Shower enclosures these days are available in a variety of glass thickness. Does the thickness of glass necessarily effect the overall quality or safety of a glass shower enclosure?
In the last few years we have seen shower glass thickness increase from around 3mm up to 10mm in some products. All glass used in the construction of shower enclosures for sale in the UK must have Toughened Safety Glass fitted as standard. This is regardless of the country of manufacture and is intended to reduce the risk of injury should the glass be broken or shattered in any way. Toughened safety glass (also known as tempered glass) is a form of glass treatment which will ensure the broken glass in a smashed glass shower pane will not break into sharpe fragments. Instead it will literally shatter into thousands of very small pieces without the cutting ability of non treated glass. This is not to say that a shattered glass unit cannot cause injury, only that it is much more unlikely to do so.
Many people think that the actual thickness of the glass is a direct indicator of its safety. This is not the case in the UK as all showers will have toughened safety glass which shatters in the same way regardless of thickness.
However, is the thickness an indicator of quality?
Well, in terms of actual ‘feel’ and movement, the thicker glass showers do have a more weighted feel. Sliding doors for example may wobble a little with use when constructed using 3 or 4mm glass. Whilst a 6 or 8mm glass sliding shower door might be more solid and move less when opened or closed. This is not to say that the glass is of any better quality itself, only that the movement of opening shower doors may benefit by using a thicker glass. Another factor that will increase the solid feel of a moving shower door is its hinges or sliding mechanism. As thicker glass means an increase in weight, it stands to reason that the mechanisms used to move the shower doors need to be more heavy duty in construction than those needed for thinner glass. This will also help to give a thicker glass shower door better ‘feel’ in its opening and closing action.
Frameless Shower Enclosures. Another area of showering that benefits from thicker glass is the construction of ‘frameless’ and ‘semi frameless’ shower enclosures. Frameless or minimalist looking showers are very popular and more stylish to look at. However, by removing much of the framework the overall rigidity and quality feel of the enclosure decreases. This is countered by using thicker 6 or 8mm glass which is inherently stronger and can accept more heavy-duty corner clamps and hinges.
So, the actual thickness of shower glass is not a direct indicator of overall quality. However, it is true that shower enclosures using 6mm, 8mm or even 10mm glass will probably be of better overall construction and offer better opening and closure feel than those using thinner glass units.