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Sanctuary Bathrooms Blog
Posted on Thursday 3rd June 2021 by James Roberts
While shopping around for shower products, you may see some items mentioning a different shower glass thickness.
These items are likely to be anything that contains a glass part or component, such as whole shower enclosures, full-size shower screens, such as wetroom screens or walk-in shower screens, shower doors and over-bath shower screens.
Shower glass thickness is measured in millimetres and refers to the depth of the glass, from a side-on angle. There are a wide variety of sizes available on the market so understanding the benefits or advantages is a vital factor ahead of making a purchase. It also helps to clarify any price-point differences if you are looking at the advantages of spending more on a shower product made of glass.
With this in mind, why should you care about shower glass thicknesses? And what are the benefits or disadvantages to each size? This guide aims to give you the inside knowledge on all these questions and more, including common jargon you may come across, relating to shower glass thicknesses.
In most cases, typical shower glass thickness is 6mm with the reason for this being a combination of weight and durability. Firstly, the shower glass needs to be able to withstand force, particularly for items like shower doors and screens that will experience shocks and movement when in use, as well as from cleaning and maintenance.
It also needs to be strong and sturdy in the case of enclosures and cubicles since they will need to be resilient to moisture, usage, as well as providing reassuring longevity and a quality feel.
The thinner you go, understandably the more fragile glass can get, so having a reasonable thickness helps to improve protection against both issues.
Other sizes you may come across are:
When considering non-standard or more obscure sizes, it is worth remembering that you may often be limited in that range or brand for matching items (e.g. shower doors), as well as surrounding items such as shower trays. Additionally, bracing bars, hinges, or other supporting items to hold the glass in place may only be available from a select number of suppliers. so it is worth evaluating whether you opt for a more common size, in case you need spare parts or want to eventually update your space.
In term of how thick the glass should be, this is a matter of personal choice. Many manufacturers specify that the thicker the glass, the higher the sense of luxury and that you can feel the difference, as well as being reassured by the quality. It is worth noting that the thicker you go, it’s also likely to be more expensive.
Irish-based bathroom brand, Merlyn Showers, advise that the "thickness of the glass will be an aesthetic and physical feature – thicker glass is a visual improvement compared with thinner glass products but more importantly, the thicker the glass the heavier the glass so when you open and shut the door panel of the cubicle, the heavier, thicker glass door gives a better feeling when moving it. This will give the customer an impression of 'better' quality."
However, depending on the shaped or if the enclosure is curved, you may find options more limiting, they add: "Depending on the shape of your shower enclosure design, the size of glass panel needed or the more curved it is, you may be limited in terms of the glass thickness options."
There are several advantages to choosing 6mm glass over larger sizes such as 8mm.
Despite this, you are essentially buying a higher level of quality with 8mm glass, while the extra few millimetres of thickness provides additional strength for peace of mind.
Merlyn Showers state: "4mm or 6mm glass are great alternatives to 8mm or 10mm glass where cost is a factor – these thinner glass panels are beautiful, very versatile, and of course – safe! 4mm glass however feels lighter, and some people will associate this with a cheapness.
When comparing smaller shower glass thicknesses to that of something larger, like 10mm thick glass, it really is all about quality and feel. Some brands use the metaphor of a stereotypical top-end, well-manufactured and reliable car – you can tell the difference. For example, a shower door will have a more solid feel, as well as the sound when the door shuts, that you can tell is of a better quality.
Nick Graville, Sales & Marketing Director at Kudos Showers, advises: "The thicker the glass the more rigid it becomes, meaning a straight piece of 6mm glass, that is say 900mm long, will have more ‘flex’ to it than a 10mm thick piece of the same length.
"So what people are buying in to with thicker glass is the feeling of robustness and quality, particularly with moving shower doors, as the heavier weight of 8mm glass feels better."
While the extra thickness offers more safety and protection, the other benefit is that because of the extra weight that is being supported, the quality of components and fixtures around the glass must be more durable as a result.
Despite this, 10mm glass – like the other sizes – does have its pitfalls. The extra weight can put additional strain on other components, as well as the glass itself, reducing their lifespan, so bear this in mind before you decide.
Kudos's Nick Graville does note one exception to consider though: "The exception to rigidity is when you curve glass, as the radius means the glass cannot flex. The thicker glass enclosure will then feel better with a greater stability because it is heavier."
Also commenting on the differences between smaller sizes and 10mm, Merlyn Showers add: "8mm or 10mm glass is highly durable, long-lasting, safe and also easy to clean – these glass thicknesses are premium quality. 8mm glass is indulgent, thick – but also affordable. 10mm glass is designer-led, luxurious and on the upper end of the price scale."
While it may be practical to think that every single part of your shower has to be the same size, this isn’t necessarily the case. In some instances, it may be logical to have a much sturdier shower door than usual shower panels or screens, for example.
However, the main consideration when purchasing shower glass products is that some manufacturers only have products that can be used with their own shower fixtures or shower trays, so it is worthwhile checking in advance about flexibility, especially if you’re looking to shop around.
Based on this, it may sound like the optimum or best glass thickness is the largest, but it really depends on the purpose. It’s always worth visiting a bathroom showroom near you that has shower products on display to get a true feel for the differences.
At a compromise, if you are looking for a great balance between affordability and reliability then 8mm toughened glass is the best option for a shower enclosure. This will provide a sturdy enough supporting enclosure.
Despite this, it really comes down to personal circumstances and if you are looking for the best glass thickness in terms of cost for your shower enclosure then 6mm toughened glass is an ideal option, while 10mm offers more of that luxury feel.
Shower doors must be more resilient because of them being in high usage, high impact areas. Again, 8mm tends to be a popular choice for shower doors. However, there is a noticeable difference between 8mm and 10mm with a smoother opening and a sturdier feel. Many people who visit our bathroom showroom in Leeds do tend to upgrade to the larger size, purely because of the noticeable difference in feel and quality. These sizes are usually best for hinged shower doors or sliding shower doors.
Despite this, if you really want to keep costs low then you can get shower doors as low as 4mm toughened glass, which is the thinnest size, as well as 6mm. These tend to come with more folding doors where the impacts are likely to be less.
In terms of thickness of wet room screens, walk in shower screens or shower walls, the higher the thickness the better, which means 10mm is a suitable choice, although you could drop to 8mm if you wanted to. The reason for this is that as they are usually a standalone glass wall, only held in place by a single or pair of bracing bars, you want something that can withstand force, and particularly in areas that can end up slippery.
While you can pay for larger sizes should you so wish, in terms of over-bath shower screens, 6mm or 8mm are ideal. For one, these are there as a protective barrier as a splashback to stop water and moisture escaping on to other bathroom areas. Particularly in hinged types too, the lighter they are the easier they are to move.
Some products mention that they are made of safety glass. What this means is that the glass is designed to withstand much more force, so it is harder to break, while if it does break, it does so in a way that minimises risk of injury. There are different types of safety glass including laminated glass and toughened glass. The latter is the one most commonly used in shower products, all of which must conform to BS Standards, such as BS EN12150, EU Directives and CE marked. Our shower products come from reputable suppliers so you can be assured of their quality.
The phrase ‘toughened glass’ is referenced quite frequently in relation to shower glass thickness. Toughened glass is essentially glass that has gone through a process of intense heating and fast cooling to create a stronger material than that of standard glass.
Toughened glass has been designed in a way that if it does shatter, it does so into really small pieces as opposed to big shards of glass that can cause serious injury. This is different to laminated glass, which when shatters or suffers a force that cause a break, it holds in place.
In terms of strength, it really varies between the glass products and the depth of the glass. The strength of toughened glass can be anywhere between 2x stronger than standard glass, usually for 4-6mm products, while at the top end, such as 10mm, it is estimated to be as strong as 5x standard annealed glass. Labman Automation ran a test to show how strong some types of toughened glass are in a video.
In short, there is a great selection of glass shower products out there to choose from. There’s plenty of benefits to choose from and upgrading to a thicker glass panel is a worthwhile investment if you can. If not, then smaller sizes are just as fantastic too. If you have a question that you feel is missing or that you would like answering, get in touch and we will be more than glad to add it to this guide.
Visit our Showers section and choose some great products for your home today, or alternatively, come down and visit our Leeds bathroom showroom and we will be more than happy to help.
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