Foldable Shower Doors Are The Perfect Way To Save Space In A Small Bathroom

Since the bathroom is one of the most frequently utilized rooms in the home, remodeling this space offers an exciting opportunity to bring a high-end designer look to your daily life. And with many homeowners looking to create an expansive, airy atmosphere in their renovated bathroom, it is no surprise that people are ditching their shower curtain and installing glass shower doors instead. Glass shower doors make a small bathroom feel bigger and less compartmentalized — especially with frameless varieties that appear to be floating, because they remove all visual obstructions aside from small hardware and hinge details. This transparent barrier allows natural light to permeate throughout, and tricks the eye into reading the room as one large, continuous area.

But what do you do when you have a teeny tiny bathroom space, and the swing of a gorgeous frameless glass shower door makes maneuvering through the room too tight? Don't give up on your dream of a glass door: consider installing a folding glass shower door, that requires half the footprint to operate. Folding in half similar to a bifold closet door, these hinged panel shower doors could be the perfect solution for saving precious inches in your small bathroom while preserving the bright, open vibe you've had your heart set on.

Why choose a folding glass shower door?

So what exactly makes folding shower doors so great? Aside from the aesthetic of glass shower doors in general, the main reason homeowners are opting to install the bifold panel doors is due to the decreased footprint they require in a tight space. Say you have a 30-inch opening. Traditional frameless glass doors would require the entire 30 inches of space to fully swing open, whereas folding glass doors only require 15 inches. That's over a foot of clearance space you gain back with one small design decision!

Design-wise, there are several styles of folding shower doors. Some appear frameless but operate on a bottom track to keep the door in place, similar to a closet bifold door track. Others are truly frameless, with hinges that support the bifold panels fully floating over the shower pan or tile. Of these frameless options, there are designs with 180-degree hinges that allow you to hinge the fold inward or outward for complete flexibility in the space. Imagine what a game-changer a door like this would be for meeting accessibility needs: the ability to reduce the swing for added unimpeded clearance (with no bottom track) — or even hinge outward for full interior shower access — offers so much adaptability and functionality. 

Cost and considerations for installing a folding glass shower door

There are important things to consider before installing any new shower door, especially a foldable glass one. From a cost perspective, these folding shower doors are in a comparable price range to frameless doors, running approximately between $1,100 to $2,600 installed. Cost-effective prefab units are also available, but professional installation is still recommended to ensure your shower door operates correctly, doesn't leak, and isn't damaged during the process.

As with all frameless glass shower doors, structural support on the hinge side is needed within the walls, so this work must be completed prior to installing any tile or shower surround if it is not already in place (yes, this may mean opening up the wall). Templating, or site measuring, for the glass shower door must be done at the end of your project calendar, after your finished wall surface has been installed, to ensure measurements are correct before ordering your bifold glass doors –- and if this is already giving you a headache to think about, it's probably time to call a professional. 

Yes, that means more work, but think about what a bummer it would be to get your beautiful folding glass shower doors, only to realize they are a quarter-inch too large because they were measured before the tile! By following the recommended process for selecting, measuring, and installing your doors, the finished result will be exactly what you're hoping for.