How to Install a Fiberglass Shower Enclosure
A fiberglass shower enclosure is a simple way to accentuate the look of your bathroom. These enclosures are built of durable and low-maintenance material. They match up to any bathroom design and prevent water from leaking into the remaining bathroom space. More pocket friendly than traditional tile enclosures, fiberglass enclosures are an easy way to change the look of your bathroom. Even better, they come ready-to-install, and you can put it up all by yourself in a few hours without hiring professional help.
Step 1 - Choosing the Enclosure Design
The style of the enclosure must be decided according to the design of your bathroom. They come in a wide range of patterns and colors. Choose something that adds on to the bathroom appeal. Make sure that the size of the enclosure is in proportion with the bathing space, or you could end up with a cluttered bathroom area. The material of the fiberglass could be colored with gel coat or plain acrylic, but you need to make sure that you purchase it from a reliable hardware store.
Step 2 - Removing the Old Enclosure
You have to completely remove all parts of the existing enclosure, right from the shower pipes, drain, walls and the pan too. The shower fixtures have caps on the outside of the knobs. Pull them off and you will find screws, which attach the fixtures. Turn the screws counterclockwise, to loosen and detach the fixtures. Hold the shower head at the place near the wall and turn it in a counterclockwise direction. This will make the head come off.
Step 3 - Removing the Drain Shoe
You have to remove the shower tub strainer. Insert pliers in the crosspieces of the strainer, which are at the base of the tub, and turn it counterclockwise. After removing the strainer, you will find a drain shoe, that is a threaded pipe connected to the drain pipe, below the surface. The drain shoe too can be removed by turning it counterclockwise. Place a flat pry bar at the edge of the shower pan and pry it out by applying mild force. Make sure that you do not cause the pan to crack. Pry out the wall panels too, in the same manner, by placing the bar at the bottom edge of the wall panels. Now you have successfully removed all the old parts of the shower enclosure.
Step 4 - Placing the Pan
Since we are installing an enclosure of the same size as the old one, the shower pan and its drain system will fit in place without much trouble. Insert the drain shoe to the drain pipe in the place where it was before. Now dry fit the shower pan into the area and see that the set up sits firmly in position. Remove the pan again and use thinset mortar, mixed with water, to make the pan base. Spread the mortar evenly, then put in the shower pan. For sealing the seam where the drain and pan joins, spread caulk along the sides to prevent water seepage
Step 5 - Setting up Walls
Apply panel glue to the sides of the shower wall panels and the studs on the walls present. Attach the panels at the base and flex them up to the wall while going up. Allow the glue to dry and then caulk the gaps between the wall panels. Since you are installing the fixtures in the same place as before, simply drill holes with a hole saw in the panels to accommodate the existing fixtures. Insert the fixtures through the holes, as the panels go in place. Replace the hardware in the reverse order in which you removed it in Step 2.
Step 6 - Final touches to the Enclosure
Finally take waterproof board and place it above the panels of the enclosure. There must be a 1/8-inch gap between the shower stall wall and this waterproof, drywall board. Tape it with fiberglass tape along the sides where it meets the upper seams of the panels. The board helps to render a neat look to the enclosure. Apply the caulk evenly at the sides of the board where they meet the wall panel top. Your new shower stall is installed in place of the old.