Home Improvement--General/Shower door vs. curtain?


Our house has three bathrooms. A main one with a big tub, no shower, a basement one with a tub and tub shower door, and a small one off the master bedroom with a 'shower stall'? I think its called.
Shortly after moving in, we found the basement one kept coming off the rails, so we took it off and hung a shower curtain instead, which works well.
Now the master bedroom one is no longer functioning. It has been leaned against by the men in the family, and needs to be replaced. Would a shower curtain be appropriate here too? Can you get small but sturdy curtain rods that will hold a heavy curtain, maybe one that attaches to the sides of the shower as well? Or is a  new door more appropriate?

Shower Rod + Towel
Shower Rod + Towel  
Hello, Sue.

My father was born in Saskatoon!

Now, to answer your question. A new, sturdier door is one option, but it's considerably more expensive than a shower curtain.

There are adjustable shower rods that will work just fine. The trick is to get a size where there's as much overlap of the two telescoping rods as possible. If there's a chance that you might switch from a shower curtain to a new door in the future, I recommend not getting a rod that screws into the tile, unless you have extra trim tiles to replace the ones you've drilled.

Because of financial considerations, we've lived with an adjustable rod and plastic shower curtain in our master bathroom for over 5 years. About a year ago, I attached plastic clothes clips to 5 additional rings on the right-hand side of the curtain; that's where we hang our wet towels to dry. Never had any problems with the curtain falling down. (see attached image)

It's very important that the curtain (or plastic liner) is inside the curb and snug against the walls when you're taking a shower. Shower curtains, when used properly, can provide distinct benefits: (1) If the shower or tub-shower is narrow, you can bump your elbow without getting hurt; (2) If the curtain is kept inside the curb, you'll never have any leaks (swinging shower doors can drip onto the floor and curb, creating a slip-fall hazard, and possible water damage).

The weak spot in bathrooms is where the curb meets the floor, especially if the flooring is vinyl. I recommend that you thoroughly check out the joint between the curb and floor yearly, and repair the grout or caulk as needed.

Good luck!


Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ
D. P. Design

P.S. If you feel that I've answered your question to your satisfaction, I request that you grade my answer, and consider awarding bonus points and nomination for "volunteer of the month". Thank you!  

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Diane Plesset


I will answer questions about anything to do with bathroom remodeling: design considerations, safety, function, materials (cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures and fittings, lighting/switching, heating and ventilation, tile, stone, concrete, tub and shower enclosures, flooring, etc.), saving water, trends, ROI, and appearance.


25+ years as a bath-kitchen design specialist, hundreds of completed bathroom projects (all styles, all investment ranges). Author of "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling," co-host of a home improvement program on a local radio station for over three years. Currently hosting "Today's Home" on Lifestyle WebRadio every Sunday afternoon (http://www.todays-home.com).

NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), PRO (Portland Remodelers' Organization), IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council).

"THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" (my book, published in 2003), Designers' Illustrated Magazine, Gentry Magazine, Kitchen-Bath Business Magazine, Kitchen-Bath Design News Magazine,Interior Coordinator Magazine (Japan); San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Statesman Journal, Portland Tribune, Oregonian.

Multiple degrees: Bathroom Design, Residential Interior Design, Kitchen Design, and Lighting Design. Regularly attend classes and seminars to maintain current knowledge about codes, trends, sustainability, new products, etc.

Awards and Honors
Awards: Henry Adams Designer of the Year, CoTY, Master Design, Best of the Best, Chrysalis, Excellence (best home in its category), and NABE (best how-to book, 2003). "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" received #1 listing in the City of Chicago publication, "Hiring The Pros".

Past/Present Clients
To see photos of completed projects, visit my website: http://www.dp-design.com/portfolio

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