DIY Shower Glass Installation
Our shower is done! Well, not quite. We still might frost our shower glass, or add decals to it. But for all intents and purposes, it’s done and completely shower-ready! We knew we wanted a portion of the shower wall to be glass, but no more than that. So we framed it all out and planned to tackle the logistics later. And now it’s later…
Remember, this wall was once the edge of the bathroom. It’s still crazy to us that there’s a shower here now instead of a storage closet. Minds are blown every time we walk in. Anyway, after we framed the shower out, tiled it and grouted, we had this giant empty space that was planned out for a piece of glass. Time to learn how to buy and install shower glass.
Where to DIY:
- Channel vs clips
If you feel comfortable securing your glass piece, go ahead and ask your glass shop to leave this out of the bill. On the other hand, if you are just not confident in this department yet, you may find it worth hiring out. It saved us a couple hundred. We’ll cover this more below. There are really two big ways to secure your piece: channels or clips. Glass clips are a little pricier, but they have a different aesthetic. There’s really no need to pay for professional glass frosting in our opinion. You can buy this in aerosol cans, or buy decals that you can easily peel and stick (and change out over and over!)
Where to Invest:
- A custom cut
- Customer service
It pays to have a professional shop cut your glass. Don’t risk your safety, even if you know how to cut glass. Unless you know someone who can cut and temper glass, this will be your only option anyhow. Finding good people to work with always matters. Read reviews, support local business, and trust your gut when finding service providers. Good people really do make all the difference in the world.
Getting Our Shower Glass Piece
Our first step was to measure. We had this nice shelf that would act as the base for our sheet of glass. We got our rough measurements and found out the price would be between $300-$600, depending on the shop.
We measured the general size we’d need and started shopping around. A lot of places charge different amounts for different glass thicknesses. The 1/2″ piece would be a bit more, and we really only needed a 3/4″ piece for this shower.
We originally planned to use a piece of glass Joe had on hand, but realized you can only use tempered glass for projects like this because otherwise you run the risk of your glass shattering. Tempered glass is “safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering puts the outer surfaces into compression and the inner surfaces into tension.” Thanks Wikipedia! So in short, you can’t just cut a piece yourself. 🙁 You’ll need to go custom-order here. Ugh, we were hoping to save on this leg of the race.
Where to Save
When you think custom, you immediately think it’s going to be super expensive, right? Not necessarily we found. Once we got several quotes nailed down, we were able to match prices between providers and got the best price and quality. A great tip is to ask to see your quote itemized. Then you can subtract the installation cost if you’re comfortable DIYing that part. We felt pretty confident that we could figure it out with just the piece of glass, and it saved us a couple hundred dollars.
After we read reviews and narrowed our options, someone came onsite and took the exact measurements. We even talked about different ideas and ended up adding on an invisible shower glass stain protection treatment. This application makes grime and buildup easier to clean by 90% supposedly and runs less than $95. We have hard water, so this was a big yes for us. Almost everyone orders it and it will be much less maintenance. So we were glad to get the expertise, but only paid for what we needed. Win win.
Shower Glass Installation
Joe and our roomie Michael were able to secure this piece in only about 2-3 hours.
The first step was securing the channels and lining them up just right. Measure carefully, my friends. We had one channel on the ceiling horizontally and one on the wall vertically.
They screwed the channels in place and glued the glass in.
I was definitely shaking driving home with a giant piece of glass in the back of my car, albeit a short trip. The glass is most vulnerable on its edges. For this reason, we kept the protective plastic wrapping on right up until the end.
The boys secured them in the channels with this clear silicone adhesive.
Then they stuck these little clear sticky pads on the ledge on the bottom. This is to create a buffer for the edge of the glass piece to protect it. They carefully shimmied the glass into the channels and then removed the plastic wrap to sit the glass atop the pads.
Then, voila! Not quite though. Joe had to run a bead of clear caulk along the bottom and side to ensure this piece of glass was unshakeable. She’s goin’ nowhere. It actually took four days to dry completely. Do not attempt to shower before it’s 100% dry.
And of course, in the process, Joe ran a strip of his beloved LED lights between the glass and the top channel. He drilled a hole into the other room for an outlet and concealed it with caulk.
He planned this all from the beginning. Sly dog.
Here’s the night glow effect.
The light permeated down through the glass piece and makes it look like the glass is lit up. Definitely worth the wait.
We knew we didn’t want a shower door because we didn’t want to clean that every day. This partial glass piece was the perfect option for us. Apparently it’s very European too. Feeling cool about that. Keep in mind, the fewer glass surfaces in your shower, the less squeegie action you’ll have to do on the daily. We opted for just a half wall of glass for this reason. If you want to do your whole shower in glass, by all means do, but it’s going to cost you. If you want to try out the LED’s, try your hand at a backlit mirror. And if you’re in the market for a custom glass piece for your new shower, we sincerely hope some of these tips helped 🙂