Shower Door Repair
My very first shower door repair experience happened when I was about 14. My family had lived in a rental house temporarily, and my brother and I shared the downstairs bathroom. The shower had sliding shower doors, and the problem was that every time we grabbed the metal bar to slide the door, we would feel a dull, pulsating current in our hands! What’s worse, is it got stronger when we were wet, getting out after a shower. Clearly we had a unique situation.
We fixed our zapping shower door problem by removing the entire frame and wallboard around the outside of the shower. We discovered some electrical wires had been pierced ever so slightly with screws holding the shower door framing in place. It was any easy fix, once we discovered the problem.
Not all shower door repairs are this mysterious or dangerous, thankfully! There certainly are plenty of other problems that can happen with shower doors, however. Whether sliding or swinging, you’re probably here wondering how to tackle your own shower door repair situation. Shower doors age, are around regular temperature and humidity changes, and get used a lot. They are exposed to different materials besides water, in soaps, shampoos, shaving cream, etc. Let’s not forget all the bumping and abuse they take, plus the extra service they provide holding up towels or wet laundry. It makes sense that sometimes things get a little old, and your shower door needs repairing.
Let’s look at some common issues that occur with aging shower doors, such a shower door repair for swinging types and sliding types (directly below) and:
Sliding Shower Door Repair
It can be a real nuisance if every time you go to close your sliding shower doors that you have to brace yourself against slippery walls and tug with all your might. Sliding shower doors are designed to roll smoothly and effortlessly on your part. Here are some things you can do:
- Clean the shower door tracks. Poor some white vinegar into the tracks and let them sit for 5-10 mins. If the vinegar drains away quickly, then you may need to temporarily block the track’s weeping holes. Those are there normally to allow water to escape. Then, rinse thoroughly and try and see if any crud washes away. You may need to do this one or two more times.
- Scrub shower door tracks. If a simple vinegar and rinse didn’t improve things, you may need some elbow grease. Using vinegar or a mineral dissolving solution like CLR or Lime-Away, brush out the tracks. If you need to literally chisel out crusted on mineral deposits for your shower door repair, use a hard wooden edge. You will definitely scratch the surface’s finish around the tracks if you get out a knife or screwdriver! Feel free to let the solution soak in for several minutes before you start brushing or scraping.
- Remove debris from tracks. If it’s hard to spray out the tracks, be sure to inspect them closely. You may have to get a tweezers and remove small debris that it’s the tracks. You’ll be surprised at what falls in there. Also, if you’ve loosened a gummy surface, some of those pieces may not have washed away if you’re unable to rinse thoroughly.
- Check all the wheels/rollers. No shower door repair would be complete with out inspecting the door rollers. Ensure that they are all spinning as you move the door across. Try cleaning them with solutions mentioned above with an old toothbrush. It’s possible that hair and years of dried up soap suds have prevented the wheels from turning like they should. You may have to be like a surgeon and remove this stuff with tweezers or toothpicks.
Swinging Shower Door Repair
If you enter and leave your shower through a swinging door, chances are you’ve encountered some traditional wear and tear problems. In most cases, these issues are easy to repair. You’re most likely facing one of the following:
- Shower door keeps popping open and won’t stay closed
- Shower door scrapes the bottom of the shower pan edge when opening and closing
- Shower door is loose and needs tightening
For the above shower door repairs, the fix usually has to do with tightening things. Specifically, you need to check the hinges, handles and latches. Look for screws (or caps that can be popped off to reveal screws). Shower door hardware is almost always put together using screws. Over time, they can become loose, and the shower door needs repaired. As a good rule, go ahead and tighten every screw you find, even if it doesn’t seem lose.
Another tactic here is to ensure the door and latch area is clean. Scrub or brush it with vinegar until it looks new. Some doors are held shut with magnets. Gummed up soap or mineral coatings can affect the magnets’ holding power. When all else fails, you can purchase a magnet strip at the hardware store and glue it on the door’s edge. Get it on straight and even, and it won’t look too bad!
If tightening doesn’t repair your shower door, and you see physical damage to the door such as a bends or tears in metal or screw holes, it’s time to replace the shower door instead of trying to repair it.
Repair Shower Door Frame
Sometimes your shower door repair has to do with the door’s frame. If it’s loose or broken apart from the wall, you need to address this.
- First, tighten all screws that hold the framing to the shower wall. You may find that you need to replace old screws with new, longer ones. If that doesn’t do the trick, try drilling new holes and insert new screws. Plug the old holes by keeping the old screws in place. Use the proper bit when going through tile.
- If the shower frame is glued on, you’ll need to pry it off. First, remove the shower doors. Then, carefully cut away any sealant and work a knife or screwdriver behind the frame to dislodge it from the wall. Clean all old glue and sealant off using rubbing alcohol. You can place the frame back on either using screws or a good general adhesive (e.g. Liquid Nails or equivalent), then seal the edges with caulking.
If you work on problems with the frame, you’ll most likely improve the function of your shower door. Repair or replace any broken parts or hardware on frames if you see it.
Replace Shower Door Glass
New glass doors all come with tempered or safety glass. You should see this labeled somewhere on the door. If you don’t, you should really consider replacing it. If it ever breaks, it can be really dangers, let alone startling. Most home centers can work with you to select, order and/or cut a piece of acrylic to fit into your door. In terms of safety, this is the smartest kind of shower door repair you can do.
Other Tips for Shower Door Repair
Most of us probably don’t have time to deal with a repairing a shower door when it’s most needed. If you don’t have a safety issue on your hands, one quick fix is to just not use the door(s) at all for a while. In there place, just install a shower curtain. One time, we went months where we used a shower curtain OVER our broken shower doors. It kept water from getting out, and it was easy for us to go in and out instead of fighting with the showers doors that needed repaired!
If you want a new look and are tired of the glass or appearance of your shower doors here’s an idea. Find a local stained glass or window shop and see what they offer. They will be able to order and cut something you like better. It’s easy enough to install on your shower door, or you can bring the door(s) down to the shop and have them do it. Sometimes a new, better looking piece can solve your shower door repair problems!