Frequently Asked Questions
         
general questions about California Inspirations' services
 
Q:  Approximately how much time is required, from the day an order is placed, for California Inspirations to install a heavy, glass shower enclosure?
A:  Ten to fourteen business days.  The actual time-frame will depend both on the availability of the hardware and on the current back-log at the glass fabricator.  Once California Inspirations receives the materials we will schedule an installation date.  Installation itself can be completed in three to six hours, depending on the configuration of the enclosure.
 
Q:  Master bathrooms seem to be the primary place people install extravagant, heavy, glass shower enclosures.  For less expensive, secondary bathrooms what types of enclosures does California Inspirations recommend?
A:  California Inspirations represents a full line of enclosures from several of the top manufacturers.  These lines range from basic sliders to complicated neo-angles and ninety-degree units.  Many come in both semi-frameless and framed styles (refer to the Product Links button).  Whatever your needs California Inspirations has something to fit your budget.
 
Questions about frameless shower doors
 

Q:  What is a heavy, glass, frameless, shower door?

A:  Heavy glass refers to the thickness of the tempered glass used; and frameless refers to how the door is attached to the shower enclosure.  The thickness of the glass can be either 3/8" or 1/2".  The door of a frameless shower enclosure is attached by hinges only--meaning there is no metal framework around the door itself.  The only metal on a frameless door is in the hinges and the handle or handle/towel bar combination.

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Q:  What makes a California Frameless Shower Door different from other frameless shower doors?

A:  It begins with our trade secret--an unique, laser measuring system (developed by Scott).  Measuring is the key with heavy glass panels!  California Inspirations' revolutionary system allows for measurements so accurate that no channel is necessary on either the bottom of the glass or the glass walls themselves.  Once installed, the glass enclosure panels fit so closely to the existing bathroom walls that they appear to be coming right out of the tile/stone.  Each frameless installation uses clear polycarbonate seals that are attached with very high bond tape and are custom-fitted with a driprail along the bottom of the door.

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Q:  Does the method of existing tile/stone installation affect whether or not a frameless shower enclosure, with no header, can be installed?

A:  Absolutely!  For frameless installations, the preferred method of tile/stone installation is referred to as "floating the walls".  This is accomplished by applying wire mesh and multiple layers of a cement product to the walls.  Combined with the added wood sub-structure beneath the hinge locations, this method can support the weight of just about anything.  When this type of tile/stone work is used the resulting thickness of the cement, thinset, and tile/stone is between 1" and 1 1/4" thick.  Although this process is more costly, and requires more time than the alternative method listed below, it is far preferable. 

The other method of tile/stone installation uses products such as Hardiebacker and Wonderboard.  These products are installed in the same fashion as drywall, but with different screws.  The tile/stone is then attached to this surface with thinset.  With these types of installations, California Inspirations definitely recommends using a header.  With either of these installation methods, the most important issue is that the tile/stone needs to be installed so that the water flow is directed towards the inside of the shower rather than out onto the floor.  This can be accomplished by sloping the sill to the inside of the shower by approximately 3/16" on a 6" sill.  Believe it or not, despite the crucial nature of directional water flow, this slope is often overlooked by tile installers. 

For those concerned that incorrect drainage will prevent them from installing a beautiful California Inspirations frameless shower enclosure--put your mind at ease!  We can still install a heavy, glass enclosure even if the water flow is incorrect.  We simply install a dam under the door to keep the water inside the shower.

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Q:  I have heard that there are 1/4" frameless shower systems that are assembled in the same manner as your heavy, glass showers.  The only difference seems to be that they utilize 1/4" glass rather than the thicker 3/8" or 1/2" glass used by California Inspirations.  Is it worth the savings to use one of these alternative products?

A:  California Inspirations will not even sell a 1/4" unit!  These products are flimsy; and the glass can warp so badly during tempering that it is sometimes difficult to maneuver the seals in such a way that they keep the water inside the shower.  Customers who have bought these units in the past say that they wish they had spent the money up-front for the quality associated with thicker glass.

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Questions about metal Headers
         
Q:  Can a multi-paneled shower enclosure have metal around its perimeter and a header across the top and still be considered a heavy, glass, frameless shower?

A:  Yes.  Some shower enclosure configurations function better with a header, but do not necessarily require metal around the perimeter, as the header itself, once attached to the top of the glass and screwed to the wall, will provide all the support the glass needs to maintain strength and rigidity.  California Inspirations prefers the header method, as we believe it provides a durable, safe, long-lasting enclosure, while still maintaining an elegant look.

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Q:   For which types of shower configurations does California Inspirations recommend a metal header across the top of an enclosure?

A:   A header is recommended on any multi-panel shower enclosure, i.e. 90-degree, neo-angle, and inline, 180-degree type units.  The header strengthens the enclosure, while transferring the supporting weight of the door from the wall to the threshold.  The header also defines the top perimeter of the shower enclosure, and ties it to the finishes of the other hardware in the bathroom.

Another situation where a header should be considered is on a remodel installation, where there is no practical way to be certain what type of construction is behind the wall to which the enclosure will be anchored.  On new construction, correct planning can insure that the additional wood support exists upon which to mount the tile/stone where the hinges of the shower door will be attached--a door that can weigh from 80 lbs. to 140 lbs.  Said support is necessary to install a header-less, heavy, glass, frameless, shower door.  Without this support, in all likelihood, the tile/stone will crack either under the weight of the glass door itself or during installation.

Having given these warnings, if you absolutely must have a header-less shower enclosure, California Inspirations can probably design a system that is tailored to meet your specific needs.

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Q:  Are header-less shower enclosures safe?

A:  Yes, most defiantly.  Header-less enclosures are made from the same 3/8" and 1/2" tempered glass as enclosures with headers.  The only difference, structurally speaking, is that they tend to wobble a little, as the top of the glass is not being held securely in place with a header.  Nonetheless, if the minor wobble is inconsequential, a header-less shower is the way to go. 

As mentioned in this section, there are circumstances where California Inspirations will not install a header-less system.  If a header is mandatory the customer will be informed of such during the estimate.

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Questions about Tempered glass
 

Q:  What is tempered glass?

A:  Tempered glass is glass that has been heat-treated to make it approximately four times stronger than normal.  During the process, glass passes through an oven via a conveyer belt.  It is then cooled.  As it cools a hard, outer crust forms.  If you have ever seen a car's rear window break you have seen tempered glass in action.  The glass breaks into tiny pieces, none large enough to either hurt anyone or do any serious damage.  Tempered glass is the only safe way to construct a frameless shower enclosure.

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Q:  Some shower enclosures are made of glass that appears to have a curve or warp to it, and sometimes has tiny imperfections in it.  What causes this, and is this normal for tempered glass?

A:  It is, more often than not, a natural by-product of the tempering process.  Glass lies flat on the conveyor belt as it progresses through the oven.  When it approaches the melting point it can attract specks of dust and/or pick up an imprint from the conveyor belt.  Warping can develop as the glass comes out of the oven and begins to cool.  Although it is nearly impossible to completely prevent, the best way to avoid warping is to stay away from tall, narrow pieces of glass, as these tend to warp more readily.

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Questions about doors, hinges and fixtures

         

Q:  What is the most significant difference between top and bottom-pivoting hinges and traditional wall-mounted hinges?

A:  Wall-mounted hinges require stronger wall anchorage in order to support the weight that is hung from them.  Whereas, top and bottom-pivoting hinges employ hardened steel bushings to carry the weight of the door, which rests on the bottom hinge.  The top hinge actually supports very little lateral weight.

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Q:  Can California Inspirations match the finish of the new shower enclosure hardware to existing faucets, towel bars and light fixtures?

A:  Yes, most hardware finishes are available on the market today.  However, there are some faucet and lighting manufactures who make colors and finishes that nothing will match!  In such cases, it is best to match the new shower enclosure's hardware with something else in the bathroom. 

There can also be a problem with achieving an exact color match.  Because plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, shower door hinges, and shower door headers are all made out of different metals, the color finishes vary.  As an example, an aluminum shower header with an oil-rubbed bronze finish will not be a perfect match for a faucet made from brass with an oil-rubbed bronze finish.  In turn, the same faucet will not match a light fixture made from punched-steel with an oil-rubbed bronze finish.  They will be close, but will not match perfectly.

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Q:  Can a light fixture be attached through a mirror?

A:  Yes.  But fixture weight is a limiting factor.  The best fixtures for such an installation are light bar fixtures with backing plates.  These bar configurations can easily be wired in through a hole in the mirror and glued in place.  Sconce-type lighting fixtures are more difficult, but not impossible.

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Q:  Can a shower door be made to swing toward the inside of the shower enclosure?

A:  Yes.  A door can be installed to swing inward, as long as it also swings outward.  By law, and due to accessibility concerns, shower doors must swing outward in the event of an emergency.

Certain tile/stone and plumbing parameters must be met during the construction planning stage in order to make a shower door open in both directions.  For example, showerheads and/or body sprayers must be aimed away from the door, the walls of the shower must be flat, and the sill must be pitched to the inside of the enclosure by approximately 3/16" for water flow.  If these parameters are met a shower can be installed with no seals on the door, making it possible to swing both ways.

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