Dear James: There always is a puddle on the floor after the kids shower in their bathroom. I plan to replace the curtain with doors. How do I make sure the doors don’t leak too? — Jessica P.
Dear Jessica: Shower curtains can be attractive and not leak, but one has to be careful to position them properly before turning on the water. This works fine for adults, but children are usually not as careful about keeping the water in the shower stall or bathtub.
You will definitely have fewer puddles, if not totally eliminate them, by properly installing glass shower doors. They are also much easier to keep clean by rinsing them after showering and bathing. With a shower curtain, it is more difficult to rinse without leaks and the shampoo and soap can permanently discolor the curtain.
The first step is to remove the old shower curtain and curtain rod. You will likely find a heavy buildup of residue on the tile around the shower curtain rod bracket. Gently scrape off as much as possible and then use a cleaner to remove the rest of it.
Do the same cleaning procedure on all the surfaces where the new shower door frame will attach. The shower door frame will eventually be caulked in place and sealed. If the surface is not totally clean, the caulk may not stick and seal well.
After the tub surfaces are clean, it is time for measuring. Bathtubs are typically five feet long, but measure to be sure. Also measure the height you want for the shower door. Most doors are a standard height, but you want to be certain the new door will fit.
Mark the centerline of the tub rim and the dimensions on the wall surface where the vertical frame members will be attached. Fit the bottom track to the tub by cutting it one-quarter inch shorter than the length between the walls.
Always double-check your measurements before you begin to cut. Use a hacksaw with a fine-tooth blade (the blade’s teeth should point forward) and cut the track to the correct length. Smooth off the edges with sandpaper or a fine metal file.
With the bottom track cut and smooth, lay a bead of silicone caulk along the center of the tub’s rim. Press the track down into the caulk. To keep the track from moving, tape it in place while the caulk sets.
Hold up each of the side tracks to the walls, level them, mark the screw locations, and drill pilot holes. With tile walls, use a masonry bit to drill the holes. Once you have drilled the pilot holes, attach the side tracks to the walls with the screws provided.
To add the top track of the shower door, measure and mark it so it fits tightly between the side tracks. Cut the rail and fasten it into place on top of the side tracks. Use an ample number of screws because they might not be going into wood.
Install the doors by lifting them into place so the rollers fit into the bottom tracks. Install the smooth side of the glass facing the inside of the tub so it is easier to keep clean.