The last time we remodeled our master bathroom, Ronald Reagan was president, a first-class stamp was 24¢, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 1,900. At the time, we tiled the walls and floor, put in a stock vanity and toilet, and installed a 4’ one-piece shower with sliding glass doors. A few years ago, we replaced the vanity, and the room still looks pretty good overall. Taking a closer look, though, the faucets are getting tarnished, and the glass doors are looking pretty dated and beat. Recently, the folks at Delta offered us an opportunity to try out a new service they are offering in conjunction with the Home Depot. Put down your copy of 1984, and take a look. We’ll show you how easy it is to customize and order your own Delta Shower Doors!
The process is fast, easy, and almost fun—not an adjective you normally associate with buying a shower door. To begin, you first select what type of Delta Shower Doors you need—sliding tub, sliding shower, or pivoting shower. If it’s a shower door, you’ll need to know the measurement for the width; there’s a link on the first page that shows you where to measure.
At this point, you have two choices: choice one is to choose your door type and finish the design process online, which is simple and takes just a few minutes. Choice two is for those who hate doing anything online, or who just want to get out of the house, and perhaps go somewhere that has people strolling about in orange aprons, eager to help you get through the design process. It turns out Home Depot is the only place to go since Delta Shower Doors are available in-store exclusively there. Here’s a quick overview of the process from Delta:
Assuming you want to do it online, after choosing your door type, just click on the red banner that says “Step 1: Choose Your Glass.” Crazy as it sounds, this is where you’ll choose your glass. There are eight styles to choose from, including various patterns and textured glass. If you like to keep an eye on things while you’re showering, you can even select clear glass.
In the next step, you’ll choose the track for your Delta Shower Doors. You can select chrome, nickel, bronze, or polished brass. In each step of the process, prices are clearly shown for each option, and a little monitor on the upper right shows your selections so far, along with a running total cost. There is also a picture on each page, and whenever you make a selection, the picture is updated automatically to show what your door will look like.
The final step is to select your hardware. There are four styles of towel bars to choose from, depending on your tastes. If keeping it simple is your style, take a look at “Simplicity.” Looking for something with a bit more panache? “Panache” might be just the thing. The other two offerings don’t lend themselves to cheesy references; you’ll just have to look for yourself.
And that’s it, you just designed your own Delta Shower Doors! Just click on “See Your Design” to—you guessed it—see your design. At this point, you’ll also be able to look through several accessories that coordinate with your design, including faucet sets, towel bars, toilet paper holders, drawer knobs and even flush levers for your toilet! Click on “Add To Cart,” and you’ll be taken to the Home Depot web site. First, select your delivery method; you can choose to have it shipped to the nearest Home Depot for free, or to your home for a fee. Proceed to the checkout, pay, and sit back and dream how splendid your baño will look when your designer door arrives!
The order for my custom doors was placed on October 7th. On October 15th, a big ol’ truck rolled up, and a box of Delta Shower Doors landed on our side porch. Not bad, I’ve had stock special orders take longer than that to arrive. The doors are shipped by ground freight; when they get to your area, the trucking company will contact you to set up a delivery date. If you’re hiring someone to do the installation, tell them when to show up, and your mission is complete. On the other hand, if you have average DIY skills, and some basic tools, you can do your own installation. This will save you some money, and earn you the awe and respect of everyone you meet.
The HomeFixated Guide To Installing Your Delta Shower Doors
If your tub or shower is new, and you don’t have to remove an old set of doors, you have permission to scroll down to “Delta Shower Doors – By The Book.” Otherwise, the first step in the installation process is to make the old stuff go away. If your old doors are still in good shape, your local Habitat for Humanity or other salvaged-goods store may accept it for resale. This accomplishes several things: it eliminates your disposal problem (some trash haulers may not take large items), it keeps usable stuff out of the landfill, and you might even get a tax write-off!
Most shower doors are installed the same way: upright brackets go at either end of the shower, and are screwed into the edges of the tub or wall. A track fits in between them, and sits on the edge of the tub or shower. Finally, the top rail is attached to the top of the edge brackets. After all that is in place, you tip the doors into place, where little wheels glide along an overhead track. Usually there is a center bracket in the bottom track to separate the doors, and hold them into the track. To take it apart, we’ll simply reverse the process. And now for the first HomeFixated tip of the day: spreading a towel on the shower floor will help protect it, and will also keep screws and debris out of the drain.
First, pop out the old doors. Usually you can do this just by unscrewing the dividing bracket, lifting up on the doors, and tilting them into the shower. Once the doors are off, unscrew the side brackets and tip them in toward the center. There will probably be caulk wanting to hold them in place; use a painter’s multitool or a flat-bladed razor scraper to convince them to give it up; just be careful not to scratch your walls or chip your surround.
At this point, you should be able to tip the sides and top outward. The bottom rail is usually just held in place by caulk; scrape it off, and the rail should pop right out. Use your flat-bladed razor scraper, and a sponge with some cleaner that’s safe for your shower’s surface, to get the rest of the caulk and years of accumulated nastiness off the entire opening area.
And that’s it, you’re ready to install your sporty new Delta Shower Doors! If you want to see how the pros do it, Delta has a series of helpful installation videos. The following is their sliding shower door installation video:
Delta Shower Doors – By The Book
Even if you’ve done a shower door installation before, it’s a good idea to read the instructions. The instruction manual that comes with your Delta Shower Doors is excellent, very clear and thorough. The first page gives a list of all the tools and supplies you’ll need to install your doors, so a good first step is to round everything up. Unpack the doors and rails, and make sure all the parts are there. Some of the parts are stuck in the packing foam, so don’t pitch anything until your installation is finished. I’ll give an overview here, but the manual has much more detail, and is, as they say, profusely illustrated.
The wall jambs go in first. The jambs must sit flat against the shower wall and the threshold; if you have a tile wall, or a tub or shower with a perfect 90° angle where the wall meets the threshold, you’re set. If you have a tub or shower where there’s a curve there, you’ll need to round off the bottom of the side rails to conform to the curve. This is no big deal; the instructions tell you to use a coin to mark the contour onto the jamb. What they don’t tell you is that you probably won’t be able to SEE that mark!
A little HF tip: put a piece of masking tape on the jamb, and make your mark on it. Use a pair of tin snips or a hacksaw, and cut to that approximate shape. Finish smoothing it to the right shape with a file or angle grinder. You can also use an angle grinder to do the whole process; that’s what I did, just be careful not to get carried away with it.
Place the wall jambs against the wall, centered on the bottom ledge. Use your level to plumb them, then temporarily tape them in place. Next, you’ll drill a 1/8” pilot hole through the three pre-drilled holes in the wall jambs into the edge of the shower. Take the jambs back off the wall, and use a 5/16” bit to enlarge the pilot holes.
Push the supplied wall anchors into these holes, and snug them in gently with a small hammer. Reposition the wall jambs, and screw them to the wall. Your screws will be used to attach bumpers to the top and bottom holes, and a special center bumper in the middle. Hey—your walls are done!
Laying Some Track
Now it’s time to cut the bottom track. The kits will fit various sizes of tubs and showers; getting an accurate measurement will give you a good, snug fit you need to measure the distance between the two jambs. This can be tricky to do, as it’s an inside measurement. Here’s another HF tip: measure from one end to an even number around the center of the threshold, and make a mark. I chose 24”. Now, measure from the other end to that same mark, and add those two numbers together. My second measurement came to exactly 19”, making my total length 43”.
Now you need to transfer that measurement onto your bottom track, and mark it for cutting. Our track hardware was bronze, which makes it really hard to see any marks. I used the tape trick again, putting a piece of masking tape on the track and making my mark on it. To avoid unnecessary foul language and elevated blood pressure, double check your measurements and marks before you cut! You want a nice, square cut, so use a miter box with your hacksaw. Make sure it’s deep enough to accommodate a 3” wide piece of material; that’s how wide my top track was. Make your cut, and use a file to smooth any burred edges. By the way, another tip the folks at Delta repeated several times was DO NOT CUT THE TOP AND BOTTOM TRACKS TO THE SAME LENGTH! They are correct, don’t do it!
There’s a piece of gasket material in the kit; slide it into the groove in the track, and cut it to length. Now test fit your track between the jambs. Undoubtedly, it’s a perfect fit; if not (due undoubtedly to a shoddily-made tape measure or something else beyond your control), remove the track and file it to size. When all is well, fill the groove on the bottom of the track with silicone sealant, and press it into place between the jambs.
Next up: the top track. For this, you’ll measure the distance between the two shower walls, above the wall jambs. This is another tricky measurement to get accurately. If you’re replacing a previously-installed unit, here’s a little cheat that worked for me: measure the OLD upper track, assuming it fit properly. Mine did, so it was easy to get the exact measurement. If you’re not so fortunate, here’s an easy way to get the measurement using materials at hand: take a piece of cardboard from the packaging, and make a mark exactly 12” from a square end of it. (Alternatively, you could use a 12″ ruler or a framing square). Hold the square end against one wall, and measure over from the other wall to your 12” mark. Add the two together, and there you go! Transfer the measurement to the top rail, again using a piece of masking tape, grab your miter box, and make the cut. Again, be sure to double-check your measurement first. De-burr the end, hold the top rail over the wall jambs, and push it into place. The hardest part is done!
I Can See Clearly Now – Or Perhaps Obscurely
And now for the most rewarding segment of your Delta Shower Doors installation, the shower doors! Remember the foam I told you not to throw away? That’s where the hanger brackets were lurking. Two brackets go on each door; the inside door gets installed first. The doors are identical, so grab one and install the hangars using the pre-drilled holes in the door, making sure the grooved sides of the brackets face the label side of the glass panel. Snug up the screws but don’t go all Incredible Hulk – you don’t want to risk cracking the door, and having to explain to your friends why there’s a blue tarp hanging in your shower opening. Now just lift the door into the upper track, until the rollers rest on the track. Make sure the side of the door with the label is facing in.
Now repeat the process with the other door, but this time with the smooth side of the bracket facing the label side of the door. Lift the door into the top track, making sure the bottom of the door is inside the bottom track. Wow, it’s starting to look like a shower!
If the doors don’t meet the walls properly, they can easily be adjusted. Pop the door back out of the track, and loosen up the rollers. There are three holes the roller can be inserted into; to raise the glass, use the lower hole. To lower it, use the upper hole. Snug the roller up, and re-hang the door.
Once the doors are aligned properly, it’s time to install the divider on the bottom track. Measure the bottom track, find the center, and position the divider there, with the doors in the grooves. Drill 1/8” pilot holes through the edge of the divider into the bottom track, and secure it with the two self-tapping screws. Your Delta Shower Doors are secure, and you’re almost finished!
Sealing the Deal
To keep the water on the inside of your beautiful new Delta Shower Doors, take your silicone sealant and seal along the entire length of the wall jambs and bottom track, both inside and out. 100% pure silicone works best, and there are varieties made specifically for bathrooms, with mold inhibitors. All that’s left to do is install the door handles or towel bars you selected. The exact installation will vary according to your hardware, but all are designed to be used with the pre-drilled holes in the door.
Mine was very straightforward. I just inserted the rubber bushings into the holes in the door, slid a rubber gasket over the escutcheon and the handle post, and threaded them together through the hole. I installed one end, then put a bit of silicone on the towel bar, slid it into the post, and installed the other end. Easy peasy!
I summoned my wife, and we stepped back and admired the transformation, what a difference! It looked great, until I opened the door and saw the old faucets and drain. Replacing them will be our next move, the spiffy new doors made us realize just how crappy the old fixtures had gotten over the past three decades. Meanwhile, the Spousal Seal of Approval was issued.
Design Your Own Delta Shower Doors
I think the custom Delta Shower Doors concept is great. The materials are very good quality – the weight on the shower doors was about twice that of those I took out. Fit and finish is excellent, everything you need to do the installation is included, and the instructions are very good. The design and ordering process was quick and easy, and the available options should enable most buyers to design a set of shower doors that’s exactly what they want. The only quibble I had with the entire process was that it’s difficult to see exactly what the various types of glass look like, at least that was the case on my Mac. Some higher-res photos might help with that.
Pricing is very competitive with stock units, where you’re limited to whatever configuration happens to be on the shelf. With the Delta Shower Doors, you’re the boss. Don’t like pebbled glass? Go with the Mission style. Tired of the polished brass (yep!)? Get the rubbed bronze or brushed nickel. Got some fancy shmancy towel racks on the wall? Get a matching fancy shmancy towel bar on your shower door.
The flexibility is great, you can get exactly what you want, and you can control the cost. I designed a similar setup in chrome, with pebbled glass, and the total cost came to $210. You can further control your costs by choosing to pick up your Delta Shower Doors at a nearby Home Depot for free, but if your schedule is crazy, you can have it shipped to your home for $55 or so. The doors come with a limited five-year warranty.
Ready for the three-step program? Design YOUR custom doors before November 3rd, 2014, and you can enter a sweepstakes to win $1,000 or your own set of custom Delta Shower Doors!