Installing a Shower Surround

What You'll Need
Shower enclosure
Hole saw
Shower base
Spirit level
Silicone sealer
Liquid nail solvent

When you are installing a shower, it's incredibly important to have your shower surround properly sealed so that you don't end up with water damage. Even a small leak can cause you some big problems over time so follow these step-by-step instructions for installing a shower surround to minimize the risk of any future problems.

Step 1 – Check Piping

If you are replacing an existing shower, all of the water pipes should be in the correct position already. For a brand new shower,  you will need to have the piping and fitments installed before you begin to install the shower surround. If you have some plumbing experience, you may want to attempt the piping work yourself, otherwise it is best to get a professional to do it for you.

Step 2 – Attach Drain

The drain for the waste water from your shower should ideally be located in the floor so that you can install the shower base at floor level. In some homes, this is not possible so the shower has to be built up on a pedestal so that the drain functions correctly. The space and piping required will depend on your current bathroom set up and the style of drain but the waste pipe from the shower usually connects with those from the sink and toilet. Test your connections before continuing as it is much easier to fix a leak before you begin to install the shower enclosure.

Step 3 – Secure Base

The shower base must be installed on a level surface. A sheet of plywood or Durock cut to the same size as the base will suffice and some shower bases have adjustable feet built into them to make this process easier. When the base is level, weigh it down with some bricks or heavy books then apply silicone sealer to secure it to the wall. If you don't weigh the base down before applying the sealant, it will be prone to movement when someone uses the shower and you will have problems with leaks at a later stage.

Step 4 – Install Surround

The plastic surround of your shower will need to have holes drilled into it for the fixtures to be connected. Measure the distances to the positions of the fixtures from the base of the shower and the corner of the wall. Before drilling, you should check your measurements thoroughly as any mistakes are difficult to rectify. Attach the panel to the wall using liquid nail solvent applied in a zig-zag pattern across the whole area it will cover. For quick adhesion, it is recommended that you apply the panel, then peel it back from the wall before reapplying it. By peeling the panel away from the wall, you will thin the layer of glue and expose it to the air so it will dry more quickly. Use the same method to attach the other shower surround panel.

Step 5 – Finish

Assemble the frame and glass panels that form the shower enclosure and apply sealant around the whole frame. Always seal the frame from the outside not the inside. Take the time to make a thorough job of sealing the shower as it will prevent future problems. Finally, attach the fixtures and the job is done.