Glass vs. Curtain

Though we're not there yet (we still have to grout the floor and lay the 100+ square feet of tile on the walls and shower surround), we've started contemplating what our shower enclosure will (eventually) be

Do we spend the extra money and do a glass surround?

Swinging door:


Sliding doors:


Or one of those glass stubs (that get water EVERYWHERE):


Or do we do spend a lot less money and go with a shower curtain?


Chris and I both want glass. I find curtains to be unsanitary. I know you can keep them clean, change them out, and do all sorts of things to make sure curtains and clean and taken care of, but something about them just sort of grosses me out. Also, I fear the curtain will really break up the room and make our really small space look even smaller. I want to be able to see through to the tile shower surround so the room feels more open and airy and the only way we could really achieve that would be with a clear curtain and those get really dingy really quick. And, I just think all the creases and folds in the curtain make it took really busy and messy.

Our bathroom previously had glass sliding doors

But somwhere down the line someone had put in a closet in the corner and when they put in the glass they didn't accomodate the curve of the tub and just decided it would be best to toss some caulk and plaster in the corner

And all that crap really stained the tub :(

Chris was already able to clean most of the staining, so we're very thankful we didn't have to spend a big chunk of change to refinish it

(we've still got a bit more cleaning to go)

If we go with a glass surround with sliding doors (which is what we're leaning towards) it seems like the plan will be to have a piece of glass in the back, another piece on the corner at an angle to accomodate the curve, and then the longer side of the tub would obviously have the doors. We were really hoping that some place might be able to do a curved piece of glass to make the tub surround look a bit more seamless, but all the over the phone estimate places have said they can't do that :(

As it stands we still obviously need to get the companies in the actual space to do REAL estimates, but they've guesstimated that a glass tub surround for our bathroom would range from $900-$1100. It's a pretty hefty price tag compared to the $100-$250 we would spend on a curtain rod and curtain.

So the debating begins: is it worth the extra price to go with the surround we really want, but don't actually NEED, knowing it's a bit of a splurge?


Mike said...

So, spend $800-$1,000 on a surround that you don't need versus $150 for something that works?

Do you have other items that you could spend the $650-$850 extra you would have with the shower current option? If it was me, being the cheap guy I am, I would go with the shower curtain option. At least for now. Save the money and use it somewhere else that is more imperative to make work.

white collar | green soul said...

I think that redoing your whole bathroom and then going with a plastic shower curtain to save money seems a bit silly. If you have the money (and that's the main if) and it will truly complete the space, I say go for it. Renovations are often part need and part want. They're rarely only 'need', especially entire room renos, unless it's a leaky ceiling or something.

Maybe, figure out what percentage of the total the surround will cost and how much effect/use you get out it. Then decide if it's worth it.

We're also redoing our house.. and there is a fine balance between renovating for need and for desire. It's just your call where that line is;)

Having said that, if you need the money for something else that is vital to your reno and you don't have time to save up for it separately, go with the curtain.

But, if you go the shower curtain route make sure to get a PVC-free shower curtain, or any time you take a hot shower, you risk exposing yourself to it. Bleh.

Good luck!! Look's amazing so far!

threeacres said...

Wow that seems like a lot for a glass surround! I agree with White Collar that if you have the money to put toward it and aren't over budget in other areas to go for it. Otherwise, you could always add one later.

Sally said...

I'm with Mike -- do a shower curtain for now and spend the extra cash on something else (the animal room?). You can always do the glass surround at a later date.

I'd also skip the clear plastic shower curtain and go for a "Hotel-quality" one in polyester fabric. They dry really fast and are machine washable.

Sally said...

Just looked at your photos again -- if you go with a curtain, you could install it with the IKEA ceiling track and match the tub curve for that open look you're going for.

LeighC said...

Curtain. If you have hard water why would you want to have a glass shower surround? I have a clear shower curtain in my 1930 bathroom (one open side) it lets in light,and when it gets dingy I toss it in the washer or just replace it for five bucks. Ultimately, you do what makes you happy since you put in all the work getting your bathroom spiffy :)

Mike said...

Sally - The Ikea ceiling track thingie reminds me of a hospital room curtain. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. :-)


meryl rose said...

Wow! Thanks for the outpouring of feedback everyone! :) You definitely gave us some things to think about...

Tamara said...

Here's another vote for curtain. Not only is it cheaper, but it's more effective overall.

We have the surrounding glass, with joints to go around corners, and a swinging door. The entire contraption leaks water all over the floor -- runs right out underneath the door, and then down the grout lines like a freeway.

Also, the glass is constantly murky-looking from water spots, unless it's the morning after you've just cleaned it. Who wants to spend their time keeping THAT up?

white collar | green soul said...

I find the "Method" after shower spray works really well on the glass in the shower. Just spray after you use it and it keep it sparkly. Not sure if they have Method in the states though... ?

Shiloe Bear said...

What about one of those Shicker style glass half panels on the long end, and a single fixed panel on the short end, leaving a 2' opening at the curve? The open shower gets a little colder than a full enclosure, but with a back panel, you really don't get water on the floor. A curtain is ok if it goes straight across, but with 2 sides it's messy. My 2 cents :)

threeacres said...

Hi as I was looking for some inspiration pictures online I saw this post of a recently remodeled bathroom that reminded me of this post. Check it out here:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Meryl,
I just found your site, and I love it! Very cool projects you're doing.
If you have decided on the tub surround issue, that's great. If not, I have some input on glass-v-curtain debate from personal experience.
Let me know if you're still considering that.

meryl rose said...

Hi Mae!

Thanks so much for offering your input, but we have actually already decided what to go with. I'm hoping to do the bathroom reveal in the next 7-10 days (just the finishing touches) so you'll be able to see what we went with! :) Thanks again so much for your offer though!