What You Should Consider Before Deciding on Glass Shower Enclosures

We had our glass shower enclosure installed recently and I can’t stop hanging out in the ensuite bathroom.

Now that I have compared glass shower enclosures, I’m excited to share my findings. Prior to our ensuite bathroom, I only had one experience with installing a glass shower enclosure. It was for our guest bedroom and we went with a basic u-channel and glass door with chrome clamps because honestly, we didn’t think there was more to think about. But oh, there is!

Glass shower enclosure design decisions

Here’s what you should consider before deciding on glass shower enclosures.

1. U-Channels vs. Clips Only vs. U-Channel + Clip Combination

While there are pros and cons to each, deciding on which style is mostly based on aesthetics. I talked to our installers and researched online. I came across this post from Builders Glass of Bonita, Inc., that I found to be helpful. I’m breaking that down below.


  • Cons: it’s anodized aluminum which isn’t bad but perhaps not as appealing as brass.

  • Pros: more cost effective, quicker to install, less silicone is visible so less mildew.

glass shower install bathroom example
U-Channel example. Source: Jessica Helgerson Design

Clips Only

  • Cons: more expensive because holes have to be cut in the glass and the labor raises the price of the glass, more time consuming for installers, requires silicone seals that can mildew over time, possible issues with water splashing out.

  • Pros: has a ‘frameless’ appearance which is appealing to a lot of people right now, hardware is anodized brass and looks elevated, gives a clean modern aesthetic.

Glass shower example in a farmhouse minimal bathroom

Clips only example. Source: Phuong @Raising3foodies

U-Channel + Clip Combination

This type has clips on the side and u-channel on the bottom.

  • Cons: more expensive than u-channel only because holes have to be cut in the glass and the labor raises the price of the glass, requires silicone seals on the clips only side that can mildew over time, possible issues with water splashing out.

  • Pros: has a more ‘frameless’ look than all u-channels, u-channel at the base prevents mildew issue of clips and silicone, better pricepoint and easier installation than clips only.

Glass shower example in a minimalistic bathroom

Source: Builders Glass of Bonita, Inc.

2. Finish options for glass showers

Depending on your installer, there are so many finishes to consider. Polished chrome, brass, satin brass, satin nickel, gun metal, oil rubbed bronze, polished copper…and the list goes on! We stopped in our installer’s shop multiple times holding up our three top finishes before deciding on THE one.

3. Handle Style for our glass shower

You’ll want to make sure you decide on this before ordering your glass. They have to pre-drill all holes before the glass is finished off. Make sure you cover all the details with your installer to get exactly what you want. When we realized that we had options, the two holes were already drilled for a 6” handle which limited our selections.

What did we decide on for our glass shower?

We went with U-Channel only and 6” length D-pull in antique brass. I know clips only is a very popular style right now and I can see why. It gives a ‘frameless’ look that feels sleek and modern but we felt the u-channel was more fitting of our old home and style. The antique brass matched our vanity hardware and pulled together our metal combo of oil rubbed bronze and aged brass.

Glass Shower with green tiling in Patti Wagner's home

Tip: after installation, our installer recommended waiting 72 hrs. Then clean the glass and spray with Rain-X Shower Door Repellent to keep the glass looking its best. I believe you have to spray Rain-X about once a month. Update: It’s been about a year and we’ve only sprayed once and our glass still looks great! We do squeegee them after every shower.

If you followed along to my instagram, you saw that there was a hiccup with the u-channel finish they brought over. It was the wrong finish instead of the antique brass. Luckily, I was home during the install or it would’ve been a disaster. It’s always best to check on project installs in person to catch any issues. Update: A number of my local readers have asked about our installer. Unfortunately, due to their lack of customer service to address some installation issues that were acknowledged by their own crew, I don’t feel comfortable recommending.

Hope this post helps those looking to install a glass shower enclosure!

Sweetest Regards, Patti