Building regulations govern how glass showers need to be set up, so you know they're safe. But you may wonder where these structures get their support. They receive it from several sources, as explained below.
The metal framing on fully and semi-framed showers provides support to the structure, keeping it strong and secure. Full framed screens feature metal along all four edges, and partly framed screens might feature channels along the top and bottom edges of the glass, with the sides joined by discreet brackets or braces. You might wonder, if the frames provide the stability, how then do frameless showers work?
The reason that frameless enclosures can dispense with extensive framing is that they use a particular sort of shower screen made of toughened glass. This glass is about four times stronger than standard window panes — thus it's incredibly sturdy despite being transparent. Toughened, or tempered glass as it's sometimes called, undergoes a process whereby the glass is heated and quickly cooled to make it ultra strong.
Conversely, because fully framed showers rely on the metal edging to bolster the enclosure, they can use laminated glass which is not quite as strong. Laminated glass consists of two glass sheets that fuse to either side of a resin interlayer.
Extra Support Elements
A subtle way to add extra support to a frameless shower is to fit a triangular shelf, using toughened glass, in a corner where shower screens abut the wall. The benefit of this is that it's barely noticeable and handily provides a place for cosmetics and soaps.
Other enclosures, depending on the design, might need support bars that connect the top of a screen to the ceiling, or else to a nearby wall. While these metal bars break up the neat effect of clear glass, they're necessary at times to produce a safe shower.
Because glass showers need to abide by strict building regulations, you can know that they're secure and safe. The metal frames on fully framed models offer support — thus, these enclosures can use laminated glass. Because frameless designs have less metal, they rely on the strength of the glass screens themselves. Therefore, these showers must use toughened glass, which is several times stronger than standard window panes. Your contractor can advise on the glass your structure requires, and also whether it needs any additional stability in the form of glass shelves or support bars.
For more information, contact a shower screen service.