Does your bathroom feel small, cramped and dark? This is common when it comes to bathrooms. Usually the smallest room in the house, they are spaces driven by function first then aesthetics.
In fact, it is so common that we recently shared a post stuffed full of suggestions on how to make your tiny bathroom feel bigger and brighter.
One popular choice for opening up bathroom space is using a clear shower screen. Unlike shower curtains that severe your space into shrunken sections, a clear screen lets natural light flow throughout the whole bathroom. Combined with the clear sight lines it gives across the space, it maximises the sense of space as much as possible.
When you factor in how much easier it is to clean a screen than a curtain, plus the increased durability of a hard screen, picking a clear screen is a no-lose situation.
But choosing a screen isn’t the end of your decision. You need to choose between an acrylic shower screen or a glass one – though they might sound interchangeable (a shower screen is a shower screen after all) there are quite a few differences that each material brings.
To help you make an informed decision about which screen material is best for your bathroom, we’ve put together another shower screen post. We’ll cover maintenance, durability, cost, safety and even sustainability of each material to help you find the right shower screen for you.
Is an acrylic or a glass shower screen better?
When it comes to how your shower screen looks, glass shower screens are always going to be the best option.
The smooth, unblemished surface will always create a higher-quality appearance than acrylic which can have warping or visual distortions even from day one.
Also, a glass screen gives you the freedom to personalise your design. Sandblasting or etching on your shower screen can help you tailor your screen to meet any bathroom design, whether that’s by repeating a pattern seen elsewhere in the room or just adding a bit more style to the scene itself.
Best of all, glass screens keep their aesthetic appeal a lot longer. Even if your bathroom is recently decorated with sparkling taps and flawless grouting, scratches on your shower screen can make the whole room look tired or old. Scratches can even be mistaken for soap scum or dirt very easily and this will quickly drag down the look of your bathroom even further.
Another benefit of a toughened or tempered glass shower screen is its strength. It’s very unlikely to break in the first place. If it does, it will do so in a safe way – shattering to smooth crumbs so you don’t need to worry about cuts or scrapes.
This said safety is one area where acrylic shower screens have the advantage. They are a lot hard to break, and will usually crack before they snap so you can replace them before they become a real safety issue.
Glass shower screens are also heavier than acrylic screens, which can affect their safety, especially if the fittings start to fail.
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your shower screen, glass screens are an easier choice than acrylic.
When cleaning acrylic screens, you should only ever use mild soap, water and a soft cloth or sponge. Acrylic is quite soft, which means anything abrasive – both in terms of surfaces or liquid cleaners – can easily scratch it.
In comparison tempered glass has a tough durable surface that stands up to harsh cleaning chemicals without warping or scratching. If you swipe water off the surface with a squeegee after every use, you’ll only need to give your screen an occasional rub with glass cleaner to keep it looking its best indefinitely.
Overall, glass shower enclosures and screens tend to be more durable than acrylic screens, though this is a nuanced answer.
As we mentioned above, it is almost impossible to break an acrylic shower screen. This could suggest that a glass shower screen is less durable, but this is only half the story. They might not break completely, but acrylic panels are a lot more likely to get scratched, damaged or warped and need replacing earlier than a glass screen.
Acrylic can also turn slightly yellow when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. While you can treat acrylic to slow this process down, glass is naturally UVB resistant so you don’t have to worry about it ever taking on an odd yellow tinge.
Glass is one of – if not the most – sustainable materials currently in use. Glass can be infinitely recycled so it never needs to end up as a waste product. And even if you don’t recycle it, glass is made of naturally occurring elements so it won’t break down into microplastics like acrylic does.
Thanks to its robustness, a glass shower screen is also likely to last longer than a plastic one. Combine this with the fact it can then so easily and endlessly be turned into something new, and glass clearly wins out as the more environmentally friendly option.
If you’re on a very tight budget, then an acrylic screen may be your only option. As they are weaker, less attractive and have such a shorter lifespan, acrylic shower screens tend to be a lot cheaper to purchase than glass ones.
Of course, in many ways, this is a false economy as the shorter lifespan of an acrylic screen just means it needs replacing sooner than a glass one. Acrylic is also easier to damage which can shorten its lifespan even further.
In the short term, an acrylic screen can feel like a cheaper option. In the long term though, glass wins out.
A shower screen to suit your bathroom
When it comes to picking the right shower screen for your home it’s always a subjective choice – and this includes choosing between acrylic and glass. It’s all about what appeals most to you.
But for us the answer will always be glass. Glass panels can upgrade any shower area and open up small bathrooms, adding style and function that survives for years.
Here at KLG, we’re committed to providing excellent quality glass products, quickly and at great prices. So if you’d like a bespoke glass screen that shows your bathroom at its best advantage, contact us today.