Every time where there is a door, there is a hinge. And shower doors are no exception. Every one of them is using hinges. Except, of course the sliding doors; those use rollers. And when I am consulting architects ,I am being asked very often what kind of hinges are going to be used with shower door.

The answer on that question is generally begins with a choise of shower door enclosure. If its framed or frameless. In case if it’s a framed shower – it may be piano hinge. If it’s a semi-frameless shower enclosure – its so called barrel hinge.

And in case of heavy glass frameless shower enclosure it may be pivot hinges or wall mount hinges. In our jargon we are calling them “pivots” and “hinges”.

Lets take a closer look to them. They look similar are they? But they are different in very important aspect – where they are being mounted and how they handle the weight of the glass.

“Hinges” are basically two plates that “sandwich” the glass and swing in or out along the vertical edge.  They are being mounted on the side wall or jamb of the shower enclosure. And they best fit in situations where you don’t want to drill on the horizontal shower curb. But as I mentioned before – they are holding the glass by “sandwiching” it between two plates. And that brings us to their biggest disadvantage. How much compression power can 2 machine screws provide.

These types of hinges are limited by weight of the glass. Generally – it’s about 35-40 lb per hinge. Not let’s do some math, shall we?

If the door is 27” wide, 80” tall and made of 1/2 thick glass than it weighs about 96 lb. So, you have to use 3 hinges.  And if you do that door in 3/8 glass, it will bow and deflects because of height.

But those hinges have also limitation on how wide the door may be – and its 28”. So, if you are designing a shower enclosure and want to have a wider door; you must not use this hinges.

So, yes, they are good devises, but…. a little bit limited on their performance. And that is very easy to understand.  Imagine yourself holding a large and heavy sheet of glass between your palms – it’s not easy, is not it?

Now lets look at the pivot hinges. They also made of 2 plates that are “sandwiching” the glass. But in difference with wall mount hinges they are holding the glass not from side of it, but from the top and bottom. And that is the big deal! The compression of the plates is not very important now. The glass is being supported by body of the hinge itself! And the size of the door may jump to…. Well the biggest door that we did with this type of hinges was in 1/2” glass, 36” wide and 108” tall.  175 lb!  And it was 4 years ago, so it’s tested with time.

That is the reason we are using this hinges with every shower enclosure we manufacture.

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