FIXING A SHOWER DOOR GUIDE BY YOURSELF
You have the kind of shower where you have sliding glass doors on the edge of the tub. Suddenly the cheap nylon plastic door guide breaks. Reinstallation with a new plastic door guide is not an option because where the holes are drilled on the tub to screw it in, do not match the plastic door guides made today. You cannot afford to remodel your bathroom (most of us cannot do this) and putting a shower tension rod with a curtain is not possible due to limited space and configuration. You need to fix this door but you have no one available to help you. The job requires more than two hands because the glass door keeps swinging as you try to glue the plastic piece back onto the original guide. How can you possibly fix this when you need more than two hands and a very limited budget?
Rather than trying to do the square-peg/round hole scenario trying to make another door guide of the wrong size refit the mold of the other construction configuration by drilling a new set of holes into a door guide (easily cracking the new guide) – we suggest trying to glue together your broken door guide.
First, you need to identify the proper way to fix the problem. If the entire plastic piece has broken off, you need to be sure that you allow proper cure time for the piece to dry once you glue it on. Most importantly, you need the proper adhesive. You will want the adhesive to be waterproof/water resistant (this part of the shower is exposed to water). You will need it to withstand a temperature of 105 degrees (the hot water temperature tolerable for a hot shower by humans).
If you do not get an adhesive that has this temperature compatibility, then the steam, moisture and heat can compromise the integrity of the adhesive. You must make sure that the adhesive can stand up to harsh chemicals/cleansers if these are the kind you choose to use to clean your shower. Otherwise, the chemicals in the cleaner (particularly solvent types) can actually breakdown the glue/adhesive every time you clean and you’ll end up with a broken shower guide again.
Even if you do not use harsh chemicals to clean (i.e. you use something natural like Simple Green or plain vinegar, vodka or lemon juice to clean your bathroom surfaces) – you will still need to be sure that at the very least the adhesive can stand up to the chemicals used by the city in your tap water. One of the reasons the shower door guide broke in the first place was because the integrity of the cheap nylon could not withstand the chemicals coming from either your shower water or the cleaners you use. Nylon is a very flimsy, thin plastic. A better plastic would be polypropylene, but trying to find a shower door guide or any types of shower construction materials made of polypropylene is a very rare find. If you are lucky to find it, go for it. But if not and you have the predicament above, you will need to work with an alternate solution.
Once you find the proper adhesive, it’s time to fix your shower door guide. We recommend finding one meant for outdoors that works with plastics and dries clear. Why? If it is meant for outdoor use, think of the temperature capability… you know it will be made to withstand triple digits as well as rain! And most plastics outside are useful plastics – like chairs, tables, things which need to be strong to handle the use as well as the elements.
One of your main problems you will experience if you are trying to do this by yourself is the shower door keeps bouncing out (the reason you need the guide in the first place), and since it is the guide that is broken, how do you make the door behave while you’re waiting for the glue to dry?
Two pieces of scotch tape will do. You do not need anything heavier than that to do the trick. Taping the doors together will keep the door from bouncing out while you are holding the plastic track in place. If you purchase the proper adhesive, you won’t have to wait too long. You want something that dries quickly so that you can at least get one piece of the track to adhere to the other long enough so you then can walk away and let it cure for the time frame indicated on your glue that you purchase.
Make sure that BOTH SIDES (where you are gluing TO as well as the broken piece. Hold it there until the glue gets tacky enough to stick to the other piece of the track and has no risk of slowly falling back into the tub. A couple hours later – reinforce with more adhesive on the cracked portion of the plastic and let dry.
Let the piece cure overnight if you can and you will now have a fixed shower door guide. Be sure to remove the scotch tape and CAREFULLY slide your doors back into place.
You will find that you will be less likely to break it again IF you make sure that the sliding doors stay in their proper place. While most people think that the doors can slide either way (and they do) – you put less stress and every day strain on the actual door guide IF you make sure that the door closest to the inside of the tub stays on the RIGHT side and the other door stays on the left. If you keep your doors this way and not use the other door to close up the other side, you won’t be creating opportunities to move the doors in a way where it pushes the door guide outward.
This is a quick, easy, affordable way to fix your problem. In a perfect world, we’d all like to remodel our bathrooms or get all new shower doors and such, but this is not always an option. We hope this helps.
tdeeds on August 26, 2016:
Helpful article, except I have one more problem. The door guide, now back in one piece apparently was just glued to the bottom of the door frame with some kind of adhesive which is long gone. The guide is plastic and the frame is metal. Any suggestions for an adhesive?