Losing Steam?

Doorless, walk-in showers are perfect for ADA compliance and aging in place, but they can get drafty. Are they here to stay or will their popularity start losing steam?

Edited by Moe Godat

Bathroom finishes and fixtures by Moen, photography provided by Henry Kitchen & Bath.



Doorless shower designs have one of the biggest benefits: you can style them with an endless array of looks, materials, colors and finishes. They give you an open, welcoming atmosphere. When combined with heated floors and a fan you will keep the space warm, giving you a luxurious spa-like experience. Jamison Boyd, Henry Kitchen & Bath.

Personally, I feel that with an aging population and ADA adherence, walk-in-curb free showers are a great new classic. The look is cleaner and if flooring material is appropriate, it can create a seamless flooring detail. Robert Idol, Idol Design.

The “open-concept” way of living is becoming popular in the shower area, too. Some really like the open-concept, spa-like feeling of a doorless shower entry. For others, especially those aging in place, doorless entries are ideal for mobility issues. A few things to consider while planning are shower size, location of the shower entry, drainage issues and the style of the shower head for splash control. Barbara Collins, Barbara Collins Interior Design.

I think this idea will be around for a while. It's a lot easier to navigate into the shower and provides a necessary barrier-free entry. It's also a very attractive design concept.Bill Cover, William D. Cover, Architect LLC.

They have been normal in Europe for decades. Every noteworthy hotel in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, etc,  has had this kind of door. But there is a difference: the door was on a deep soaking tub and the glass was only from top of tub to above the shower. But we Americans have an idea for improvement: a revolutionary idea that made the glass separate for a shower and made it stationary! Voila! That’s what I call American ingenuity. Joyce Cockrell, Joyce Cockrell Designs, LLC.

Walk-in showers are perfect for those with mobility issues. Doorless showers don’t feature a threshold, allowing you to walk right into the shower with nothing to impede you. This makes them a safer option, especially if you plan on aging in place at your home or have any elderly or mobility impaired guests. With no door to trap in steam, doorless showers might have a tendency to feel drafty at times. The pros outweigh the cons. Rebekah Murphy, Stone Hall Cabinetry.

A doorless shower is a luxurious addition to any bathroom. It offers an elegant custom look and can increase the value of your home when it's time to sell. From a design standpoint, a walk-in shower keeps the bathroom as open and spacious as possible. Steve Donovan, Marc Christian Fine Cabinetry.


Walk-in showers with no doors are definitely more of a craze and not for everyone. It’s a unique application meant to make a space feel larger, but since clear glass also makes the space open, plus holds heat and blocks water, it’s a more practical choice for a shower. Anne Marie Boedges, Anne Marie Design Studio.

Curbless showers have long been used in hospital and nursing home facilities and now in high-end luxury bathroom remodels as well. To create the doorless shower, the floor needs to slope to one side so that the water can drain. While it is easy to incorporate into new construction, it can be very difficult in a remodel. CJ Knapp, Yours by Design.


The “doorless shower” is a craze. While the concept of not having the door is initially appealing, in function, this often can leave the shower feeling cold. The other element being “curbless” is classic. This used to be tricky from a construction standpoint, having to modify the floor framing to build the shower floor slope. The result – a very refined streamlined look that not only looks great, but functionally works great for people wanting to age in place. Michael Cyr, FORNEY + architecture.

The question is how many people will like mopping up after a shower where there is no door? The importantissue here is that there is not a threshold to step over. This should be how all showers are made in order to be accessible. I have installed showers without thresholds and still have a door to keep the water contained. Linda K. Kusmer, Interior Design Consultant.