Do Ark Shower Screens let any water out?

This is the question we get most, particularly from those who are unaccustomed to bathtub shower screens. Considering each of the four edges of the bathtub shower screen in turn:

  • At the open end: The 33.5" models are wide enough to contain the water in most showers. The 30" wide models offer less water protection so it may be necessary to angle the shower head down more if you select one of these. If you have a shower curtain or sliding tub door it is possible to test how a shower screen would work by opening the curtain/door to 30/33.5" and running the shower. We recommend checking this, particularly if you are planning to order the 30" model.

  • Above: For typical bathtubs (around 14" high, or more), any of our models will be tall enough to keep the water in. The height a shower screen needs to be depends on the height of the shower head and pressure of the water – the higher the pressure, the higher the water will bounce when it hits the person showering. Most ‘off the shelf' sliding tub doors are 56-58" high, compared with our shortest shower screen which is 60" high. The additional height of the 64 and 70" models does not provide any additional functional benefit but customers sometimes select them for aesthetic reasons, e.g. to match the lines of a window or shower head.

  • At the wall: The hinge for the semi-frameless shower screen is different to that of the frameless shower screen. With the semi-frameless design, the continuous hinge will not allow water to escape as long as the joint between the shower screen and the wall has been sealed (using 100% silicone caulk). With the frameless design, there is a gap of approximately 3/8" between the back of the glass and the wall. We provide wall seals to fill this gap but there are still joints between the seals hinge/bottom seal and the does permit a little water to escape. Additionally there are gaps between the fixed and moving parts of the hinges. Usually these joints/gaps don't cause any problems because the water does not tend to land there but nevertheless it is not perfect.

  • Below: The bottom seal is formed to guide water running down the glass back into the bathtub and also to prevent water from escaping under the glass. The seal works well as long as the tub surface is flat and level or sloping into the tub, (so that the water will run into the tub and not towards the wall or bathroom floor) and the gap between the bottom of the glass is correct (i.e. 3/8 to 1/2" or 10mm).

When is an Ark Shower Screen a good solution?

  • An Ark Shower Screen works well with most bathtubs for over bath showers. If you have the typical set up, with a bathtub mounted in an alcove and the showerhead coming out of the wall above the drain then a shower screen will probably work for you.

When may an Ark Shower Screen not be suitable?

Occasionally we come across situations where our shower screens will not fit or function correctly, e.g.:

  • Alcove ceilings. Sometimes our customers have bathrooms in attic spaces where the ceiling slopes down away from the shower head. This leaves limited clearance for a shower screen, particularly at the top corner. Usually however the smallest model we offer with a rounded glass top corner will fit.

  • Bathtub features, e.g. decorative ‘steps’. Our shower screens are rectangular in shape so require that the tub and the wall meet at a right angle with no steps, rounded corners and similar features which would prevent them from sitting correctly. Sometimes modifications can be made to suit the shower screens but unfortunately the glass cannot be modified because it is tempered and will shatter.

  • Some one-piece bathtub surrounds. Some one-piece bathtub surrounds may be unsuitable for mounting shower screens to mainly because they may not have sufficient rigidity. Other surrounds are suitable however, it varies.

  • Tile protrusions, e.g. bull noses, chair rails. Tile protrusions will prevent the shower screen from being mounted correctly. Normally the protrusion can be modified to suit though.

  • Drop-in or free standing tubs. Bathtub shower enclosures must be constructed so that the water always returns to the bathtub; there cannot be any obstacles to prevent this (otherwise the water will go somewhere else, usually the floor). Alcove bathtubs are designed so that the tiles go down over the tub ledge and any water running down the walls will go into the tub. Drop in bathtubs normally have a tub ledge which is above the tile work, preventing the water from returning to the tub.

  • Body jets. Body jets normally project the water horizontally out from the wall at significant pressure. It is unlikely that our shower screens can contain the water.

  • Controls for air/water jet tubs. Sometimes massage tubs have control panels which are mounted such that they will prevent the movement of the shower screen in one direction (normally into the tub). This may not rule out the use of a shower screen but it is worth considering. Also, it is worth checking that the control panel is sufficiently watertight that it can be exposed to water from an overhead shower.

  • Showerheads which are not mounted at the end of the tub. If you have a rainshower which is mounted in the middle of the tub for example, the shower screen may not be wide enough to keep the water in.

  • Very uneven walls or tubs which are not level. A limited amount of adjustment is available within our shower screens to accommodate walls which are not plumb and tubs which are not level and this is sufficient for most situations. The semi-frameless models are more accommodating than the frameless models. However if the wall is a long way off plumb or the tub a long way off level then our shower screens may not work because they form a right angle at the corner where the tub and wall meet.

  • Tubs which are not flat. Very occasionally we come across tubs which are not flat, specifically they may have a depression in the surface which the bottom seal cannot accommodate. To date we have only every come across this situation with cast iron bathtubs.

I have removed my tub and wish to use a shower screen for a walk-in shower? Would it work?

  • It is quite common for customers to install our shower screens for use with this type of walk-in set up, usually with the 70" high by 33.5" wide models. We recommend that you check that 33.5" will be sufficient coverage for the spray pattern in your shower (by using a shower curtain for example).

What size of tub do I need?

  • Our shower screens are designed to work with tubs are five feet long or longer. With a five foot tub this leaves a gap at the open end of around 25/28.5" if the 33.5/30" model respectively is selected.

What width do I need?

  • The 33.5" wide model offers coverage further along the tub but there may be ergonomic reasons to choose the 30" model. As a rule of thumb, if you are planning to use the bath mainly for showering then we recommend the wider (33.5”) model but if you are planning to use the bath mainly for bathing then we would recommend the narrower (30” ) model which provides a slightly wider gap for entry and exit into/from the tub. The wider model provides enough protection for most showers (unless you have an exceptional setup); it may be necessary to angle the shower head down more and stand closer to the shower with the 30” wide model. If you have an existing shower curtain or sliding tub door then you can test the two widths by opening the curtain/door to each width and taking a shower.

What height to I need?

  • All three heights (60”, 64” and 70”) are tall enough to prevent the water going over the top if the shower screen is mounted over a bathtub so we normally recommend the 60" model because it is tall enough. (Typically sliding tub shower doors are around 58” high). The reasons for selecting a higher model (64” or 70”) are therefore aesthetic only, e.g. you have high ceilings or you are matching another feature in the bathroom (a tile line, light fixture, window line etc.) with the top edge of the shower door, or you prefer the proportions of the taller models.

Do I need someone to come out and measure up?

  • Because there is a gap at the open end of a shower screen, it is not necessary to take accurate measurements. As long as you have sufficient space (height and width) and the walls and tub are plumb and level the the shower screen should fit.

My toilet/vanity is very close to my tub. Will a shower screen work?

  • It is very common for the bathtub to be next to a toilet or vanity preventing the shower screen from swinging very far. However the majority of customers enter and exit the bathtub through the open end to take a shower, so the glass isn't moved regularly. Some people move the glass to access the controls but normally there is enough clearance for this purpose. It is worth considering using an adhesive bumper to prevent the glass from bumping directly into the vanity or toilet, particularly if the vanity has a stone countertop. These can often be found at hardware stores and Bumper Specialities has a wide selection.

How far does the shower screen swing in/out?

  • The shower screen can swing all the way in or out (until it is parallel with the wall), unless something is in the way (e.g. the toilet), which there usually is. See photos below:

Do I need to specify left or right hand?

  • No, the door can be installed on the left or the right.

I have a one-piece tub surround. Will your shower screens work with this?

  • It is often possible to install our shower screens with one piece surrounds as long as the surrounds are strong enough to support them. We would normally recommend the semi-frameless model for this application because the weight is supported from beneath (not by the wall of the surround).

My tub is in a corner (not an alcove). Will the water escape at the opposite end of the tub (to where the shower head is)?

  • We do have customers who use our shower screens over tubs which are in the corner of their bathrooms, rather than in an alcove. Normally the tub is 5 feet long or longer and the water pressure and direction is not sufficient for the water to get past the other end of the tub. One or two customers have installed a second shower screen at the opposite end of the tub however, to ensure that water doesn’t escape here./li>

Can I replace sliding shower doors with a shower screen?

  • Yes, it is certainly possible to replace an old glass sliding tub enclosure with one of our shower screens. The holes where the old slider door assembly was attached to the wall will probably need to be patched but otherwise it should be no different than installing a shower screen to replace a curtain.

Where can I purchase replacement seals?

  • We normally have plenty of replacement seals in stock. You can order one by clicking here.

What is ClearShield?

  • ClearShield is a polymeric resin that bonds chemically with the glass to form a hydrophobic (water hating) coating on the surface of the glass. The coating is inert, transparent and non-hazardous but it causes the water droplets to bead up and run off the glass more readily than they do on ordinary glass, leaving less water behind (and any soap, limescale, bacteria or other residues). Consequently, far less cleaning is required to keep your shower screen looking like new. For more information about ClearShield click here.

Do you offer custom sizes?

  • Currently we do not offer custom sizes, however there are very few situations where a custom size is necessary.

Are shower screens safe for bathing children?

  • We have sold thousands of shower screens, many to customers who use them for bathing children and we are not aware of a single incident where a customer (child or adult) has been injured while bathing or showering. The main advantage a shower screen has over conventional sliding doors is there is no track at the bottom to navigate.

    Our semi-frameless models (as shown) are usually more practical for bathing kids because the glass can be moved to any position and will remain there. The frameless models have self-centering hinges so the glass will try to return to the closed position if moved up to 25 degrees into or out of the tub. As there is usually a toilet or vanity next to the tub, it is normally not possible to move the glass very far but it is still enough for access to the controls, drain plug, rubber duck and so on.



    There are a few safety points to consider:
    - Most bathrooms have a toilet or a sink/vanity next to the tub, preventing the shower screen from opening fully. It would take a considerable impact to break the glass by swinging it into the toilet etc. but if the point of contact is hard and pointed (e.g. the corner of a stone counter top) it is worth considering the use of a bumper to soften any accidental contacts. Bumper Specialities offers a wide range of them or you can probably find something at the local hardware store.
    - It is possible for a child to bump into the end of the glass when the shower screen is open so it is important to be mindful of this. Our narrower (30” wide) models have an advantage in this respect in that they don’t protrude as far into the bathroom as the wider (33.5”, shown) models.
    - Tempered glass (required for shower screens) is much stronger and safer than regular glass and it is quite difficult to break it. If it does break, the tempering process causes the glass to crumble into small granular pieces which are far less likely to cause significant injuries. However tempered glass should not be modified (e.g. drilled or cut) and it should be replaced if there are any signs of damage (e.g. chips) or other imperfections in the glass.


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