Building A Shower Enclosure

woman in shower enclosure
  • 20-40 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-10,000
What You'll Need
A PVC shower pan liner
Cement and trowel
Drain assembly
Tile thinset
Tile for the walls and floor
Caulking adhesive

More modern homes are being designed with a shower enclosure in place. However, motivated homeowners without are taking up the challenge of installing a shower enclosure either as an addition or a tub replacement. Tackling this project is not an impossible task, as long as you have some knowledge of construction and a clear idea of the design you're going for.

Step 1 - Take Measurements

Determine the shower enclosure size and then measure out the floor space needed. Locate the new shower where two walls meet. Screw the 2x4s directly into the floor where the walls will go. To prevent hole drilling later, never position any plumbing over a support beam. Screw in studs framing the wall from the floor to the ceiling.

Step 2 - Prepare for Waterproofing

Lay down three 2x4s on top of one another at the front entry to the enclosure screwing these into the floor. Repeat this along the base of the enclosure box on the other walls between each stud so the framing is ready for waterproofing.

Step 3 - Pan Liner

Install the pan liner with enough room to come up at least a half foot on each side. Staple the backside to the upper edge along the wall, Make sure to follow any additional instructions accompanying the pan liner package.

Step 4 - Drainage

Mark where the drain assembly will position cutting small holes in the enclosure membrane for the bolts to be placed. Once the drain assembly top is screwed on, cut the opening through the membrane. Make sure to caulk both top and bottom of the assembly. Make sure the membrane is secured around all the walls but be careful not to puncture it.

Step 5 - The Concrete

Use small pieces of gravel to keep the drain assembly weep holes open when laying the concrete. Slope the flooring at a rate of one-quarter inch per foot toward the drain hole. Move at a deliberate pace to ensure that every side is sloped properly without clogging up the threads or drain weep holes. Pay particular attention toward smoothing the surface as much as possible. Once completed, cover the drain with duct tape to keep out any debris while the floor dries for 24 hours or more.

Step 6 - The Backboard

Install the backboard carefully not to puncture the enclosure membrane allowing at least one inch of space up from the flooring. Make sure the backboard is at least six feet tall or all the way up to the ceiling. Now drill holes for all piping and install the necessary plumbing.

Step 7 - The Finishing Tile

Begin with the floor using the tile thinset following the appropriate methods used when laying tile. Make sure all your plumbing pipes are in place in the enclosure before laying the tile.

Keep in mind two simple tips to complete this project successfully always take your time and measure at least two times so you will only make one cut.

Shower Bases

You can customize your bathroom by building your own shower base or shower pan. The steps involved in the process are easy if you have the basic skills, tools, and know-how to make it happen. Here is a look at the fundamental steps involved in building your own custom shower base.

First you are going to want to rough-in the shower drain pipe. Next prepare the walls and floor for the concrete and the membrane. Now install the base of your drain. Lay a thin layer of the concrete, creating the slope. Now put down a layer of your roofing paper. Cut and install your membrane and the top of the drain. Hang some concrete board on the walls and pour the final layer of concrete with embedded chicken wire. Build the form for the threshold, then pour the concrete for the threshold. Finally, place your tiles.

Shower Pan Liner Installation

Shower pan liner installation isn’t just a task for professionals. Although it takes a little work, you can do it easily for less money yourself. Installing a shower pan liner is a great and effective way to prevent leaks and water damage in your bathroom. It also keeps your bathroom floor strong, attractive, and crack-free for years to come. Here is some information about shower pans, shower pan liners, why they’re useful, and some helpful tips for installing them.

What’s a Shower Pan?

A shower pan is basically the flooring that you stand on in the shower. The most popular options for a shower pan include tiles and composite flooring. Ceramic tile floors can definitely look great in your shower, but they can also pose a lot of housekeeping problems. Since they’re not completely waterproof, ceramic tiles are particularly prone to cracks and grouting problems in as little as 5 years.

A composite shower pan, on the other hand, is a 1-piece type of flooring that is waterproof and resistant to cracks and damage. You can install a composite shower pan even if you have tiled walls.

What’s a Shower Pan Liner?

A shower pan liner is a sheet of sturdy waterproof material that lies in between the shower pan and the subfloor. This subfloor is a layer of cement or plywood that absorbs trickles of water that come through any micro-holes or cracks in the shower pan. Because they’re porous, these layers are particularly prone to water damage.

The shower pan liner catches any leaks and trickles to protect the sub-layer. Because it extends over the shower pan curb, the liner also helps to keep your bathroom walls protected from splashes and leaks.

Types of Shower Pan Liners

Shower pan liners mainly come in two kinds of hardy, flexible materials that feel like rubber. They include Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Chlorinated Polyethylene (CPE). PVC shower pan liners are significantly cheaper, but are stiffer and hence more difficult to install. CPE liners are more flexible and much easier to install, but some may find them cost-prohibitive.

If you’re thinking about installing a shower pan liner, make your choice based on both your budget, and how much experience you have in tackling these kinds of projects. Shower pan liners can be purchased pre-measured at hardware stores and online.

What It Takes to Install

Shower pan liner installation is a relatively simple job that, depending on the case, can be completed in just a few hours. The tools required for the installing a shower pan liner include pre-measured liner material, duct tape, a nail gun, nails, a utility knife, caulk, and water-proof adhesive.

The job basically consists of spreading the liner over the surface of the sub-floor, cutting a hole over the drain for water to flow through, and securing the liner to the shower floor.