How to Frame a 1-Piece Shower Unit

What You'll Need
Tape Measure
2x4-inch boards
2x6-inch boards

Installing a shower unit into your home sometimes means that you need to add a frame around the unit. This can be a way to prevent the unit from falling apart or becoming damaged. In addition, properly framing the shower base can help to prevent a leak. Framing a 1-piece shower unit can be rather more complicated, as you will need to leave the last parts of the framing until you have installed the shower, but it is a job well worth doing if you want to keep your shower unit looking good. Fitting a frame around your shower unit is not an easy task, but if you have some basic home improvements skills, then you should be able to get this project completed within a day.

Step 1 - Building the Wall Frames

The first step in creating your frame is to build up the walls. In a 3 or 4-part shower unit, you would make four walls of the frame at the same time, but here, you will need to make three, or perhaps even two sides. Place 2x4-inch lumber against spare wall studs. You may have to move some of the support timbers to studs which are not touching plumbing or electrical lines behind the walls. Screw each piece of lumber tightly into the wall.

Step 2 - Filling in the Frame

Once you have the walls of the frame against the studs, you should add 2x6-inch timbers between each of the studs by screwing these pieces between the frames. Join each of  the timbers up so that you have a smooth, flat central area. Take some of this lumber, and create a square frame which is large enough to hold the shower pan. This will also be the surface on which you can nail the membrane in place.

Then, use plywood lumber to create a flat base in the middle of this shower pan area. This will create a floor on which your shower pan can rest. Don't worry about cutting a hole in the base just yet; this can be done when you are fitting the pan.

Step 3 - Add a Curb

On the front edge of your shower pan, you will need to add a curb which will form the outside edge of your shower unit. You can use a large piece of wood, perhaps 4x4 inches, to create a wide space. This curb will then have to be screwed tightly into position using long screws.

Step 4 - Fitting the Pan

Get the base of your pan ready, including drilling any holes, adding mortar and the membrane, and nailing the membrane to the frame. Place the pan on your frame, and screw or nail this into position, according to the makers instructions. Fit the door unit into place, and then take more 2x6-inch timbers, and frame the rest of the unit. You can then add extra framing around the outside to support the unit—or not, as you please.