Pivot and sliding shower doors are available in both frameless and framed configurations. Here, Kohler (left) and Dreamline illustrate the beauty of both in a frameless shower door.
When designing a new shower, there are many factors to think about, from shower heads and faucet finishes to enclosure type and shower door style. It can be easy to dismiss your shower door as just a necessity and choose the most practical, but you have options like style, finish, clear or frosted and patterned glass.
While you're exploring the shower doors available to you, you'll also need to consider how you'll get into and out of your shower; with either a pivot or sliding door. Let's talk about the pros and cons of pivot and sliding shower doors to help you determine which is best for your bathroom.
Pivot Shower Doors
A pivot shower door features hinges on the side that allow the door to open outward. This means a pivot door requires enough room to open and close freely, so, for small or cramped bathrooms, this style of door likely will not work.
Installing a pivot shower door is not only easy, but it also doesn’t require much hardware when adding to a frameless shower. The hinges are available in a multitude of metallic finishes or accent colors to perfectly coordinate with your bathroom.
On a semi-frameless shower door, which gives the illusion of a frameless door, you’ll need more hardware. This is because the framework should be practically invisible to the eye. It may take more effort to install, but it can look just as beautiful.
With a frameless or semi-frameless shower, a pivot door offers an almost unobstructed view of your shower. These doors are aesthetically pleasing and are also very easy to clean. Without metal or plastic framework, there’s no place for moisture to accumulate, which means mold and mildew won’t be much of an issue.
There are pivot door configurations available with framed shower glass, but we would recommend you only use them if you have either a shower enclosure or an alcove shower. Not only does the additional framing obstruct views of the tilework inside your shower, crevices in the door can be breeding grounds for germs, mold, and mildew.
Sliding Shower Doors
For small bathrooms, sliding shower doors function and utilize space more efficiently. If your shower is built into a corner, you can save even more elbow room.
Circular showers are becoming popular, and these showers often have two sliding doors that curve with the unit, a perfect addition to a modern bathroom.
Sliding doors, whether frameless or not, require more hardware than their pivoting counterpart. The door itself could be frameless, but the entire shower will need a frame for the sliding track.
These types of shower doors may also need more maintenance. When the doors are open, they trap water, which can create a humid atmosphere leading to mold and mildew. The sliding tracks can also catch dirt and gunk, which are harder to clean.
Both pivot and sliding shower doors have unique benefits, but the final decision often comes down to space. Sliding doors require much less space than pivoting doors but may not have the same contemporary aesthetic you’d like.
When space is not an issue, pivot doors are the obvious choice for easy cleaning and installation, especially with a frameless shower door configuration.