Framed vs Semi Frameless vs Frameless Shower Door-Full Comparison

When it comes time to upgrade your old shower, you may be wondering if you should choose a framed, semi-frameless, or frameless shower door. All three of these options have their unique benefits and drawbacks

Choosing one type of door from framed, semi-framed and frameless ones can be difficult. For a good and stylish décor, there is no match for frameless doors. But, you have to spend some extra money to get that. However, if you need something simple and traditional on a low budget, then a framed door can your choice. Lastly, if you are still unable to decide between them then compromise on some points and go for semi-frameless doors.

Further, in this article, we will discuss in detail, the pros and cons of each door. This will help you make an informed decision.

Framed Shower Doors

Framed Shower Door

A framed door is one in which all glass edges are covered by a frame of Aluminium, brass, or any other metal. They are being used for many years and are mostly the default option for shower doors.

In framed doors, there are metal supports on the top, bottom, and connecting sides. Since the doors are supported by a metal structure, thin glass is required. This makes them less expensive and more feasible in bathrooms.

Let’s briefly talk about their pros and cons.


  • Framed doors are budget-friendly.
  • They are effective at stopping water in a confined area.
  • Having metal support on all sides makes them more stable and durable.
  • Metal support prevents the glass from shattering and breaking.


  • Framed doors offer outdated designs and are less elegant.
  • Framed doors are difficult to clean.
  • Metal supports on framed doors reduce the pathway for the entrance of the shower.
  • They require more time, accessories, and skill for their installation.

Semi-frameless Shower doors

Semi-frameless Shower door

Semi-frameless doors are hybrid doors that offer you features of both framed and frameless doors. Semi-framed doors use minimal framing to support the glass. Instead of a whole metallic structure, they only have thin metal braces at hinges. These thin metal braces provide support to the structure of the door which permits you to use thinner glass.

Moreover, they are available in a variety of designs and modern appearances, making them more popular than framed doors. Sometimes, semi-frameless doors are a perfect compromise between frameless and framed doors.


Semi-frameless doors are rapidly taking over the market of framed doors. Their popularity is due to many reasons:

  • Like framed doors, semi-frameless doors are also budget-friendly.
    • They offer a variety of designs and aesthetics.
    • They are more stable and durable.
    • You have a clean and clear look at your shower when using semi-frameless doors.


Semi-frameless doors have many points on which you need to compromise.

  • More accessories are required for their installations.
    • More skill and professionalism are needed for their installations.

Frameless Shower door

Frameless Shower door

Frameless doors are self-supportive structures without any metal frames. They require thick, heavy glass to make a good durable structure. Glass should be between 3/8 of an inch to ½ of an inch.

Metal clamps are used to attach the panels. The heavy glass, transparent walls, and metal clamps together form a modern, elegant, and stylish look. They allow more light to pass making the shower look more wide and bright. They are costlier than any of the other doors available in the market but still, they are becoming the best choice for a good-budgeted bathroom.


Frameless doors offer several plus points which are making them a popular choice.

  • Frameless doors offer a minimalist, modern and sleek look.
    • Cleaning frameless doors is an easy task.
    • Multiple design options and customizations are accessible when installing frameless doors.
    • The overall look of your shower seems bigger when using frameless doors.
    • They allow natural light to pass making them look more clear and clean.
    • Passage for the entrance is not disturbed or minimized as no frame structure is present.


Despite a lot of benefits, there are a few downsides to frameless shower doors.

  • Frameless doors are expensive and not budget-friendly.
    • They require professional installations.
    • The bare glass door can be dangerous in case of an accident or earthquake.

Framed vs Semi-frameless vs Frameless: Comparison

Since we have peaked at the pros and cons of each door, let’s compare them in terms of ease of installation, variety of designs, costs, maintenance, cleaning, and lifespans.

#1 Ease of Installation

Framed doors are much easier to install as compared to frameless and semi-frameless doors. You can easily hang up the frame and insert glass into it. Moreover, no special floor is needed for their installations. On the other hand, frameless and semi-framed doors require special floors for installation. Special experts are needed for accurate installations.

#2 Variety of Designs

When talking about the designs and aesthetics, frameless doors have no match. Frameless doors offer multiple options for designs and customizations. Moreover, frameless doors give a more modern and elegant look to your bathroom. They are considered the best choice for excellent interior design.

However, framed and semi-framed doors have limited options for designs. You can have a bit of design customization for the frame but overall looks are not much clean and modern. There are no particular aesthetic options for them.

#3 Cost

The cost of the door is usually dependent on the type of glass being used. As the thickness of glass increases, the price increases too. Frameless doors are considered to be the most expensive ones. They require thick glass as no structural support is present for them.

While framed and semi-frameless can be used with thin glass. This is why they are considered to be budget-friendly. Semi-frameless doors can be expensive if you are using thick glass for a pleasant appearance.

#4 Maintenance and Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, frameless doors are the clear winner. Cleaning a frameless door is too much simple and easy. The absence of a frame prevents the door from holding the moisture and soap scum. You can easily wipe out the glass and clean the door with a cloth.

On contrary, framed and semi-framed doors have problems with moisture and scum. The metallic frame may begin to lose the paint and get rusted. The scum may trap in the narrow lanes of the framework. This may cause mold and mildew to grow up. Therefore, it is much more difficult and expensive to clean a framed door.

#5 Lifespan

The lifespan of the door depends on the circumstances. But generally, framed doors are more stable and safer than frameless and semi-framed doors. Unlike frameless doors, framed doors have a metallic boundary around their glass and vital support is present. This makes them safer and more durable. 

In case of an accident, framed doors are at low risk of shattering and causing injury to the user. But frameless and semi-frameless have exposed glass surfaces. They may break and even can cause injury in case of an accident.

#6 Water-holding Capacity

Framed doors are effective at holding the water inside the shower. There is very little risk of leakage. Solid boundaries make them capable of holding the water inside.

On the other hand, frameless and semi-frameless always have leakage risks. They are not too good to hold the water like framed doors.

#7 Range of motion

Frameless doors allow a full range of motion and a large passage for entrance. They do not have any metal support or frames to cause hindrance in the passage.

However, framed and semi-framed lack in this aspect. They have limited passage and much of the space is acquired by a metallic frame.

Final Words

All in all, frameless shower doors are the best choice if you are looking for something luxurious and modern. They give a very elegant look to your bathroom interior. On the other hand, framed and semi-framed doors are an excellent choice if you have a limited budget. They are quite easy to install and offer a great deal of customization. But they are not as good-looking as frameless doors.

So, make your choice wisely! No matter what type of door you choose, make sure that it is made of high-quality materials and is installed by a professional. This will ensure that your door lasts long and looks great! 

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