How to Install a Shower Surround Over Tile

A shower head spraying water
  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-230
What You'll Need
Small pry bar
Hole saw
Drill and drill bits
Latex caulk and caulking gun
Electric sander
80-grit sandpaper
Strong adhesive
Tack cloth

A shower surround is a facade or cover that makes an old shower look new. It’s usually made from marine-grade plastics, and therefore it’s cheaper to install one of these devices than it is to replace tiled shower walls. Plus, you can paint your surround any color and finish you'd like. Install one yourself by using the steps outlined below.

Step 1 - Remove Shower Fixtures

shower fixtures mounted to the wall

Before you can install a shower surround, you have to remove everything in the shower. Use a small pry bar along with a hammer to carefully remove corner shelves and soap dishes. Use a screwdriver to remove faceplates that cover the drain. Do the same with the shower head.

Then, use a wrench to remove the remaining fixtures, such as the shower head and faucet. Exercise caution when completing this step, so that you don’t break any pipes.

Step 2 - Remove the Finish

Tile is smooth, and, as such, needs to be roughed up a little bit for the shower surround to properly fit. Use a palm sander with 80-grit sandpaper and carefully sand the finish tile down until there is no gloss left on it.

Then, use a vacuum to remove all of the dust created from this process. Use a tack cloth to clean up any remaining dust.

Step 3 - Fit the Surround

woman wrapped in a towel with wet hair and a smile

Shower surrounds only come in certain sizes, so you may need to trim yours down to fit your bath size. For this reason, it's important to dry fit it first. Place the surround over the shower and mark any excess, as well as where the faucet and shower head are located. Remove the surround and use a saw to remove the areas you marked.

Step 4 - Assemble the Surround

Many shower-surround systems have to be assembled before you can install them over the existing shower. This may include connecting corner sections or other sides. For this step, follow the instructions that came with your specific surround. Once the surround shower is assembled, you can install it.

Step 5 - Install the Shower Surround

Apply strong adhesive to the tile and the wall. Leave at least 1/4 inch edge around the installation area. Once the adhesive is in place, install the shower surround. Make sure that the holes line up with the faucet, bars, and shower head prior to pressing down on the surround. Caulk around the surround and replace the fixtures.

To keep your surround looking new, clean it regularly with a mild cleaning abrasive and a scrub brush.