things to be happening at Showcase Shower Door in the coming months. I'll be sure to keep you updated as things continue to happen. Thanks to our loyal customers who continue to make our business a success!

 

 


 

June 15, 2011

The vast majority of customers use clear glass in their European style shower enclosures. The reason for this is obvious. More and more homeowners are using expensive tile, marble, and granite in their shower stalls, and they don't want to cover it up with obscured glass. Low-iron glass, also known as "extra clear" or "starphire" can be used to allow the true color of the material to show through. A minimal amount of hardware allows maximum exposure of the tile and granite work inside the shower.

 

 

    

 

 

Many people don't realize that they can use colored glass in their shower enclosures rather than regular clear glass. There aren't a lot of different colors readily available to use in frameless shower enclosures, but there are a few shades of green and blue. The glass used in the enclosure that you see here is called "Azurelite" ...a very nice shade of blue. As you cans see, it looks stunning in this white marble tiled shower. The hardware finish is Polished Nickel, and features the "Saloon Style" configuration.

 

 


 

June 4, 2011

For several years now, we have been offering Diamond Seal Systems protective coatings for glass as an option on shower doors. When we first began partnering with Micro MED, the makers of Diamond Seal, customers still viewed it as a sort of a novelty. People weren't quite convinced that the product really worked. In fairness, there are other imitators in the market who offer a similar but inferior product that lasts only a short period of time. The folks at Diamond Seal Systems have really taken their product to the next level, and are able to offer a lifetime warranty on it. The secret to the success of Diamond Seal, in my view, is the development of a simple maintenance program that preserves the life of the treated surface.

 

 

 

       

  

 

 

Over the past year or so, we have noticed that more and more of our customers have been opting for the Diamond Seal option. As with everything else, the greater volume of treatments has helped us to become more efficient in the application process, and reduce the overall cost. As a result, we are now able to offer Diamond Seal as a standard feature. So, as of June 1, 2011, we have decided to include Diamond Seal treatment with all of our heavy glass frameless shower enclosures. Of course, Diamond Seal is also still available as an option for manufactured shower doors and enclosures, as well as for existing glass shower doors, windows, mirrors, windshields, granite countertops, or any of the other many surfaces that can be treated. You can learn more by visiting the Diamond Seal website, or give us a call at (831) 272-2341.

 

 


 

May 14, 2011

Hi Chris,

 

We are in the process of setting the tile for our walk in shower. The panel is 3/8 tempered glass 31 inches wide by 84 inches tall. The plan is to set the glass on the float and tile it in place on the curb and up the wall. I have been worried about the loose corner and if the glass will be supported enough by being tiled in on the 2 sides. I found your web site by searching the internet and noticed on your Blog page with the pictures dated April 11 2011 and noticed the support bar in the picture. Where would I be able to find hardware like that and do you think tiling in the glass is a good or bad idea?

 

Bill

 

         

 

Hi Bill,

Thanks for writing. I think the plan you have for installing your 3/8” panel is just fine. I am imagining that the bottom horizontal edge and one vertical edge will be captured by some sort of a channel or a groove in the substrate. I think that as long as you have at least ½” of “bite” along each of the captured edges you will have no trouble. The 3/8” panel will flex, a bit, if you don’t have support for the opposing corner. Some people are uncomfortable with that, but most frameless enclosures are actually installed that way (with no support at the top.)

There is the option of adding a support bar at the top exposed corner. One great thing about that is it doesn’t require any glass fabrication, so it can be added as an afterthought. You can try your shower screen without the support bar, and if you decide later that you want one you can add it on. You can purchase that from Showcase Shower Door in a variety of finishes to match your other fixtures. I am pretty sure that you won’t need one in your case, though.

Thanks again,

-Chris

 


 

May 3, 2011

Work was completed, on schedule, at the Beach Street Inn and Suites in Santa Cruz last month. To date, this is the biggest job that we have performed, and we are really happy with the results. Installing 12 heavy glass frameless shower enclosures in the rooms being renovated at the Beach Street Inn (formerly Terrace Court Motel) was certainly a test of Showcase Shower Door's ability to supply and install a large number of high-end shower enclosures (not to mention mirrors and glass table tops) in a short period of time.

 

         

 

As owner of Showcase Shower Door, I personally installed each enclosure, with the help of my assistant. I'm not bragging... that's just the way we do things around here. I install every heavy glass shower enclosure myself, and have done so for years. I intend to continue doing this for as long as I can. How else can I possibly maintain the highest standard of quality Showcase is famous for? Standard tub enclosures and manufactured (1/4") shower doors are another story. My helper is qualified to install those, but I take a "hands on" approach to these beautiful European style shower doors and enclosures.

Today, I am 45 years old, and figure I can keep installing glass for at least another 20 years, or so. My dad, Chris Phillips Sr., was working in the industry until he was 70, so I feel an obligation to hold up the family tradition. Showcase Shower Door also got a nice mention in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on April 28th for this project. Thanks, Santa Cruz, for making Showcase Shower Door number one! We know that it is you, our beloved customers, who are truly responsible for our success. We couldn't do it without you!

 

 

 

April 27, 2011

Hello, I came across your website/blog when looking for opinions on mounting a frameless shower door through glass tile.  If you have a moment to offer your opinion I would appreciate it but I also understand if you don’t have time to opine on a project in Minnesota.

The wall is 2x4 stud-1/2” backer board-acrylic modified thinset-1/4” 4x4 glass tile.  The opening is 57” and 32” of that will be dual-swing door with 2 heavy duty hinges and the other piece will be fixed with a metal base and single high wall mount bracket.  The installer said they can try to install it but they might crack the tile, which is understandable.  However, I was wondering if you have ever used or thought about using a metal spacer that the installation screw can pass through and sink into the stud.  If the spacer were an 1/8” proud of the glass tile, passed through the backer board and into the wood a set depth it would then compress the wood stud as it was tightened rather than the tile.

Thanks,

Eric

 

         

 

Hi Eric,

Thanks for taking time to contact me. I am always interested in hearing about shower door projects – especially when there is some challenging element involved. It’s not unusual to see glass tile being used in shower stalls these days. When I first started coming across it, several years ago, I was pretty nervous about it. I find that the process of drilling through the tile is the tricky part. Although it is possible to drill through glass with a standard masonry bit, I prefer to use a diamond drill or a “spear-point” bit. The key is to take your time, and keep the material cool to prevent the glass from breaking.

Your idea for using a metal spacer is pretty clever. If I understand you correctly, you are proposing the idea of a hollow metal “tube” large enough to allow the screw to pass through, preventing compression of the glass by the screw when tightened. What I do in this situation is actually very similar. I use a plastic expansion plug in the hole, which protects the glass tile by preventing the screw from coming in contact with it. The down side to using a metal spacer is that the weight if the glass pulling down on the hinge could possibly cause it to, eventually, come in contact with the glass. A plastic plug acts as an isolator, even if the sheer force of the weight of the door forces it downward.

Either way, I have found that glass tile does an excellent job of holding up against a shower door installation. Glass is every bit as strong as most tile, and is actually a very similar material. When you run screws through the hinge plate, through the tile, through the backer board, and finally into the stud, the force of the fasteners is actually spread out over the whole surface area of the hinge’s back plate. The best thing you can do to keep the glass tile from breaking is to drill the holes carefully, and keep the screws from coming in contact with the glass once the door is hung.

I hope this helps,

-Chris

 


 

April 11, 2011

Shower screens, or single fixed glass panels without doors, are becoming more popular recently. We have installed a couple of these in just the past week. A shower screen allows access to the shower without the use of a door, while still doing a good job of containing the water.

 

 

         

 

In most cases, a shower door can still be added at a later time if the customer decides that the shower screen is allowing too much water to escape.

 


 

April 4, 2011

Some people want to know whether they can upgrade their existing shower enclosure to a European style "frameless" shower enclosure without having to replace their tile. We recently had a customer who had upgraded their bathroom, and had some regrets about having settled for a standard, manufactured shower enclosure. The biggest challenge to replacing a "semi-frameless" shower enclosure with a true frameless one is hiding the screw holes in the tiles. In some cases, the previous installer will have drilled the holes into the grout lines. When this is the case, you can simply fill in the missing grout with little effort. This, however, is rarely the case. There is also the issue of removing the silicone sealant, and discoloration due to the "weathering" of the tile, granite, or marble.

 

         

 

Here are some before and after photos of a shower enclosure that we recently replaced with a 1/2" frameless shower enclosure. We were able to remove the old enclosure, clean up the silicone sealant, and locate the new shower door and fixed panel on top of the area where the old enclosure used to be. We were also able to find silicone caulk that matched the color of the tile, and used it to fill the holes in the tile left behind by the previous shower door installation. Even though the glass is clear, it is impossible to see the old holes through the glass. As you can see, the improvement is pretty incredible.

 

 

 

March 19, 2011

I would say that the question I am most frequently asked is whether or not there is a practical way to protect shower glass from water damage. These days, customers are remodeling their bathrooms using granite, marble, and high-end tile work. They are looking for a frameless glass enclosure that will accent the beauty of the tile, and clear glass is the obvious choice. But keeping it clean and looking like new can be a real challenge. Over the years, I have seen a number of products that claim to prevent water spots. I have been keeping an eye on the industry to see which brand would come out on top. Although the different products do basically the same thing, it seems that the real challenge has been coming up with the right system to maintain the treatment.

 

         

 

Of course, I want to be able to offer my customers a way to keep their glass looking beautiful for years... At the same time, I feel that I am putting my own reputation on the line when I endorse a surface protection product. Showcase Shower Door is proud to be a local dealer of Diamond Seal Systems repellant coatings. Diamond Seal is a green technology that comes with a manufacturer's lifetime warranty. Having worked with Diamond Seal Systems for years, I feel comfortable recommending it to my own customers. Diamond Seal delivers what it promises and, when properly maintained, continues to work indefinitely. We offer it as an option with all shower doors and enclosures, and more than half of our customers are taking advantage of this exciting new technology. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at (831) 272-2341.

 


 

February 26, 2011

Here are some before and after photos of a shower enclosure that we replaced this past week in Aptos. George and Jackie are a lovely couple of senior citizens who were referred to me by Josh McAuley of McAuley & Son Custom Tile (247-9856.) The couple had spoken to a few different companies about getting their rickety old shower door replaced, and ended up with more questions than answers. It's not surprising that by the time I spoke with them, they were pretty much burned out on the whole process. They were also a bit suspicious of me, another contractor that, they figured, had come to sell them something that they really didn't want, or couldn't afford.

 

         

This is a 1/4" rolled glue-chip glass bypass enclosure with brushed nickel aluminum and hardware

As I told them about designs, glass types, and features available, Jackie interrupted "but the other company told me that..." I replied "Well, I'm here to tell you the truth!" I wish I had a photo of the look on their faces when I said that! George was also impressed to learn that I would be the "technician" who would install his enclosure personally. Anyway, needless to say, we made the sale, made two new friends, and they LOVE their new shower doors. Jackie got exactly the enclosure that she was looking for, and George can enjoy a peaceful existence now that his wife is completely satisfied. Sometimes people think that because we do so many fancy and luxurious frameless shower enclosures, that we are not interested in small, less expensive ones like the one you see here. The opposite is true. We are happy to replace your old existing shower door or enclosure with a brand-new Showcase shower door! Call us today!

 


 

February 15, 2011

This past week I had the pleasure of installing a shower enclosure for an existing customer. This was the second of three shower doors that we will be installing for her. The first shower door that we installed was in the master bathroom, which had been newly remodeled. We were able to install the second enclosure in the upstairs "guest" bathroom. It has also been recently remodeled, and the homeowner decided on a frameless bypass type enclosure with 1/4" clear glass and brushed nickel aluminum and hardware. We also treated the inside of the glass with Diamond Seal, to prevent hard water stains.

 

         

 

We get the majority of our business from customer referrals. Doing business in a community like Santa Cruz County requires building, and maintaining lasting relationships. Over the years, we have had the chance to get to know a lot of the locals, and make friends with a number of local contractors as well. The result has been a great network of both customers and business professionals in the area. It's great making new friends, and it's nice to have such an excellent pool of resources to draw from.

 

 

 

February 2, 2011

The frameless "Euro-style" heavy glass shower enclosures and doors have become really popular lately. When I first went into business for myself back in 2004, about one in five of the shower enclosures people bought were of the heavy glass variety. Today, the vast majority of people want frameless heavy glass enclosures... probably eight-out-of-ten. There are situations where the old standard manufactured shower door makes the most sense, and we still install quite a few of those as well. But there is no doubt that these frameless shower doors have become the new standard.

 

         

 

It became obvious that these types of shower enclosures were here to stay when I started noticing them more on American TV. When you see a  commercial for soap, shampoo, or some other bathroom product, you will notice that the shower doors are the frameless type. This is a sure indication that they have become part of the mainstream. Today, when people remodel their bathrooms, they are installing larger tiles, granite, porcelain, marble, and nice fixtures. They have discovered that you don't have to be rich to have a luxurious bathroom... A nice 1/2" frameless European frameless shower enclosure is the natural "finishing touch" that accents the whole project!

 


 

January 9, 2011

There are many things that you need to consider when selecting a company to install your frameless shower enclosure. Of course, price is always a factor, but it shouldn't be the deciding factor when it comes to fine custom glass work. You definitely want a company that has been around for a while... one with a solid reputation. Some other factors to consider are whether or not you are going to get the individual attention that you deserve. Is the person you are talking to knowledgeable and courteous? Are they easy to understand? Are they willing to listen to you, and do they have the winning attitude it is going to take to get the job done?

 

         

 

You can buy a shower door from many different sources, but only your Showcase Shower Door representative excels in all of these areas. We come directly to you, on your schedule... We come prepared to show you all of the options, colors, hardware, samples, photos, even video! We never employ high pressure sales tactics, or try to sell you something that you don't want or need. That just isn't cool. The first thing that we try to determine is what you want, and how we can give you exactly that. We are the best in many ways, but the thing that our competition truly cannot match is the speed in which we respond, and complete the project. We utilize the latest technologies to expedite communications and delivery schedules. We get the job done well, and right on schedule.

 


 

December 29, 2010

Now that 2010 is nearly over, it's time to start thinking about what the new year will bring us. We have good reason to be optimistic about 2011. This has been a great year for custom interior glass work in Santa Cruz County... at least it has been for Showcase Shower Door! We have been especially busy this month getting shower doors and custom mirror projects done in time for the holidays. We have also been blessed to have been awarded more commercial projects this year as well. Right now we are in the process of working on a major remodel at Terrace Court Motel in Santa Cruz. There are a total of 12 rooms being remodeled, and each of them is getting one of our custom frameless heavy glass enclosures. We are also in the process of installing a custom frameless shower enclosure at the new Pure Valley Water store in Scotts Valley, CA.

 

         

 

It has been our pleasure to work with a lot of great local contractors this year too. These are the companies that keep the steady stream of projects coming in all year long, and we really appreciate them! I want to take this opportunity to give a "shout out" to all of the quality builders who use Showcase Shower Door for their enclosures, custom mirrors, glass shelves, glass backsplashes, and other assorted specialty glass projects.

Special thanks to: Alsman Construction Co., Cairn Construction, Carr Construction, Cort Hellenthal, CR Hunt Building & Design Inc., Elite Construction Services Inc., James Reilly Contracting, Jared Lewis Construction, JHK Builders, Larry Favor General Building, Medina Project, North Coast Construction, Ryder Web Construction, Santa Cruz Kitchen & Bath, Vic Brooks Construction, Wald Ruhnke & Dost, and Westport Builders, Inc., Thanks everyone, and have a most excellent 2011!

 

 

 

December 20, 2010

Do you have a mirror in your bathroom that has started to develop dark, cloudy looking discoloration at the bottom? Your mirror is suffering from "Black Edge." The silvering on the back of your mirror has been infiltrated by a type of contaminant that has begun eating it away like a cancer. It is actually more like rust... The back of your mirror has begun to oxidize, and the black edge will continue to spread over time. The mirrors that we install are treated with a product that seals the edges of the silvering, protecting them from the dreaded black edge. Unfortunately, most glass contractors don't.

 

         

 

If you have a mirror that is very important to you, due to sentimental value, you may be able to have it re-silvered. This can be expensive, and it is almost always more economical to replace the mirror. Showcase Shower Door does not provide re-silvering, but we can replace the mirror that you do have. We can also add a frame to your existing mirror to cover the edge that has turned black. We work with MirrorMate frames, which allows us to install a frame in the style and color of your choice without removing the existing mirror. This is a great way to make the old mirror look new again without spending a lot of money. Even if there is nothing wrong with your existing mirror, a MirrorMate custom frame adds a touch of elegance to an existing mirror. Click here to download a flyer.

 


 

December 11, 2010

Business is brisk here at Showcase Shower Door. This October marked five years in business in Santa Cruz County, and we are fortunate to have made quite a reputation for ourselves. One of the things that helps us to compete with the many glass shops in Santa Cruz are the relationships that we have with general contractors in the area. While the average homeowner will only purchase one or two shower doors or enclosures in their lifetime, contractors purchase shower doors all of the time. It seems that the more experience a contractor has with shower door installations, the more likely they are to be doing business with us. I have had building contractors who, after using our services, have tried other, less expensive glass shops to do their shower doors. They always seem to call us back after a while. It is really hard to find anyone who can match our high quality standards and exceptional service.

 

         

 

I also get a lot of calls from homeowners who have been referred by various contractors who have either hired us in the past, or have worked on the same jobs that we have, and have seen the work that we do. It means a lot to me to have established that kind of a rapport with the community, especially with master craftsmen who know the difference. I have had people tell me more than once that my bid was not the lowest one that they collected, but that they wanted me to do the work anyway. Pretty much any glass shop will do your shower enclosure for you. Showcase Shower Door is the one that you can count on to be knowledgeable, to respond quickly, to tell you the truth, and always deliver the absolute highest quality product.

 


 

November 19, 2010

Being environmentally conscious almost goes without saying when you do the bulk of your work in Santa Cruz County. Our customers are also neighbors, and we all love the natural beauty and excellent climate Santa Cruz offers. We have the ocean, the redwoods, the mountains, the parks, the beach, and all of the great people to enjoy. We definitely want to do our part to keep it that way. We do a number of things to keep our operation here as green as possible. Glass is environmentally friendly in the sense that it is bio-degradable, and has no polluting effect on the environment. Still, we want to do everything that we can to limit the amount of broken glass that is going into Santa Cruz landfills.

 

 

We keep glass fabrication to a minimum by having much of the work done remotely. This limits the amount of scrap glass that we produce, not to mention the abrasives, sealants, and solvents needed for fabrication in the glass industry. As a result, these materials are not being released into the air that we breathe or the water we drink. We have no facility in Santa Cruz to speak of. Just a tiny commercial location suitable for receiving the glass and other materials we need to do the work we perform here. We also order our materials from companies that are close by. Our suppliers are located in Santa Clara, Fremont, Modesto, and Union City. This helps limit fuel consumption, while supporting California businesses. We also have an aggressive recycling program. We recycle aluminum, brass, cardboard, plastic, and as much glass as possible. These are just a few of the things Showcase Shower Door is doing to help protect our environment.

 


 

October 18, 2010

This is a very modern and popular option for shower enclosures. It is a completely frameless, heavy glass sliding door for your shower stall. The enclosure that you see here was installed in Santa Cruz, California. The glass is 3/8" clear, and the hardware is brushed stainless steel. The enclosure is manufactured by Cardinal Shower Enclosures, located in Livermore, California.

 

         

 

The fixed panel is installed using a solid stainless steel bar that spans the width of the shower stall. There are additional stainless steel fixtures that fasten the stationary glass panel to the wall (to the right in this instance.) The sliding panel has rollers that are attached through holes that are cut in the glass. These rollers allow the door to glide along the same solid stainless steel bar that helps to support the fixed panel.

 

         

 

The result is a heavy glass shower enclosure with a rolling door that is truly frameless, and has minimal hardware of any kind. The gaps around the fixed panel (which are also minimal,) are sealed using clear RTV silicone. The gap where the door meets the wall is sealed with a polycarbonate edge seal. There is no hardware at the bottom of the enclosure with the exception of a small guide for the sliding door.

 


 

October 12, 2010

One option for bathtub shower combinations is called a "shower screen." A shower screen can be any thickness, typically from 1/4" to 1/2," and can be fixed or on hinges. Some shower screens are made using obscured glass, while others are clear. Fixed shower screens can be mounted using a U channel or with glass clamps, also called brackets. They commonly have a rounded edge in the uppermost corner away from the shower head. This is not necessarily the case, though.    

 

        

 

This particular shower screen is located in Soquel, California. It's 1/2" thick, and is made using clear tempered glass. The glass panel has a radius, or rounded corner, and is installed using hinges. Even though the toilet, which is installed right next to the tub, is higher than the deck of the tub, having the shower screen on hinges allows for limited movement. This makes cleaning the glass more convenient and comfortable.

 


 

September 26, 2010

I had an opportunity this month to install a lot of glass in a very nice windscreen in Felton, California. We did this job for a customer that I have been doing work for over the years. He is a master craftsman in his own right, and I am really honored that has has used me to do the glass work at his home a number of times before. We installed a frameless shower enclosure in one of his bathrooms, a frameless shower screen in another, as well as a 1/2" sliding interior partition door suspended by a tack in the ceiling. As you can imagine, it is a very nice home...

 

         

 

The glass in this particular windscreen is 3/8" clear tempered. The stanchions (vertical posts) are custom made from steel tubing and powder coated. The posts actually penetrate the redwood deck, and are bolted into the structure below for added strength. As you can see, the homeowner has a beautiful view of the valley from his backyard, and this guardrail system does a great deal to help to preserve it.

 

 

 

September 8, 2010

I have been really fortunate to have the opportunity to work on some great showers lately. I am having a great time, and really have to say "thank you" to all of my great customers out there, and the many nice things you say about Showcase Shower Door. It really is the reputation that you have given us, and word-of-mouth referrals that keep us so busy. It is an honor to be referred by you, and we are going to do all that we can to take excellent care of the friends, family, and associates you send our way.

 

         

 

These are some photos of one of the really incredible showers that we are working on right now. We are seeing more of these artistic shower stalls with interesting geometry and top-notch tile work. The shower you see here is located in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz County. We are getting ready to do the glass installation later this week, so I'll be sure to get some fresh photos to show you as the project progresses. The door itself is going to have some really cool artwork sand-blasted on it, so you are going to want to see this!

 


 

August 20, 2010

Working in and around Santa Cruz County is a lot of fun. There are many great older homes with really interesting architecture. I get a lot of opportunities to work in homes that have been around for a long time. Older homes present a number of challenges. Floors and walls are rarely plumb, level, or square. Installing a glass door that will operate properly in an out-of-square condition requires and advanced degree of expertise. A big part of what we do is to solve the issues presented by out-of-square openings. My job is to make the bathroom look great, and to draw attention away from the imperfections that may exist.

 

 

         

 

Another challenge to working in these old fashioned bathrooms is the fact that the tile is old, and can be very brittle. It is also nearly impossible to match, should tiles get broken during the shower door installation. In the shower stall shown here, the original fixtures are brass, and have faded over time. We used a hardware finish called "Antique Brass" to make the new shower enclosure blend in with its surroundings.

 


 

August 11, 2010

This is job we just completed in Aptos, CA. It is a frameless inline shower enclosure with 1/2" thick glass and chrome hardware. This particular shower stall has a bench in it. The fixed panel is notched to accommodate the shape of the bench exactly, and is secured using brackets, also called "glass clamps."

 

         

 

Showers with benches are becoming more and more popular in the Santa Cruz area. Although 3/8" clear tempered glass is still the most common thickness of glass used, more people are asking for the 1/2" glass thickness for their shower enclosures. When it comes to 1/2" glass shower doors, Showcase Shower Door Company offers competitive prices and superior service.

 


 

August 4, 2010

This is one of the frameless shower enclosures we have been working on in the past couple of days. The home is located in Aptos, CA near Freedom Blvd. This bathroom was recently remodeled, and we were hired to add the finishing touches.

 

3/8" clear tempered - heavy glass shower - frameless glass         frameless enclosure - custom installation - 3/8" glass

 

This heavy glass frameless enclosure is constructed using clear tempered glass and chrome brackets, hinges, and handles. We handled the entire job, all the way from design to installation. The homeowner also elected to protect the new shower enclosure with Diamond Seal surface treatment to prevent hard water stains.

 

 

 

July 30, 2010

This is an interesting innovation that we came up with for our customers who have very little space in their bathrooms. In the past, having a small bathroom meant that you had no choice but to use sliding bypass doors. Today, most customers want heavy glass, frameless, "euro-style" shower enclosures. What you see below is our solution.

 

clear glass - frameless shower - heavy glass          saloon style - frameless shower doors - 3/8" tempered glass

 

I call these "Saloon Style" doors. Instead of having one fixed panel and one swinging door, both doors hinge, like the doors in in old-time western saloon. Each door swings both in and out, doubling the size of the opening, and giving the customer flexibility in how they use them. The doors don't require any knobs or pulls, and make cleaning a breeze.

 

 

 

July 28, 2010

Business has been good lately. We have been installing a lot of shower doors in Santa Cruz County. This is a 1/2" shower enclosure that we completed in Aptos this week. The customers were very pleased with the way it turned out. This enclosure is made with 1/2" clear glass and chrome hardware.

 

bathroom shower door - corner shower stalls - glass shower stalls - trackless shower doors          bathroom shower door - corner shower stalls - glass shower stalls - trackless shower doors

 

It is often a real challenge to get a good photo of a shower enclosure. Bathrooms are typically too small to get the whole thing in one frame. Even though we are really busy, we still have time to do YOUR shower door, so give us a call. Currently our turn-around time is about two weeks.

 


 

July 6, 2010

I had a really interesting conversation with a customer this morning. He was calling me back about an estimate we provided a few days ago. After answering a few of the standard questions that customers normally ask, he said "I have one more question for you..." He then went on to tell me that my price was a lot lower then my competitors, and he was wondering why. I jokingly said that I would have to raise my prices, and after a little chuckle I told him frankly; Any smart business owner wants to offer the lowest price possible for the product or service that they provide. Now we don't have the lowest prices in the industry. There are some companies that have slightly lower prices than we do... and there are others who charge much more.

 

Custom mirror installation  - Felton, CA.

 

We are able to keep our prices low by being organized, efficient, and not spending a lot on overhead. Showcase Shower Door Company is strictly a mobile service... we don't have a brick-and-mortar showroom location. We do work by appointment, and go directly to the customer. So far, this has worked really well for us. We use this website as our showroom, and are able to bring product samples to our potential customers personally. Another way that I am able to keep prices competitive is by doing the work myself. This allows me to bring the highest possible level of quality to each project while minimizing problems and mistakes. Now, as time goes on our business is increasing. The day will inevitably will come when I can no longer do every job myself for the same price. It's basic supply and demand. When that day comes I will have to decide if I will raise prices and continue doing the work myself, or keep prices the same and have employees do the work. Until then, I will continue to do each project personally.

 

 

 

June 18, 2010

At Showcase Shower Door Company we do a lot of work with local builders. Contractors who have worked in the area for a long time know that Showcase Shower Door Co. has the best value around. Most home owners will only purchase one or two shower doors or enclosures in their lifetimes. General contractors make these purchases over and over again. There may be companies that can charge a lower price initially, but there are a lot of things to take into consideration. Safety, dependability, quality of products used, skill of workers performing the task, service after the sale, to name a few.

 

frameless glass shower enclosures

 

Yesterday, I met with a couple in Scotts Valley to discuss their shower enclosure project. The shower stall is not very large... it will be a small project for me. We talked for an hour-and-a-half about their shower enclosure. I brought a glass sample, hardware color samples, photos, and a catalogue with me to their home. The three of us sat around their kitchen table and talked about the project, and other things. They were referred by a friend, as are most of my customers. The enclosure is not finished yet... I will have to go back to take finial measurements when all of the tile has been set. I have to say, in all modesty, that they were very impressed. When they complimented me on my level of service leading up to the sale I had to bring up the fact that I would also be installing their shower enclosure personally. I have made some new friends as well as new customers. That's what it's really all about.

 


 

May 30, 2010

Many people are using less glass in their shower enclosures for various reasons. Some customers are having their shower stalls built in such a way that no glass at all is required to keep the water in. Probably the greatest challenge in designing a shower enclosure is containing the water while maintaining as much of the beauty of the tile or stone work as possible. While it is possible to make a frameless shower enclosure completely water-tight by using clear polycarbonate edge-seals, it is not always a good idea. The plastic seals detract from the natural beauty of the glass, and should be used sparingly. The key is to find just the right balance of waterproofing to aesthetics.

 

bathroom shower screen - TEKON treated

 

In this application we installed only a single fixed panel. This is often called a "shower screen." Shower screens are most often used on shower / tub combinations where a sliding or hinging shower enclosure is less desirable. The glass is 3/8" clear tempered, and the hardware is brushed nickel. If the customer decides at a later date that the shower screen is not containing enough of the water, there is no reason that a door cannot be added.

 


 

May 13, 2010

Lately, we have been doing quite a few shower door repairs and glass restorations. Money is tight for a lot of people, and some customers are looking for ways to make their shower doors last longer instead of replacing them. Showcase Shower Door Company is the right place to go for help making an old shower door or enclosure look and work like new. Whether someone has a sliding bypass type of enclosure, a manufactured shower door, or heavy glass enclosure, we are always happy to help.

 

bathroom shower glass door - custom glass shower doors

 

We have an arsenal of tools and products that we can use to remove water stains and calcium build-up. Once the glass is restored to good condition we can treat the inside surface with Diamond Seal to keep it looking “better than new” forever. It's true that some doors are simply worn-out, and have to be replaced, but many times there is much we can do to get them working the way that they should. I would be happy to come to you and take a look free of charge.

 


 

April 27, 2010

April has been a busy month! We have been having a lot of fun meeting new people and installing beautiful shower enclosures. I get a lot of compliments from customers and people who are visiting our web site. That makes me feel great! What we try to do is build the shower doors and enclosures that our customers are imagining for their own bathrooms. Our customers are very sophisticated and have really great ideas and taste. The truth is that I have to give my customers much of the credit.

Many glass companies will try to get you to buy the shower door that they want to sell you. It makes the job easier for them, and takes the challenge out of the job. If you are a company owner who is sending out employees with limited skills, it only makes sense to do this... That's not the case at Showcase Shower Door Company. I plan to participate in the installation personally, so the added challenge of doing something that I have never seen done before is appealing to me.

 

Aptos shower - euro shower doors

 

This steam shower enclosure was installed in a beautiful home located in Aptos, California. The home owner was great to work with, and made getting the job done a real pleasure. The glass is 3/8” clear tempered, and the hardware is chrome. The granite in the shower is really nice, some of the best I've seen... Each wall is cut from a single piece of granite.

 


 

April 16, 2010

This inline shower enclosure is 78" tall. As you can see, the fixed panel is notched to accommodate the shape of the buttress it is anchored to and around. This customer elected to have the fixed panel secured using brackets, rather than aluminum channel. The glass is clear and the hardware finish is chrome. The project is located in Scotts Valley, California.

 

frameless glass shower enclosures - frameless shower door hinges      luxury shower enclosures

 

At Showcase Shower Door Company, we take pride in working with other local professionals. We enjoy doing projects with a number of contractors, designers, and realtors. This particular shower enclosure project was done in cooperation with Santa Cruz Kitchen and Bath. This shower enclosure has also been treated with Diamond Seal surface protection. The Diamond Seal treatment will keep the glass from becoming stained by water spots, and make it easy to clean.

 


 

April 1, 2010

This past week I have had the pleasure of working with a local homeowner on his vinyl replacement window project. I used to do a lot of vinyl windows in Santa Cruz County when I first started out as a glazing contractor. It's hard work, and takes quite a bit of skill and expertise to do the job correctly. Some may chuckle at this statement, but you would be shocked to hear all of the horror stories I could tell about leaking windows, rot, mold, and the like.

There are so many unqualified people doing this type of work that I had to get out of it. What began happening to me was that I would go to people's homes and spend hours measuring, looking up window prices, and putting together estimates just to lose the vast majority of bids. Now losing bids is just a part of the contracting process... you don't get every job, and honestly, you don't want to! Other contractors were writing bids that simply couldn't cover the cost of doing the job right. It was easier just to stop doing that type of work than trying to explain the economics of window replacement to every potential customer I spoke to.

 

window replacement  - vinyl windows - retrofit windo project

 

Ken, the owner of this Santa Cruz home, was referred to me by a common friend. Although I do this type of work for friends and previous customers, I am leery about working up estimates for window projects for the reasons I have discussed. I told Ken that I would be willing to do the project on a "time and materials" basis. This allowed Ken pick the windows the he wanted, and buy them directly from the supplier. He was also able to decide how much of the low skilled labor he wanted to do himself. Ken chose to replace his aluminum single pane windows with double hung Milgard Tuscany windows. An excellent choice. Some of the siding was rotted out, due to the previous window installation, so we replaced it as well. New trim, tar paper, fresh polyurethane caulking... Ken is very happy, and ended up saving some cash.

 


 

March 23, 2010

This is a bypass shower enclosure that is made utilizing 5/16" clear tempered glass as well as chrome aluminum and hardware. The customer had a very specific idea of how she wanted the doors to look and function. We were able to provide exactly what she was looking for, and to get the project done quickly.

 

glass showers doors - shower door frame

 

This home is located in Aptos, California, near Seascape Resort. The customer was referred to us by Joshua from "McAuley and Son Custom Tile." He is the contractor that did the excellent tile work that you see here. If you need a good tile setter, I highly recommend them. Here's the email address:

 mcauleytile@sbcglobal.net.


 

March 2, 2010

The shower enclosure that you see here is known as an "inline" type enclosure. This is because the shower door and the sidelight are inline with each other. This customer selected an obscured type of glass that is called "rain." It is 3/8" thick and has been tempered for safety and added strength. The glass panel on the left has been notched to fit the shape of the tiled area.

 

rain glass - shower door handles - small shower enclosures

 

The hardware and aluminum used in this application are "Oil Rubbed Bronze" finish. As you can see, the combination of the dark hardware along with the rain glass work really well in this particular bathroom. The customer has selected a towel bar and pull handle combination for the door. This was a lot of fun to install, and the customer is very happy.


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