Something new

Companies up the ante in hardware product development for bath and shower enclosures
December 5, 2011
RETAIL : HARDWARE

While the homebuilding market remains slow, remodeling has gained steam, offering exciting opportunities for bath and shower enclosure companies. As consumers focus on home improvements, many are beginning to demand more out of their shower glass and hardware. Glass companies have responded by developing a variety of new products to serve increasingly diverse customer needs.

"'New' is the new mantra of shower and bath enclosures," says Rich Porayko, marketing consultant, Agalite Shower & Bath Enclosures. "Glass companies, designers and end users tend to gravitate to new and different designs, whether it is a new glass texture, hardware option or easy clean treatment. Bland is boring—innovative and daring designs are grabbing all the attention." 

As customers gravitate toward new and different options, the use of custom glass and hardware continues to grow, says Carol Perry-Sturgill, director of marketing/sales, American Shower Door. "Construction does not always allow for a cookie cutter installation. There is a market for a not-one-size-fits-all [solution], as the glass dealer who goes to a job site confronts many varying situations," Sturgill says. "Our custom machine shop fits a niche [market]—high end quality product made specifically for our custom glass dealers who are at the job site."

 Companies are also developing hardware to meet demand for decorative options and frameless enclosures. "The frameless heavy glass shower door market using 3/8-inch or ½-inch glass has become the norm in today's remodeled bathroom," says Paul Knadler, vice president, Arizona Shower Door Inc.

Brad Murphy, brand manager of the Frameless Shower Door Hardware
Division of C.R. Laurence Co., agrees. "The trend in the bath and shower market is towards more glass exposure [and] minimal hardware ... to safely support the enclosure," he says. "People want to appreciate the bathing and shower environment, along with the beauty of
the glass."

The following products are examples of some of the new shower hardware offerings available from glass industry companies. 

Light-duty hinges

Agalite Shower & Bath Enclosures, a division of Hartung Glass Industries, introduced Porta Jr. light-duty shower enclosure hinges. Specifically designed for 6-millimeter glass, the hinges allow for a greater variety of tinted, textured and designer glass options. The Porta Jr. hardware also offers the popular frameless look at a more economical price point than heavier glass products, according to a company release. The hinges’ solid brass construction offers enhanced support of 6-mm glass: Two hinges can support a 32-inch wide, 55-pound door, and three hinges can support a 36-inch wide, 85-pound door. Backed by a five-year warranty, each Porta Jr. hinge includes a 5-degree offset pin and a waffle grip clamping surface.
All of Agalite’s new hinges are available as hardware only or with Agalite’s glazed Estate Collection shower doors in brushed nickel, chrome, gold and oil rubbed bronze. Porta Jr. hinges are offered in wall mount, 180-degree glass-to-glass and 135-degree glass-to-glass configurations.
800/552-2227 | www.agalite.com

Stainless steel hinges and pivots

American Shower Door produces standard and custom hinges and pivots for high-quality, precision applications such as ¾-inch glass installations, large and heavy doors, arched top openings, custom stopping positions, curved conditions and bi-fold doors. Hardware is available in any brass finish. In 2012, it will be available in stainless steel as well. The company also fabricates custom clips and handles. Custom manufactured specialty hardware is available for large or small projects to serve a "not-one-size-fits-all" market, according to company officials.
800/421-2333 | www.americanshowerdoor.com 

Economical frameless options

Arizona Shower Door introduced the MP system for frameless shower door applications. Featuring patch hinges and minimal aluminum extrusions, it is designed for use with ¼-inch glass and offers an economical alternative to heavy glass units, according to a release. In addition, it allows for adjustment to accommodate wall outages using stock sizes. The MP-I ClearView system incorporates even less vertical extrusions between door and panel, creating clearer views through the shower enclosure. The company also introduced a recessed finger pull on its ¼-, 5/16- and 3/8-inch-thick, frameless bypass units. The new design feature improves functionality of the sliding unit, according to officials.
800/255-1901 | www.arizonashowerdoor.com 

 

Frameless shower door system

C.R. Laurence's new Serenity Series Frameless Shower Door System features a low-profile,
stainless steel header support bar. Highquality, smooth gliding rollers above the bar and anti-lift fittings below the bar provide a secure fit, according to company officials, while the use of minimal hardware gives the glass door system a floating look. Designed for easy installation, the system accommodates 5/16-inch or 3/8-inch glass, and doors up to 30 inches wide or weighing up to 88 pounds.
800/421-6144 | www.crlaurence.com 

 

 

Conductive hardware

KL Megla America LLC developed Wellfit EQ,
LED glass for showers and stationary glass walls, powered by conductive Wellness EQ Hinges. The hinges transmit current to suspended LED lights hanging freely between two glass panels. The company also expanded its Smart Glass division with a series of conductive hardware for privacy glass applications, ranging from glass walls and partitions to shower doors. The conductive hardware is designed for wet applications, and is customized for each application, according to company officials.
855/556-3452 | www.kl-megla.com