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My new house has a frameless glass shower that appears to be held to the walls with nothing but silicone caulking. I don't know anything about these kinds of showers, but I did think they usually had some sort of brackets or other attachment to the tiles.

The two fixed panels are attached to the wall, ceiling, and plastic basin using silicone. The panels aren't inset in the basin; one side has rotted silicone on the bottom that has detached from the basin, and I can move it. They don't appear to be inset in the wall or ceiling at all either.

I can't see any sort of fittings along the walls or ceiling and the glass doesn't seem to be in any sort of sleeve.

The door is attached to one of the panels, which seems like a lot of torque on a panel that's only held on by caulking.

The glass is about 3/8" thick.

I think this shower was installed about 15 years ago, and has apparently survived without issue, but I wanted to check to see if I should be doing something to reinforce it.

Wall attachment

Shower

Rotted caulk

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    "Safe" is subjective. Please revise to ask something more specific.
    – isherwood
    Dec 1, 2023 at 21:02
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    My aquariums have been held together with mostly just silicone for decades.
    – isherwood
    Dec 1, 2023 at 21:03
  • @isherwood do your aquariums have no frames at top and bottom?
    – Huesmann
    Dec 4, 2023 at 14:34
  • They do, but they're thin plastic and glass flexes. Quite a bit, actually. If that silicone wasn't doing some serious holding they'd be leaking like a bugger.
    – isherwood
    Dec 4, 2023 at 14:35

3 Answers 3

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Yes, it's safe. Frameless glass showers have been around for decades. I have one that was professionally installed and I had a conversation with the installer about this. The silicone they use is rated for this structural use.

It's possible that after a long enough period of time, there could be some damage to the silicone. Make sure never to use harsh chemicals on the glass or silicone that could weaken it. If you have concerns around peeling, reach out to an accredited glass installer who can come and determine if the silicone is still structurally sound. They'll be able to replace the silicone if needed. I wouldn't DIY a frameless glass shower install, personally, but it can certainly be done if you find the right silicone.

Here's an example of structural silicones: https://siliconeforbuilding.com/products/structural-glazing they are used even in skyscrapers for that seamless glass look.

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    How can OP determine if a structural product like you suggest was used? I think the longevity of this installation is a clue. I would never have believed it if I didn't see your answer and his picture.
    – jay613
    Dec 2, 2023 at 9:29
  • Thanks for the info, that's reassuring. The silicone is rotted on the bottom of one panel, based on how it looks now, it's possible the previous owners tried to fix it themselves at one point but didn't properly clean and dry it first. I'll find some of that silicone you suggested and try redoing it
    – Billiam
    Dec 2, 2023 at 16:11
  • @jay613 OP probably can't determine if the correct product was used. That's why I suggested having an accredited installer come and inspect the shower. Dec 3, 2023 at 19:14
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This does indeed look like it's only caulked in. One of your pictures suggests a groove on the pan, but another angle doesn't suggest that at all.

I can't really comment on the safety aspect. It doesn't look like a DIY job, and the panels appear to extend to the ceiling.

If you're looking to reinforce this, the best bet would be to buy some vinyl quarter round trim and some really good glue that supports vinyl (cheaper glues won't do that). Then you glue the trim to the tiles and fiberglass. It won't look horribly out of place, and it won't rot. Caulk it up good after you do that.

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They can work, but unlike the aquarium, the glass flexes. Personally I dont trust them and always have a bracket. Retrofitting will be difficult. See which way it flexes.

  • Maybe a couple of L brackets screwed to teh ceiling, to stop it moving too much
  • I have seen triangular pieces of glass in the corner (between wall and glass). They double as shelves. You may even be able to find them in store

These are screwed into the wall. I have seen them siliconed to the glass and screwed into the wall.

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