Fix-It Friday: In The Shower With Norma… How To Choose And Install Shower Doors

Fix-It FridayHome Improvement 2 Comments

“I recently had a shower installed in my basement. I was originally going with a shower curtain to curtail costs but happened to come across a great deal on a shower door. Any pointers on installing shower doors. Could I possibly attempt this myself?” – WYSK Reader Nicony

“I too am looking for new shower doors…  for a stall shower and for a tub… would love some suggestions!” – WYSK Reader APS

NV: Hello there, Nicony and APS! Installing shower doors is a wonderful upgrade from curtains in both design and functionality… and definitely a do-it-yourselfer project! I would rate this project at an intermediate skill level, and you’ll want to work with a partner for this one. Below is a detailed shower door install from my book, Norma Vally’s Bathroom Fix-Ups.

Consider the following before you roll up your DIY sleeves…

Norma_bathroom_bookThe shower will be off limits for 24hrs – or until caulking dries.

It is imperative that you are very exacting in measuring the opening for the new doors.

Explore the various styles and finishes of doors before choosing one. Know that frameless and clear glass doors (like the GORGEOUS ones in the lead image above) will make the bathroom look bigger – it will extend the eye all the way to the shower wall as opposed to stopping it at the door.

These are some of the more popular door designs:

  • Two Panel By-Pass: Framed or frameless, these doors slide back and forth on a track.
  • Tri Panel By-Pass: Same as the two panel, but the three smaller panels can slide and stack over one another, allowing for a wider opening.
  • Bi-Fold: This door is hinged in the middle and folds onto itself when opening. For small spaces, this is a great solution.
  • Swing: These doors swing open along a full length hinge or pivot points.

Installing Shower Doors

The following installation addresses a two panel by-pass door kit for a shower/tub enclosure. With any shower doors, always read the manufacturer’s installation instructions and safety precautions.


What You’ll Need

  • Two panel by-pass door kit for a shower/tub enclosure
  • Protective tarp or blanket
  • Tape measure
  • Masking tape
  • Hack-saw and miter box
  • Pencil
  • Metal file
  • Safety glasses
  • Level
  • Drill driver
  • Masonry bit (size as indicated by manufacturer’s instructions)
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Nail set
  • Hammer
  • Caulking gun and silicone caulking


The Prep Work

  • Protect the tub with a blanket or tarp.
  • Determine the size of the door. To do this you’ll need to properly measure the opening:

– Measure the width of the wall-to-wall opening in two places, one toward the bottom and one toward the top. The door you choose must be equal to or greater than the largest measurement.
– Measure the height of the opening, from the top of the tub rim to the top of the surround. The door you choose must be equal to or less than this measurement.


 The Project

  1. Verify the measurement of the wall-to-wall opening then minus 1/8”. With a hack-saw and miter box cut the bottom track using this measurement. Hold the track steady when cutting to be sure to make a clean square cut. Wear safety glasses.
  2. Position the track on the center of the tub rim, with the taller side of the track facing the exterior. With a pencil, mark its position, then temporarily secure it in place with masking tape.
  3. Slip the door jambs over each end of the track. You may use a file to round the ends of the jambs if it helps make a tighter fit with a rounded corner. Temporarily secure them to the wall with tape.
  4. With a level, plum each door jamb, then re-secure them with the tape.
  5. Mark the pre-drilled hole locations with a marker. Remove the track and jambs.
  6. Before drilling the jamb holes, use masking tape or etch the mark with a nailset to prevent the drill bit from walking.
  7. Drill the holes with a masonry bit – see manufacturer’s instructions for bit size. Never screw any holes into the tub.
  8. Remove debris from the holes and gently tap in the plastic anchors with a hammer.
  9. Run silicone caulk along the underside edges of the bottom track. Press the track in place, lining it up with the mark you made. Wipe away excess that oozes out. Use masking tape to prevent them from shifting as you continue the project.
  10. Slip the door jambs in place, lining up the holes. Screw the jambs to the walls, using any spacers or bumpers provided – do not over tighten.
  11. Measure the wall-to-wall opening at the top of the door jambs, then minus 1/16”. Cut the header using this measurement. File ends if necessary for best fit.
  12. Install the header over the jambs – pivot it into position – it should lock in place.
  13. Install the rollers, handles and towel bar to the doors as directed by manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to confirm the inside and outside of the glass and work on a padded surface.
  14. Standing inside the shower, lift the interior glass door into position and pivot the rollers over the groove in the header. Repeat with the exterior door.
  15. Slide them against their respective door jambs. If they do not properly align against the jamb, remove the doors and adjust the position of the rollers within their slot.
  16. Slide both doors to one side and secure the center panel guide in place.
  17. Align any additional rubber bumpers with door panels and jamb – screw them in place.
  18. Run neat beads of silicone along all places the tracks and jambs meet the tub and walls. Smooth silicone with your fingertip and wipe away any excess. Let it dry for 24 hours.

Once your new shower doors are installed, don’t forget to shower yourself with congratulations for a job well done!

Norma sig

*Lead image of frameless glass doors accredited to Glassandmirrorpros.

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

Add your question to the comments section below or email it to Women You Should Know.

Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.


  • Nicony

    This was such a help! Thank you so much for all the information. It will be put to good use! Thanks again!

    • Norma

      You’re very welcome, Nicony!