Home design trends come and go, but one bathroom design choice seems like it's here to stay: glass shower enclosures. Gone are the days of dark and dingy shower/tub combos that make you feel like you're cleaning yourself in a dimly lit cave – just like the bathroom of every cheap motel. The reason for the popularity of the glass shower enclosure is its combination of modern sleekness, and natural brightness. For many homeowners, that brightness is a quality that's essential for what is often the smallest and darkest room of the house. The brightness that a glass shower provides can now be even clearer with the option to choose ultra-clear, or low-iron glass – but there are also some drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons of ultra-clear glass for your glass shower enclosure.
Ultra-clear glass is sometimes called low-iron glass, and it's that moniker that explains why this glass option is increasingly popular in the bathroom. Have you ever looked at a pane of tempered glass from the side? You've probably noticed a green sheen to the edge of the pane. That green is from the iron content in the glass. Low-iron glass, on the other hand, is made from silica with a lower iron content – about ten times less than regular float glass. What that means is that when you look through the pane, you see the true color of whatever is on the other side, without any green tint altering your perception.
The lack of green in ultra-clear glass also means that the light in the room is able to penetrate the pane with much more clarity. This is a desirable feature for homeowners looking to brighten up dark bathrooms, especially those without the benefit of any natural light from windows.
Easier to Spot Smudges
One drawback of ultra-clear glass, is that it's easier to spot smudges or water spots when there is no natural tinting. That could mean – if you're one of the many who are fussy about spots – that you'll be cleaning the glass more often than you would otherwise.
Another drawback of ultra-clear glass is that it's more expensive than regular float glass. Because the manufacturing process for achieving the lower iron content of ultra-clear glass is more involved, those extra steps create extra costs, and those costs are transferred to the consumer. Expect to pay about $30 to $50 per square foot on average when you choose ultra-clear or low-iron glass for your shower enclosure.
For more information, contact a glass shower enclosure expert in your area.