This post is about the danger of putting glass door hardware (clips) on top of waterproof curbs and knee walls. It’s done constantly, and as a homeowner you need to watch out for this, because this has the potential to make your shower fail. Curbs and knee walls are a place that makes contact with an exorbitant amount of water during a shower. We spend so much time making our showers vapor and water proof and unscrupulous glass companies will come in and put penetrations through the water proofing which will allow water to penetrate your home’s sub-structure.
We tell the glass guys all the time, “Don’t put screws into our curbs.” And what do we get but the kiss of death, “This is how we’ve always done it.”
Does it sound logical to you to drop a 2” screw into a FOAM curb? What kind of hold do you think that screw gets in foam? One response to our contention we got from a glass guy was, “What happens if there’s a slip and fall and the person hits the glass?” To which we rebutted, “Have you ever torn out one of these glass panels?”
When you tear out glass panels the professional grade 100% silicone caulking is SO tough you can NOT move the panel unless you cut the silicone 10x. Believe it or not a high-grade silicone is more than sufficient to hold the glass panel. A couple clips strategically placed on the wall(not on the curb) will more than hold a panel. It's about trusting your building material.
My question to these glass door people that want to build a glass bomb shelter, dropping screws everywhere with not a care in the world is this, Do you think people are playing football in these showers? Taking a shower is one of the most delicate, personal practices you perform in a day…. You’re not hitting these panels with cinder blocks!
Now if you look through my site at all our finish shower photos, you will see a large amount of them have clips on the shower curb. We are not proud of this. Any job you see with bad clip placement is a job we did working under a builder. When you hire us privately, your door will NOT have clips on the curb tops or knee walls. We use Chattahoochee Glass in Johns Creek, GA and yes, you pay more for their service, but they are true professionals who know and more importantly understand the dangers of penetrations through waterproofing.
We only have so much fight in us when dealing with a builder and their glass guy. We could raise a stink, but ultimately once the glass company decides to make those penetrations, it’s on them. Of course, they’re not the first one who gets the phone call, (It’s us) but the responsibility is quickly turned to the guilty parties. They should know better, but as Mark Twain said…”It’s not what we don’t know that gets us, It’s what we think we know that isn’t so.”
I’m more than happy to debate any glass guy on this topic, but I want to talk to one who has had to pay for a shower failure because of their mistake. That’s the guy who is going to be conscientious when it comes to putting penetrations in waterproofing. Like Chattahoochee Glass Doors for example, they’ve had to pay for that mistake, so they don’t make it again. We asked our builder’s glass door guys, is there a chance you could be wrong seeing that a company with 10x your volume does it like this…? The response…” This is how my boss wants it done.”
I'll warn you, be aware of penetrations on curb tops and knee walls. Ask your glass guy, Do you make penetrations in the waterproofing on top of my curb or knee wall? Are you as conscious of waterproofing as my tile guy?
Please, don’t hold the photos on our website with curb top penetrations against us. Again, our private customers get a shower that will truly stand the test of time, that obeys national standards, and we are true sticklers for waterproofing. We supervise the glass installation ON SITE as well! But when we work for a builder, after we leave the job, things are out of our hands. We’ve expressed our opposition to curb top penetrations till we were blue in the face, what more can we do? Hopefully with time and the education of homeowners, things will indeed change for the better in this business. Remember, you have the ultimate power during your home's remodel...so say something to your glass installer...You write the check!