Removing the Shower Door: Breaking Ground in the Master Bathroom

remove shower door before and after

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When I was a kid, I lived in an A-frame house that my Dad had built, and the whole front of it was glass, with huge sliding glass doors. Someday I’ll find a picture to scan. My mom still lives in the house, in fact, but the front has been redone with cedar shingles and regular old french doors. So sliding glass doors make me a little nostalgic, but they also remind of things that never work like they’re supposed to.

I’ve wanted to take our shower doors down since before we moved in. We put it off for a long time, but then we started getting more serious about redoing the master bath AND, at about the same time, the doors started to act even moodier and less inclined to….slide than before.

So taking down the doors seemed like a natural first step in the big bathroom makeover.

I remember last year when we finally did the first thing for the nursery–refinishing the dresser that had been Dave’s as a kid–I felt this big sense of relief and like now that we’d started there’d be no stopping us. So. Let’s hope that’s true in the bathroom, too!

This was one of those projects that looked like it was going to be really simple, and then…it turned out to actually be really simple, too! Love it when that happens.

Here’s the door before. It was really bright and sunny when I took the pictures, and the result is that the door doesn’t look nearly as bad in the pictures as it did in real life, I think. Trust me: it needed to go.


The shower door was held on with a few screws on either side:



Dave started taking things apart, and had the whole door down almost before I could whip the camera out (I was baby wrangling and photographing for this part o things):

easy update for an 80's bathroom: remove glass shower door


Once the screws were out, Dave went to work with an exacto knife on the caulk still holding the track to the tile:



It had, so far as we know, been there since the house was built in the mid 80’s, but it came loose no problem.

Once the track was all off, he took care of the residual caulk with a paint scraper:

remove a shower door


We do need to regrout some of the areas that were covered up by the track before, but, other than that, the whole thing went down without incident. There are still the screw holes left….we’re still debating, but I think we’re going to leave them there since they won’t show behind the shower curtain and since we’re worried that pulling out the little anchor ring thingies (I think there’s probably a more official term for those) would damage the tile. Eventually we’d like to expand and redo the whole shower, so we’re not really concerned with perfection at this stage.

Then I scrubbed the shower like it had never been scrubbed before because 1. it really needed it and 2. I was going to take pictures of it. I even mixed up a fancy grout cleaning solution (a paste made from 3 parts baking soda and 1 part bleach) and scrubbed at the grout with a toothbrush.

This was a little discouraging while it was going on, because it became so clear that our grout is never going to be completely white and sparkling clean again. But then I stood back to look at it, and it’s so much better than before that I decided to be happy about it.



While I was scrubbing grout, Dave and Abe went to Target to get a shower curtain liner and rod. I’m pretty sure I have the real shower curtain picked out, but I haven’t ordered it yet. But for now, we can take showers without wrestling with a yucky shower door!



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Removing the Shower Door: Breaking Ground in the Master Bathroom — 33 Comments

  1. I so need to try your grout remedy!!! My grout drives me nuts and I am thinking I should have gone darker in that department! It looks awesome lady and how cool does your house sound when you were a kid!!!

  2. Much better! Easier to clean and more intimate looking. Love it!
    Oh btw the need to pick your brain about your move to wordpress. I’ve been looking at it and my brain my just explode! haha

    • You’re welcome to whatever wordpress knowledge is actually in my brain :)….Dave did most/all of the tech stuff, so I may have to refer most questions to him. And I’m sending him back in for more research/tinkering tonight because my google traffic is not what I want it to be on the new site. But you can learn from our mistakes maybe!

  3. Looks great – I’m a huge curtain advocate – doors are just terrible to clean and I love that you can just pop the curtain in the wash. We always buy a fabric liner in white so we can bleach it. Then we have another prettier curtain on the outside. It’s the way to go.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure whose idea bathroom shower doors was anyway…probably the same people who thought putting carpet in there was a good idea!

  4. I did the same thing with my shower…except my mine was a bathtub and the door was smaller. That, and my house was built in the 50’s. But like yours, our door came off just as easily!! What are you going to do about the leftover expander things in the tiles? That’s a debate I’m having as well.

    • I think we’re just going to leave them there….I don’t even have the second layer of shower curtain up yet, and I already barely notice them, so I don’t think they’re going to bother me overmuch. I’m pretty good at ignoring things I don’t want to deal with 😉

  5. I’ve been looking to do this with my downstairs bathroom for quite a while. We purchased our 1st home 3 years ago. I hate the shower doors because dirt is trapped in between the panes of glass. No way to remove it. My husband wants to go with glass block. I want to save money and go this route. He thinks water will go all over with a shower curtain.

    • Does yours have the little low wall of tile like ours does below the glass? I was a little worried about water getting out, but since there was that barrier, I didn’t fret TOO much about it. And it’s been completely fine :)…don’t know if that low barrier makes a difference or not, really, but all the water stays where it’s supposed to!

  6. Hey Gretchen! We’ve been scraping old caulk out ALL afternoon, and some quality time with our shower door has me seriously contemplating taking the plunge and ripping it out. Any regrets? I figure I’d ask before I take the plunge.

  7. I am redoing my master bath . . . I have a shower surround, i tore the doors off last night. Do you get any water leakage from the curtain along the bottom of the shower? I am scared to not put my doors back up after i scrape them clean. But I’d much rather have a cute curtain for my make over.

    • We don’t, but ours has a maybe 6 inch “wall” along the bottom that’s tiled. As long as you have something like that as opposed to just a level floor, I wouldn’t think you’d have a problem.

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