Is Shower Door Glass Normally Tempered?

If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Adding a glass shower door to your bathroom is not only a practical decision, but it can also enhance the overall appearance to something sleeker and classier. However, while a glass shower door certainly adds to the bathroom aesthetic, it also has specific safety concerns. Mainly the off-chance that it shatters, which leaves dozens of hard-to-see glass shards littering your bathroom floor. Because of this valid concern, should you opt for tempered shower glass doors? 

When it comes to glass shower doors, having a tempered one installed is pretty much mandatory. The tempering of the glass makes it more durable and less prone to breaking. In addition, if the tempered glass shatters, it does not break into a hundred pieces, which significantly reduces the danger. 

Now, to go into further detail about this topic, we compiled all the information you will need regarding tempered shower glass doors and tempered glass in general. 

What is Tempered Glass? 

When making tempered glass, the glass needs to be super-heated to the point that it becomes soft at 1,150 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches the softening point, the glass will immediately be cooled using high-pressure air called “quenching.” This procedure enhances the durability of the glass by up to four times. In addition, the process causes the core of the glass to retain tension while the surface goes into compression.

The process of tempering glass is pretty precise. The glass needs to be cut into its final shape before tempering can begin. It is also crucial to check whether the glass has any imperfections before tempering. If there are defects, this can lead to the tempered glass having glaring weak points. 

Also, glass tempering can be done using chemicals, but the old-fashioned way is still considered the best method and cost-effective. 

Tempered glass is also incredibly impact-resistant, and if it does shatter, it does not break into tiny jagged little pieces and instead breaks into near-circular pieces. This means that even if the tempered glass shatters, the debris offers less danger than plated glass. 

How to Tell If the Glass Is Tempered?

There is an easy and reliable way to tell if the glass is tempered by inspecting the edges. Standard plate glass will have a fairly rough edge than the smoother and almost rounded-out edge of tempered glass. The soft edge is due to the tempering process. 

Also, tempered glass will cause a wavy appearance if you look through it due to the imperfections to the opacity caused by the extreme heating process. If you can’t check the edges, looking through the glass is another way to check if the glass is tempered or not. 

Types of Tempered Shower Glass Doors

There are currently a couple of shower glass doors available in the market today. Below is a list of glass shower doors types that you will encounter. 

Framed Shower Glass Door

Shower Curtain vs Shower Glass Doors: Which Is Right For You

Framed shower glass doors are the most common variations available. This type of glass door offers better water leaking prevention thanks to the frames installed on the tempered glass border. The frames are typically made from aluminum or composite structures and feature extra seals and sweepers. Framed shower glass doors are also relatively cheap compared to the other types in this list.

Frameless Shower Glass Door

Shower Enclosure Frameless Glass Doors
Image Credit: Glassandmirrorpros via Creative Commons

If you are in the market for something sleeker and contemporary, a frameless shower glass door will deliver what you need. As the name implies, a frameless shower door does not have border frames and provides a seamless aesthetic for your shower stall. Therefore, the frameless tempered glass shower door is often chosen due to its enhancement in the aesthetic department. 

Whether you pick a framed or frameless shower glass door, there are certain essential factors that you must consider. The most important is the thickness of the glass door. For framed shower glass doors, you should go with around ½ inch thick panels. For frameless shower doors, we recommend you opt for a 3/8-inch-thick glass panel to ensure stability.  

Tub Enclosure Sliding Glass Door

This type is best for smaller bathrooms with a tub. While shower stalls are typically sold as one single large unit, tub enclosures are assembled and designed to accommodate smaller compartments. There are also framed and frameless versions available, so apply the same guideline as above when choosing a tub enclosure. 

Clear and Frosted Shower Doors

Spacious bright bathroom with white storage combination and glass door shower

The last two types focus solely on aesthetics with clear and frosted shower glass doors. Choosing between the two is entirely subjective. That said, each does offer specific advantages. If you want improved privacy, go with frosted shower doors. There are even frosted shower doors that feature intricate patterns to give it a more luxurious vibe. 

Clear shower glass doors will complement smaller bathrooms as their transparent panels help create a seamless appearance and make the room appear larger. If your shower stall incorporates stunning wall tiles, you would not want to hide it behind frosted glass. 

5 Advantages of Installing Tempered Shower Glass Doors

If you are planning to install a glass shower door, we highly recommend you go with tempered glass despite the slight increase in cost. Why? Besides that, tempered glass is the most common material for shower doors; it also comes with benefits not present with plate glass. Here are five reasons why a tempered shower glass door is the way to go. 

1. Improved Safety

As we have already indicated earlier, tempered glass offers significantly more safety than the typical plate glass. Shattering tempered glass won’t leave you with small jagged debris but small, almost circular pieces that are pretty harmless. In addition, if you break tempered glass, you are less likely to get injured by the fragments, which is not the case with standard glass. This added safety is the primary reason why tempered glass is the way to go for shower doors. 

2. Enhanced Durability

Besides the added safety if tempered glass breaks, its enhanced durability also makes the chances of it breaking pretty slim. Tempered glass is about four times tougher than plate glass and has a considerably longer lifespan as well. 

This outstanding toughness makes tempered glass the go-to material for outdoor window installation. So, if it can withstand harsh conditions and environments, what more inside the relatively safe confined of a bathroom?

3. Scratch Resistance

One of the most common problems with glass is scratches. Scratches can adversely affect the surface and leave it with an unattractive look. This issue is pretty much non-existent with tempered glass as, besides being ultra-tough, it is also scratch-resistant. You can expect the tempered glass to last for quite a long time, especially with proper care and maintenance, to retain it’s clear brand new appearance for years to come.

4. Versatility

Tempered glass is highly versatile and can be designed to certain specifications. It also comes in various designs from clear, frosted, patterned, rain glass, and many more. So if you want to spruce up your bathroom, there are dozens of tempered glass designs out there to choose from to fit your preference. 

5. Easy to Clean

In addition to being durable and low-maintenance, tempered glass is also relatively easy to clean. Cleaning tempered glass is easy because it is also stain-resistant, which pretty much eliminates possible stains caused by soap and hard water. 

Tempered Glass Cleaning Tips

bathroom steam cleaning
Image Credit: Saveonclean via Creative Commons

Speaking of being easy to clean, here is the best way to clean and maintain your tempered shower glass door. 

To help ensure the longevity of your tempered shower glass door and keep it spick and span for a long time, you should make a habit of wiping away excess moisture on its surface after showering. In addition, it would be best to spray it with a shower cleaner every other day to prevent mildew and water stains a chance to building upon the surface. 

If stains become visible, you can apply a simple DIY cleaning solution comprised of three-part water, one-part vinegar, and a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent. We recommend using a sponge to scrub out any stains on the tempered glass to reduce the risk of scratching the surface. 


When it comes to shower glass doors, we cannot stress enough how important it is to choose tempered glass. The durability and safety that tempered glass provides are crucial in this type of setting, and its incredibly stain-resistant surface also reduces the mold and mildew problem. All in all, when it comes to choosing tempered shower glass doors, the biggest advice we can give is to always go with whichever one is thicker. The thicker the tempered glass, the tougher it is.