How often should I replace my shower door seals?
Like the sweeps and weather stripping that keep drafts from coming in around your front door, sweeps for shower doors break down with age and use – losing flexibility and effectiveness over time. General rule-of-thumb is to replace your shower door sweeps every 1-2 years, but make a point of examining them when you clean your bathroom. If a sweep is torn, cracked, brittle or discolored, or if your shower is noticeably leaking around one of the seals, it’s time to replace it.
Shower door sweep replacement is a fairly easy “do it yourself” project, as long as you are careful to buy the right replacement parts and measure carefully.
How to buy the right shower door replacement sweep
There are 3 different types of shower door replacement sweeps:
- The bottom seal or bottom sweep (which runs along the bottom of your door)
- The side sweep or acrylic seal (that prevents water from escaping through the hinge side of the door)
- The door jamb or door stop, which goes along the side of the door that opens and keeps the door from swinging inward.
If you’re replacing the door stop, note whether your shower door closes against glass or a wall, as the seal for each type of shower door jamb is different.
Whichever type you’re buying, you’ll also need to know the thickness of the glass in your shower door – Door sweeps are sold for standard glass thicknesses like 1/4”, 3/8” or 1/2”.
How to replace a shower door bottom seal
Replacing shower door bottom seal is very easy. If you will be replacing more than one door seal, replace the bottom one first:
- Remove the old sweep or seal
- Clean the glass edge of the door – use a glass-safe scraper to remove any dirt or residue and clean with your favorite glass cleaner and a soft cloth. Wipe dry.
- Measure your new seal against the edge of your shower door. Mark how long it needs to be and use cutting pliers to cut to size.
- One side of your bottom sweep will have a drip edge or lip – that side is installed facing the inside of the shower.
- Snap the sweep onto the bottom of the door and slide into place.
How to replace a shower door jamb or door stop seal
Your shower door jamb can either be wall to glass or glass to glass. Both types are fairly simple to install:
- Remove the old door stop and clean both the door and the glass or wall. If your door jamb is against a wall, you may need to remove some adhesive residue.
- For both types, measure your new door jamb from the “curb” of your shower to top of the shower door. Mark and cut to fit.
- Position the door stop facing the proper direction. The side of the acrylic door stop with the lip needs to be facing out, away from the shower, so that the door can close against it.
- For a glass-to-glass installation, snap and slide the new door jamb into place on the glass side panel.
- For a wall-to-glass installation, place the stop inside the shower so that the door closes properly against it. Make a few pencil marks so you can see exactly where the door stop needs to be. Remove the protective cover from the adhesive strip and place firmly into place, using the marks you just made as a guide.
Replacing a shower door hinge-side sweep
Replacing the side sweep or acrylic seal of your shower door isn’t difficult, but it does involve more measuring, marking and cutting than either the door stop or the bottom sweep:
- Remove the old acrylic side seal and clean thoroughly to remove dirt, mildew and debris.
- Put the edge of the new seal on the floor, against the hinge side of your door.
- Mark the top of the bottom seal. You will need this mark so you can cut a notch in the side sweep to accommodate the bottom seal of your door.
- For each hinge of your door: Mark the top and bottom of the hinge and the top and bottom of the central opening (moving part) of the hinge. There will be a total of 4 marks per hinge.
- Mark the top edge of your glass door on the new seal
- Next, we will be cutting the seal into 3 pieces and making some notches in them. You will need a pair of cutting pliers.
- Make a full cut through the top mark.
- Make full cuts through the 2nd and 3rd of each group of hinge marks. DO NOT cut through the first (bottom sweep) mark you made.
- Discard the small pieces that were in the center of each hinge. You should be left with a top, bottom and middle piece.
- Next we need to cut some notches so that the sweep fits around the hinges and bottom seal.
- Using a pair of cutting pliers, cut the two side lips off of the edge of the acrylic from the horizontal mark you made before to the end, on both ends of the bottom and middle pieces.
- For the top piece, you will only cut one notch on the bottom end (to accommodate the top hinge).
- Snap the 3 pieces into place, making sure that the lip or “drip edge” is facing the inside of your shower.
And that’s all there is to it!
Making your shower door seals last longer:
- Clean them regularly when you clean your bathroom, to remove any lingering moisture and mildew
- Avoid using harsh cleaners – these can make them “age” more rapidly.
Reflect Window and Door stocks and sells a full range of shower door replacement parts, including replacement sweeps and seals to fit every type of shower door – frameless or traditional framed doors. Not sure what part you need? Call us at 1-877-434-3410 and speak to one of our helpful door hardware experts, or use our find a part search.