Glass shower doors are convenient in many ways. They keep water in more effectively than shower curtains. They don't need to be replaced periodically like curtains and liners. They are easily maintained with a variety of household cleaning products. Many people do not realise the convenience could come at a price. Consumer Reports explains that the Consumer Product Safety Commission requires shower doors to be made from tempered glass, but they still pose some dangers.
Bob Sullivan of MSNBC warns that glass shower doors can shatter without warning at any time. This is called a spontaneous blow, according to Kathleen Bond of Sunset Glass in Washington. The doors are made from tempered safety glass, so they break into small shards that are less dangerous than pieces of regular glass. Sometimes they break when no one is present, so the glass can be cleaned up harmlessly when the problem is discovered. However, Sullivan states that there can be injuries if a person or pet is around when glass shower doors spontaneously shatter. Cuts can result from falling glass, and the feet are also vulnerable since people are barefoot while showering.
Glass shower doors are heated while being tempered during the manufacturing process. Sullivan explains that this helps them resist breakage caused by direct impact, but it makes them more vulnerable to shattering from side impact. This means they will usually resist getting banged and bumped by someone using the shower or moving around the bathroom, but they can shatter fairly easily while being installed or removed, Washington plumber Terry Love warns.
Glass shower doors are resistant to direct impact, but they are not totally immune to it. Kristine Cristina, a spokesperson for the Kohler bathroom supply company, explains that doors can get fractured or chipped on their edges. This often happens during cleaning or when a user opens and closes the door roughly. It may not be noticeable, but the door can shatter later. It will look like a spontaneous occurrence, but it's really a direct result of the minor damage.
People can be injured by falling into a glass shower door, California home inspector Russel Ray warns. Bathtubs and shower stalls get slippery so users can lose their footing and crash into the door. Ray recommends that glass doors should not be used homes with elderly residents, and care should be taken with young children.