1/4 vs 3/8 vs 1/2 Frameless Shower Doors Glass – Which is Perfect For You

Last Updated: August 26, 2022 | By JULIAN GILL

It’s time to upgrade your bathroom and you are thinking of investing in a beautiful glass shower. The question when it comes to the glass is, which thickness should you select?

1/4 is a good thickness for a framed door because of the added support. For frameless doors, 3/8 should be the minimum thickness as it provides the right blend of stability and rigidity. 1/2 gives the benefits of the 3/8 option while adding a more luxury feel, this means it is also the most expensive option.

You probably have more questions about your new shower. Continue reading as we answer questions related to your bathroom renovation.

Table Of Contents:

Main Differences between 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 Frameless Shower Doors

The key differences between the three are the thickness and the weight. Because 1/4 is too thin to be considered safe in your home by itself, it must be framed.

3/8 is in that “Goldie Locks” area where it is thick enough to be stable and thin enough to be cost-efficient.

1/2 is the heaviest and most expensive. You must ensure it is secure when installed and that your walls can bear the load.

READ MORE: Find The Best Shower Doors For Small Bathrooms

Similarities, Advantages, and Disadvantages of 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ Frameless Shower Doors

Safety and sturdiness is the main consideration here for your shower door. 1/4 is too thin to go frameless, so a frame or semi-frame will be needed. This still makes this the lowest cost option of the three.

3/8 is the thinnest option you can choose while still having a door sturdy enough to be safe in your bathroom. The price vs. quality makes this the ideal option for many consumers.

1/2 thickness gives the best quality of the three and is the most stable. Important considerations here are the weight of the glass and what your walls can handle.

Consumers and experts sayings about 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 Frameless Shower Doors

1/4 thickness is too thin for frameless doors, but here is what some consumers are saying about the framed and semi-framed versions. The doors are very sturdy and easy to install. Some have noted that moisture gets trapped in the frame and can cause mold.
The 3/8 is as thin as you can go and still have a secure frameless shower door. Consumers are very satisfied with the look and quality of this thickness. Most of the complaints come when the glass arrives broken. Consumers love the quality vs. the price.
1/2 is the highest quality thickness out of the three options; although the price is higher, consumers love the quality of the glass.

Our renowned experts note that the differences are mostly aesthetic; they allow light flow and make the space feel larger.

Which is the perfect option for your shower area (and why)?

If cost is your main consideration, you should consider installing a framed shower door with 1/4 glass. If the bathroom’s aesthetics are what’s most important, then a frameless shower door at 3/8 and 1/2 will look the best. As we mentioned earlier, 3/8 is the minimum for a frameless shower door, while 1/2 is the most abundant and expensive. No matter which you choose, it will be a great addition to your bathroom remodel.

Are frameless shower doors worth it?

Choosing between a framed and frameless shower door can completely change the look of your bathroom. While both are safe and versatile, each option has pros and cons. The table below will help you visualize this.

Framed Shower DoorsThe heavy-duty aluminum makes for a sturdier shower.Limited range of motion. Only opens outward so there is a chance for damage.
Lower cost since thinner glass can be used.The metal can corrode over time. 
Frameless Shower DoorsLess mold and corrosion. Not as many places for moisture to get trapped.More chance for leaks since there is a lack of seals.
The appearance of open space. Beautiful and simple.Possibly the door can shatter. Defects or improper installation can lead to door shattering. 


In conclusion, frameless shower doors made of glass are a popular choice for many people. They are available in different sizes- 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/4 inch. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. The final decision of which size to choose depends on your budget and other factors I mentioned above.

Hope this article is helpful to you. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

1/4 vs 3/8 vs 1/2 Frameless Shower Doors Glass
1/4 vs 3/8 vs 1/2 Frameless Shower Doors Glass


How are frameless shower doors measured?

Using a measuring tape, you want to measure lengthwise along the bottom, center, and top. Account for the body of the measuring tape to ensure you are measuring completely accurately.

What is the standard size of a frameless glass shower door?

Typically, your shower door will be between 22” wide and 36”. The main consideration when choosing the width of your shower door is the weight your hinges and wall will bear. Make sure to reference local codes as they will usually give guidance on the minimum width the door should be.

There are options to choose from if your door is wider than 36” such as a door and panel and inline.

What type of glass is the best for shower doors?

Tempered glass is the most common type of glass used for this kind of construction. Tempered glass is 4 times stronger than regular glass. Annealed glass is another type used in manufacturing, but unlike annealed glass, tempered glass fractures into small and relatively harmless pieces when broken. So in environments like your home where safety is an issue, tempered glass should be used.

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author of resisories.com julian gill pictureJulian Gill

Julian Gill is a mechanical engineer and Certified in Plumbing Design (CPD) and worked as a plumbing engineer for ten years. Besides this, he is interested in home improvement and currently works as a writer. @JulianGillPro

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