Converting your bathroom shower's door from framed to frameless involves more than simply removing the existing frame. A framed shower door is made with thinner glass or plastic, as the frame supplies strengthening support that prevents the panel from breaking as it might if it were unframed. A frameless glass has to be stronger; as such it's made of a thicker, tempered glass. Changing a framed shower door out for a frameless one will give your shower enclosure a cleaner look without all the metal of a frame surround.
Removing the Framed Shower Door
Lift the shower doors until the small rollers at the top clear the ledge they run through. Lift the door from the bottom track once it clears the top track, and pull it from the shower door frame.
Pull away the caulking alongside the edges of the shower door tracks that framed the door, using the corner of a putty knife. Also remove the silicone on the sides of the base track and on the edges of the top rail where it sits against the wall.
Push upward on the top rail to lift it from the side rails and remove it from the enclosure. Remove the shower door tracks that held the framed door in place by removing the screws securing the tracks to the walls on either side of the enclosure, using a screwdriver. Remove the base track by prying it from the surface of the shower where it was caulked into place. Remove the caulk along the base of the shower with a putty knife.
Fill in the holes on the wall where you drove the screws, using drywall putty and a putty knife. Scrape the putty even with the wall surface, using the edge of the knife. Allow the putty to dry for about four hours.
Installing the Frameless Shower Door
Measure the width and height of the shower opening, using a tape measure. Use the measurement to order a door that fits your opening precisely.
Place the door hinge gaskets to either side of the hinge. Slide the door hinges that come with the door into the cutouts on the side of the glass until centered, with the hinge's mounting base -- the part that connects to the shower wall -- positioned so that the hinge swings freely against the edge of the door. Tighten the hinge screws running from the back to the front of the hinge by hand to hold the hinge in place.
Place the hinges against the wall where you wish to position the door, with the base of the door on top of the shims. Mark the location of the hinge base mount holes against the wall next to the shower with a piece of chalk. Set the door aside.
Drill through the wall at the chalked marks with a 1/4-inch masonry bit. Use a masonry drill bit if you're drilling through tiles or marble.
Screw the door into place using #10 screws to mount the door directly into a wall stud, or insert wall anchors into the holes if you're mounting the door onto a wall surface with an empty cavity behind it. Secure the screws in place working from the top hinge downward, using the drill with a screw set for quickly driving the screws into place. Remove the shim from beneath the door.
Mount the vinyl bottom sweep onto the base of the door. Cut the sweep on the ends using a utility knife, creating a 45 degree angled cut 1/2 inch beyond either side of the doorway. Angle away from the door as you cut downward.
Tighten the screws holding the hinges in place on the door. Attach the handles to the door, using a screw set to screw the interior and exterior pieces together by the small screw beneath the ends of the handles.
Mark the location of the U-channel track for the installation of the glass panel that takes up the rest of the space of your shower enclosure if you're installing a panel as well as the door. If you're installing a panel, you'll need to place a track along the base of the shower enclosure and along the wall. Mark the mount holes for the track along the walls.
Cover the base of the track for the shower floor placement with silicone caulk and then press the track into place. Drill holes into the wall for the mount, then place the track against the wall. Screw the track into place using the #10 screws or the wall anchors and screws. Place a dab of silicone covering the screws to help waterproof the screw holes, and a bead of caulk along the sides of the track.
Place a bead of the caulk into the track along the base of the shower and along the wall. Slide the glass panel into the track, and wipe off any excess caulk with a piece of cloth. Allow the caulk to dry for 48 hours before using the shower.