Glass Traps for the Unwary – Shower Screens

The expansion in the production capabilities of glass companies since the late nineties allowed the development of ways to use glass that had not previously even been considered.

Since then small and medium sized regional glass companies had the machinery to polish, bevel, laminate, toughen and expand. With many more people experimenting and developing new ways to use glass, designers were encouraged to push their imagination.

At a domestic level, it meant access to glass kitchen splashbacks that could surround a range hood, glass balustrades, glass pool fences and “frameless” glass shower screens.

As demand took off and these products became standard in new homes and renovations, it opened up the opportunity for others to get a piece of the action by importing ready-made product.

Shower screens and pool fences seemed to fit the bill perfectly. All an importer had to do was buy up container loads of standard sizes and they were in the glass business. This produced a flurry of new companies that could sell a shower screen for less than half the quoted price from the local glass company.

The obvious benefit for consumers was the lowering of prices but this comes at a cost. The saying about things looking too good to be true applies, as does the one about “you get what you pay for”. Now you can buy your shower screen on the net without even having seen a glass expert. After all, why do you need an expert in glass when you can buy what you need with the instructions? How hard can it be?

If the internet is not your style now you can walk into any big name hardware store and walk out with a frameless shower screen for you to install immediately. What could go wrong?

Here are a couple of possibilities

  1. Floors and walls are never plum and a sloping floor is essential.
  2. Gaps and cut outs that the standard sizes won’t cover
  3. “Stainless” fittings that rust
  4. The difficulty of getting help from a local glass company
  5. The absence of a knowledgeable person to ensure that what is constructed meets the Safety Standards (special rules for bathrooms)
  6. The lack of replacement parts

As the push for ever cheaper product continues you will struggle to find a glass company on the first few pages of most search engines. Almost all will be importers but if you do drill down to find a glass company they will almost certainly supply glass that is certified to meet the Standards. Their whole business hangs on it, not just the shower screen.

Many people in the glass business has a humorous story to tell of the hopeful phone calls from frustrated consumers asking for help to fit the shower screen they bought on the internet. There is at one very good reason why a glass company would be reluctant to help. Once they get involved, under their license requirements they become liable for the consequences. If later, someone is injured due to poor quality product or a failed fitting they understandably do not want to be involved. You’re on your own.

Another point to ponder is the likelihood of spontaneous disintegration by nickel sulphide infusion. This occurs in some toughened (tempered) glass products when a microscopic particle of the mineral nickel is flaked off stainless steel machinery and lands in the molten glass at production. In some cases this can result in the glass exploding months or years later and while it is rare, the chances of it happening are less when driving down the price of production is not the main motivation of the manufacturer.

This does not necessarily mean that the shower screen you buy at the hardware store will not do the job safely but the result often matches the price tag.

Glass Shower Screens Can Add Versatility

The simplest form of shower screens is the curtains. A curtain may be as simple as a decorative plastic sheet that is hung from a curtain rod. It offers easy universal access, along with several other advantages, but does little to enhance the decor. Although it may cost a lot less than other alternatives, it may actually subtract from any appeal that you may wish to add, both in terms of value and appearance.

Shower screens serve a number of different functions. They not only protect, but they can also be decorative. Glass, when used in shower screens can add versatility to any decor. With glass, there is no dominant color scheme to be matched. Any color can be combined with glass. The drawback of course, is that it is transparent and offers no privacy.

Glass screens can be used as a suitable alternative to the customary shower curtains that are usually made of vinyl. They can add a smart, snappy appearance, which also seems to enhance the cleanliness of the area. They are constructed to last for longer periods, although, a bit more may be required in terms of maintenance. Shower curtains made of vinyl, or other materials, such polyester or composites, usually require replacement after a certain period. The replacement period will depend on the quality of the material, and the frequency of use of the shower area. One of the problems associated with these types of curtains is that, there is always moisture present in the environment to encourage the growth of molds, and it is always preferable to choose curtains made of mold resistant material. They may be a bit more expensive, but replacement periods will be longer than that of vinyl. Although they may last longer, there is no escaping the fact, that even mold resistant shower screens may need to be replaced at some period.

As part of the purification process, calcium is added to water to remove impurities. When the water evaporates, the calcium, commonly known as lime-scale is left behind. The lime-scale, seen as discolouration due a white chalky film, can be difficult to remove, if it is not dealt with as soon as possible. There are some chemical products available, that may designated specifically for removing lime-scale, but the efficacy of some of these products has been questioned.

Glass shower screens can, and should be cleaned frequently in order to maintain its original appearance. One of the popular solutions for maintaining the enhanced finish of the glass surface is frequent cleaning with a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water. Frequent cleaning will prevent build-up of calcium deposits from the hard water that causes discolouration.

Shower screens made of glass, are often smoked or scalloped to offer some degree of privacy, making them a popular option for shower enclosures. In rooms where water splashes and puddles are always present, as well as chemicals in toiletries and cosmetics, most of the surfaces installed, should be resistant to water, and glass becomes an obvious choice.

Simple to Beautiful Bathrooms With Glass Shower Screens

Taking a bath is a routine. But frequently, the shower room or the bathroom is taken for granted. It shouldn’t be enough that it’s clean and ready for another day of use. Glass shower screens can offer you a wide range of designs that will give your boring private place a modern touch.

The usual bathroom is a combined place for toilet and bath which is a common site in most homes. But that usual place can become an amazing haven for bathing leisure if you just use some of your creative imagination. If you consider your house as your sanctuary, don’t miss out on details. If you are fond of decorating your home, don’t miss out the unseen. Your bathroom is one place you might be neglecting. It needs pampering too so why not think about transforming it into a much more relaxing room by adding fixtures suited to your bathing needs.

So what to choose as a shower screen?

Try to check out home magazines focusing on bathroom renovations. You can also check online for houses with beautiful bathrooms by just adding fixtures to make it look from simple to luxurious. Shower heads, bath tubs, toilets, faucets, and all other bathroom fixtures will make a simple bathroom grand. You just have to choose the right products; the right things to install that will suit the interior of your bathroom and your personality. This is the start of the whole concept of transformation. The amount to be spent will depend on how small or big the area is and if it will be just renovation or a reconstruction.

What more?

Bathroom enclosures can separate your toilet and bath in a stunning way. No matter how big your shower area is, adding a shower door made of glass can make the space look airy and elegant. There are shower doors to choose from that will perfectly fit your space. For small bathrooms the ideal enclosure would be a frameless shower door that can either slide to and fro. Sliding shower doors are sleek and space saver. For big bath areas, a framed enclosure would be recommended especially if you have a bath tub, a shower area and toilet all in one room. There is also a wide array of designs to choose from.

What are the other advantages?

Customized glass shower enclosures have other advantages aside from keeping the other parts of the bathroom dry. First, it is easy to clean. No need for special rituals or chemicals. This means easy maintenance. Second, it illuminates light; therefore it gives the room a spacious look. So if you are thinking of renovating your house do not leave your bathroom behind the scene. Shower enclosures can add value to a once ordinary room to make it look beautiful the way it should be. Talk to a professional installer about your plans to make sure everything will go as you wanted. To give more value to your money, talk to people who know the ins and outs of the business to get good service as well as quality glass shower screens that you can choose from.