Deglossing 1980 Brass Shower Door

I have a bathroom that was last upgraded in the 1980’s by previous owners. Am renovating with an eye to future sale. There is a shower door with shiny brass trim that is in great shape. Realtor suggested ripping the door out and replacing with a curtain, as she has seen on Pinterest, but this is the junior ensuite bedroom and not the primary, likely to be used by a kid. As a parent I cringe at the idea of their having a curtain and prefer a door to keep the water in, not to mention the issue of the holes left in the plastic walls of the shower where the door is screwed in. Is there a way to dull down the brass to look more like the brushed brass faucet that I am going to put on the sink? From looking at real estate listings of flips, the warm fixtures in brushed brass are trending, as long as they are not done in a 1980’s way making them look dated.



I’d be really careful, as that is almost certainly a brass-like finish rather than actual brass.

This is an answer to the question you didn’t ask. Retrofitting a shower tub with sliding doors in a rental, we removed the doors and the frame because they were so horribly pitted and unsalvageable. Yes, we were left with holes in the plastic (Fiberglas) insert.

I found some aluminum “transition”, i.e. “rug to wooden floor” and installed it as decorative trim, vertically, over the holes and it looked fine. Used stainless lath screws in the locations where the transition was pre drilled; filled the existing holes from the previous shower door frame. Caulked lightly, screwed down, all good.

Or you might consider painting the trim. It won’t last forever but it can be good for many years; prepare by lightly scratching the existing finish (high grit sandpaper), tape off withi blue painters’ tape, spray and let dry and cure for several days before use. You can get all kinds of brass-like finish out of a spray can.

Last option, try spraying a “satin finish” polyurethane finish on the frame (same deal: tape it off, multiple coats) and perhaps that will “dull” the finish enough.


And a welcomed one.

I found an article on painting the hardware: The Best Metallic Silver Spray Paint Interesting idea, as is aging the hardware, though it’s hard to tell from the article if this was good brass or just brassy: How To Age Brass in Less Than 5 Minutes One technique she used was to simply take very fine sandpaper to it to give it a brushed look, but she then painted them over since she was looking for a change in color.

The door is in fabulous shape. This bedroom likely has been used as a guest suite for the past 20 years. Am thinking about first playing with painting the walls a different color than their current white, to see if it softens the shower door. Shower is in the corner of the room and not a focal point when you look in, so it could be that the best approach is to do nothing with it, but try to modify it via changing it’s surroundings, and coordinate the harder to change door with new faucet and light.

Design is not my thing.


1 Like

I’d find a similar door with better color trim and replace.

I’m facing similar situation myself - hate the old brass colored door. Don’t particularly like the fiberglass shower. So I’m debating whether to replace the entire shower enclosure, or just replace the door with a brushed nickel finish one.

Heh, I’ve started to embrace all things brass/gold in that room. Put in a painting with a gold frame and it improved the rest of the room. Will probably paint the walls a golden brown that picks up the accent from the tiles that are on the lower half of the walls, similar to the almond color of the plastic shower surround, and put a brushed brass faucet on the sink, paint the vanity white to match the floor tiles. Towel racks are white.

After looking at bathroom design ideas, “warming” up the bathroom with brass/gold seems to be the thing these days.


Did this today and boy does it look better simply by taking away the cold white walls and warming them up a little. Eliminates the stark contrast between the white and the brass, minimizing it’s impact. Trying to figure out if I go all brass tones, or put a lamp in along these lines,, with brass accents but mostly black, allowing me to put in an oil rub bronze faucet rather than brushed gold: or Drawer pulls can match the faucet.


1 Like

Remember you can now post pictures. :sunglasses:

1 Like

No idea how! Honestly, the room is so small, that it’s hard to photograph.


At the top of the reply box is a string of icons. Choose the little “landscape pic” (next to the “block quote” icon) and choose a pic from your camera roll.

If you can’t make a decent pic in a small bathroom (I have that issue in one we’re just having completed) then that’s a different issue.

Personal taste: not a fan of brass. Used to be; had a big brass bed, but nowadays we’re doing brushed nickel, which will have it’s trendy moment and then recede in favor of something else. Then I can replace all that and sell the old ones to Seattle Pioneer, who will tell me that decor fashion is a waste of money.


I hear you, which is why I am leaning towards including the black like oil rubbed bronze, or a black faucet, with the transition light fixture that is black and brass, topped off with black drawer pulls. I don’t want to get rid of the brass shower door if I can avoid it. The white ceramic towel racks are staying in place.

The whole reason for including some brass elements is to incorporate the shower door.

OK, I will concede to the new TMF set up that adding photos is pretty cool!



Whatever happened to SP anyway? Since the redecorating of this bathroom is primarily to update the 1980’s remodel in order to sell it in a couple of years, SP would likely approve. Resale upgrades was the one reason why he thought remodels were a good idea. Total cost for the update will be about $150, since I already had the paint for walls and cabinet, and drawer pulls for the cabinet.

He was permanently banned for something. It was something like repeated board abuse, or maybe he was the one who stalked somebody to their workplace and then tried to get them fired, or…

I forget the exact details now but he was accelerating down the rant ramp, so I wasn’t surprised when it happened.

1 Like

Man, that’s a name from the past (Seattle Pioneer). I kinda miss him. He used to have a lot of input then I’m guessing he got cross-ways with the Fool but again that’s only a guess.


1 Like

I have heard that you can de-color brass using vinegar. Never tried it myself, but if there’s an inconspicuous place, maybe brush on a little and let it sit for a few minutes? A toned down brass would work well with oil rubbed bronze or black or whatever.

If the brass is coated with a poly coat then you’d have to remove all of that which would not make it worthwhile, at least for me. I hate prep work. I’m much more of a “one and done” fixer type.

Poly coated, but not the worst brass I’ve seen. I think this door cost them a bit when the previous owners put it in.

Prep work is not fun, but neither is redoing a job when it doesn’t hold up. So many ‘pros’ don’t do near enough prep work, since they can throw the lipstick on the pig as long as it looks good long enough for the check to clear. That’s one of the reasons I do so much of our work myself, rather than hire it out. It’s not to build sweat equity. I would be happy to stop sweating.

this week finishing up staining what felt like miles of deck

He had useful info from a handyman perspective. Very knowledgeable. What got him banned, as I recall, was some particularly hateful statements. I never actually saw the conversation, and those posts were deleted quickly, but that’s what I heard from someone who -allegedly- did see them.

For the topic at hand, I say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Apparently the door is in great condition. Just keep it and worry about something else.

1 Like

Once you remove the coating it takes a lot of effort to keep them looking nice.