Shower doors can swing or slide, and the ones that swing may be held by hinges or by a pivot pin under the bottom corner. When you have to remove a door with a pivot pin to clean it, repair it or replace it, the procedure can seem mystifying, because the header of the door frame appears to be holding the door in place. If you get on a ladder and look closely at the header from above the door, however, you'll see that there's actually a cap attached to the header by screws, and all you have to do is remove the cap.
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It's Important to Work Safely
The job before you, as it turns out, is a pretty simple one, but don't let that fool you into being complacent. A shower door is heavy, and it's made of glass, so if you drop it, you could have a major disaster on your hands. You don't want that to happen, so follow these simple but essential safety steps:
- Use a ladder. Don't be tempted to unscrew the pivot cap while standing on a 5-gallon bucket or something else that doesn't get you high enough to see what you're doing.
- Get a helper. Once the cap is off, the door could fall on its own, so it's important to have someone there to catch it.
- Wear gloves. Gloves not only protect your hands from broken glass if something goes wrong, they give you a better grip to help ensure that nothing goes wrong in the first place.
- Always set the door down gently. Shower doors are made of tempered glass that can shatter if an edge or corner strikes the floor sharply.
Removing a Pivot Door
Close the door and make sure the magnetic latch is engaged. Position a stepladder in front of the door and climb high enough to see the top of the door header. Locate the two or three screws holding the pivot cap to the header and unscrew them with a Phillips screwdriver. They should come out with little effort. If they happen to be stuck with rust, spray them with lubricant, wait five to 10 minutes and try again. If they still won't turn, it's probably because you didn't wait long enough.
Once you've removed the plate, have your helper hold the door closed while you get off the ladder and move it out of the way. Carefully open the door and lift it off the pivot, then walk it away from the shower stall, set it down on the floor and lean it against a wall. It's a good idea to prepare the space for the door by putting a towel on the floor before you take the door down.
Removing a Hinged Door
If your glass shower door has hinges, you won't need a ladder to remove it, but you'll still need a helper. Go inside the shower stall and close the door, then unscrew all the screws from the top and bottom hinges as well as the middle hinge if there is one.
When all the screws are removed, open the door slowly and, together with your helper, hold the outside edge of the door and pull gently. When the door starts to move, one of you should move to the other side of the door and support it as it falls off the hinges.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker and Family Handyman.