Which is best: Framed Vs. Frameless Shower Doors?

One of the most striking features of a bathroom is the shower enclosure, which can transform your bathroom into something glamorous. There is a wide range of options available regarding shower glass door design so it can be overwhelming at first look. One of the questions that might come up is “Which is best: Framed Vs. Frameless Shower Doors?”

Both have distinct advantages and drawbacks, so in this blog, we will outline the benefits and disadvantages of framed and frameless shower doors to help you make an informed decision for your project.

What is Better: Framed or Frameless Shower Doors?

The answer to this question is: It depends. There are several factors to consider to decide on framed or frameless shower doors.


Both types use tempered glass, meaning that the glass is designed to break into small, rounded pieces instead of shards when broken to avoid injury. The panes of frameless doors are thicker as there is no supporting frame. The frame is typically made from aluminum and can be powder-coated in various colors and finishes or have textures.

The glass of framed doors is sealed into the frame to prevent leaking, while with frameless doors, there often is a rubber sweep at the bottom to keep the water inside the shower.


There are many different style options for both framed and frameless shower doors. The main style difference lies in the configuration of the enclosure itself. In both cases, the glass can be frosted, etched, patterned, or bronzed to add style elements.

With framed shower doors, you will commonly find sliding doors where the doors slide on a track. If there is a pivot door, it generally will only open outwards. Frameless shower doors have more options, such as French openings with two side-by-side doors that hinge outward or single doors that can open both inwards and outwards. They also give the option of having a stationary panel fixed to a wall with the door hinge of the panel. Frameless doors also provide more opportunities to create custom looks, as a frame does not limit them.

While both types provide a good view of the shower, framed doors are considered more traditional due to their metal frame, while frameless doors are generally seen as more contemporary.


A framed shower door is easier to install as the glass is thinner and lighter. Also, the door is hinged off the metal frame. On the other hand, installing a frameless door is a lot more labour-intensive due to the higher weight and because the clips used to attach the door have to be perfectly level. The door may begin to sag over time if they are not level. If the shower is tiled, special drill bits must be used to attach the clips properly.


Many factors influence the cost of either door type, such as the height and width of the door, the glass type, and the finish. Generally, installing a frameless door is about 10-15% higher than a framed door. The thicker glass required for a frameless door also will increase the total cost.

Water Leaks

Framed doors have better leak protection as the aluminium frame has a caulk layer and a track at the bottom that will catch stray water. With frameless shower doors, you have rubber gaskets and caulked edges to keep moisture in, but while most frameless door assemblies have a rubber lip at the bottom of the door, there is a higher risk that some water will manage to escape. However, you can find out how to stop water leaking from shower doors.


While the metal frame will prevent leaks, it also has a higher risk of collecting water and grime. If the water remains standing in these areas, it can lead to corrosion of the metal or even mould and mildew to grow which can lead to potential health problems. On the other hand, frameless doors are less likely to attract mildew and mould as they don’t collect water, which means no corrosion.

Framed Shower Doors Frameless Shower Doors
MaterialsTempered glass
– Aluminum frame
Tempered glass
Style– Sliding door
– Pivot door
– Traditional look
– Sliding door
– Pivot door
– French opening
– Contemporary look
InstallationEasier due to lower weight and frame constructionMore complicated due to higher weight and more complex fastening system 
MaintenanceMore difficult due to potential corrosion and build-up of mould and mildew if not properly maintainedEasy to keep clean due to lack of frame and edging

Pros and Cons of Framed Shower Doors

Pros of Framed Shower Doors

More stability

The shower doors are generally made from tempered glass, designed to break into small pieces with rounded edges instead of shards to reduce the risk of injury. Due to the aluminium frame around the glass shower door, the enclosure is more stable. The structure further reduces the risk of shattering.

Easier to install

A framed glass shower door only requires the installation of the frame, and it can fit over any type of shower material.

Less likely to leak

As part of the frame, a framed glass shower door includes a track at the bottom trapping water. It also has a metal frame and a caulk layer to protect against water spills. This design also prevents shower spray from leaking.

Variety of frame design options

There is a variety of different metal frames to choose from and to match your style. Depending on the size and layout of your bathroom, you can also choose between a pivot or a sliding glass door. Another design feature is custom-framed glass doors in different styles.

More cost-effective

While the price will depend on the scope and style of the individual project, the installation of framed glass shower doors generally comes in at 10-15% less than a frameless shower door. The design also allows for the glass door to be thinner tempered glass compared to the frameless option, saving you money on the product.

Cons of Framed Shower Doors

Limited range of motion

Due to the construction, framed shower doors only open outward, which can limit your range of motion. 

Harder to maintain

Maintenance can be more challenging as excess moisture can lead to corrosion of the metal frame around the shower door. It is also harder to clean, so soap scum and water droplets can lead to mildew around the frame.

More old-fashioned design

If the rest of your bathroom has more modern finishes, a framed shower door might look outdated in comparison, which is why many homeowners choose the frameless option.

Pros and Cons of Frameless Shower Doors

Pros of Frameless Shower Doors

Many design options

Frameless glass shower doors provide many combinations of styles, sizes, and configurations. There is a wide variety of design styles to choose from. You can add metal handles or hinges as style accents, as they don’t use metal frames. Another option is a semi-frameless shower door with metal enclosures around the sides or on top.

Wide range of motion

Unlike framed shower doors, the hinges of a frameless pivot shower door swing the door inward and outward, allowing you to open it from any direction.

Easier to maintain

Due to the lack of metal framing, frameless shower doors are much easier to clean as there are no crevices that soap scum or excess water could stay behind. This will mean less grimy debris and less risk of mildew developing. 

They also are easier to replace as there are fewer components, and they don’t require any manufacturer-specific hardware. Instead, you can order parts from many different manufacturers. 

Emphasizing other design features

The lack of a frame gives your bathroom a more spacious feel without distractions. This allows you to draw attention to other design features, such as the stonework or marble tiles that would otherwise be hidden.

Cons of Frameless Shower Doors

Higher price

Generally, the installation of frameless shower doors costs about 10-15 % more than framed shower doors.

Less stability

While frameless doors will use thicker tempered glass for added rigidity, they tend to be less stable than framed glass door as it is not protected by a frame.

Complicated installation

Depending on your shower type, the installation can be more complicated, also due to the higher weight of the door. Professional contractors will need to drill certain tile materials to set up the hinges. 

Potential leaks

Due to the absence of a track on the threshold, there is a higher risk of potential leaks than with a framed shower door.

How much does it cost to install a framed or frameless shower door?

Many factors influence the cost of an installation of a shower door. Generally, installing a frameless shower door costs about 10-15% more than a framed door. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 833-344-5277 or fill out our convenient online form to get a free estimate for your project.

Contact Glass Ninja for Framed or Frameless Shower Doors

Glass Ninja is your choice for any glass shower door with top-end products and installations. Our expert team of project managers and installers is ready to help you with your next glass shower door project. We’re here for you if you need a custom frame or frameless shower door.

Call us today at 833-344-5277 or fill out our convenient online form to find out how we can help you with any glass shower door needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a frameless shower better than a framed one?

It depends on what you are looking for in a shower door. Both come with distinct advantages and drawbacks, such as cost, ease of maintenance, design options, or overall style.

Are framed shower doors cheaper than frameless ones?

While the cost will vary widely depending on the size, style, and configuration, generally, framed doors are about 10-15% cheaper than frameless doors due to the more complex installation and thicker glass required for the frameless option.0

What are the pros of frameless shower doors?

Frameless shower doors offer various design styles with many combinations of styles, sizes, and configurations. Generally, they are seen as a more contemporary and modern style. They are also easier to maintain due to the lack of a metal frame.

Do frameless shower doors add value?

Frameless shower doors add value in that they don’t obstruct the view of your shower’s stonework or marble tiles with a metal frame. They also don’t distract from other bathroom design elements and decor. 

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