The glass shower industry, like all industries, has its own terminology. Now that we’re a high-quality provider of fabricated tempered glass of Dreamwalls Bath Enclosures, we use a lot of this jargon on a daily basis. But not everyone knows what it all means. Below is a short list of some of the major glass shower terms a designer should know if they’re designing a bath featuring a glass shower enclosure.
Glossary of Glass Shower Terms
Annealed glass: regular float glass. It is glass that has NOT been heat treated. By law, it is not suitable for glass shower enclosures.
Barrier-free: in terms of handicap access, this refers to an enclosure system that has minimal or no bottom track or curb. Depending on the overal shower size and designs, this is part of a universal design system and my make this style ADA compliant.
Bug: The term for the logo that indicates that a piece of glass is tempered safety glass. The “bug” may vary, but will always contain a reference to the American National Standards Institute standard ANSI Z-97.1. For aesthetic reasons, you can choose to NOT have the bug placed, but the request must be made IN WRITING at the time of the order. The manufacturer can then provide documentation that the piece is, in fact, tempered.
Clear glass: glass that is transparent. (for extra-clear, ultra-clear, or low-iron; please see the definition under “low-iron glass”)
Curb: the threshold of a shower that the enclosure is placed on top of, usually made of tile, marble or fiberglass.
Curved glass: glass that has been specially formed to fit into a circular floor plan.
Custom enclosure: an enclosure that requires a special size of tempered glass and framework.
Etched glass: glass that has a design cut into its surface to create a frosted appearance. For shower enclosures, this effect is created by acid-etching, since sandblasted glass would not stand up to the soap, oils or cleaners which may be present in a shower. Digital printing can create a simulated etched effect.
Fixed panels: the glass or plastic panels of an enclosure that are stationary.
Framed: a bath enclosure system that mounts all glass panels within a metal frame. Usually a lower-end or off-the-shelf style of shower.
Frameless: a bath enclosure system that minimizes the amount of metal used to hold the system panels and door in place. The edge of the glass is exposed, but finished with a safe, flat polished edge.
Heavy glass: glass used in many frameless enclosures. Usually 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch in thickness. It is still required to be tempered.
Laminated glass: A minimum of two pieces of glass with a middle layer of vinyl which is the heat and pressure treated. The vinyl layer keeps the glass intact when broken and prevents body parts from penetrating the glass pane. It may be used interchangeably with tempered glass in shower installations. By code, all glass shower doors and enclosures must use either tempered or laminated glass in their construction.
Low-iron glass: glass that is made using less iron and other minerals during float manufacturing process to create a transparent glass that has less greenish tint. The amount of actual tint will ultimately vary due to thickness of the glass.
Mitre: Referring to the angle applied to the the edge of the glass. Allows for two butting pieces of glass to fit together without overlap. (with silicone of course) May be adjusted depending on the angle of the shower ( 90˚, neo-angle, etc.)
Neo-angle: a shower that consists of a center door and two fixed panels at a 22.5 degree angle on either side of the door.
Obscure glass: glass that lets light through, but is not totally transparent. Acid etched glass or patterned glass are examples.
Patterned glass: glass that has a repeating shape embedded in the glass. May be transparent or obscure.
Printed glass: glass that has been printed with a design using permanent inks. May be screenprinted, digitally printed, sprayed, curtain-coated or printed in some other manner for transparency, translucency, or opacity.
Reflective glass: glass that bounces back at least some of the light that strikes it. This kind of glass is commonly called a one-way, or transparent, mirror. The amount of transparency or reflection depends on the strength and location of the light source.
Return panels: fixed panels that are set at a 90° angle to the shower door or other panels.
Steam bath: an enclosure that is usually equipped with special plumbing to create steam. The door itself either runs from the floor to the ceiling or has a top with special seals to contain the steam. Transoms may be incorporated to regulate the steam levels.
Tempered glass: glass that has been heat-treated by a process of gradually heating and cooling. Once a piece of glass has been tempered it cannot later be cut. If it breaks, it breaks into many small pieces. By code, all glass shower doors and enclosures must use either tempered or laminated glass.
Textured glass: glass that has been made with a texture on its surface that creates a translucent effect. This is the same concept as patterned glass, but may also be textured using deep acid etching or a printed coating. May refer to non-slip or increased-traction surfaces.
Tinted glass: glass that is made during the float process with a transparent color running through it. Gray, Bronze, and Blue are the most common tints, but other tints are possible, just depending on the float manufacturer.
What are some terms that you used regularly in bathroom enclosure design? Have you heard a term not on our list above? Leave us a comment below about it or contact us today.